Truth matters….right? At least we claim it does. We live in a society that prides itself on honesty. We want our kids to be honest. We want our spouses to be honest. We want our leaders to be honest. We, as a culture, claim to value honesty. Have you ever heard someone say that they are looking for a relationship built on lies? Of course not, relationships should be built on honesty. Truth is a good thing, we claim.
In John 18:37 we see an interesting conversation about truth between Jesus and Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea at the time of Christ. Jesus had been handed over to Pilate by the Jewish leaders. The Jewish leaders were hoping that Pilate would kill Jesus (which he eventually agreed to), but before ordering Jesus’ death, this conversation occurred:
Jesus says, “I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate responds to him, “What is truth?”
The question by Pilate just hangs in the air after he speaks it. Jesus doesn't respond, and the reason He doesn't is because He already had; Pilate just wasn't listening. The truth was standing before Him, and Pilate didn't know it. The irony is that Pilate proved Jesus’ point. Jesus said, “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Listening to Jesus is proof of being “of the truth.” Pilate’s failure to listen proved that he was not “of the truth.”
So does truth matter? It should to those who are “of the truth.” So who are “of the truth?”
Earlier in John this is what Jesus says, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.” (John 10:25-26).
So here we see a close parallel, with Jesus’ conversation with Pilate. Both passages talk about “bearing witness” but instead of calling those who believe “of the truth” Jesus calls them “my sheep.” So those who are “of the truth” can also be called “my sheep.” And we all know who Jesus means when he says, “my sheep;” he means Christians, those who place their faith in Christ alone as their Savior and King.
So what is my point? Does truth matter? Yes. It matters to Jesus and it should matter to His sheep, otherwise known as Christians. If it doesn't matter, then it is evidence that you are not “of the truth” or “my sheep” or Christian.
This leads me to Titus 2:1, “teach what accords with sound doctrine.” This verse is advice written by Paul to a young pastor, Titus. What Paul wants done in the Church is that truth would be taught. Why? Because those who are “of the truth” care about truth. In Churches truth should reign. It should never be pushed to the side by culture, relevance, awkwardness, difficulty, or tradition. Everything that comes through a teacher must accord with sound doctrine. If something doesn't match, the sheep should rise up. It should be every pastor’s goal to examine the scriptures to make sure what is being proclaimed on Sunday morning matches the scripture. If it doesn't match, there is a problem.
Unfortunately, I fear that Churches are not full of sheep, but instead are full of Pilates. Meaning that when truth is standing right in front of them, they say “What is truth?” Commonly, people say it this way, “Truth is a matter of interpretation.” This phrase is just the echo of Pilate’s question that has hung in the air for 2,000 years. It is a question that comes from those who don’t have ears to hear the voice of Jesus.
Our churches should be hungry for truth, we should crave it. We should recognize that Jesus is not wishy-washy, or up for interpretation. His life death and resurrection bears witness to the truth and our pulpits should resound with sound doctrine.