A Witness for Truth


Let’s be honest about the truth: we all attempt to discover, seek, live by, twist, hide, avoid, or bury it. Some of us believe it’s absolute; others, that it’s unknowable. One popular song tells us to “clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” If you’re a movie buff, you might recall that poignant courtroom scene where Tom Cruise vehemently demanded the truth from Jack Nicholson. Biblically speaking, Jesus said that he’s The Truth. He also said that we can know truth and be set free by it if we abide in his Word. And in today’s passage, Jesus gives Pilate a healthy dose of it.

  • What’s your relationship with truth like?


28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 33-38. Verses 18:28-32 were covered previously and verses 39-40 will be covered in our next study.)

  1. What important questions did Pilate ask Jesus (vss. 33, 35, 37)? What was he trying to determine from this line of questioning? 
  2. Whom did Pilate say had accused Jesus of wrongdoing (vs. 35)? 
  3. How did Jesus answer Pilate’s questions regarding kingship (vs. 36)? What significant truth did Jesus reiterate about his kingdom (vs. 36)?
  4. According to Jesus, why was he born into our world (vs. 37)? How did Jesus describe those who listened to his voice (vs. 37)? Measuring yourself against Jesus’ standard, would you call yourself someone “of the truth”?
  5. Why was Pilate’s final question to Jesus important (vs. 38)?  In what ways are you like Pilate—hearing the words of Jesus and yet still saying, “What is truth?”


“What is truth?” Was it just pondering, an expression of exasperation, or a divulging of cynicism? Did Pilate not believe that absolute truth could be known, or was it simply a rhetorical question from a frustrated man? Jesus himself said that his express purpose was to provide evidence for the truth. In plain terms, Jesus communicated about his kingdom, his purpose, and what it meant for those who listened. Pilate had the chance to hear the truth, respond to Jesus’ words, and bear witness to the Jews who awaited his ruling. And yet, with The Truth standing as a prisoner before him, Pilate remained unconvinced and unchanged.

  • You, too, have a choice to make about God’s revealed truth in his son Jesus. Are you of the truth? Do you listen and respond to the words of Jesus? Do you bear witness to God’s truth?  Talk to God about these things.