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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Truth - John 18, Verses 33 Through 38; John 1, Verses 9 Through 14; and various anti-Christian texts


I quoted Pilate's famous question in John 18:38. But it's important to see the context which prompted Pilate to ask his question.

John 18:33-38 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

33Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

34"Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"

35"Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"

36Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."

37"You are a king, then!" said Pilate.
Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

38"What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.

This whole episode started with a simple question, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Pilate, the investigating attorney, wants to get to the facts of the matter. Jesus, however, wants to get to the truth, and eventually does so by verse 37, in which Jesus says that He came into the world to testify to the truth. John's Gospel has been emphasizing truth since its introduction:

John 1:9-14 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.[a]

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent,[b] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,[c] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


John 1:9 Or This was the true light that gives light to every man who comes into the world
John 1:13 Greek of bloods
John 1:14 Or the Only Begotten

For those who are curious, the New World Translation (which has, um, different views about Jesus) renders these verses slightly differently. For example, here's how verse 14 was "translated":

So the Word became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth.

Copyright © 2004 Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

Meanwhile, the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants 84:45 talks about truth, as does the Quran:

"5.72": Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah, He is the Messiah, son of Marium; and the Messiah said: O Children of Israel! serve Allah, my Lord and your Lord. Surely whoever associates (others) with Allah, then Allah has forbidden to him the garden, and his abode is the fire; and there shall be no helpers for the unjust.

"5.73": Certainly they disbelieve who say: Surely Allah is the third (person) of the three; and there is no god but the one God, and if they desist not from what they say, a painful chastisement shall befall those among them who disbelieve.

"5.74": Will they not then turn to Allah and ask His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

"5.75": The Messiah, son of Marium is but an apostle; apostles before him have indeed passed away; and his mother was a truthful woman; they both used to eat food. See how We make the communications clear to them, then behold, how they are turned away.

So we have a lot of competing truths in the spiritual realm, just as we do in the secular realm (think O.J.).

It's interesting to note, however, that Jesus uses the phrase "I tell you the truth" 78 times in the Gospels (30 times in the Book of Matthew alone).

So if Jesus was a liar, he certainly lied a lot.

(For non-Christian sources that claim Jesus truly WAS a liar, see Abdullah Smith (Muslim), Mark Smith (Set Free), and jdstone.org.)


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