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 18:37-38 (ESV)
Pilate is hung up on the kingship issue. He is afraid that Jesus is planning to take over his job. He is not interested in Jesus' true nature or purpose as long as it doesn't interfere with his own position. But in the midst of Pilate's inquiry Jesus clearly discloses his nature and purpose, and we get the benefit.
Kings should bear witness to the truth! They are responsible for their people, and when they operate in deception the people suffer. Kings that don't bear witness to the truth are accountable for the destruction that comes on those under their care. It is a serious thing to be "in charge" of people. We are reminded in the New Testament that those who teach others will be held accountable by a higher standard (James 3:1-2). Fathers who lead families should be aware of their serious responsibility. So should pastors and elders of churches. Actually, anyone who has an overseeing role in another's life has a kingly function.
It is incumbent upon all leaders to align their lives with the truth as revealed in Jesus Christ. When leaders are off kilter, the father of lies, who is a murderer, destroys the people. It is scary to see how glibly we undertake being parents, teachers, or religious leaders. We read books and take off on ideas and current trends that may be miles from the truth as revealed in Jesus. It might take years for the deceptive seeds to germinate, but they will. Ideas have consequences.
Sadly, in the contemporary church too little emphasis is put on the truth as applied to the various aspects of life. Too much effort is spent on being trendy, making sure no one is offended, and attracting more people to attend the corporate meetings. There is just not time to expose the ways of the world system in comparison to the eternal truth revealed in Jesus. It takes too much effort, and it is not possible to accomplish in 20 minutes on Sunday morning. So families continue to operate based on concepts of reality gained from TV, popular music, and media. Church members live under the illusion of being trained because they attend Sunday services. All the while they continue to spend themselves into debt, work themselves into burnout, eat themselves into sickness, promote themselves into insanity, and lose themselves in a search for meaning. This is happening while the kings over the church sphere are being congratulated for building bigger congregations faster than ever.
We haven't even mentioned those who rule over the civic realm. Even though we who live in democratic republics don't have official kings, we do have those responsible for the policies that govern our lives. Their "truth" is tainted by the need to be re-elected. The farther public policy moves from the truth revealed in Jesus, the more destruction moves in.
We cannot afford to be glib like Pilate when told the truth. He ignored what Jesus said and lost everything. Soon after this interaction with Jesus, Pilate lost his position and became an afterthought in Roman history. If we neglect the truth we cannot succeed in the life designed by the author of truth. We must take seriously Jesus' commission to "make disciples!" People who don't know the truth and how to apply it are doomed to the default mode of deception where the enemy lurks to destroy.