When Jesus said that He is ‘the truth’ what did He mean?

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From “Growing in the character of a disciple”: Chapter 9 – What is ‘the love of the truth’ and why does truth matter so much to God?

One day, when He was speaking to His disciples, Jesus made an unusual claim about Himself. He said He is…….“the way, the truth and the life”…… For the moment, we need to concern ourselves with the second assertion, i.e. that Jesus is the truth. He does not merely say that He has the truth, or that He speaks the truth. He claims to ‘be’ the truth:

6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 14:6 (NASB)

What does Jesus mean? It would seem that He is saying that, ultimately, He Himself is the source of all truth, and the standard by which all things are to be judged as either true or false. There is nobody else, besides Jesus, who so embodies truth as to be entitled to identify Himself as being the truth.

It also means that where we do not know what the truth is in some area of life, or don’t know what is right or wrong in a complex situation, the answer is to be found in Jesus. We can ask Him, but we can also look at Him and ask ourselves what Jesus would do in that situation.

When Jesus was on trial Pontius Pilate asked Him a very deep question to which Jesus gave no answer. Pilate asked Him “What is truth?”

37 Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, “I find no crime in him.

John 18:37-38 (RSV)

In fact, the answer was standing right in front of Pilate. Jesus Himself is truth. Everything about Him is whole, complete, consistent, and righteous. He is full of integrity and soundness. That is true of Jesus and also of His Word, the Bible.

Given that truth is so important to God, and is the very nature of Jesus, we need to get ourselves into line with Him. Truth and truthfulness must become profoundly important to us as well, even if it makes us the odd one out, and even if it costs us. If we ever think about truth at all, most of us are satisfied with being ‘generally honest most of the time’. We tend to view that as setting the bar high enough. But it isn’t.

When it comes to honesty we need to put the bar to the very highest setting. We must not settle for anything less than 100% truthfulness 100% of the time. Anything less than that is compromise and, therefore, is not ‘truth’. You can’t have 99% truth. If you do, it is just a lie, the same as 50% truth is a lie. Likewise, if you only tell the truth 99% of the time, then that 1% still makes you a liar. So, those of us who feel satisfied and complacent about the issue of truth need to wake up and reassess this whole subject.

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