ATP Blog #52
How do you know when someone is telling the truth? We need evidence. As Christians, we know (or should know) that there is an absolute truth that comes from God. Truth is not relative, nor is it subjective. We come to today’s passage, and wonder, ‘Haven’t we had this conversation before?’ The answer is YES! Back at the end of chapter five Jesus discussed the witnesses regarding His identity and mission with the inquiring people, mostly religious leaders. For various reasons, they completely reject these two aspects of Jesus, not recognizing the Messiah that they were hoping and longing for. This was no conquering hero who would rescue them from the Romans! So, when Jesus forgives the adulteress (apparently some Pharisees stayed around, close enough to hear what He had to say), then called Himself ‘Light of the World,’ they were not impressed.
Problem The major issue in the Pharisees’ eyes was that Jesus was mainly bearing witness of Himself, which to them was not reliable. They basically called Jesus a liar, saying, ‘Your witness is not true.’ They seem to have forgotten that there were four witnesses, but Jesus patiently answers them.
Knowledge One reason that Jesus’ testimony can be relied upon is that He knows. ‘I know where I came from, and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from, and where I am going.’ Knowledge is having all the facts, and seeing the bigger picture. We can trust Jesus Christ because He does have this knowledge!
Judgment Another reason for the accuracy of Jesus’ self-witness is His judgment. He tells the religious leaders, ‘You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.’ Now I am sure most of you are thinking, ‘But wait! Jesus is supposed to judge the whole world. Why does He say that He judges no one?’ The key is the kind of judgement we are talking about here. The word for judgment, ‘Krino’, is a broad term meaning to discern. Using context, we see that the Pharisees had been not just discerning the truth about sin in others, but condemning them without full knowledge of the situation or heart. Jesus does not condemn, but rather allows people to condemn themselves. ‘Yet, if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.’ In other words, Jesus is careful regarding judgment, and when He does judge, it is according to the standards set by God Almighty, the Father in Heaven.
Two The law God gave to Moses for the people of Israel stated that the testimony of two people agreeing was to be considered truth (Deuteronomy 17:6). The two witnesses that agreed were Jesus Christ, and God the Father. There are no more reliable witnesses to the truth!
Truth be Told We are called to follow Christ’s example, which in this case is bearing witness to the truth as given by God the Father. We can do this by growing in knowledge of God through His Word (the Bible), learning to only judge by God’s standards, never condemning others (like Jesus with the adulterous woman), and by collaborating with others who agree. Let us bear witness to the world of God’s Truth!