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Today, in the marketplace of ideas, the word ‘truth’ has lost its meaning, purpose and relevance. Much of this is due to the rise of philosophical relativism and postmodernism. On the altar of postmodernism, all the transcendental and objective truths, slowly but surely, are being marginalized. ‘Truth’ has now been personalised. There seems to be no definitive meaning of the word ‘meaning’ and no definitive purpose to the word ‘purpose’. For many, life seems to be a meaningless accident in a universe that is lonely, cold and dark.
The gap between tangible truth and the philosophical view of truth seems to be ever-widening. As a result of that, our moral landscape is plagued by immorality, injustice, civil unrest and oppression. Nothing seems to irritate people more than the word ‘truth’. Their allergy to it is easily palpable. In this climate of all-inclusivity, Christians claiming to know the truth sounds obnoxious. We are now considered narrow-minded, religious bigots. Society at large treats us as a fringe group that is disillusioned.
But have you ever thought about why Christians assert such a bold claim that we know the truth? What could be the reason? Let me try to answer this question in this article.
Exclusivity Of The Truth
In John 14, the disciple Thomas said to Jesus “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’. Just a few verses above, Jesus tells his disciples that he was going to the Father to prepare a place for them. Thomas was unsure about the destination that Jesus would end up at. So, his question was, to paraphrase, like this, ‘Jesus, we don’t know where in the world you are going (destination), how can we expect us to know the way?’.
After spending a great deal of time with Jesus and having heard that he was going to the Father, it is astonishing that Thomas would ask such a question. However, in answering Thomas’ question, Jesus reiterates that He is the way, the truth and the life and no one can come to the Father except by him. In other words, Jesus tells Thomas that not only was he going to the Father (destination), but he is the only way to go to the Father. If Thomas had known Christ, he would have known the way to the Father too. Knowing and believing in Jesus Christ is the only way to be accepted by the Father. There is no other way. There is no other truth. There is no other who can give life. Only Jesus Christ.
Christ was the only one who came down from heaven and the Father (Jn. 16:28). He was the only one who lived a perfect and sinless life (Jn. 8:46). He was the only one who fulfilled the entirety of the law (Matt. 5:17-22). He was the only one who loved the Father with all his heart, mind and soul perfectly (Rom. 5:19, Jn. 4:34). He was the only God-Man who walked on this planet (Jn. 1:1, Heb. 2:14). He was the only person who could atone for the sins of his people (Jn. 1:29). He was the only person who could drink from the cup of God’s wrath (Isa. 53: 6). He was the only person who rose from the dead after having atoned for the sins of his people (Acts 2:23-24). Now, he is the only one who intercedes to the Father (along with the Holy Spirit) on behalf of believers (Heb. 4:14). He is the only one who is going to come back to judge the world (2 Cor. 5:10).
Knowing Jesus is in itself experiencing life-everlasting. This is the exclusive truth. This is the life-saving truth. There are no alternatives to it. In this world, every single truth is dependent upon this ultimate truth that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
Stability To The Mind
In the midst of direct opposition to Jesus from the Jewish leaders and apparent apathy from the ordinary people, Jesus gathers his disciples to himself and reveals to them about his imminent death and betrayal. When the disciples found themselves being gripped by doubt and fear and were unsure of what Jesus was talking about, Jesus spelt out these poignant words: “I am the way, the truth and the life”.
It must have been daunting for the disciples to entrust themselves entirely to the care and sovereign protection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Especially when they witnessed, on one hand, the people who were trying to fastidiously adhere to the law to earn their favour before God (Jn. 8:39). On the other, there was such hatred against Jesus and his divine claims as well (Jn. 8:58).
If we were to put ourselves in the disciples' shoes, I am sure we would be confused too. If we were to be threatened, brainwashed or emotionally manipulated all the time that Jesus is not God, surely, we would succumb to the temptation of doubting Christ’s deity. As well as we might, if it were not for the grace of God.
Imagine a junction with broken traffic lights, if they were being operated randomly and inconsistently, all that results is a flurry of blowing horns by frustrated motorists and vehicle drivers. But to clear the stagnant traffic, traffic police arrive to give them clarity and direction. Similarly, Jesus gave the disciples a firm foundation to stand upon, an anchor to hold onto and a truth to be understood and grasped when he said “I am the way, the truth and the life”.
Tranquillity To The Heart
The opening words of John 14 is “Let not your hearts be troubled”. Jesus’ own words about his forthcoming death and betrayal by one of his own disciples must have taken a heavy toll on the disciples. As their dreams of a messiah who would conquer the earthly kingdoms and grant them earthly victories began to fade away, they must have been exhausted mentally and emotionally (Jn. 12:23-25). Their hearts must have been filled with hopelessness and sadness (Jn. 14:1). In this context, Jesus says “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Having trusted Jesus and Him alone, these words must have been a balm to their troubled souls.
In the same chapter, Jesus proceeds to teach the disciples that whoever has seen him has seen the Father and he and the Father are one (Jn. 14:10). The Father is in Christ and Christ is in the Father. Christ speaks with authority from the Father (Jn. 14:24). Jesus says he would not leave them as orphans in this world, but would send them the Holy Spirit who will dwell with them, comfort them and embolden them (Jn. 14: 18). In chapter 16, Jesus says that weeping is for a little while, that it will only be momentary. Weeping will soon be turned into joy (Jn. 16:20).
My friend, do you now understand why Christians claim to know the truth? It is because of their faith and trust in who Jesus Christ is. In this world of all-inclusivism, deconstructionism, liberalism, ecumenism, moral and mental chaos, the exclusivity of Jesus Christ triumphs. It gives clarity to the mind. It gives peace to the heart. It is the beacon of light that stands alone, ever shining brightly to dispel the darkness of unbelief and to give hope to those who humble themselves and come to Christ.