Full of truth

The full truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth!

Sometimes, it can become hard to make sense of it all.

To really try thinking about and conceptualizing life’s purpose—why we are here and what we should be doing—can drive one to the insane asylum.  From time to time, I even take a second look at what it is I believe.

The idea of God can seem distant and unattainable, approaching the point of surrealism—or, possibly, unrealism. There have been times where I have had my doubts. Everything from Darwinian Evolution to a mild sense of farfetchedness has had its fair share of contributions to my struggle.

With God cemented as an undeniable reality, other questions arise. Can I really trust that all those stories in the Bible are true? Why are there so many diverging religious viewpoints? Who is right?

The thing that has always reconciled my doubts, quandaries and reservations is my belief in Jesus.

The Gospel of John gives this testimony concerning Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

Christ’s coming has revealed God to the world, and, in multiple ways, Jesus has set the record straight.

In one sense, “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11), settling our debts and cleaning our record of any blemishes. On the other hand, the truth of God has emerged in the person of Jesus revealing the thoughts, attitudes and will of the Father.

Hebrews 1:3a posits, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”

Jesus, being in very nature God (Philippians 2:6), left his heavenly dwelling in order to reveal the plan of God for humanity: to dwell in harmony with God and one another while pursuing righteousness and good works. Additionally, Christ has dispelled misnomers concerning God and certain realities of his creation.

For instance, the religious aristocrats of Jesus’ day (who more or less assumed a monopoly on all things God) thought that their outward ceremonial observance and sacrifice was sufficient for pleasing God. 

Jesus dispels this notion resoundingly, proclaiming, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased” (Hebrews 10:5-6).

Additionally, Jesus takes a passage from Isaiah and directs it toward the Pharisees and teachers of the law:

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. (Matthew 15:8-9)

Jesus’ outright exposure of the hypocrisy prevalent in the Judaism of his day highlights Romans 3:4,  “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” Jesus was on a mission to reveal the true path to God, positing that this path was centered on his person and work. 

John 14:6 declares, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

Very plainly, Christ tells us that he is “the truth.” There is not any way to get around it. To seek other alternative will result in a false path, according to Jesus, and this path will end in destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

Jesus highlights the fact that he is “the truth” by exercising truth in his dealings with other people. Jesus always told the truth, even at the expense of the pride of the hearer. The revelation of Jesus makes us constantly look in the mirror, oftentimes, telling us things we do not want to hear.

This was certainly the case with the apostle Peter. In Matthew 16:23, Jesus gives Peter a reality check, saying, “Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”

After anointing Peter as the bedrock of the New Testament Church (Matthew 16:18), Jesus sternly rebukes him. Peter must have felt humiliated after this exchange, but Jesus did not spare him the truth.

To oppose Jesus’ purpose for coming, which he explains to the disciples before Peter’s rebuke (Matthew 16:21), is to be in stark opposition to the will of God. He makes this plain to Peter.

Also, Jesus tells Peter and the other disciples that despite the sacrifices they made to follow him and their loyalty to him and his ministry, they would all desert him. Mark 14:27 reads:

 “You will all fall away,” Jesus told them, “for it is written:

           ‘I will strike the shepherd,

               and the sheep will be scattered.’”

Jesus, in addition, would reveal to his devoted follower, Peter, that he would deny Jesus three times on the night of his arrest (Mark 14:30).

Truth was a cause that Christ was committed to until the point of incrimination, ultimately leading to his execution. A perfect example of truth getting Jesus in trouble is found in John 8:58-59:

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I AM!”  59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.

This is the first of two occasions within two chapters that Jesus laid claim to being the God of Israel (John 10:30), and also that the Jews wanted to stone him. His willingness to tell the truth at all costs is underscored by his disregard for the consequences, being threatened by death on many fronts.

Jesus also makes it a priority to tell us the truth regarding the price for following him, not withholding any information, so that we may count up the cost (Luke 14:28). Matthew 16:24 reads, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”

One thing of note, briefly mentioned in this discussion, is Jesus’ quotations of the Old Testament.

Jesus based his truth, or perception of reality, on what we now call the Old Testament Scriptures, esteeming them as the very words of God. This means that the testimony of the OT is true, and from Genesis to Malachi should be treated as history and not allegory (as some suggest).

Frequent references were made to the Hebrew Bible by Jesus, which is quite expected of a Rabbi. Examples of these references are found famously in Jesus’ wilderness exchange with the devil, recorded by Matthew and Luke (ch. 4 in both volumes), and in many other locations.

In Luke 24:27, Jesus conducts a Bible study with two disciples after he has risen from the grave: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”

Jesus, from the OT Scriptures, taught the two disciples God’s plan of salvation and his own role within it. He, thus, presented the reality of history to his hearers, revealing the truth behind the events that had transpired.

He does something similar in Matthew 19:4-5:

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’”

In the process of answering the Pharisees question regarding divorce, Jesus affirms some key things here.

First, starting with “haven’t you read” means that not only should we read the Scriptures, but also that we can believe their testimony. He, then, follows by referencing the creation account.

Jesus acknowledges God as Creator (not some random explosion) and that he created male and female (not a lower form of life that evolved into humans) for the purpose of marital union. Union between male and female, also, seems to be the only type of marriage that Jesus recognizes (if you catch my drift).

When searching for truth, there is only one place to look. Well…let me clarify. There are actually many places to look.

Some look to Buddhism, Islam and other religions. Others look to wealth and a life full of sinful pleasures. Still, some worship science and claim that there is no God.

In all these places, though, a quest for truth is unprofitable because truth is found in only one—Jesus. Having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ allows one to look at the world through a lens of truth, differentiating between real and counterfeit.

I choose to put my trust in Jesus.

Why? Quite simple, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame” (Romans 10:11).

He has not lied so far, and I do not think he will start now.

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~ by christianballenger on January 24, 2012.

One Response to “Full of truth”

  1. Love the supporting background for everything said here. Also appreciate your honesty in having struggling with your faith. I think we all have at some point but Jesus does make it clear that he is the way, truth, and the light and he is evident even beyond the Scriptures. Wonderful read for those who question Jesus’ existence and purpose!

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