Hear the conversation between Jesus and Pilate. What a moment in time where Jesus proclaims himself King to a pagan leader who does not comprehend the profound meaning of that statement. And then Pilate asks a question of Jesus but does he remain there to learn the answer? Will I stay with Jesus to learn truth?
This is a meditation on this Gospel from one of my sisters:
“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Jesus gives a wonderful definition of a king: someone born to testify to truth. The Roman governor Pilate asks Jesus a direct question about his claim, “Then you are a king?” Jesus affirms it, “You say I am a king. For this I was born . . .” Pilate must be shaking his head, however, because Jesus had already stated that his kingdom “does not belong to this world.” Why, then, did he come into this world as king? The key lies in Jesus’ next, curious statement, “I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
Here is the dilemma. What does it mean to “belong to the truth?” Pilate is the example here. Jesus tries to bring him around indirectly. When Pilate asks him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus challenges Pilate’s conscience by asking, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?”
In other words, Jesus is telling Pilate that his opinion as governor is the only one that counts then and there. He holds the fate of Jesus in his hands. Pilate shoots back with his own challenge, “I am not a Jew, am I?” He reminds Jesus that the Jewish authorities who have handed him over should know the truth about him. Pilate should have taken the whole exchange more seriously because he will soon find himself shirking his duty to truth. Despite his doubts about Jesus’ guilt, Pilate will choose the indecisive, self-serving, cowardly nonposition. He will wash his hands of guilt. And what would we do? The King of Truth is ours. Are we people of truth? Have we given ourselves completely to the truth by living out our baptism? Or are we disciples of Pilate, willing to acknowledge the existence of truth, but unwilling to belong to it totally? So many disciples pick and choose what teachings of the Gospel and of the Church they will accept. Will that style support us all the way through life? Will we end up owning the truth when we appear before the King, or will we try to defend our vacillation as did Pilate?
If you have enjoyed this meditation, you’ll find meditations on all the Gospels in the Ordinary Grace series Ordinary Grace Weeks 18-34