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People of the Truth

When Jesus stood before Pilate, the Governor asked Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus responded that His kingdom was not of this world. Pilate, seeking clarity, asked, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).

Jesus’ kingship is in the spiritual realm. He rules in our hearts. He does so, not by overpowering us with might but by persuading us with truth. Grace and truth are realized in Him (John 1:17). He is the embodiment of truth (John 14:6) and is its ultimate spokesman. He said that those who are of the truth hear Him. Who is that?

Who or what we are “of” came up in an earlier conversation about truth. The Jews made a point of being Abraham’s descendants (John 8:33). Jesus noted that they were not acting like it; they were trying to kill Him for telling them the truth from God, something Abraham did not do (v. 40). No, their deeds reflected a different parent: “you are of your father the devil,” in whom is no truth  (v. 44). Their desire to do his will gave them away as his chil-dren. If they were truly “of God,” as they supposed, they would listen to the words of God (v. 47).

To be “of the truth” points to being truth’s child, suggesting one who has affinity and respect for it. 2 Thessalonians 2:10 connects love of truth with salvation.

People of the truth are open to God’s will. They have Samuel’s disposition: “Speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). They are willing to hear it all because the sum of God’s word is truth (Psalm 119:160).
To be sure, people of the truth may be temporarily blinded by sin or error. Jesus sometimes found a receptive audience in tax collectors and prostitutes. They may or may not have been looking for truth at that moment, but when He confronted them with it they responded positively. The Lord noted the irony of their response in contrast to the stubborn self-will of some religious people (Matthew 21:31-32).

People of the truth deal truthfully with the truth. They do not first decide what they believe, then attempt to mold (or distort, to use Peter’s word [2 Peter 3:16]) the Scriptures to fit that outcome. They do not interpret one passage in such a way that it creates a contradiction with others. They do not ignore context, and they do not arbitrarily redefine words or dismiss plain statements as not meaning what they say.

People of the truth are honest with themselves, too. Sometimes, truth hurts! Nothing is gained, however, by hiding from it. Truth makes us free (John 8:32). Just as ignoring the reality of physical disease can be fatal, pretending that spiritually we are something other than what truth says we are is disastrous.

People of the truth act on what they learn. John noted that by our actions, not just our claims, “We will know that we are of the truth” (1 John 3:19a).

Jesus’ appeal to truth before Pilate was timely: surely a judge is supposed to adhere to truth! The real question for Pilate was the same one we all face now: What is my attitude toward truth?

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