April 1, 2020
Pastor Timothy J. Spaude
Text: John 18:38 (EHV)
“The Warrior Faces Satan’s Ally, the World”
John 18:38 (EHV) “What is truth?” Pilate said to him.
The Son of God goes forth to war! That theme has guided our worship of Jesus this Lenten season. It’s helped us to view Jesus’ ministry on earth the way it really was, a war, a spiritual war with eternity at stake. And so we looked at the fact that Jesus was promised to be a warrior, that He didn’t always look like a warrior, that there were skirmishes leading up to the final battle, that the real enemy was the Devil, that sadly, Jesus our warrior, was rejected by many whom He fought for. Today’s word of God reminds us of another truth in war. Enemies have allies. The ally that Satan has is the world. We are not talking about dirt, oceans, mountains, plains and prairies. No, Satan’s ally is the people of the world who reject God’s authority and dominion. God’s word shows us how that ally of Satan often works, by undermining the truth.
We join Jesus as He stands before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. John tells us how He got there. “Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 30“If He were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed Him over to you.” 31Pilate said, “Take Him yourselves and judge Him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected.”
Pilate is feeling trapped. The Jewish religious leaders have brought to him a man they want killed. He knows it’s bogus. He’s looking for a way out, some reason to justify killing Jesus and making the whole mess go away. “Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked Him, “Are You the king of the Jews?” 34“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about Me?” 35“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was Your people and Your chief priests who handed You over to me. What is it You have done?” 36Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, My servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jews. But now My kingdom is from another place.” 37“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.” Aha! There it was! If Jesus were proclaiming himself king he would be a threat to Roman rule. He could get rid of Jesus.
But Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.” Ouch. There’s that word that hurts. Truth. The opposite of truth is lies. Truth is right. Lies are wrong. There were only two sides in the war the Son of God waged. His side, the truth side, the righteous side. And the other side. Lies. Sin. Satan. That’s when Pilate uttered his oft repeated words. “What is truth?”
How do you think he said them? If you watch any video production of this part of God’s word the actor playing Pilate always says them with a sneer. “What is truth!” It’s done with a tone of skepticism. And that may very well be how he said it and meant it. I wonder if it is also possible that he blurted it out of frustration. “What is truth?” How am I supposed to find it? Which story is really right? Others in authority, pastors, principals, parents trying to figure out what really happened between the kids or spouses can relate.
The reason I bring that up is because even though Satan is defeated he still fights in our time trying desperately to get rid of Jesus. He still uses the world as his ally. There are some people who deep down in their heart of hearts know the truth and deliberately suppress it. It’s not quite the same thing but you will be hard pressed to find respected scientists today who actually believe evolutionary theory. The science and the math just don’t work. They know it can’t work. But because the only other common option out there is Creation they don’t express their views very loudly. There are others who want their truth to be the truth so they deliberately deny what their conscience says. I wonder though if most of the people who struggle with the idea that there is absolute truth in the Bible don’t come at it from frustration. Sometimes this way seems right. Sometimes that way. What is truth? We can relate. We’ve become skeptical people. We are used to terms like fake news and slanted news and media bias. We hear something, we are skeptical. You’ve probably run the whole gamut yourself on coronavirus news. What is truth?
First, remembers something. There is truth. Do you remember what Jesus said about truth, all from the Gospel of John? “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”(John 14:6) “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free!” (John 8:32) And Jesus’ prayer in John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.” It is natural for us to have doubts and worries. We are not perfect. Jesus’ solution to doubt is truth and truth is found in His word. It is the truth. It points you to Jesus. You can trust everything Jesus says. There is no fake news or slant from Him. Only truth. Make sure you read His words daily. Then remember that just like the Devil has allies trying to cause people to doubt the truth that Jesus is Savior, that He has paid for the sins of all in full, that through Him heaven is our home, Jesus has allies too. You! It may very well be your friend, your relative, your family member who is out of frustration asking, “What is truth?” You can tell them. Remember you are a witness, not a lawyer. You don’t have to convince anyone of anything. But you can testify to the truth.
Now is a really good time in our country to do that. So much uncertainty. So much worry. So much fear. Let the people in your life see what knowing the truth does. Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. This too will work out for good. Hey, I wonder what great thing God will work out of this. Wow, what an opportunity we have to show love to others. No guilt in life. No fear in death. This is the power of Christ in me. The power of the truth, Jesus. Knowing Him changes everything so don’t keep Him to yourself. He didn’t just go to war for us, but for everyone. Spoiler alert for next week. Jesus wins! Tune in. Amen.