“Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?” (John 18:38a)
The reason for this question by Pilate – Matthew 27:2 calls him: “Pontius Pilate the governor,” who was appointed by the Roman Caesar – is because the Jews had brought Jesus before Pilate. The Jews wanted Pilate to put Jesus to death for breaking their law.
In John 18:33-38, Pilate interrogated Jesus to see if He were worthy of death; wherein Pilate asked Jesus several questions:
1) “Art thou the King of the Jews?” (John 18:33)
2) “Am I a Jew?” (John 18:35)
3) “What hast thou done?” (John 18:35c)
4) “Art thou a king then?” (John 18:37a)
“Jesus answered, Thou sayest that 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. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” (John 18:37)
5) “Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?” (John 18:38a)
Webster’s Dictionary says that truth is (1) “truthfulness, honesty”; (2) “fact; the real state of things.” Truthfulness is “the quality or state of being truthful.” Truthful is defined as “telling or disposed to tell the truth.”
Jesus told Pilate He came to “bear witness unto (or with reference to) the truth.” That is, I am God; I am Truth; and I have come to earth to bear witness to, or to manifest the definition of, Truth; for I am Truth.
In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”
Truth has no error, no falsehood, but only fact, as it is.
1) God (Jehovah) is a “God of Truth” (Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 31:5b)
2) “All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth…” (Psalms 25:10)
3) “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth.” (Psalms 33:4)
4) “…and thy law is the truth.” (Psalms 119:142)
5) “…The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness ...” (Jeremiah 4:2)
6) “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
7) “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)
8) “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
9) “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word (or Christ, John 1:1-3, 14) is truth.” (John 17:17)
10) “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (James 1:18)
11) “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” (1 John 5:6)
The question remains, “What is truth?” Every religion, sect, denomination, and group claim that they have the truth.
But Jesus answered as to who knows truth in John 18:37d, “Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” Not just His physical voice, but the meaning of His spoken Word.
That is, they have the ability to discern the Word of God (1 Corinthians 2:10-16) because they have “the mind of Christ”; which means that Christ (God the Spirit) dwells in them. They have been Regenerated by the Spirit of God. They have been given a “new nature”; they have been made a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17). The “old man” has been crucified and the “new man” installed; raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4-22; Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:1-10). The Love of God has been shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost (Romans 5:5).
They now understand:
1) They are a Child of God;
2) They have the witness by the Holy Spirit that God is their Father:
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)
3) That this relationship came about through the Work of Jesus Christ on the Cross as the Sacrifice for their sin debt; as the Substitute; as the Savior (2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:1-2); to which they acknowledge in confession…
4) That is, they come to confess Christ publicly (Romans 10:9-10) – not to “get saved” – but as a result of Christ’s Atoning, Vicarious (substitutionary), and Expiatory (satisfaction appeasement) Work on the Cross, being applied in their spirit by the Work of Regeneration by the Spirit of God.
5) They come to experience an understanding of their Justification (declared righteous) in Christ (Romans 3:24-25; 5:1-2):
a) In Eternity Past (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-20) – Eternal Justification
b) In Time Present on the Cross (Romans 3:24-25; 5:1-2) – Judicial Justification
c) In Time Present in Regeneration – Experiential Justification
At the point of a person’s spiritual birth (this birth does not give life, but manifests life; see John 3:3-8); his birth is manifested in confession (Romans 10:9-10). Then the believer realizes he has the ability to “hear” the Word of God and he has the power to “do” the Will of God.
“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Notice: “Ye shall know (by experience) the truth (even Christ Himself)…” See Galatians 2:20:
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
This internal witness in the believer by the Witness of the Holy Spirit gives the believer a “know-so” salvation (Romans 8:14-16). He knows, that he knows, that Christ is his Sacrifice, his Substitute, and his Savior; for he has “the mind of Christ” and can discern all things (1 Corinthians 2:10-16).
Also the fruit that is produced and borne in the Regenerated Child of God’s life is proof that he is in Christ (the Truth), and that he is walking in Christ (the Truth). (See John 15:16; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 2:10; James 2:14-26.)
Not Pilate, not anyone, outside of a Work of Grace (called Regeneration by the Holy Ghost) in a person’s spirit, can answer the question, “What is Truth?”
But, praise God, Christ (God in the flesh) has revealed Truth.
All the definitions of man fall short of the Glory of God in trying to define truth, without the Spirit of Truth Himself living in man.
All the synods, councils, conferences, and study groups of the religious world are only vain efforts of men to define the Truth of God – The Truth does not dwell in them.
Therefore, a lost and wandering sinner – Who is he to believe? This religion says this is truth; and that religious organization says that is truth.
The instruction is – Look to Christ, Who is The Truth. Don’t look to religion, but seek a relationship. Come to the God found in the Bible. He alone is Truth; He Alone is Eternal Life (1 John 3:24; 5:20).
Surrender to Him as Lord and Master; Submit to His Will; Obey His Word; and Endure in the same.