“I am the Truth”

February 12, 2009

When I’ve heard this passage quoted, most of the time people emphasize the word ‘the’. They point out the exclusive claim of Christ as being the only way to God. And rightly so, for the rest of the verse says “I am the Truth, the way and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

But what is truth? As Christians, the search for truth entails knowing more about Christ; we have come to a conclusion (for we have found that one Truth), yet keep on going (for we dare to know Him more and more). Contrast this to Pilate, the earliest of agnostics, who asks the same question and yet resigns himself into not knowing the answer. Our knowledge of Christ is doubly satisfying, for his only conclusion is to keep asking that question, and his only motivation is fear of the unknown. His only absolute is a relative. Our absolute is the Absolute being.

And knowing this Truth is all-satisfying, all-consuming. It is not self-acceptance, but real forgiveness. This Truth also gives hope for the future. It says we are different beings entirely. Yes, my heart rejoices to think how Christ saves sinners. But what is He saving them for? And what does that look like?

There is a wrong way and the right way to present this truth. The right way is in the bible, particularly Romans. The wrong way is found in the people who were described in the bible, the pharisees and teachers of the law. They who often went around emphasizing the word ‘the’, having pride in themselves of being of THE chosen people. But if we truly know what this Truth is, if we truly come to know Christ, we would concern ourselves far more about ‘truth’, ‘way’ and ‘life’. Yes, of course Christ claims exclusivity. That’s a given, for He is the bridegroom. But as we see when we fall in love, we almost lose ourselves in the beloved. Exclusivity doesn’t even enter our minds for there can be no other lovers. Polytheism as an idea does not even exist. We are fully entrenched with the lover, and so it is with Truth.

The right view of this truth not only liberates our soul, but heals our eyes as well. We can finally see the trees lifting their arms in adoration. We can finally see the stars shining in their praises. We can finally see that Buddha or any other ethical teachers, though ultimately falling short, had some ideas that were aligned with truth, that should be claimed and rejoiced with. We see truth in the sciences, in beauty of art, in the whole of created order. Christianity heals the person within, and gives them the eyes to see everything with-out. It is all-encompassing, wholly-satisfying.

The consequence of presenting this truth the wrong way are many. Guilt, for no one can live to the lofty standards of the law. Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress is unable to set even a foot on Mount Sinai. Pride, on the part of those who present it the wrong way, being blinded to our own sins. And ultimately, despondent souls. They will try, fail, try, and fail. Then they will give up, and not even try at all.

We complain that they lack passion, yet there’s nothing they can be passionate about. We complain that they are not reverent in worship, yet they haven’t met the one whom they are to revere. The truth was not present fully before; for only the first half was ever presented. Now, it’s present even less; for only the second half is presented constantly, and one cannot proceed to the second half without the first half. And it is not even that merely “okay, we know this, let’s move on.” Such attitude only shows the fact that the truth isn’t real in our life. Instead, our teachings should be “This is what Christ has done for you, and this is who you are! Act like yourself!”


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