Then Pilot said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

John 18: 37

This was one of the most important single moments in Pilot’s life. It seems that he was aware to some extent that he was involved in something very important, but I doubt that he knew just how significant this interchange and his subsequent actions were to be. Pilot was a warrior, a soldier, and he was accustomed to being in life or death situations; so, he also knew how to assess those times of trial and testing, and he understood tactics and techniques that were intended to grant to him an upper hand. Yet, none of that mattered here. Pilot was engaged in a zero sum encounter with God, and his choices here would result in either life or death for his soul at the same time as he was entering into God’s plan to permanently defeat death’s hold on this world.

Jesus’ words were as true a statement for Pilot as they are for anyone from that day forward in time. Jesus does bear witness to the singular truth that runs from before time began and that continues unbroken until this world will have seen its ultimate sunrise and sunset. There is one and only one God, and He exists in three persons that we know as Father, Son, and Spirit. He is the creator of all that is, and God is Lord over everything for all of time. Goodness, justice, and love are authored by God, and He pours these characteristics of Himself out onto the world for the benefit of His creation in general and as a result of His great desire to be in intimate relationship with each and every person who dwells upon the earth. Love in its deepest and fullest sense is made known by God, and it is given full expression in the sacrificial acts that Jesus, the Son, was about to undertake when He was in dialogue with Pilot.

On this day, Jesus expressed truth in the most profound and lasting of ways when He allowed Himself to be tortured, mocked, and nailed onto a cross so that those of us who would be born into perishable life would have the way and the means to enter into a redeemed life on this earth and an unending eternity in the presence of God. In Jesus’ temporary death, we gained life in a form that far exceeds the one that we were granted by the first breath that was drawn as we were born. Thus, in accepting God’s gift of a Savior in the person of Jesus the Christ, we enter into that same divine truth that was defined by Jesus. That acceptance of the truth that was so troubling and challenging for Pilot means that each of us who does enter into a life submitted to Christ is putting to death our own old selves, joining our Lord on that cross, and thus allowing Him through the work of His Spirit to transform us into people who live out God’s righteous truth and love throughout the remaining days of our lives.

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