Several years ago, mock news commentator Stephen Colbert coined the word "truthiness." Simply defined, "truthiness" refers to the sense of truth one feels about something, regardless of what logic or factual evidence might indicate.
Standing before Pilate, bound and seemingly powerless, there is nothing regal about Jesus' appearance. Kings command armies. They lead with strength and power. Pilate is confused that the man standing before him could be considered "King of the Jews." There is no truthiness to this title. In Pilate's world, it makes no sense. It doesn't feel right.
Jesus tells Pilate that he has come to bear witness to the truth. In his humility, suffering, death, and resurrection Jesus bears witness to the truth about the rule of God and the life that people receive from God. Jesus' kingship is defined by selfless giving and service to others. According to Pilate and the world in which he rules, Jesus is a very strange king indeed. And yet we know that in Jesus, we have seen the glory of the one true God.
God of truth, we thank you for revealing your heart of love in the foolishness of the cross. Amen.
John 18:33-37 (NRSV)
33 Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
34 Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?"
35 Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?"
36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."
37 Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice."