JOHN 18:37a-b
Please Tell The Truth
Prepared by Dr. John Marshall

John 18:37a (Holman) “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied.

Jesus, using a common form of assent for His day, acknowledged He was a king. Pilate may have asked the question in jest, but Jesus answered in earnest.

Let there be no doubt! Jesus claimed to be a king. He came to preach, teach, love, and be loved. He also came to reign. He intended for people to be subject to Him.

Jesus made this claim only when He had nothing to profit by doing it. Had He claimed kingship earlier, the Israelites would have immediately crowned Him.

He shrank from worldly honors, disdaining the empty pomp of an earthly kingship. He who came to redeem us had no time for the vanities of a human coronation ceremony. He wanted neither marble halls, alabaster columns, nor a crown of jewels. He preferred a crown of thorns, a cross, and a borrowed tomb.

Only when an earthly kingdom could not have possibly been His motive, He announced His kingship. His words spoken to Pilate were for our benefit, to help Christ-followers through all the ages. The words needed to be heard by us, but had to be spoken at a time when political fanaticism would not be kindled.

John 18:37b “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth.”

Pilate received a lesson on Christ’s kingdom. Having already described the nature of His Kingdom, “not of this world” (v. 36), Jesus now explained its substance, “truth.”

Jesus not only said He was born. He also said He came into the world, the implication being, He lived elsewhere before He was conceived here. Jesus came to Earth from a previous existence, a former world He left for a specific reason. He came here for a definite purpose, to reveal truth to us.

By truth Jesus meant reality, genuineness, alignment with the way things really are. A matter is true if it corresponds to actuality.

Jesus came to manifest reality with regard to God, to bring us a correct understanding of God. Gentiles had obscured God by philosophical speculation; Judaism had obscured the Father by ritualism and tradition. Jesus came to undo all erroneous thinking about God.

Jesus came to reveal the truth about God, to end our guessing and groping. Jesus thought true thoughts about the Father; spoke true words about Him; and did true deeds to picture Him. By word and deed He taught us what God is like.

Jesus revealed to us what we could have never known otherwise. Apart from Jesus and His Word, the Bible, we can know nothing definite about God. Christ’s message is the only one that for sure contains absolute truth about God.

Other philosophies and religions err grievously. They do not coincide with the way things really are. Ideas come and go, philosophies change, today’s opinions are dethroned by tomorrow’s.

Apart from Jesus, we are left with only unholy hunches about God. The message of Jesus remains constant. It never has to change because it is a true word from God about God.

Jesus valued truth, a fact warranting three major conclusions. One, in believing, sincerity is not enough. How strongly we believe in something does not indicate its rightness or wrongness.

What matters is whether or not what we believe corresponds to reality. Many sincere people are wrong, dead wrong. Their error is fatal.

Truth is not trivial to God. To Him, what we believe is of paramount importance. Sincerity is not a virtue in and of itself. Believing in truth is what counts.

It matters little what we think, or what scholars and philosophers speculate. All that matters is what God thinks, and we can know God only through His Son Jesus. Christ is the Truth. No true knowledge of God exists apart from Jesus.

Two, truth must not be compromised. Don’t profane truth, even in the name of Christian unity. We all want to see oneness in God’s family, but it must be a unity based on truth, or it is an unholy oneness.

Ours is an open-minded age: nearly everything goes, let everyone do their own thing, to each his own, etc. Conviction is not popular. “If you believe anything and hold it firmly, all the dogs will bark at you. Let them bark. They will have done when they are tired” (Spurgeon).

Since Jesus came to our world for the truth, we had best stick as close to it as we possibly can. Stay by what’s right, however unpopular it becomes.

We are followers of a Galilean whose first disciples were lowly fishermen. Jesus came with truth, and we crucified Him. His followers in our day should not expect better treatment.

Three, truth must be told. This is the reason for our continued existence, to please God by promoting truth. Since truth was the purpose of Christ’s life, it must also be our purpose.

We are in a world bent on gratifying itself with pleasures, but we believers have a different role to play, a higher duty to perform. We must manifest truth. We are to learn it, love it, think it, speak it, and act it.

God did not save us that we might only go to school, earn a living, have a good time, and die. People destined to live forever with God are surely meant for something better than merely fulfilling temporary earthly ambitions.

Our goal is to bear witness to the truth by telling sinners the way things actually are with God. Since we alone know the truth, no one else can tell the world realities about God.

Let’s not waste time. Begin where we are. At home, at school, at work, at play, tell people the truth, their only eternal hope is repentance and faith in Jesus.