What is truth? This is the famous question that Pontius Pilate, the fifth Prefect of the Roman province of Judea, asked Jesus before his crucifixion. The fact that Jesus didn’t answer him used to bother me. Here was a great opportunity for Jesus to speak profound wisdom to a man who seemed, at times, to genuinely want it. Why didn’t Jesus tell him?
The desire for Jesus to unfold wisdom on the truth was ultimately mine, like all of us who are seeking something higher than ourselves. We want the truth to be explained to us in a simple to understand language so we can just know it already. And so I marveled over the fact that the Gospel of John gives no record of Jesus answering Pilate over this important question.
I don’t sweat the fact that Jesus didn’t answer him anymore, perhaps because I now know that truth cannot be explained in words. Rather, it can be found in silence.
Let’s look at the dialogue between Pilate and Jesus in more detail to unveil a little more of the mystery surrounding the concept of truth.
John 18: 37-38 states:
“Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end I was born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Pilate said unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.”
Let’s back up to Pilate’s question for a moment. Remember that I stated that Pilate seemed, at times, to want truth? Pilate was a real historical figure. But in the scripture he represents the wavering mind, always fluctuating between that which is right and wrong, higher and lower action. Our evidence is that he admits finding no fault in Jesus, but yet he sacrifices him anyway. He even washes his hands in water to make a public declaration; he wants to be free of the guilt of the great sin he is about to commit, but his actions speak otherwise. He goes through with the sacrifice even though he knows it’s not right.
Even Pilate’s wife warns him to not kill Jesus because of a dream (Matt 27:19). If Pilate represents the wavering mind, then his wife represents Pilate’s emotion-nature, which also tells him not to do it!
Many theologians believe Pilate sacrificed Jesus because he was afraid of the Jews. But the esoteric meaning goes much deeper. The story is trying to show us what truth is without words. The truth can be found more in Jesus’ silence than in anything we could explain.
To better understand the truth, we are going to have to delve into the deeper nature of the Christ, something of which Jesus could never explain to Pontius Pilate, the wavering mental-emotional activity of human ego. If Jesus had tried to explain the truth to Pilate, Pilate would have walked away with a doctrine and a set of beliefs. I think this is best left to the world of religion, don’t you?
The truth about truth is that it needs no explanation. The truth cannot be put into words. The truth about truth is that it can only be experienced in silence.
So what is the experience?
There is a scripture in the Old Testament which states,
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
I love this scripture because it speaks to the experience of truth that lies beneath the chattering of our mental activity. Sometimes we just have to be still. If you try it you will find that there is a beauty in that stillness, a God-like beauty.
Esoteric literature teaches us that the Christ is in everything.
Hence the scripture,
“The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3).
If Christ is already within you, and you want to experience Christ, stop. Get still. Be still. And abide in that stillness, that silence.
I leave you with a YouTube video featuring Eckart Tolle and the experience of stillness, silence. I hope you watch it! It speaks of the ever abiding Christ nature within us!