Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him.” John 18:37-38
What is truth? Linus Pauling once said that, “science is the search for truth.” I became a scientist because I love to figure out how things work. To me, the world is like a giant mystery, and scientists are like detectives who are trying to solve the case. Scientific “truth” is discovered by making observations, forming hypotheses, and generating data to test these hypotheses. Carefully collected, peer-reviewed data doesn’t lie. It either supports or refutes the initial hypothesis, but inevitably, new data leads to new hypotheses and the cycle continues. New understanding always leads to new questions.
Science is great at answering the “how” questions of life but it is not very good at answering the “why” questions. I became a scientist because I love to wrestle with the “how” questions of life. I became a Christian because I have discovered that Jesus provides answers to the “why” questions.
When being questioned by Pontius Pilate before His crucifixion, Jesus told Pilate that He came into the world to proclaim truth. He said that those who belonged to Him would hear His truth and accept it. Pilate’s sarcastic response to Jesus suggests to me that Pilate wasn’t interested in the truth that Jesus came to reveal. I’m guessing that for Pilate, like for many of us, truth was whatever he wanted it to be. The world has never liked the idea of absolute truth when it comes to faith. Absolute truth is too rigid. Relative truth is easier to accept because it leaves plenty of room for each person to create their own comfortable reality.
Jesus came to reveal spiritual truth. Jesus told a Pharisee named Nicodemus that to understand spiritual truth you have to be born again. He said, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 3:5-6) Jesus said that flesh only understands naturalistic truth. It takes the presence and revelation of the Holy Spirit in a person to understand the spiritual truth that Jesus came to teach us.
During Jesus’ time on earth many people followed Him because of His miracles. He healed the sick, fed the multitudes, and challenged the teaching of the pious religious leaders of Israel. The sixth chapter of John tells us that Jesus miraculously feed over five thousand people with bread and fish. Shortly after this miraculous event, Jesus told the his hungry followers, “I am the bread of life, He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35) He went on to say, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:53)
The Bible says that many of Jesus’ followers “turned back and no longer followed him” when they realized that He was not going to give them any more bread and fish. (John 6:66) Jesus offered them His own flesh and blood, which could feed their souls and bring eternal life, but they wanted food that could fill their stomachs. The Apostle Paul said that every person has a choice to make. We can either live our lives to satisfy the sinful desires of the flesh, which leads to death, or we can live as children of the living God by following the leading of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 8:9-11)
Spiritual truth can’t be explained with mathematical equations and diagrams. Faith has to be experienced to be understood. Maybe that is why Jesus said that the best way to understand God and prove that He is real is to love – to love God and to love each other.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God shoed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Not one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete it us. 1 John 4:7-12