How Could Jesus Declare Absolute Truth?

Biblical Authority Devotional: Authority of the Son, Part 13

by Erik Lutz on September 22, 2010
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Jesus’ teaching astonished His crowds, not because of His presentation style, but because of the authority of His message.

Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37)

Today’s big question: how could Jesus declare absolute truth?

The scene from today’s passage is hard to fathom: Jesus Christ, the Creator and Judge of all the earth (Colossians 1:16; John 5:26–27), was brought as a prisoner before Pontius Pilate for judgment as an accused criminal. Having already been viciously beaten and mocked, the eternal Son of God stood in human form as He was questioned.

Clearly, Pilate did not realize who stood before him. This is revealed by his question: “You are a king, then?” Jesus’ answer drove straight to Pilate’s heart: “You say rightly that I am a king.” And Jesus went on to reveal why He—the King of the universe—came into the world: to “bear witness to the truth.

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus constantly made bold declarations of absolute truth, often shocking people with His teaching. But it wasn’t only the radical nature of the truths He taught that amazed the crowds following Him; Jesus blew them away with the style of His preaching—He spoke with authority:

And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:28–29, emphasis added)
And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority. (Luke 4:32)

When His enemies wanted to stop Him, they were confounded by His powerful words:

Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:45–46)

The reason Jesus could make these bold claims with such authority is because—as we see in His response to Pilate—He is the King of truth.

Returning to the scene of today’s passage, we see in John 18:38 that Pilate’s response to Jesus’ radical claim (that He is the King of truth) echoes the cry of our relativistic culture: “What is truth?” The incredible thing is that Pilate didn’t realize that he was staring into the very eyes of Truth. Remember what Jesus declared to Thomas:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

Today’s big idea: Jesus Christ is the King of truth!

What to pray: submit your heart to the absolute truth of Jesus.

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