John 16:12-15 Jesus said to the disciples, "I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you."
Reflection What is this truth of which Jesus speaks, sent to guide us “into all truth?” Is it the proverbial truth that sets us free? Is it the inconvenient truth that shakes us up, turns our world upside down, and ejects us from our comfortable ruts? from our places of privilege? I wonder if that was what Pilate was thinking when he asked Jesus, "What is truth?" (John 17.38)
I believe Jesus gives us an unequivocal (albeit round about) answer to the question, “What is truth?” Truth is born into the world by a God centered person. Truth is given by God the Father through the Spirit to a human being who is in faithful relationship with God. In other words, truth comes from God and is expressed by people who live (abide) in relationship with God. Truth is absolute as it originates in God. Truth is subjective as it is represented by unique individuals.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14.6) He is the message and the messenger, which is to say, Jesus lives in accord with truth as it is conveyed to him by his relationship in God. And the disciples and you and I are supposed to do likewise. The Spirit of truth is with us and will guide us. But here’s the thing. Truth has consequences.
Remember Pilate? The very fact that Pilate interrupted Jesus’ trial with the question, “What is truth?” suggests that he did hear Jesus’ voice and therefore must have been one "who (was) of the truth;"which I find a bit unnerving. It appears that even though Pilate recognized truth he did not choose to act bearing "witness to the truth." Although he attempted to persuade the crowd, Pilate fumbled and failed to take a firm stand in accord with truth, with Jesus. Although Pilate did not find a case against Jesus he did not ally himself with Jesus and unequivocally declare the truth; “Jesus is a man of God, of truth. I will not hand him over to you. I will not sever my relationship with truth.” Truth has consequences. Pilate handed Jesus (truth) over to the people. The people killed truth, killed God.
Speaking to Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, Jesus said, “... he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3.21) A person of God is one who lives in accord with the God of truth, unequivocally speaking what she hears from the Spirit of truth, because truth has consequences. Truth is born again, God is resurrected.