Tuesday, December 07, 2021

The truth as it is in Jesus

The Lord Jesus says that he is the truth.

It is normally sensible when someone says 'I know the truth' to ask 'the truth about what?'  What aspect of truth have you stumbled across?  What particular truth is it that we're discussing?

We could, I suppose, ask this question of Jesus.  He is making a rather different claim: not merely to know the truth, but to be the truth.  But we could ask: what truth exactly are you?  What subject are we discussing? What particular truth is it that you are claiming to embody?

We could even probably start to sketch an answer to this question.  It is the truth about God.  In claiming to be the truth, Jesus is making a claim to reveal God.  Yes.  But when he makes this claim, it is linked to his claim to be 'the way' and 'the life'.  It is linked to the idea of 'coming to the Father'.  A way joins two points; a life stretches from one time to another.  So when the Lord says he is the truth, we should think in terms of two things.  He is not just embodying the truth about God.  He is embodying the truth about the relationship of God to creation and specifically to humanity.  The Lord Jesus speaks in two ways throughout his ministry.  In one way, he calls people to himself, as if he is their destination; in another way, he points people beyond himself to the Father, as the place where they will find their rest.  He does this because he is the truth of God's relationship with humanity, and vice versa.  He does not teach this truth or show this truth.  He is this truth.  His life is this truth as he obeys the Father, trusts him, and prayerfully depends on him.  This lived life, this life in communion with God, is the truth.

At this point we ought to realise that we've burst through the limits of our question.  What particular truth?  In trying to answer we realise that we've stumbled onto something more: the universal truth.  It is true of creation, because it is true in Jesus, that it exists in relationship to God.  It is true of humanity, because it is true in Jesus, that it exists in dependence on God.

Every particular truth is, in an obvious or concealed way, a species of this truth.

There is no escaping this reality, even in the human absolute of contradiction.  It is possible to live in ignorance of this truth.  It is possible to live against this truth (to one's own destruction).  But the truth cannot be evaded.

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