Garry preached from John 18:28-38 last night, perhaps a slightly unusual reading for Easter Sunday in that it is the conversation between Pilate and Jesus before the Crucifixion. In this conversation, Pilate asked Jesus (probably somewhat rhetorically!) ‘What is truth?’

Nowadays, truth is often thought of as relative and the notion of absolute truth is rejected by many. Some truths are indeed relative (which side of the road you drive on depends on the country you are in, for example), but this should not blind us to the fact that God is the ultimate truth. We are disillusioned by the lack of truthfulness we see in others (politicians, journalists, the police) and therefore often find it difficult to believe God. Jesus taught, however, that God is truth (John 14:6, John 16:13) and that the devil’s native language is lies (John 8:44-45).

The fact of Jesus’s resurrection from the dead is not a relative truth, something that it’s O.K. for me to believe in if it makes me feel better, but it’s equally O.K. for you not to believe in if you don’t want to. It’s an absolute truth, based on God’s character. People often dismiss its accuracy nowadays by saying that people in Bible times ‘didn’t know any better’, but the fact remains that people were astounded and scornful of the truth that anyone could rise from the dead even then! The reaction of crowds to Paul’s preaching (Acts 17:22-32, Acts 26:19-27) show that this was an ‘unbelievable truth’ even in Biblical times. Moreover, it is clear from the Gospel narratives that the disciples, despite Jesus’s prophecies about His death and resurrection, were definitely not expecting this news! They fled at the Crucifixion, fearful for their own lives, afraid of what would happen, not expecting anything further from their crucified leader. Even when confronted with the risen Saviour, they took some convincing! (see Thomas’s reaction, for example!) The total transformation of the disciples from cowering, defeated wretches to bold, confident witnesses was the result of the actual fact of the Resurrection, not to some vague philosophical idea! That same transformation is available to us as we meet with the risen Lord, for the truth will set us free.