“What is truth?” Yes, that was Pontius Pilate’s response to Jesus’ claim to be a witness to the truth.

To Pilate, this was a political discussion. He himself was Governor of Judea, appointed by the Roman Emperor. Before him stood a man who was being hailed as the King of the Jewish people, and he was talking in absolutes about truth: “Everyone who belongs to the TRUTH listens to my voice.” Pilate knew his politics, and he knew that all truth is relative; the person with the power gets to define what truth is. So he dismissed Jesus with his cynical “What is truth?”

We’ve just come through a long, harsh presidential election campaign. All politicians twist the truth to magnify their position compared to their opponent’s, but in this particular election cycle, we’ve heard the words “lies” and “liar” over and over again, until we’re almost narcotized by the avalanche of accusations. We hear Pilate’s voice in our heads: “What is truth?”

The election is over, and Donald Trump will be our new President. Stark truth is now staring him in the face, truth about the economy, truth about war in the Middle East, truth about social inequities in the Nation. He can’t escape their reality.

But even these truths are relative and shifting compared to the TRUTH Jesus was talking about. Pilate didn’t see it; to him “King” Jesus was a joke:

“Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus answered, ‘Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?’ Pilate replied, ‘I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?’ Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.’ Pilate asked him, ‘So you are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.’ Pilate asked him ‘What is truth?'”  (John 18:33-38)

Donald Trump now moves from the political campaign arena of lies, lies lies, to the real world of governing the Nation. We should all pray that his higher instincts will rule as he undertakes this task. We should also pray that he will understand, as Governor Pontius Pilate seemed to, that none of the kingdoms of this world represents TRUTH. Even a “kingdom” with a great heritage of freedom and opportunity for all — such as the United States — can be perverted and twisted into ugliness.

Hopefully, in the quietness of his heart Donald Trump knows the TRUTH and recognizes Jesus as King. If so, that faith will help him deal with the elusive half-truths he will face day by day.

— Pastor George Van Alstine