What is Truth John 18:37-38 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Jesus told Pilate, “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice,” to which Pilate replied, What is truth? That’s a good question. Things that appear to be true are often not true, at all. They can be the exact opposite and sometimes you can’t even tell it. The reasons you can’t always tell what is truth are as follows. You can’t tell what is truth because of:
A Charade – Jer 41:2-7 – Ishmael wept with the 80 men from Shechem, Shiloh and Samaria, who were going to the house of the Lord with offerings and incense. By “weeping all along as he went” Ishmael faked them into believing that he was sincerely saddened by the captivity and destruction of the land like they were. When they entered Mizpah he slew them. He was very much like the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Religious adherents often can’t see through the charade to the depth of the wickedness of their religious leaders. Jesus said that the Pharisees’ charade was their long prayers and yet they were devouring widow’s houses [Matt 23:14]. In church this charade is called hypocrisy. And often you don’t see the truth until the swords are drawn in the midst of a church split.
A Feint – Jn 7:20-25 – Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Why go ye about to kill me?” And they replied, “Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?” They didn’t come right out and lie to him. They just used a feint to cleverly dodge his question. It didn’t work. In this case, both Jesus and the people knew that they were, in fact, trying to kill him. The feint is a very common practice among politicians. Teens are pretty good at these feints… “Dad, what makes you think we would do a thing like that?”
A Lie – Gen 4:9 – when God asked Cain where Abel was, he replied, “I know not,” which was an outright lie. He knew exactly where he was. He was right where Cain hid him when he killed him. Cain was cursed for his murder [Gen 4:11] and his lie [Jn 8:44] and he went out from the presence of the Lord as a fugitive and a vagabond [Gen 4:12, 16]. Gehazi likewise lied to Elisha about following after Naaman to receive an offering from him and ended up with Naaman’s leprosy [2 Ki 5:21-27]. Like Solomon said, “a lying tongue is but for a moment,” [Prov 12:19]. In other words, when the lie is first told, you might not detect the truth. But eventually the truth is coming out. It always does. Remember the two harlots and the one live child [1 Ki 3:16-28].
A Misperception – 2 Sam 10:2-5 – David sent his servants into the land of Ammon to comfort Hanun after his father Nahash had died. Hanun’s princes thought that David had sent the servants to search the city, spy it out and overthrow it. They were wrong. The situation is often completely different than the way you see it. This is just like Eli who thought that Hannah was drunk rather than praying [1 Sam 1:12-15]. Sometimes the result of your misperception is merely embarrassment and sometimes, as in the case of Hanun, it is very costly. Moral: don’t react to your perception of a person or a situation until you know the truth for sure. Many things can cloud your perception.
Disbelief – Jn 8:45-48 – the Pharisees saw the miracles of Jesus Christ and they heard his words; but they didn’t believe what he said and they didn’t believe that he was from God. They believed, instead, that he had a devil. They were wrong and, thus, they missed the truth. So it is with you. You’re not going to know whether Jesus Christ and the Bible are really true unless you believe them. In the case of a magic act, you are right not to believe what you see and hear. But in the case of the truth, you would be a fool not to believe it [Jn 14:6, 17:17].
Self-deception – Gal 6:3 – it is very easy to convince yourself that you are the exact opposite of what you really are. Job was absolutely resolute in his personal conviction that he was a righteous man. And no one could convince him otherwise. However, when he finally heard the Lord speaking to him out of the whirlwind, then, and not until then, he found out that, in fact, he was vile. It is so odd that people will say to me, “Preacher, I’m not worried about this, but…” and they are worried into sleeplessness. Or they will say, “I’m not afraid…” and they are scared to death. Or they will say, “I don’t care…” and they are consumed with carefulness. Or “I was just thinking about…” and that’s all they have been thinking about. Or “You know, I love my wife…” and he hates her guts. Sad to say that it’s nearly impossible to tell when you have deceived yourself [Jer 17:9-10]. Until you know the truth you can’t make any headway on your problems. Get with God and truly sort yourself out [Ps 139:23-24].
Conclusion: You may not be able to tell what is truth when you are looking at a charade or listening to a feint or a lie. And you won’t see the truth if your judgment is clouded by misperception, disbelief or self-deception. But if the truth is what you are looking for, and you are even willing for the truth to expose who you really are, then you can tell what is truth every time you see it or hear it. The first time I picked up the Bible to read it 30 years ago, I was looking for the truth. I knew I had it in my hands before I had finished the first 11 verses of the first chapter I was reading. And to this very day I have known God’s words to be true. This book is where you find truth and everything can be judged by the truth of God’s words. If you want to know what is truth, you’ll find it in here. If what you’re hearing or seeing is professed to be truth and it doesn’t line up with this book then it isn’t true. And if it lines up, then it’s true.