Enjoy and be challenged by the second essay of the Cosmic Battle series!
Amidst the confusion and babble of our day, the testimony of a Nazarene man echoes through history. Claiming to be the Son of God, Jesus Christ, born and raised in the city of Bethlehem, went around the Galilean land to heal the sick, seek the lost, and grant the forgiveness of sins. The religious authorities despised him and, after a betrayal and a series of faulty court trials, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate. As these two men, God incarnate and a revered Roman governor, came face to face, they shared the most remarkable dialogue.
“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
“Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?
Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
“Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” ” (John 18:36-38, emphasis mine)
The heart of modern culture resonates with Pilate’s cynical doubt concerning the existence of truth. In a world where relativism is the most sacred dogma and tolerance is the greatest virtue, truth is not welcomed or desired. It is often quoted, “Do whatever you want, as long as it makes you happy.” Depending on one’s background and preferences, the individual has the right to shape their own ‘truths’ and this entitlement is to be respected, ensured, and celebrated.
Piercing through the fog of human thinking, Scripture offers clarity of vision, exposes man and correctly diagnoses his condition. Beneath man’s physical appearance, Scripture reveals an opposition to the truth and an innate affinity towards lies within the heart of man. Man “suppress,” “distort,” and “pervert” the truth and, in exchange, “speak,” “love,” and “practice” falsehood. As we examine our world, manifestations of this nature abound. Morality is mocked and human imperfection is glorified. Freedom of choice is valued more than the sanctity of life. Chance and probability replace divine creation. Sacred relationships are stripped of their purity and sacrificial commitment. Knowledge is reduced to mere social and historical constructs. We divide what should be united and we unite what should be divided.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul goes further to describe man’s sinful nature. He says, “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:24). Here, it is clear that man’s propensity towards falsehood is intrinsically rooted in his rejection of God. In embracing a lie, man not only refuses to accept the truth, he also refuses to recognize God’s majesty, glory, and beauty and chooses to worship himself. In rejecting a moral standard, ultimately, man rejects the Law-Giver, the person behind the law. In our love for falsehood, we abandon the actual source of truth and ultimate reality and, in the end, lose purpose and meaning in life.
At the end of their brief meeting, Pilate concluded that Jesus had no fault. However, in the face of an insistent and violent crowd, Pilate decided to turn Jesus over to the masses, as they “kept on calling out, saying, ‘Crucify, crucify Him!’ (Luke 23:21) The Roman cohort proceeded to torture, mock and nail Him to a wretched cross. There, on the two splintered pieces of wood, Jesus cried out in agony, before finally relinquishing His spirit. After his death, three days later, He triumphantly arose from the tomb and conquered death, validating His power in the physical and spiritual realms. Jesus “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
The greatest war being fought in our times is not one between nations but one between the truth and falsehood. In this battle, ultimate reality, purpose, and meaning are at stake and no one is exempt from its effects and outcome. On his own, with his own devices, man is destined to lose this fight. Thankfully, Jesus offers the lost soul a way back to God, the fountain of living water, the source of all truth. Indeed, our Lord and our God is mighty to save!
– Eunice Im