To Pilate’s question, “What is Truth? ” Jesus made no reply not because he couldn’t but because debating the nature of Truth with Pilate might have delayed, or even made impossible the crucifixion; and Jesus had, for this very thing, “steadfastly set his face towards Jerusalem”.
Jesus could have replied to Pilate, “Truth is the form of the Infinite Reality”. Pilate, as an educated man, would have known enough Greek philosophy to have appreciated the nature of the reply. He would have known that the forms of reality are apprehended by the intellect, and that the intellect works by defining the application of terms. He would have known, therefore, that Reality, if infinite, would require an infinity of definitions. He would therefore, either have dropped the question; or entered into an interminable discussion about the subject, which would indefinitely have postponed the crucifixion. Jesus’ silence took the problem out of Pilate’s hands, although Pilate’s later symbolic hand-washing suggests his own uneasiness about it.
The silence of Jesus allowed the machinery of man’s law to carry him swiftly to the cross. We, who are not in such a hurry to hang in the same way, may have enough time to consider some of the aspects of the Infinite Reality he had no time to discuss.
Reality has many aspects but there are certain obvious ones which may profitably claim our attention. Early philosophy considered Reality under three main aspects, the True, the Beautiful, and the Good; or Truth, Beauty and Goodness. Historically these three have engaged the attention of thinkers to a remarkable degree. Why has this been so?