I found John 18 to be the chapter that, so far, has given me the most to think about. I mean, it's all about Jesus getting arrested and as a follower of Jesus this is the pivotal part of the New Testament. This is the beginning. This is where the climax of His story starts to move. We hear of the denial by Peter three times that is predicted by Jesus. We read about Jesus being questioned by the High Priest. Lastly, we learn about Jesus' conversation with Pontius Pilate. This is the chapter that marks... I want to say the beginning of the end... but we know there's no end. So I guess it should be... the beginning of the beginning? I'm not sure. All I know is that in my heart, this chapter moved me.
It moved me to dig deeper. To study things I didn't look at before. It moved me read and re-read passages. To look at word definitions. To recall, ponder and process conversations. First he is taken to the High Priest. When Jesus is questioned about his teachings he answers plainly. I've done everything out in the open. There were no secrets (paraphrase). He healed people. He taught about God. The real God, not the lies and the laws that the "Leaders" were following. He spoke of the Father. In the temple, right under the noses of the Leaders.
The whole interaction with Pilate and his reactions though, that's what really got to me. When Jesus is brought before Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem, he asks the leaders why he should charge him when they can charge him by their own laws. Why should he be involved? Jerusalem at the time had been conquered and was run by the Roman empire. Hence, a Roman governor to settle disputes. The leaders make it clear that they want Jesus executed. They want to get rid of him. Take him out of the picture completely and wipe their hands of him and his followers. Get rid of the leader and wipe out the followers, right? Wrong!
So Pilate goes back inside the palace and summons Jesus to speak with him privately. This is where I perked up and really started to pour over the scripture and study. To me it seems that Pilate really doesn't want anything to do with this whole situation. He questions Jesus a bit, then goes out and basically tells the leaders, there is no reason to charge Jesus. Here is the actual scripture:
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
John 18: 33-38
The thing that really grabbed my attention is when Pilate says "What is truth?". So many of us wonder the same things. When I was wandering around as a very proud atheist the truth is what I was searching for. Maybe Pilate is searching for that to? Maybe he has seen and done so much, like so many of us have, that he feels there are no chances left for him. Maybe he's looking at this man, who had performed miracles, waiting for him to perform a miracle on him. On his heart. The search for truth can have such a compelling impact on us. On our inner beings. On our hearts. I pray so often that my loved ones who don't know Jesus have the eyes of their hearts opened. I want them to see things like I see them. I want them to know what I know and hope what I hope.
So... what is truth? The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines it as- real facts about something; a quality or state of being true; a statement of idea accepted as true. I looked further into it and defined the word true- in accordance with fact or reality; accurate or exact; steadfast, loyal and honest. The truth is a statement that accepted as fact or reality.
I don't think that Pilate really wanted that question to remain rhetorical. I think maybe he did want an answer. But he was part of God's ultimate rescue plan for His people. He was being used by God to carry out the ultimate sacrifice. I believe that Pilate gets a bad rap because of what happened. I don't think that he deserves it. I think that he was in a bad position. He had been brought something that he ultimately didn't agree with but had to complete as a result of his place in the Roman empire. I don't hate Pilate. I almost pity him. There are so many of us that ask what truth is all the time. Here is a man that had the Truth brought right in front of him.
Things get even more interesting in John 19. I have spent a lot of time there this week. What started as a 21 Day Challenge has broadened into so much more. It has helped me to remember things when I'm upset. I have started reading Isaiah and Psalms at night and hope to continue writing posts on those books. I have to admit that I didn't think this would happen when I started this challenge. I've read John a few times. This time though, I am studying it... and I am loving every second.
How is the challenge going for you?
What do you think "truth" is?
You know the saying, the grass is always greener on the other side? This is my attempt to find greener grass right where I am in my life.
BTW - I'm the one on the right, just in case you didn't already know that.