Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” “What is truth?” Pilate asked.
John 18: 37- 38(a), NLT
I’m a little different than a lot of people. Go ahead, laugh now and get it out of your system. What I mean by that is, I find myself looking at things a little differently than some people. I meet with several different groups of men to study the Word, do life and hang out together. One of the groups meets on Tuesday nights. Right now, we are in the process of finishing the gospel of John. This week, we read most of chapters 18 and 19; Jesus’ arrest, trial before Caiphas and Pilate, beating and crucifixion. The trial, if that’s what you call it, was of course a mockery. So, we’re all talking about this and the focus of most of the conversation was on Jesus. Rightly so, I might add.
But, as I said, my mind works a little differently than some and I became fascinated by the exchange between Jesus and Pilate. If you read the passage, it appears that most of their conversation occurred in private. Just the two of them. So, all the other guys were talking about this and I began to wonder how Pilate felt. I began to wonder what emotions he experienced while talking with Jesus and afterward, when Jesus was crucified.
Here’s why I say this. Pilate came face to face with Jesus, inches from God in the flesh. Do you think he felt that? The presence of something different, Someone unlike anyone he had ever known? I mean, Pilate had probably sentenced a lot of people to die, had a lot of people beg for mercy, curse at him, weep at his feet. But, Pilate had to be thinking that this dude was different.
Imagine what Pilate felt, what he experienced. He looked right into the face of Jesus. I wonder what he saw in Jesus’ face, His eyes. Pilate looked right into the face of God and froze, incapable of action, unable to believe in the moment of truth.
So what about us? There are times when we come face to face with God. Jesus meets us where we are. We’re cruising along with our lives, we round a corner and there He is.
Inches from us.
Face to face.
What do we say when we look into the eyes of our Savior, when we see His love pouring from His wounds? What do we do now? Do we freeze and refuse to act, like Pilate? See, I identify with Pilate. I am Pilate at times, standing there looking into the face of Truth, asking stupid questions like, ‘What is truth?’
I believe that Pilate walked away from this encounter with Jesus and was crushed by what he saw. Haunted by the pain and love he saw in Jesus’ eyes. Why do I say that?
Because you cannot come into the presence of Jesus, look in His eyes and be unchanged.