Relate: Breakfast had been ruined. True, it was not the most lavish of meals but I enjoyed eating a bit of emmer and honey along with some figs and wine in the cool of the day before the world interrupts. Today the world interrupted too early. These pesky religious leaders led a band of rioters to my doorstep so that I might pronounce judgment on some criminal they managed to catch. These so called priests are quite fine with criminals running around causing trouble, just as long as they are their criminals. Apparently this guy got on their wrong side. So much for breakfast.
Two guards escorted in a man who looked already a bit beaten and disheveled. By appearances he hadn’t slept and his Jewish captors already have had a bit of sport with him. Even without this, he wouldn’t have been all that impressive. Average height, typical Jewish look. A bit on the strong side and a bit on the skinny side. He had a weather beaten look that spoke of years living rough but not impossibly so. Despite all that there was something about him. There was something in his bearing commanded attention.
“So” I said, “Are you supposed to be the king of the Jews?”
He looked straight at me. No servility. This was not the look of a beaten man. Neither was it a look of aggression or defiance. Here was a man as completely in control of himself as the most rigid of the stoics. Unlike them, there was a compassion in his eyes instead of a stoic’s severity. He answered me.
“Are you asking this for yourself, or are you just repeating the question of others?”
“Am I a Jew?” I responded. “It’s your own religious leaders who brought you to me. They’re the ones who want this trial. Why? What did you do?”
“My kingdom doesn’t originate here on earth. If it did, my followers would have fought to keep me from those leaders. But my kingdom is not of this earth.”
Not the answer I was expecting. So he wasn’t just a revolutionary. He was one of those religious types. What was the word they used… Meshyak? Stupid Jewish Hebrew language. Why couldn’t they speak Latin or Greek like the rest of the civilized world? I’d better stick with what I know.
“So you are a king?”
My question hung in the air as the silence thickened around it. Although they weren’t being particularly rowdy, you could hear that the numbers outside were rising with the dawn. Down there that crowd was a deadly powder-keg just waiting to blow. Not on my watch. Not again. Inside this Jesus just looked at me. His gaze demanded me to answer my own question. Who is this man? Could he really be some otherworldly king? Yes. Almost, I could believe it.
As soon as I acknowledged that in my mind, he spoke aloud. “You say that I am a king. Actually, I have come to testify to this truth. Those who love truth will recognize it in what I say.”
“What is truth?”
Again, silence. The way he stood. The way he looked at me. It was as if he was presenting himself as answer to my question. No other words were needed. Nothing else needed to be said. He was all the answer I needed. Leaving him there, I walked out to address the crowd.
React: What is truth? That question rings very real and very true to this day. Beginning with Rene Descartes famous conclusion “Cogito ergo sum”, “I think, therefore I am” the human mind has been top of the food chain. Reason was king. Legitimacy was dependent upon a logical explanation and truth was what the greatest of thinkers determined it was. In reaction to this a movement in our postmodern era has decided that truth is whatever you or I think it is. There are no absolutes and all of us can see very different, completely legitimate, possibly contradictory truths depending on our own worldviews and perspectives. But truth doesn’t start with a vantage point. Neither does it start with a logic system or an ability to reason. Truth starts with a man. His name is Jesus.
Jesus, You are my way. You are my truth. You are my very life. But more than just mine. You are the only way, truth, and life. There is no other way for us, for man, to get to God. You are both the bridge and the destination. You are a truth that is so much deeper than logic, reasoning or perspective. You are everything. You are the only thing. I surrender my way, I surrender my life to You, the only Truth.