‘What is truth?’ This was the cynical response of Pontius Pilate when Jesus told him that ‘everyone on the side of truth listens to me’. You would think that there should be no mystery about truth – nothing for Pilate to wonder about – something is either true or false, right? We know though that it is not quite that simple.
During the last couple of weeks a parliamentary committee has been conducting an inquiry into questions of corporate governance and state capture at Eskom. A series of senior leaders have been grilled by MP’s – most recently, the cabinet minister responsible for Eskom. EFF chief whip, Floyd Shivambu set out the challenge the committee was facing: he noted that both the minister and the former chair of Eskom had taken an oath before God to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The problem though is that their testimonies are so contradictory that someone is clearly being less than truthful! Shivambu then helpfully quoted Scripture to remind witnesses that this is not on :)
And in this world when even truth seems to depend on who is telling it, how are we to make sense of all the truth claims being thrust upon us? Who are we to trust? Can we trust the health officials at the centre of the Esidumeni hearings where the lives of many patients were lost? In the midst of the euphoria in Zimbabwe, can we trust the very hopeful statements made by the new leadership of Zanu-PF? In the face of serious corruption allegations in the city of Cape Town, can we trust a political party who claim to be crusaders against corruption? When our president speaks, how much of what he says can we trust? And in the contested social media space, can we trust the news that finds its way onto our timelines daily – even when it seems to come from upstanding Christian sources?
Ultimately truth is found in the trustworthy and trust is relational. Jesus invites us to trust in him – I am the truth, he said – and to trust in his words. May we stand on the foundation of Christ and in a world where truth is often the servant of someone’s agenda, may Jesus be the one against whom we test all other truth claims!
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