What Is Truth?

John 18:38

Turning to the incident which has immortalised this question, attention is drawn to the fact that Jesus had been brought before Pilate, charged with claiming to be the King of the Jews.

He had already been before the Sanhedrin, where He had confessed His title to Messiahship, and had been adjudged worthy of death.

Pilate, however, was not concerned with any Jewish questions, and would not have taken any action against Jesus had he not been accused of the further claim regarding the rulership, which he, as Caesar’s representative, held over Palestine. No rival authority could be tolerated, and with this thought in mind Pilate asked Jesus if He were really the King of the Jews.

Jesus answered: "Are you asking on your own account, or from hearsay?" Pilate did not appreciate being associated with Jewish matters, and said, "Do you take me for a Jew, your own people, and the Chief Priests have delivered you to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered: "My kingdom is not of this world, else would My servants fight. My kingdom is not from this present time onward."

"Oh," continued Pilate, "you are a king then?" At this juncture we can imagine Jesus with His flagging physical energy, but with a majestic dignity all His own, making the declaration, "I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the Truth." (v.37)

Pilate asked, "What is Truth?" He did not know that the answer stood before him, "How can a person be the Truth?" We are reminded in answer of our Lord’s own words, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life." (John 14:6) Truth, then, is any manifestation, or expression of the mind of God. Jesus so faithfully carried out this commission that He was surprised that Phillip should request Him to show them the Father. (v.8)

Jesus had on so many occasions told His hearers, "The words that I speak are not Mine, but His that sent Me." "I work the works of My Father." "I and My Father are one." (John 14:24; 7:16; 9:4; 10:30) His whole life was spent in giving expression to the Father’s mind, and John tells us at the commencement of his Gospel that Jesus was "Full of grace and Truth." (John 1:14)

The mind of God is shown in various ways. We have the Bible, the written word, which we are told was the result of holy men of old being moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Pet.1:21)

Again, the heavens declare the glory of God, the marvels of the great universe, of which we form such an infinitesimal part.

The rocks and fossils give us the record of past ages. The only pity is that men make such foolish guesses, and are unable to read their messages aright. If they did, their conclusions would agree with other avenues of Truth, for the laws of nature give us the facts regarding the control of both animate and inanimate things.

Coming back to the Bible we find many symbols for our help and guidance. A symbol has been described as a glass through which a truth can be seen. We have, for example, the symbol of baptism, representing the immersion into the body of the Anointed. The bread and wine used at the memorial, symbolises the broken body and shed blood of our Lord. What a pity it is that so many load up the glass with such embellishments that no one can see through it—the glass then becomes the object of attention, and the Truth is lost.

Thus, water baptism itself becomes the main object, while its true significance is obscured. Again, we are all familiar with the theory of transubstantiation, in the case of the bread and wine, and we see how the Truth has been distorted, and lost, the emblems becoming the object of worship.

In this way has the Adversary blinded the minds of the people. He is the father of all falsehood, error, and misrepresentation.

Let us now see the effects of Truth. We read in John 17:17, "Sanctify them through Thy Truth," and this means to make saintly, holy, God‑like.

It is often spoken of as separating or setting apart, and this is also correct, because anyone who becomes saintly, or God‑like, will soon find themselves going against the stream in this present evil world.

The test is not how much one knows, but how much one puts into practice. Our Lord’s last command to His disciples was along these lines, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." (John 13:35) In other words, this was the way to manifest the character of God in one’s life, for "God is love." (1 John 4:8)

The more we appreciate the Truth the better we realise our own insignificance—unworthiness and the greatness of God, the immaculate purity of His character, His wonderful love and tolerance.

Today, many diverse views are in circulation and the question is, "How are we to know what is Truth?"

Here are just a few tests which may be applied:

  1. Does the presentation square with the character of God? God is light, and in Him is no shadow of turning. God is love. Justice is the foundation of His throne. He is all‑wise, almighty. He is a God of Truth
  2.  Does it honour God? No thought can be accepted which is dishonouring to Him
  3. Is it in agreement with the plan of Salvation, Ransom, and the Restitution of all things
  4. Does it conflict with the Scriptures—the word of God? The science of numerics has proved that the Bible is, beyond all shadow of doubt, of divine origin
  5. Taking the larger view, the presentation must be ennobling in its effect upon those who accept it
  6. Is it in line with reason, with the spirit of a sound mind
  7. Is it consistent with all other Truth? There is no contradiction in the Truth, it is one consistent whole, and is harmonious throughout.

Another point should be remembered, those who have the Truth can always afford to wait. There should be no sense of disappointment if one does not readily accept Truth.

It was impatience along this line that led to the intolerance, bitterness, suppression and persecution of the past ages.

Truth was sure to triumph, but we had to await God’s due time. In due time Truth will sweep away the refuge of lies, for the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the deep. (Hab.2:14)

Then will be also fulfilled the grand promise of Jehovah Himself, "As I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of Jehovah." (Num.14:21)

Truth will then have Triumphed.