Discordant Chords (John 18:36-38)

Whenever I watch a program on streaming video, I opt for the option to display the english subtitles. It is interesting to read the subtitles when the characters are speaking in foreign language that I understand. Subtle shifts in translation may be revealed. However I was not prepared for these subtitlers becoming adept with non-verbal messages. Recently I was watching a movie and as the soundtrack played in the background, the following subtitle flashed.

“Discordant synthesizer chords playing.”

Other subtitles followed, such as “Ominous and foreboding music playing.” Interesting! Subtitles now attempt to depict the mood of the scene.

What if there were subtitles when we were reading? Certainly some electronic media provide these in the form of explanatory notes. Yet, I have not seen subtitles attempting to interpret the mood. Rather, this is usually left to the imagination of the reader. What about the Bible? There are many passages that one needs to do this. 

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate *said to Him, “What is truth?” 

John 18:36-38 (NASB)

“What is truth?” 

What was the tone that Pilate used when he questioned Jesus? If one could insert subtitles to interpret the mood, what would be stated? Was it mocking? Sarcastic? An earnest inquiry? Scholars have debated this and an argument can be made for each of these possibilities. I will straddle this answer and aver that it was a combination of all the above. If there were subtitles, perhaps it would have stated:

“Tone conveying uneasiness, fear, and awe.”

Someday, in Heaven, we will know what was Pilate’s tone and the emotions he was experiencing at that critical moment. Until then, we already know the answer to his question. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Him! 

Cue the subtitle.

“Wild praise and elation!”

Praise God!

 Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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