What or who determines the truth? What is the essence of truth? How do we know what the truth is?
Last post I set forth another element of Truth as found in John chapter eighteen during the dialogue of Jesus Christ and Pontius Pilate. Namely that the very nature of truth is that it is outer-worldly. Meaning that truth is objective, not subjective; it is authoritative, not an opinion; and it is found outside of ourselves, not from within us. Since that is the nature of the truth, then what can we say is the essence of the truth?
I realize I am somewhat playing on words by distinguishing between the nature and the essence of truth. By the nature of truth I mean, what is truth’s origin?
By the essence of truth I mean, what is truth’s core features that make it what it is? Looking back at John eighteen Jesus answers this for us. Towards the end of verse thirty-seven Jesus says He came into this world, “to testify to the truth.” With that answer Jesus tells Pilate what the essence of truth is. Before I state the answer clearly, I need to emphasize a point. We can read just this verse and learn that the essence of the truth is Jesus Christ’s words. Jesus goes on to say in verse thirty-seven, “Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Those who are concerned and care to know the truth of this universe listen to the voice of Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ voice contains all truth. The short answer as to what is the essence of truth is the words of Jesus Christ. However, there is more to this than simply Jesus’ words. John’s Gospel is the most peculiar perhaps when comparing it to the other three: Matthew, Mark, & Luke. John focuses his entire book upon proving that Jesus Christ is God. Jesus was not merely a wise Rabbi with miraculous power; He is God Himself in the flesh.
John chapter one is a concise argument that Jesus is the Word of God that was made flesh. John admits that this was his sole purpose in writing, “these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name” John 20:31. We can learn something more about the essence of truth from John’s Gospel testimony.
So what more can the essence of truth be beyond Jesus’ words? Since John sets forth for us that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, we learn that the essence of truth is not an idea or a concept it is a Person. It is not enough to say that truth is found in Jesus’ words. Rather truth is found in Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus Christ, the Word who became flesh, is the very embodiment of truth itself (John 1:14). Elsewhere Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father [God] but through Me (John 14:6).”
The essence of truth is not a what, but a who? Jesus Christ is the very essence of truth. Pontius Pilate concluded his questioning of Jesus by cynically asking what the truth is. Pilate was blind to the cosmically mind-blowing reality that truth was standing right in front of him. Jesus Christ being Himself the truth means not only is all of His words the truth, but all of His actions are the truth as well.
The entirety of the Bible testifies that Jesus Christ’s words, actions, and entire being are true. Jesus Christ is the truth of the entire universe. When seeking to know the truth of this life we are to look to Jesus Christ. He is the very essence of truth. We must not only study His words, as true as these are, but we must study all of Jesus to know the truth. Every action He took is as much the truth as every word He spoke. Heed Jesus’ words in John 8:32, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” So when seeking the truth, let us not be as the world and look to ourselves or fellow man. Let us also not look to our churches or teachers, rather let us look to the entire Person of Jesus Christ to know the truth.