Daily Gospel: 4/28/11

37 Then Pilate 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.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
 - John 18:37-38

What is truth? What is the truth that Jesus bore witness to?

When the Pharisees were seeking to kill Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath (John 5:18), Jesus confronted them with some cutting words about who he was. There is much talk about bearing witness and testifying in John 5. In Jesus' address to the Pharisees, he said that the testimony of John the baptist was true (John 15:32). John the baptist was giving the crowds a big helping of straight talk - straight talk directly from God to the people about the Christ. Jesus knew this and said that John has "borne witness to the truth" (John 5:33). John was a truthful prophet (which is somewhat of a redundant phrase).

But the testimony of Jesus is greater than John's testimony (John 5:36). Jesus was testifying about himself, he was a single person whose testimony was self-authenticating because of the works that he was doing. These works were given to Jesus by the Father (John 5:36). Furthermore, even apart from Jesus' self-verifying testimony, the Father and the Scriptures all testify about Christ and validate his works, message, and person (John 5:37-39).

So, what is the bottom line truth that Jesus was bearing witness to? I propose it is this: You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life (John 5:39-40). Jesus' testimony is about himself. It is about how he alone brings eternal life. This is the truth that Jesus bears witness to. How much more striking is it that Jesus tells Pilate that life is only found in him as Jesus closes in on his earthly death.

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