Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
(John 18:36-38 ESV)
Have you ever talked about faith or Jesus with a non-believer or better yet a devout atheist? It’s difficult. A big reason why it’s so difficult is that atheists don’t understand what a believer is talking about.
I don’t mean that I think atheists are stupid. Just like every other group, some are, most are not. Ignorant is a better term. They just don’t understand. Plain and simple.
Oh, they often think they get it. Just like they think they understand what faith is. But they don’t. And just like Pilate, their misconception is that Truth is a philosophical argument that has no real answer. We each must come up with our own truth. There is, in fact, no one truth at all. “What is truth?” To them, there is no answer. End of discussion.
And you’re left standing there….
“I’M TALKING ABOUT JESUS HERE!”
“That doesn’t apply to me because I don’t believe.”
Which leaves you scratching you head. If they believed, after all, you wouldn’t be telling them this Truth. But that’s why I don’t like apologetics except as an intellectual excercise. You can’t convince someone of that Jesus Christ is their Lord in whom they must place their faith. All you can do is inform them of the Good News to the best of your ability and trust that the Holy Spirit will do the real work. Those who are able to hear the Truth will hear it and respond.
What follows is also interesting:
After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
(John 18:38-40 ESV)
Jesus has just been dismissed by Pilate as a harmless philosopher and so he offers to release the Son of the Father but the Jews, who really ought to recognize Jesus for who He is, demand that Pilate release a man named Barabbas. The irony here is that this blatantly demonstrates the Jewish authority’s blindness because “Barabbas” is bar-abbas which means son of the father. According to the Gospel accounts, this man was a robber, a murderer, and an insurrectionist. These legalists were so blinded by their religion that they missed the total irony of their decision. But they got what they wanted. And God won.