This week’s reading sees us move on from the courtyard of the High Priest, through a first meeting with Pilate, Pilate sending Jesus onto Herod for a decision as to what to do with him, and then Herod sending him back to Pilate.  It’s almost got a ‘pass the parcel’ feel to it, with Jesus being the parcel and all the officials being the children at the party.

Now I admit to responding to musicals, you may have gathered that from me by now.  I love the music and story of Jesus Christ Superstar – what I don’t like about it is that it finishes with the crucifixion and not with the resurrection, but the music is still good.

Today I’m going to share a clip from the English version of Jesus Christ Superstar that covers this conversation between Jesus and Pilate.  Pilate is presented as being a tall strong ruler, dressed in a uniform that reminds me of a German SS uniform from World War II.  However, as we watch the interaction and the way that Pilate is being manipulated by the temple priests, we also see the doubt and confusion that crosses Pilate’s face.

Pilate’s enigmatic final question “What is truth?” echoes down the centuries, and is as relevant now as ever it was. Fake news; competing religious certainties and a dogmatic kind of tolerance that refuses to say that any view is wrong; airbrushed photographs; forged documents; hidden scandals from the past; different perspectives on shared experience; our inability or reluctance to walk in the other person’s shoes. What is truth indeed?

Francis Bacon thought Pilate was ‘jesting’ when he asked his question, but there is no more serious question for any of us to address, and no more worthwhile quest that we can undertake than the quest for truth.

Jay Robinson



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