What is Truth?

What is Truth? You have asked a great question! Let’s find out what the Bible says. Pilate was the Roman procurator of Judea from AD 26-36. His headquarters were in Caesarea, but he often came to Jerusalem. Jesus was brought before him before his crucifixion.

What is truth was Pilate’s question to Jesus when he presided over Jesus’ trial

Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice. Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him at all (John 18:38).”

Leading up to this passage, Pilate questioned Jesus about what type of king Jesus claimed to be. Pilate’s main concern was whether Jesus challenged Caesar’s rule. If he were challenging Caesar, Pilate would be concerned. But Jesus told Pilate that His Kingdom was not of this realm. In other words, His Kingdom didn’t challenge Caesar’s rule.

Jesus claimed that the reason He came into the world (was) to bear witness to the truth. Truth for Jesus was fulfilling the mission God gave Him:

“Therefore, when He (Jesus)came into the world, He said: “Sacrifices and offerings You did not desire,

 but a body You have prepared for Me….Then I said, ‘See, I have come to do Your will, O God. (Hebrews 10:5-7).”

Jesus came as a willing sacrifice according to God’s plan to provide salvation for humanity and eventually rule over the earth. 

Pilate’s question: What is truth is understandable under the circumstances: Intrigue ruled the day.

The Sanhedrin convicted Jesus of blasphemy, so they rushed Him to the Roman authorities. They wanted Him sentenced to death. But Pilate wouldn’t care whether Jesus had violated religious rules. He expected the Jews to solve those issues themselves. It must be a Roman offense, so they accused Jesus of treason for saying He’s the King of the Jews and, therefore, opposes Caesar. The crowd threatened Pilate, telling him to act against Jesus or they’d report him as an enemy of Caesar.

Pilate hated the Jews. He thought they were bizarre people whose religion caused problems for him. He knew they hated foreign rule, so he knew he could use that to manipulate them.

In turn, the Jews hated Pilate. He represented their oppressors and conducted their orders. But the Jews could manipulate Pilate by reporting him to his superiors.

Pilate knew the Jewish leaders needed something that only he could give them. And he wanted to make them squirm. But to save himself, he knew he must appease the crowd.

Pilate asked the Jewish leaders, “What should I do with your…King?” He knew it wounded the Jewish leaders when he called Jesus their King. 

They responded by telling him he was disloyal to Caesar. They knew his weak spot, and he knew theirs. But Jesus was innocent; Pilate knew it and worked toward releasing Him. But this jab at the Jews was too juicy to resist: “Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he handed Him over to them to be crucified (John 19:15-16).”

Shockingly, the Jewish leaders denied God’s Kingship to ensure Pilate would condemn Jesus!

Also, during the trial, the following happened, which further bewildered Pilate:

  • The Jews had brought an innocent man to Pilate, expecting him to condemn Jesus to death.
  • Pilate’s wife had warned him to have nothing to do with this innocent man who was a divine being.
  • Jesus didn’t defend Himself against the Jewish leaders’ baseless charges.

No wonder Pilate asked himself, “What is truth?” The only truth happening at Jesus’ trial was Jesus’ words and actions. 


  • Jesus came into the world to bear witness to the truth. Truth for Jesus was fulfilling the mission God gave Him: Jesus came as a willing sacrifice according to God’s plan to provide salvation.
  • Pilate asked, “What is truth” because of the intrigue at Jesus’ trial.

We invite you to watch the GREAT NEWS FOR YOU VIDEO on this page to help you understand what the death and resurrection can mean for your life.


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If this video connected with you in some way, and you’d like to find out more about having a relationship with God and how His forgiveness and grace applies to you, a great place to start is praying the prayer below. The words themselves aren’t magic, but if you earnestly pray them and mean them, God will hear you! He’ll help you in ways you don’t understand, and we’ll help you find support and next steps.

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Jesus, I don't know You, and I don't know what Your plan is for me. But thank you for coming to die in my place. I'm sorry for anything I've ever done wrong in my life. I don't understand how You could ever forgive me, but if You really would, I would like to accept your free gift of grace and complete forgiveness. Please come into my life and take control, and help me trust You. In Jesus' name I pray,

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