For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.
— 1 Corinthians 13:12
How can [God] meet us face to face till we have faces?
— CS Lewis, Till We Have Faces
Our dark glass keeps us from the Lord. It keeps us from seeing him truly. And after all, “What is Truth?” (see John 18:38.) Pilate’s words could easily be plucked from his century and placed into ours with no uneasy feeling of incongruence. Who would dare to claim truth in our culture? How bombastic and haughty. How narrow and exclusive. Surely the sky is not actually blue, and the young man does not see it more clearly than the old. The weather is warm for the thick-skinned young woman, cold for the thin-skinned grandmother. Perhaps truth exists just out of our reach, but that is of no consequence to us. As long as we interpret this possible truth in some way that preserves our existence, so be it. A clear perception of truth is not possible to apprehend and does not benefit us anyway. We have accepted the dark glass of subjectivism and rejected the light of objective truth.
But then why does the blind man trip over the rock that he can not see? Why does it lame him so? The lens may be cloudy, but it appears to be a lens, nonetheless.
We are given these portals to the outside world, the ‘not me’ world. Like the pianist between the piano and the music, our instruments are often flawed and always individual, but instruments fitted for a purpose, nonetheless.
“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 had given into his century’s form of subjectivism. After hearing directly from the mouth of Christ the words of truth, his only response was, “What is truth?” And, though he found Christ to be truly innocent, he had him put to death because there was no truth in his mind, only convenience. His face was fully turned away and his glass completely dark. The rejection of truth always leads to death.
Saul of Tarsus, however, who once had glass perhaps even darker than Pilate’s, was suddenly and almost entirely cleansed of his blindness by the work of Jesus. As the reluctant Ananias — after running through the street toward possible death and guaranteed uncertainty, as Christ’s tool of redemption for a murderer — placed his hands on the eyes of Saul, “Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes.” (Acts 9:10) Saul’s glass was lightened.
If you struggle with our culture’s questions of subjectivism, if truth somehow seems wrong to you, know that you are not alone. The truth is narrow and exclusive. But the Truth beckons to and claims all for himself who wish to be a part of Truth in eternity.
As Christ went to that cross to die for you and me, and Pilate denied truth altogether, Jesus revealed a truth undeniable: God is both just and merciful. He cannot let our sins go unanswered, but he can wash them away with his own blood. And he did.
As this Easter Sunday approaches, let Christ wash away your sins. Let him into your very soul. Don’t resist that utter desolation you feel as the revelation washes over you. God is just on the other side to show you his miraculous light and diminish your dark glass.