BY CHARLES WOODRUFF
Johnny Cash is said to have infuriated President Richard Nixon on one occasion- by performing his anti-authority song “What is Truth?” during a performance at the White House. Johnny wrote the song in 1970. He gave no answer to the question in the song, but essentially was saying somebody better tell the truth to the youth of that day, because they would be tomorrow’s leaders. Well, it is “tomorrow”, and they are the leaders of today! That may explain a little why we are in the mess we are in today.
Someone else much further back in history asked the same question that Johnny Cash asked. Bible historian Orville Nave tells us that by our calendar today it was the year 30 A.D. when Pontius Pilate asked Jesus this same question; what is truth? He had already asked Jesus if He was indeed the King of the Jews. Pilate, getting no satisfactory answer said “Art thou a king then? 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. Pilate saith unto Him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all” (John 18:37-38).
Pilate could not discover the truth, even though the very embodiment of truth was standing before him! (See John 14:6). All Pontius Pilate wanted to do was wash his hands of this problem of what to do with Jesus. As we know, he really did wash his hands thinking this would free him of responsibility, but it did not. How could a man be so blind? He was willfully so. Also, consider for a moment the foreordained purpose of God in which Jesus was “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8).Take a look at Isaiah 53:5-6: “But he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned every one unto his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” This definitely speaks of Christ, and was written over 700 years before his birth!
In those verses we see that long before Jesus was born, His death was described in perfect detail. Also, Psalm 2:2 says: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed.” Here His anointed is definitely Christ. Christ means Anointed One, or Messiah, and is spoken of Him over 1000 years before His birth! I urge you to compare Psalm 2:1-5 with Acts 4:25-28, and you will then surely “get the picture”.
These verses show us the divine plan of God, yet since Pilate was the government official involved, wouldn’t we say that Pilate was not looking at all the facts in this case? Yet so many through history have Pilate’s problem, they ask; “what is truth?”
So much is said about truth in the book of John. Not only the previously mentioned John 14:6, where Jesus says to Thomas, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” Wow! Either Jesus was who He claimed to be, or He was the biggest egomaniac that ever lived! He said He is the only way, He said He is the only truth; He said He is the only life! He was saying no one, no matter how good, no matter how educated, no matter how famous, no matter how religious, no matter how much they prayed, no matter how much they gave to the synagogue, or the church, no matter how young or how old; No man(or woman) comes to God the Father except through Jesus Christ! Sounds like a King to me! And He is all the rest He claimed to be! He said: “I am the good shepherd” (John 10:11); “I am the door” (John 10:9); I am the bread of life (John 6:35). He declared Himself to be God: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). I hear religious liberals today say Jesus never claimed to be God. It always makes me a little angry. I’ll let God take care of them though, not me. But just read this one scripture: “Jesus said unto them, verily, verily (truly, truly), I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). The Amplified Bible gives this rendering: “Jesus replied, I assure you, I most solemnly tell you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” When He said I AM, He was identifying Himself with God. “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14). That was why the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus so badly. He was claiming to be God Almighty in the flesh! He was telling the truth! He is God in the flesh!
Well, Johnny Cash later gave testimony he had returned to God whom he had known and served as a young man. I hope he did. I know when he went into Sun Records in 1955; he wanted Mr. Sam Phillips to record him on some gospel music he wrote. Sam told him no, because he already had some black gospel groups, and they didn’t sell that well. He already had Elvis Presley, a new sound who had also tried to get into gospel music with his friend Bill Blackwood and the Blackwood Brothers. Sam wanted a new sound, so Johnny cut Cry, Cry, Cry with that deep voice and boom chica boom guitar, and the rest is history. Later, he recorded some gospel music.
Even though Johnny was testifying that he knew Christ, Pontius Pilate never did. Yet he was a man who stood in the physical presence of not only The King of the Jews, but also, The KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (capitalized because this is one of His titles). See Revelation 19:16.
There is another guy today making a bit of a stir, a Mr. Michael Baigent. He wrote a book more than 20 years ago titled Holy Blood, Holy Grail. In it he claimed that Jesus married Mary Magdalene, and fathered a child. He sued Dan Brown, the author of The Da Vinci Code (a book and movie that has made fairly recent news), which deals with similar, unproven, conjectures. Baigent lost his suit, but an article in The Atlanta Journal dated May 1, 2006, states that his latest book at that time, The Jesus Papers, has Baigent claiming Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. He thinks Pilate was involved in a plot to remove Him from the cross before He died to get Pilate “off the hook”. He claims to have seen a document owned by a businessman that was alleged to have been written by Jesus himself after he was revived and whisked away. Mr. Baigent said he only saw the document once during a 20 minute meeting with the businessman! No death, burial and resurrection in his story! According to Baigent, Jesus hadn’t died and arose before he wrote “the document”. This is not new, but essentially what Muslims teach about Christ’s crucifixion.
Okay, somebody needs to tell Pilate! He denied that the truth was standing in front of him, gave in to the mob, allowed Him to be crucified, and washed his hands of it all. He suffered a lot of things afterward, and history records that one of the most despised people that ever lived is Pontus Pilate. No one has more infamy, except maybe Adolph Hitler, or Judas Iscariot, and there are those who have theories that excuse Judas, such as in the movie; Jesus Christ Superstar.
I have recently heard interviews with several well-known show biz personalities talking about “my truth”, as if there are variations of the truth. This seems to be a popular concept today, maybe from Psycho- Babel. It sure doesn’t come from God’s word! What we must have today is not “my truth” or “your truth”. I trust you agree with me, dear reader; we need The Truth today more than ever, and we know who He is! It is Jesus Christ!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Originally written by Charles Woodruff May 4, 2006; edited and expanded February 25, 2010.