Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
Often in the New Testament do we find our Lord Jesus associated with truth. Those who saw him as he wan beheld him "full of grace and truth." His promise to the disciples who studied him was that they should know the truth, and by the truth should be made free. When the crisis of his ministry and the hour of his sacrifice arrived, he summed up the whole purpose of his mission in the declaration that he came into the world in order to "bear witness unto the truth." Hence in the Apocalypse he is named as "the faithful and true Witness."
I. WHAT IS THE TRUTH TO BE FOUND IN CHRIST? All truth is beautiful, worthy of reverence and of quest; but there are grades of truth. There is a common notion that upon matters of little moment truth is attainable; but that, the higher we go in our inquiries, the more is it imperative to be content with doubt and uncertainty; whilst upon the most wonderful and sacred of all themes truth is absolutely beyond our reach. This accounts for much of men's absorption in trifles. How many are content with the knowledge of individual facts and unimportant generalizations, just because the skeptical spirit of the time indisposes them to believe in the possibility of grasping the truth upon the greatest subjects of all! Yet it is a persuasion as unreasonable as it is dreary, that man is not made to know the truth. Pilate asked, perhaps with a cynical and wearied indifference, "What is truth?" But multitudes are like him in the conviction, the prejudice, that to this query there is no reply. Positivism tells us that phenomena and their invariable connections may be known, but that it is a waste of human time and power to seek for what really is, for what accounts for all that appears. Yet there are times when the most hopeless skeptic longs for truth. And especially are we constrained to desire truth regarding our own nature, truth regarding the character and purposes of God, truth regarding the Divine purpose in our being and our life, truth relating to eternity. The small syllogisms by which men attempt to prove that truth, on all matters upon which we really care for truth, is beyond our reach, impose upon none of us. And Christianity is the highest reason, because it offers that which our limited and unaided experience cannot acquire - the truth, which may take to one mind the form of spiritual beauty, to another the shape of a law of infinite righteousness, but which is what alone can satisfy the craving nature of man.
II. HOW DOES CHRIST REVEAL THE TRUTH? The most obvious answer to this inquiry is, that our Lord's recorded words are the embodiment of religious truth both speculative and practical. And he distinctly and boldly claimed to tell his auditors "the truth." Certain it is that upon all matters of highest interest we are indebted more to Jesus than to all others. The intuitions of genius, the conclusions of meditation and of learning, cannot be compared with those Divine utterances of the Prophet of Nazareth, which, though in form and in language so simple, have been recognized by the thoughtful as consummate wisdom - as, in fact, revelation, and nothing less than revelation. Sit at the feet of the great Teacher, and you will learn more truth from his lips than can be acquired from studying the treatises of thinkers and the aphorisms of sages. Yet it is observable that Jesus does not say, "I teach the truth;" he says," I am the Truth." This may be paradoxical, but it is just. The truth upon the highest of all themes cannot be put into words. Human language is not always adequate to express human ideas, human emotions; how can it be expected to utter the thoughts and the principles which are Divine? There are subjects to which the close precision of words may seem adapted; they are capable of verbal vesture. But how much there is which no words can tell-even those words which, as their Speaker said, are "spirit and life!"
"Truth in closest words shall fail,
When truth, embodied in a tale,
Shall enter in at lowly doors." There was but one way in which man could learn God, and that was by God becoming man. "The Word became flesh." We learn Divine truth in the ministry, the life, of God's Son. The truth as to God's character we read in the deeds of Immanuel, so gentle, yet so grand and God-like. The truth as to God's purposes of love we learn from Christ's sacrifice, from Christ's cross. The truth concerning our salvation we know when we witness Christ's victory over sin and death. It is the complete picture which portrays the complete original; he who would acquaint himself with the whole truth of God, as far as God is related to man, must take into his mind the perfect and glorious representation offered in the gospel. There is no other way in which the truth can be grasped and held by the finite, created nature. Know him who is the Truth; and then, then only, do you know the truth itself.
III. BY WHAT MEANS IS THE TRUTH TO BE GAINED? If what has been said be accepted as a just expression of the fact, and a just interpretation of the text, then we are on the way to a solution of the practical difficulty. There is no place for skepticism for that superficial and often unreflecting denial of the possibility of attaining truth, which leads some men to despair, but more to indolence of mind or to sensuality of life. And yet truth is not to be found by a mere passive submission to human authority; nor by a process of scientific inquiry applied to matters with which that process has no affinity. But it is to be found by those morally prepared for the discovery by humility and reverence; it is to be found by those who come to Christ, to listen to him, to watch him, to win him by the wide receptiveness of faith, and by the luminous sympathy of love. - T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
WEB: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.