At the end of Pilate’s interrogation with Jesus, he asks a question worth our studying. He asks Him “what is truth?” John 18:38. The word “truth” comes from the Greek word aletheias, which means “truth, reality; the unveiled reality lying at the basis of and agreeing with an appearance; the manifested, the veritable essence of matter.” [The Complete Word Study Dictionary, WordSearch Database]
Second, we need to understand the background of this statement. Jesus stands before Pilate in his court.
Jesus not only told Pilate his origin, but He explained His ministry, which involved bearing witness to the truth. His spiritual kingdom was one of truth. People were won to His kingdom through conviction and persuasion. He spoke the truth found in God’s Word. All who were His sheep would hear His voice and respond. Jesus’ weapon was the truth of God, which is the sword of the Spirit. Ephesians 6:17. [Bible Exposition Commentary (BE Series) New Testament WordSearch Database]
The Bible Background Commentary says the following:
“The idea that Jesus’ kingdom is not based on military or political force is repeated throughout the Gospels, but Jesus’ Jewish hearers never grasp that meaning in his words (after all, why call it a “kingdom” if it was nonpolitical?). Pilate hears the term “truth” and interprets Jesus in another sense: a philosopher or some other teacher. As an educated Roman, Pilate may have known that many philosophers portrayed themselves as ideal rulers; although he probably had little attachment to philosophers himself, he would have viewed them as harmless. No one could be more non revolutionary in practice than a Cynic or Stoic philosopher, no matter how antisocial Cynic teachings might be…”