The Most Recognized Question
From the lips of Pontius Pilate, the fifth prefect of the Roman province of Judaea, comes one of the most recognized questions in world history: “What is truth?” A rhetorical question, no doubt, designed to make a point rather than elicit an answer. And what is Pilate’s point? Quite simply, truth is unknowable. It’s a fiction, an illusion, a mirage. And immediately we’re struck by the irony of what’s going on. Because if there ever was someone qualified to speak on the subject of truth, it was Jesus. And yet, He doesn’t. After this question, their communication ceases. Or does it? Jesus, like Pilate, responds with His own rhetorical device, silence. Silence—if we can bear it—speaks a deep word. And what does His silence say? It says, I think, in a way more forceful than words, that the truth you’re convinced is unknowable is knowable—indeed, it’s standing right in front of you.