Lenten Devotional for March 25th

SCRIPTURE John 18:33-38

Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asked him, “What is truth?” 


In Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” I’ve always heard a bit of despair as if Jesus had somehow sunk into him enough that he had a tipoff that the life he was living wasn’t real. Perhaps Pilate glimpsed behind the trappings of a Roman governor, beyond his political power and felt the slightest hint that it was all a fragile facade. 

Maybe we all have a sinking feeling that our lives have a bit of veneer, that we’re living “in the description of the place instead of the place itself” (Wallace Stephens), and that we need to prop up the unsteadiness we feel as best we can. I get Pilate’s question. How can we ever know what is true?

Years ago, in a lakeside meditation, I sensed God’s presence in a real way. In this “thin place”, not only was God in me, I was in God. The moment was fleeting but affirming, and the memory of it reminds me that I won’t find truth by reasoning it out with my head. Searching for credible news sources, asking the right questions, avoiding scams are all outside verifications.

We know the foundational, unshakeable truth only by knowing God and allowing ourselves to be known by God. Jesus was that truth in human form; “before being the Christ, he is the truth” (Simone Weil.) He must have sent a shudder through Pilate – if only for a moment. 

WRITTEN BY Garrell Keesler

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