Jesus 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).
"Truth is not defined by our own subjective standards; it is determined by the Source of truth Himself" (R.C. Sproul - Ref. 1).
This is the second lesson in the series, "About the Truth." The first lesson described God's Truth in the Old Testament. Today we begin to examine what the New Testament says about God's truth.
Definition. The Greek word for truth in the New Testament is alétheia, pronounced phonetically as "al-ay'-thi-a." In ancient Greek culture, alétheia was synonymous for "reality" as the opposite of illusion, i.e. fact (Ref. 2).
Alétheia occurs 109 times in the New Testament (Ref. 2). John's gospel and John's letters (1 John, 2 John, 3 John) mention truth the most often, where alétheia is mentioned 47 times.
According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance (Ref. 3 below), Jesus verbally mentioned truth (alétheia) 26 times. The first reference is Luke 4:25-26. The last reference is John 18:37, which we will examine later in this lesson series.
Consider. Let's consider what Jesus' critics said about Jesus and what Jesus said about himself in regard to the truth.
Jesus' critics recognized that Jesus taught the truth. In Matthew 22:15-22, the Pharisees went to Jesus with a question intended to trap him. Verse 16 tells us, "And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any."
Perhaps the Pharisees were being falsely complimentary of Jesus because they did not believe in him (Barnes in Ref. 4). However, this was "an admission from the lips of adversaries of the supreme truthfulness and fearlessness of our Lord’s teaching" (Ellicott in Ref. 4). In either case, the words of Jesus' critics recognized that Jesus was truthful (aléthés, unconcealed) and that he taught the truth (alétheia, reality) (Ref. 2, Ref. 5).
Jesus is the Truth. On the evening before his death, Jesus told his disciples that he was about to leave them (John 13:33). Thomas asked Jesus, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?" (John 14:5). Jesus replied, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).
When Jesus said that he is the truth, he was saying that he is the embodiment and fulfillment of the Word of God, and that he is alétheia, reality, the opposite of what is false or illusion.
In the previous post (July 15, 2018), we read Psalm 119:160, "The entirety of Your word is truth, and all Your righteous judgments endure forever." In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17). John begins his gospel with, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). When Jesus prayed with the Father on the evening before his death, Jesus said, "Thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
Jesus not only taught the truth, but also embodied the truth perfectly because he (and only he) was sinless and because Jesus is God (Luke 23:39-41, Hebrews 4:15, John 8:58, Exodus 3:6).
Apply. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me" (John 14:6). Do you agree that Jesus rather than man is the Source of truth?
3. James Strong, "The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible," Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995 - note, based on the King James Version of the Bible
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