It should not surprise us, that at this time in history when God has all but been forgotten, secular media has dubbed our era ‘post-truth’.
Rather oddly in the West, truth is no longer defined or determined by an absolute (i.e. God), but rather by popular consensus, with a disregard of the facts. Now, anyone can publish their version of ‘truth’ online and reach vast audiences who use the author’s partiality to justify and reinforce their own personal stance and life choices.
Those who oppose an absolute moral position (i.e. God) in favour of relative truth (i.e. their own beliefs) are the first to judge other viewpoints. Thus, they are hypocritically enforcing their ‘higher’ truth on other relative positions. We see this in Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:13-39.
We truly live in a faithless and perverse generation (Matthew 17:17) where experts are undermined and data is irresponsibly interpreted so that truth can now be manipulated to adhere to the agenda of the influencer. Morality and law are no longer principles set higher than any individual, but they have now been relegated to the scrutiny and subjection of personal choice. In the United Kingdom, truth has become relative, and chaos looms.
Who speaks the truth?
Two thousand years ago, Jerusalem faced the same issue. It was occupied by the pluralist Roman Empire, led by a materialist Temple Priesthood and politicised by the Pharisees and Sadducees. Each group was competing for their version of truth, and just like today, the outcome of this relativism created an unfair, unjust and deeply polarised society.
God heard the cry of his people, and in his son, Jesus Christ, he entered into this murky world of darkness, deceit, corruption and decay, with a foray of light, love and life. Throughout his ministry, many came to him to seek his approval on their version of the truth.
The Pharisees challenged Jesus on taxation (Mark 12:13-17), the Sabbath (Matthew 12:1-14), divorce, (Matthew 19:1-12), fasting (Luke 5:33-38) and class (Luke 5:32). The Sadducees asked Jesus about marriage (Mark 12:18-27), and the teachers asked for Jesus’ opinion on life priorities (Mark 12:28-34). The priests challenged Jesus on authority (Matthew 21:23-27), and the Romans asked him about power (John 18:37). All to see who really holds the truth!
Who is the truth?
What is interesting is that Jesus never answers their questions as they intended. When presented with the options of right and wrong, Jesus always answered with himself. Jesus always points those seeking truth to God (John 10:30).
Jesus knew that, in our fallen and broken state, humanity could never own the truth independently of God. Because we have rejected the absolute truth, when faced with a choice of right and wrong, we can only choose between the lesser of two evils. Jesus’ challenge to those who pursue truth, is to liberate themselves from their imperfect, fallen and preconceived notions of truth (John 8:32) and simply follow him (John 14:6). For Jesus is the absolute truth.
Jesus is the absolute truth
How do we know that Jesus is the absolute truth? We know because Christ is the embodiment of God’s word and deed (John 1:1). Jesus came into the world to testify to God’s truth (John 18:37), and on the cross, Jesus took all of God’s promises throughout human history and actioned them in the most profound and sincere way by his death. The person of Christ is the absolute bedrock of truth. Truth is when word and deed meet. Jesus said, ‘Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father’ (John 10:36-38).
Every word Jesus spoke was met in deed. Jesus did not simply tell us to help the poor and sick; he, himself, did it (Matt. 4:23). Jesus did not simply tell us to love one another; he, himself, did it (John 13:5). Jesus did not simply tell us to love our enemies; he, himself, did it, pleading with his Father in Heaven for their forgiveness as they brutally hammered nails through his ankle bones into hard splintered wood (Luke 23:34). Even at a point of most intense pain and hardship, Jesus’ every deed met his word. Jesus said he would rise again (Mark 9:31) and he, himself, did it (Luke 24:6). So when Jesus says that he loves you and is preparing a place for you, trust me, he means it!
The secular world would rather exchange the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25) to justify their own life choices, only loving those they want to love and helping those they want to help. Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:31-32). Jesus is the very embodiment of truth. He is truth incarnate, and this is why his message of love, peace and unity still offends so many people today.
Jesus said ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6). This is truth. Jesus Christ is truth.