Jesus said: “I tell you the truth …”
The truth has become quite a big deal in the present time.
It’s often commented that we are living in a “post-truth” era, where actual facts are said to be less important in forming peoples’ opinions than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
“Fake news” is worrying politicians and columnists – where media (esp. social media) are used to spread stories that are simply not true, but nevertheless believed by many people.
It’s interesting that the powers that be have only now started to worry about post-truth and fake-news. What’s even more interesting is that they have really created this situation themselves by their own policies of relativism and post-modernism. For decades now, the prevailing view from government and media about faith has been post-modernist: it doesn’t matter what you believe, so long as you believe sincerely and don’t hurt or offend anyone else. The facts or truth-claims of any religion have been railroaded into oblivion in the contemporary mindset, with its stated aims of inclusion and tolerance.
What has happened now is that this same relativistic approach has been applied by the populace to news and politics – and guess what? Suddenly our leaders have figured out that this approach doesn’t work where actual facts are concerned! The fact is that it does matter what you believe. It matters whether what you believe is true or not.
It matters in medicine – nobody wants a post-modern surgeon, because disease is disease whether you believe it or not!
It matters in aviation – nobody wants a post-modern airline pilot, because ground-level is absolute whether you believe it or not!
It matters in news, current affairs, politics and general election campaigns.
It matters in what you believe about God, yourself, life and death, heaven and hell, salvation and damnation.
What is significant in these things is not what you believe, but whether what you believe is true.
Long before all of these issues with the truth, a man walked the earth and took, as a kind of personal slogan the formula, “I tell you the truth …” Jesus repeatedly prefixes what he says in the New Testament with this statement. In fact, he not only said, “I tell you the truth,” but he went so far as to say, “I am the truth.” (John 14:6)
That’s a bold statement!
If it’s false, then Jesus and his teaching should be seen as merely one voice among many competing to be heard. But if it’s true, then Jesus and his teaching is uniquely important, and must be engaged with and responded to. Many claim to teach the truth; only Jesus claims to actually be the truth.
The abiding message of the Bible is that truth originates in, is defined by, and is seen in, God.
In Ps.33:4 we see that “the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.”
In the New Testament we see that Jesus walks in the truth, teaches the truth and embodies the truth. Further, he promises that we can know the truth with certainty – promising (John 16) that “when the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.”
So here’s THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH.
There is such a thing as objective, actual truth.
The truth can be known with certainty – that’s not the arrogance of intransigent opinion, but the humble acceptance of divine revelation.
The truth is found in God, centred on his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, and imparted through his Spirit.
And the truth, Jesus said, sets us free – sets us free in the greatest and ultimate realm where we are free from sin and hell and Satan and death, and free to enjoy God, and his blessings, forever.