The trial of Jesus Christ has some rather remarkable events take place throughout it. Jesus told Pilate in John 18:37 that he came to bear witness unto the truth. A trial is supposed to be about the truth. In the office Pilate held, he always had to determine truth. However, truth was not what Pilate was actually seeking. He was seeking to please the people. He was seeking to be a good servant of Caesar, and if truth got in the way of those two areas, the truth would be ignored.
In this trial, Pilate did not completely ignore the truth. The chief priests did, though. Pilate went out to the chief priests seven times, seeking the release of Jesus. At least two of those times, Pilate declared to the Jews, “I find no fault,” in Jesus. The chief priests heard the truth, but totally ignored it. They heard what Pilate said, but ignored it. They simply cried out “crucify Him!” The fact is the chief priests knew the truth before they ever brought Jesus to Pilate. How many people today simply ignore the truth, even when faced with it? They know the truth will forever change their life, and they do not want their life changed. They think they have found pleasure in sin, but true joy comes from the truth. These people are like little kids playing in mud holes, who when asked if they want to go to Disney World say no because they are having too much fun in the mud hole. They do not realize what they are giving up. The chief priests were looking to protect their power, but instead they rejected the One who gives the power.
The chief priests also exhibited another characteristic we should avoid. In John 18:28, the Jews bring Jesus to the judgment hall. The Jews did not want to enter the hall lest they be defiled, as a result of going into a gentile’s house. This custom came from their tradition. They have no problem killing an innocent man, but they do not want to dirty themselves by going into a house of a gentile! What hypocrisy! Oh how often we simply have an outward form of religion and IGNORE the truth. People who do this have their religion in vain. Their religion is not about God, it is about self. They do not attend church and maintain standards out of a desire to please and love God; they do those things to please men; to gain favor and praise of peers. This is wicked. Life is about GOD!!!
Now back to Pilate. Pilate knew the truth, but chose not follow it. Why? Truth was not his end goal. He wanted to keep the peace. He was more worried what the people and Caesar thought, than what God thought. He did not ignore the truth all together as the Pharisees, but none the less, when he could not reach a compromise he chose to ignore the truth. At one point Pilate asked Jesus, What is truth?” However, he did not stay for the answer. He turned and walked away after asking the question. Many people today base their actions on what others think instead of truth. They might even ask about the truth, but they do not really want the answer. Pilate wanted to accept the truth without having the truth affect him. This is not possible. Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. He knew he was innocent. However, he knew if he followed the truth in relation to Jesus Christ, it would cost him. It probably would have cost him is job and title. So he traded eternity for a few years of “prosperity” on this earth. How foolish! His problem was he was only thinking of the present and not the future. He should have been thinking of his own judgment before a holy and righteous God. He should have been begging Jesus for mercy. Many people today make the wrong decisions because they base those decisions on what others think, or they are only thinking of the present and not the future!
How do you respond to truth when the Lord works on your heart? Do you ignore it altogether? Choose to accept it provided it does not change you? Seek to compromise with the truth. Or do you willingly embrace it, allowing it to do its work in your heart. You will never be sorry you chose to follow the truth!