Easter is just a few weeks away, and that means we once again celebrate Holy Week. Imagine with me the scene from the darkest day of Holy Week, Good Friday, when the Roman governor Pilate questions Jesus. Pilate is the most powerful man in the land, representing the authority and might of the Roman Emperor. Up until that day, it seemed that Jesus was also quite powerful. Crowds numbering in the tens of thousands swarmed around him, straining to hear his authoritative teaching and witness his astounding miracles. We Christians believe that Jesus was truly far more powerful than Pilate. In that moment at the Governor’s palace , though, Pilate wields the immense power of the Roman military, and Jesus seems to be a mere criminal about to be chewed up the system. Think about that power dynamic when you read the account of Jesus’ and Pilate’s conversation in John 18:28-19:16. In John 18:37, in the midst of their discussion about Jesus’ identity, Jesus says, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” This comment from Jesus is something we’d expect him to say, right? We’re used to Jesus talking about himself as truth. Pilate, though, seems confused or frustrated by Jesus’s statement. Look at Pilate’s response in verse 38: “What is truth?”
Have you ever asked that question? I have. It can be hard to know what the truth is or if the truth matters in a world where falsehood reigns. In the trial of Jesus, truth didn’t matter at all. Pilate, John tells us, believes that Jesus is innocent, but what did that matter? It didn’t. He allowed Jesus to be killed anyway.
Or maybe Pilate is asking, “How do we know what truth is?” If Pilate is asking this, he is joining a conversation that has been going on for millennia, from the minds of the great philosophers to the regular conversations of people like us who wonder if something is fake news. As we continue studying Colossians, we will find that Paul is deeply concerned about truth.
This past week I heard about a Pentecostal pastor that prophesied that Donald Trump will still become president of the USA. The self-proclaimed prophet said that God told him that this will take place in April, just a month away.
What do you think about that? It leaves me scratching my head asking the question, “What is truth?”
Truth has been embattled in recent years, especially as we consider the media. Where can we find truth? Of course, every media outlet claims to present the truth, the real news. In fact some media outlets have a tagline saying that their news is the truth, in response to the persistent claim that they are spreading fake news. So where do we find truth? Is it possible that we are being misled?
As we continue our study through Colossians, the Apostle Paul tells the Christians in the Roman town of Colosse that he is concerned that they are not following the truth. Turn to Colossians 2, and read 2:8-15. In verse 8, we can see the flow of thought from the verses our guest preacher Emerald Scaffe preached last week, verses 6-7. There in verses 6-7, Paul gave the Colossian Christians a vision of rootedness in their faith. Built up, strengthened.
Why does Paul want the Colossians to be rooted and built up and strengthened in their faith? Because he had heard some disconcerting news about a situation in the Colossians church. Now he has written this letter as a response. Look at how he addresses the situation in verse 8. “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.”
Bring verses 6-7 together with verse 8, and Paul is saying that he wants the people to have strong foundation in their faith so that they don’t get taken captive through whatever this hollow and deceptive philosophy is. What is he talking about?
Check back in to the next post, and we’ll see!