40 blogs of Lent, day 18
Setting the scene: A quick run through of John Chapter 13;
Jesus is in his last week, and in the same evening has ashed his disciple’s feet, predicted that Judas will betray him and given the command to the disciples that they should love each other in the same way that he has loved them. I think that it is significant that the command to love comes straight after announcing that Judas would betray him, but that is for another blog.
Jesus mentions that he is going away in and among the command to love. The shadow of the cross is now looming large. The chapter ends with Jesus predicting that Peter will betray him.
The Truth: (with the way and the life added for good measure.)
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. John 14:1-141
Jesus is at it again, he uses the definite article to emphasise that he is the only truth.
To the people he was speaking to, his disciples, and to Jews in general, the truth was the scripture. “Your law is the truth,” says Psalm 119:142. Jesus is saying that he has the same authority as the Bible. His teaching style in the other Gospels shows this: In Matthew chapter 5, part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says several times2 “Scripture says … but I say …” He equates his authority with that of the Bible. Matthew says that Jesus came not to do away with the law, but to fulfil it3. John’s Gospel goes the closest to this when in the opening chapter he says that Jesus is the word of God.
Jesus saying he is the truth is saying that everything he says has the same authority as everything God has said. His words are truth in the same way that the written woed of God is truth. If you hear Christians arguing that the Bible is not the word of God because Jesus is the word of God, they have not got their heads around the fact that the two are one and the same.
1 English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
3 Ibid, v17