“What is truth?”

Series: Truth on Trial – part 4

The well-known passage John 18:28-40 gives the account of Jesus’ trial before Pilate the Roman Governor. The Jewish ruling council had hauled Jesus before Pilate in order to secure the death sentence. They claimed that Jesus had declared himself a political King in opposition to Caesar and was thus guilty of treason. Of course, Pilate realised that the real reason the Sanhedrin were so bent on execution was because Jesus had declared himself to be the Son of God and that, in their opinion, was blasphemy of the highest order.

The trial started with Pilate probing the charge of Jesus claiming kingship, but this all changed when Jesus said to Pilate; “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth.” (New Living Translation). Pilate obviously realised that Jesus was no longer talking about ‘kingship’ anymore because he responded with the famous words, “What is truth?”

Look closely at what Jesus said. Allow me to paraphrase; “I came from the realm of heaven into this worldly realm and was born into humanity to bear witness, to testify, to the truth.” From the way the other Gospels phrase this passage it is unlikely that Jesus was denying that he was a king of sorts but he was certainly making it clear to Pilate that he had another reason for being born – to testify to the truth. Again paraphrasing very freely; “You call me a king because that is the only way you can conceive of me but I am so much more than your idea of a king; I am the creator, I am life, I am the truth.” You see, Jesus did not stop with the declaration that he had come to witness to the truth, he went on to say; “Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible) Truth was on trial and Truth was staring Pilate in the eyes.


In my next post I want to explore what I believe Jesus meant when he said that he had come to testify to the truth.


Truth is The Word – Restoring a Lost Focus has recently been revised and published in e-book format. Find out more from the author on Jesus, truth and biblical interpretation in this revised edition! 


Picture of Christopher Peppler

Christopher Peppler

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.