Jesus is True Truth!
This passage continues Jesus’ discourse during the Feast of Tabernacles. Here, we have a continuing “tit for tat” dialogue and sarcasm on who is being true, truthful, and pious—the Pharisees demonstrating they are not, and Jesus showing He isTruth. Jesus is both challenging the prim and proper hypocrites, the “pious fraud” religious environment and giving comfort to His listeners. This passage would have been of a great comfort to John’s readers too, because his people were starting to face major opposition from their Jewish relatives and leaders, the foremost opposition coming from the Romans. Both were seeking to kill these early Christians just as the establishment was seeking to kill our Lord.
• You will know the truth. Meaning that when we commit to and follow through with Jesus’ teaching, we hold to His truth, because He is the truth (John 14:6-10; 18:37).
• Truth. This is what is called “true-Truth.” It is God’s Truth, not philosophical truth; God’s truth is fact, not some idea manipulated by faulty reason, relativistic ideas, or personal or political agendas. For the Greeks, this meant the absence of confusion and the embodiment of “real reality” that is not bound to or by any human reason, philosophy, or that which can’t be misrepresented or corrupted. For the Jews, this meant being true to one’s character, integrity, lineage, and being faithful. Jesus embodied both. Here, this is real and effectual knowledge of whom, why, and what information there is concerning Jesus Christ. The Pharisees saw truth in their traditions, but Jesus combated their notions (Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:1-8; 2 Tim. 2:15; James 1:18).
• Set you free. A term that could also be applied to setting a slave free, and how wondrous it would be for them. Following truth will set you free from the ternary of bad thinking that leads to sin that leads to a bad or nonexistent relationship with God.
Are you inventing or following Jesus?
What these so called religious leaders were doing was inventing their own “god,” hiding behind their rules and regulations, and forcing others to conform, causing them a loss of perspective of God and life. This hid their own lack of righteousness by a pretend righteousness, missing the point of God’s law and promise of salvation that was standing in their midst. We do this today too. Many Christians focus on making God into their own image—inventing their own user-friendly Jesus. Thus, the Gospel is reduced and diluted into a mere personal narrative that had no real depth or impact back to God or self, let alone an impact to others around us.
We become so consumed and concerned with our own personal narrative, our preconceptions, and preoccupations of our religious life and views that we do not even see the One we are to know and follow; we only see our ideas of Him. These are ideas that are distilled from our musings and pride and not from the percepts of Scripture. A mere personal narrative of Christianity does not mean it is not personal, because it is, but so much more communal and connective. The problem is we can reduce it to just being personal so there is no touch back to God or to others, there is no discipleship growth, no maturity, and no effectual impact, just the smug self satisfaction of what we want, think, and feel. Meanwhile, the reality of Christ is missed just as these Pharisees missed it. It becomes all about the way “I” see it, not what it really is supposed to be. Do not allow your Christianity to be dim or held in the darkness of the despair of bad thinking or laziness, or be too busy to learn and grow or turned under to the hindrance of pride. Allow the light of His Word to shine through so that your personal Christianity is impacted and communal and set ablaze to be a growing impact that pleases Him!
Questions to Ponder
What does it mean to you to be a committed follower?
How do you go from one who makes a profession of faith to one who goes beyond belief into practice of the faith in following Christ?
How will you become committed?