Jesus is the Truth

[I realize this post is extremely long and will likely only be read by other seminary students looking for some angle for a paper, or maybe by a die-hard who doesn't have a TV or a girl friend.  However, I still wanted to post it here in the off event that the material in this lengthy post might actually help someone or point a reader toward at least one truth about Christ.]


 “Truly, Truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal live.”[1]
Twenty-five times in the book of John, Jesus begins a statement with the words “Truly, truly.”  The author of John is the only gospel contributor to use this combination of words, likely employing the phrase for greater emphasis[2].  What generally follows is a statement from Jesus providing clarification, or—more often than not—a declaration of Jesus’ Truth.  Many of Jesus’ spoken words throughout John are lengthy proclamations or corrections, often addressing misunderstandings of the messiah and his connection to God.  Through this technique, the author of John portrays Jesus not only as the Messiah, but also as the Truth.  John strings these conversations into a larger interconnected narrative that illustrates this theme.  Accordingly, readers of John can learn much through Jesus’ declarations, corrections, and illuminations of the Truth.  After providing a brief summary of the authorship and background of the book of John and then a survey of the many Christological declarations demonstrated together through the pages of the book, this study will examine the interconnectedness of the John’s Gospel by looking at portions of three narratives of Jesus’ declarations in order to seek a greater understanding of Jesus as Truth. 

About the Book: Its Author and Purpose

            In a time when students of the Bible often ignore libraries filled with scholarly work on the author and purpose of the book of John, one might ask why it is necessary to include this information here.  While certainly a reasonable question, it overlooks the historical reliability of the book and neglects what might be learned by understanding the narrative through the perspective of the person who wrote it.  In addition, “If we can feel that there are good grounds for thinking of an eyewitness,” writes Leon Morris, “and specifically of John the Apostle, as being behind [the book of John] our view of what it says will be one thing.  But if we see it as written by a second-century Christian who had never set eyes on Jesus it will be quite another.”[3]  If Morris is correct, than the reader is well served by understanding who the author is and the purpose behind his work.
            Tradition has long held that a man named John is the author of the Gospel that bares his name, although it is important to remember, as Colin G. Kruse asserts, that “the titles that appear in the NT today were added by early editors of the NT cannon.”[4]  This particular John is often thought to be the Apostle John, son of Zebedee, and a Jew who witnessed the ministry of Jesus.  Although not free of dispute, the more common external evidence in favor of the Apostle John as the book’s author includes the writings, verbal transitions of tradition, and testimony of Papias, Polycarp, Clement, Eusebius, and Irenaeus, who, Kruse argues wrote the “clearest affirmation of the writing of the Forth Gospel by the apostle John.”[5]  In his work identified as Against Heresies iii, Irenaeus suggest that John was the man who reclined on Jesus—written in John 13:23—and “published a Gospel.”[6]  Internal evidence, as examined with the use of the Synoptic Gospels, Acts, Revelation, and letters understood to be penned by Paul and John strongly suggests the Apostle John as the book’s author, although nothing in these biblical documents implicitly attributes John as its author.  Therefore, although there is substantial debate regarding the authorship of the book of John, for the sake of brevity, this study will accept the Apostle John, son of Zebedee, as the author of the book and therefore examine it on the “good grounds” that it is written by an eyewitness. 
            John tucks his purpose toward the end of his Gospel, writing, “Now Jesus did may other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”[7]  By his own words, belief in Jesus, it would seem, is John’s objective.  “More than anything else,” writes Kruse, “it is the emphasis of the Fourth Gospel upon the need to believe in Jesus and the stories of people who did so that suggest its primary purpose is evangelistic.”[8]  Francis J. Moloney would likely agree, but also argues that the book of John is not purely evangelistic.  He suggests that the first eighteen verses comprise a tremendous claim of “remarkable truths.”  This is not, as Moloney proposes, a book for those who have never heard of Jesus.  “The Prologue completely unveils the Evangelist’s understanding of who Jesus is and what he does,”[9] states Moloney.  “The reader is left with no doubt concerning the Evangelist’s beliefs about Jesus.  Whether or not he or she accepts them is another matter.”[10]  From verse 19 of the first chapter through the last word of the book , John’s effort is to further persuade those who may not have accepted his opening claims.  D.A. Carson & Douglas J. Moo write, “John’s work is a gospel: all the movement of the plot is toward the cross and the resurrection.  The cross is not merely a revelatory moment: it is the death of the shepherd for his sheep (John 10), the sacrifice of one man for his nation (John 11), the life that is given for the world (John 6), and victory of the Lamb of God (John 1), the triumph of the obedient Son, who in consequence bequeaths his life, his peace, his joy, his Spirit (John 14-16).”[11]  And as will be demonstrated in this paper, John often presents Jesus in dialog with those who, it may be argued, either do not recognize Jesus as the Truth or outright reject this notion.  The implied idea is that the reader may see these narratives as a whole and feel compelled to side with either those who do not believe or with Jesus.

What is Truth: A Survey of Jesus’ Delectations
            From the middle of the second chapter when Jesus cleanses the temple,[12] first claims God as his father,[13] and then makes a bold declaration answering the Jew’s demand for a sign[14] to Jesus redirecting Peter’s concerns about John[15] five verses from the end of the book, John is filled with narratives of Jesus correcting people and making bold statements about himself and his purpose, but never clearly defining what is Truth.  However, John provides twelve key conversations that demonstrate a unified purpose regarding Jesus as the Truth, collectively and individually serving to persuade the reader to make a decision.  By John’s design, each conversation is structured to sway the reader toward a belief in Jesus and a greater understanding of the Truth.  The Truth is a major theme of John’s Gospel and where this study places its focus. 
            Provided below, a brief identification and summary of Jesus’ key conversations should provide an overview of the subject matter and where they fit within the larger theme.  In the section following this one, three passages—selected specifically to demonstrate the collective theme—are examined in detail.
            3:1-21.   A member of the Sanhedrin and a Pharisee, Nicodemus seeks out Jesus by cover of darkness.  He opens with a statement that appears to beg Jesus for more information: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that do unless God is with him.”[16]  What follows is remarkable conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus that outlines how one may become a child of God.  Nicodemus then asks, “How can these things be?”[17]  Unlike the rest of the key conversations, the reader is given no clear indication of Nicodemus’ reaction to Jesus’ statements.  One sees that Nicodemus does not understand, but whether he rejects Jesus’ Truth is difficult to determine.  It is as if John intends to deposit Nicodemus’ question into the mind of the reader so that it might resurface as each conversation builds upon the Truth.  This passage is one of the three that will be examined in detail in a subsequent section of this study.
            4:5-30.   In what might be one of the quickest exchanges of the key conversations, Jesus goes to Samaria where he encounters a woman drawing water at Jacob’s Well.  After Jesus asks her for a drink, she questions how it is that he, a Jew, would ask anything of a Samaritan, let alone a woman.  He turns it around with a conversation about a living water that he can give which leads to eternal life.  Jesus then demonstrates a supernatural knowledge about the woman’s marital status and she decides that he is a prophet.  The woman asks Jesus about the proper location of worship.  To which Jesus corrects her understanding, stating that soon, neither Jerusalem nor the mountain she identified will be the required place of worship.[18]  Jesus adds, “But the hour is coming when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.”[19]  Following one more exchange, Jesus shares with her that he is the Messiah and she believes. 
            5:2-47.  After Jesus heals a long-time invalid on the Sabbath, the Jews find fault with first, the healed man carrying his mat on the Sabbath, and second, Jesus healing that same man on a day that the Law (under their understanding of the law) allows for no work.  Jesus and the Jews enter into a one-sided conversation, whereby Jesus identifies himself as God, or, at least equal with God, stating, “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.”[20]  Andreas J. Kostenberger points biblical students to Old Testament Scripture and other Jewish writings[21] when he says, “The OT and Second Temple literature concur that raising the dead and giving life are the sole prerogatives of God.  Jesus’ contemporaries therefore did not believe that the Messiah would be given authority to raise the dead.”[22]  Jesus again teaches the common thread through the key conversations when he says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”[23]  Following this statement, Jesus lambastes the Jews for their rejection of his Truth, arguing that they do not hear the voice of the Son of God and will not have eternal life.  Interestingly, John identifies that the Jews, at this point, are plotting to kill Jesus before the lengthy diatribe on their disbelief, potentially to plant a preconception in the mind of the reader.
            6:22-71.  Before this selected passage, Jesus feeds five thousand men with five barley loaves and two fish.  The following day, Jesus enters into a discussion with his disciples about Moses, belief, and eternal life, all wrapped up in the symbolism of the bread.  Then Jesus declares himself the “Bread of Life.”[24]  The Jews who heard him speaking question Jesus; which Jesus, again, declares that he is God.  Drawing on imagery of the Israelites eating manna in the wilderness, Jesus says, “If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”[25]  As the conversation continues, many disciples choose to discontinue following Jesus, rejecting his Truth.  However, when Jesus asked the Twelve if they too were going to leave him, “Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”[26]  They believed.  And through this narrative, John places the reader in a tough spot: walk away, or believe as Simon Peter and the Twelve do.
            7:1-51.  Wasting no words, John immediately starts another narrative to pull the reader to a decision point.  This time, John shows the audience from the perspective of those trying to understand the Truth.  Jesus’ brothers challenge Jesus to go to the Feast of Booths, but the passage says, “For not even his brothers believed in him.”[27]  Eventually, Jesus does go to the temple and begins teaching.  Some in the temple were arguing about the nature of Jesus when the Jews asked Jesus where he had studied.  He provides them an answer (which dictates that his teaching are from God and are true) and then turns the tables on them, bringing up the Law of the Sabbath and their desire to kill him.  As Jesus is speaking, some of the people of Jerusalem start asking themselves if Jesus could be the Christ.  They are weighing the facts and considering the signs.  At this point, the Pharisees send for the authorities to arrest Jesus.  A prediction of Jesus own death is given and then Jesus again teaches on the living waters.  John uses the remaining chapter to show the Pharisees debate with one another about Christ Jesus.  Interestingly enough, Nicodemus is mentioned by name and seen arguing the law regarding witness testimony in favor of Jesus, although there is still no mention of what Nicodemus believes about Jesus. Most of the other Pharisees can be easily identified as rejecting Jesus even to the point of wanting him arrested.
            8:12-59.[28] Mirroring chapter 5, verses 2-47, Jesus again converses with the Pharisees about Truth, Light, and the deity of the Messiah.  This is a turning point of the key conversations as John ratchets up the intensity of the rejection from the Pharisees.  Through this narrative, the reader sees some believe and some disbelieve; and by the end of the passage, those rejecting Jesus are picking up stones to throw at Jesus.  Portions of this passage will be discussed in detail later in this paper.  
            9:1-41.  Chapter 9 centers around a blind man.  The disciples ask Jesus about the cause of blind man’s sin.  Jesus point out that the question as to whose sin is responsible for the blindness (the blind man or his parents) is misguided and clarifies their thinking saying, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”[29]  After Jesus heals the man, John follows the blind man now healed to show the reader his perspective.  And as the Pharisees try to figure out what happened to this man, he confesses that it was Jesus who healed him, resulting in the man being barred from the synagogue.  The reader now sees that those rejecting Jesus and the Truth are also rejecting any person who believes.  Significantly, John shows the reader that Jesus seeks out the rejected man, individually and asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”[30]  In what follows, the man says, “Lord, I believe” and the scripture indicates that he worshiped Jesus.[31]  After this, Jesus draws upon parallels about himself and the ability to see.
            Although the next passage, 10:1-21 is addressing the Jews rather than the Pharisees, it seems to follow the previous one.[32]  Now, John shows the reader that a decision about Jesus’ Truth is becoming more necessary.  Using a parable of a sheep pen and a good shepherd, Jesus explains that anyone not entering by the door of the pen is a thief or robber but the person using the door is the shepherd.  “To him the gate keeper opens,” says Jesus, “The sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”[33]  As Jesus continues, he says that the sheep will not recognize a stranger’s voice.  He also identifies himself as the door.[34]  Jesus (again declaring himself as the Messiah) says, “I am the good shepherd.”[35]  As Morris suggests, “It makes an instant appeal to the depths within man, even though man may be a citydweller and have never seen a shepherd in his life.  But the thought of the care for the sheep that is involved in the title is plain enough.”[36]  A prediction of his own death and resurrection follows and ties to this parable; after which, John shows the reader that “There was again division among the Jews because of these words.”[37]  Some, it would seem, felt that there was no reason to listen to Jesus and that maybe he had a demon in him, while others felt the quite the opposite.
            10:22-42.  John has now completely shifted away from the inquisitive fact-finding style readers see in the first conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus.  In this key conversation, Jesus is walking in the colonnade of Solomon when the Jews ask Jesus to tell them whether he is the Christ.  The reader should remember that John the Baptist was also asked this direct question in the first chapter of the book of John and he answered, “I am not the Christ.”[38]  Jesus’ answer to the same question: “I told you, and you do not believe.”[39]  They are not part of his flock, and again, Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”[40]  Then, answering their question whether he is the Christ or not, Jesus plainly states, “I and the Father are one.”[41]  Infuriated, the Jews reject this answer, grab stones, and are ready to stone Jesus for blasphemy right there in the colonnade of Solomon.  Jesus escapes however, and crosses the Jordan where, as John draws sharp contrast, “many believed in him there.”[42]
            11:1-53.  Enough talk, enough debate; John has brought the reader to what might well be the initial point of decision.  This is the pinnacle of conflict, the moment of no return as far as the narrative is concerned.  Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.  John tells this portion of the story through action, with only a few direct words from Jesus.  After Lazarus has died, Jesus tells his disciples, “Lazarus has died, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe.”[43]  After arriving at Lazarus’ home, Jesus tells Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”[44]  Then Jesus adds something significant.  Jesus asks Martha, “Do you believe this?”[45]  According to Donald A. Carson, “...he is not asking if she believes that he is about to raise her brother from the dead, but if her faith can go beyond quiet confidence that her brother will be resurrected at the last day to personal trust in Jesus as the resurrection and the life, the only person who can grant eternal life and promise the transformation of resurrection.”[46]  Carson’s commentary seems correct when one looks at Martha’s answer: “She said to him, ‘Yes Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”[47]  As John’s narrative continues, the reader sees Jesus pray to the Father, saying that he prayed as he did so that the people may believe.[48]  Lazarus is raised, and John completes this key conversation indicating that “Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.”[49]  And the Pharisees, fearing that everyone might believe in Jesus, which could bring about the loss of “both our place and our nation,”[50] plot to kill Jesus.
            Three key conversations remain, but after this passage, the remaining two should only served to help the reader settle into one side of belief of the other.  After Martha’s confession, there is little else for John to present to his reader before entering into the Passion phase of his Gospel.
            12:20-50.  As John, again, attempts to bring the reader back to his opening eighteen-verse premise, this passage serves as something of a threshold.  It begs the question of the reader, Are you a disciple or are you not?  Do you or do you not believe?  As Jesus is speaking to some Greeks and explaining that the hour of his glory has come, a voice from heaven speaks.  The people are amazed and Jesus tells them it came for their sake.  It is here that John shifts away from the narrative toward his own commentary, explaining that the people have seen the signs and still do not believe.  In addition, John quotes Old Testament prophecy to demonstrate even more of their unbelief.  Verses 42-43 show the reader a picture of one who believed but was fearful to confess this belief.  This person says John, “loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”[51]  Likely, this is a foreshadowing the next key conversation with the disciples.  When John resumes the narrative, the reader finds Jesus restating the message, the Truth—essentially, Jesus is the Light of the World and all who believe in him will have ever lasting life.  What more could be said that hasn’t already been said? 
            14:1-16:33.  Chapters 14-16 are drastically different than the previous ten key conversations.  It is here, that John, in direct language, lays out what Jesus teaches to his disciples, to those who believe.  However, this is not simply a handbook for believers or John could have concluded his book without the Passion.  Instead, this is a confirmation for the believer and a teaching tool to prepare the believer for tough times ahead.  And while it may seem at this point that the reader should have already found a position on one side of belief or the other, John demonstrates that this decision is just not that easy.  At the conclusion of this long dialog, John writes, “His disciples said, ‘Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.’”[52]  But Jesus’ response suggests that belief is not as easy as one may think.  There is something more.  Richard C. Lenski writes, “But even as the disciples had said that Jesus knows all things so he now adds the severe trial that already awaits their faith.”[53]  Jerome H. Neyrey takes it a step further stating, “The time notation indicates that they are not finished with their liminal period of learning and discipleship; moreover, the testing of their belief will prove that they do not measure up to the grade.  Despite their claims, they are still in a time of figures, not plain speech.”[54]  This is the reason John’s book records Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  And now, after John’s first eighteen verses of Truth and then eleven key conversions to encourage the reader to a position of belief, John tells his reader that the belief can not be like those who believed without confession for fear of being put out of the synagogue.  John has now brought his readers to the point of decision.
            18:33-38.  The final key conversation is John’s way of forcing the reader to come to some kind of conclusion.  Jesus is standing before Pilate being judged (and himself judging as some argue), as symbolically the reader is judging for oneself.  Pilate asks if Jesus is a king and Jesus discusses his kingdom.  For the second time, John discusses kingdom issues, the first being during Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus.  It is also in this passage that John records Pilate’s timeless question, “What is truth?”.[55]  This, being the other bookend of John’s evangelical argument, is the third selected key conversation that will be examined in depth in the next section.

John’s Evangelical Argument: Jesus is the truth
John records Jesus words, saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”[56]  But what is this truth?  In chapter 17, while praying, Jesus says, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.”[57]  And in John’s opening, he writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth,”[58] and once more, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”[59]  But again, one must ask, what is truth?
The Greek word John uses in the previously mentioned passages is aletheia, meaning “truth, truthfulness, corresponding to reality.”[60]  Guy Duffield and Nathaniel M. Can Cleave suggest that “Because God is truth, His Word is true.  It is the true revelation of His nature, His will and purpose for man, and His plan of salvation.  His promises and covenants are made in truth and are unfailingly dependable.”[61]  Wayne Grudem argues, “God’s truthfulness means that he is the true God, and that all his knowledge and words are both true and the final standard of truth.”[62]  And Titus 1:2 states that God never lies.[63]  But what does John say about Truth?
John’s Gospel, one will find, discusses truth often but never clearly defines the Truth that is Jesus.  The only way to understand this Truth is through the narratives of the previously mentioned twelve key conversations and Jesus responses, declarations, and corrections aimed at misunderstandings.  It is in these narratives that Jesus’ Truth holds meaning and comes to life.  All twelve of these key conversations deserve an in depth study, but for the purpose of this paper, only specific portions of three will be examined: Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus (3:1-21), which serves as the opening discussion; one of Jesus’ arguments with the Pharisees and Jews (8:12-59); and Jesus’ discussion with Pilate, which serves as the close of John’s evangelical argument.
In what might be the most well known declaration of Jesus’ gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus why he came into the world; however, at this early point in the book of John, Jesus does not clearly tell Nicodemus that he is the Son of God.  John on the other hand, has identified Jesus as the Son of God in the opening of his Gospel and the reader should make the connection through Jesus’ monologue on light and darkness.[64]  The light of John 1:9 is “the true light.”  Carson states, “The word for ‘true’ (alethinos), here and often in John, means ‘real,’ or ‘genuine.’”[65]  He points out that John characteristically applies this word to, “light (here), worshippers (4:23), bread from heaven (6:32), the vine (15:1), and even to God himself (7:28); 17:3).  Other persons or institutions may claim to be the light, to be worshippers, to be the vine, to be bread from heaven, even to be ‘god’; John sets out to present the true light, vine, bread and so forth.”[66]  Thus, Johns’ statement, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world”[67] is a reference to the Word, which became flesh, that is, the Son of God, “full of grace and truth.”[68]  The light Jesus discusses with Nicodemus is the same true light John opens with in the beginning of his book.  Therefore, the connection to the true light connects the previous declaration in verses 3:16-21 to the Truth and the Light.  Jesus, therefore makes his first and most significant declaration of Truth, and it is this truth-statement that is echoed through the rest of the conversations: “...that whoever believes in him should not parish but have eternal life.”[69]
In the second selected section of dialog, one finds Jesus arguing with the Jews and the Pharisees.  Craig S. Keener suggests that how chapter eight looks today is probably not how John wrote it.  “In the likelihood that 8:1-11 is not part of the context,” writes Keener, “8:12—10:21 still takes place on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (7:2, 37).”[70]  If this is indeed the case, when Jesus says, “I am the light of the world”[71] he could have been drawing on the imagery of the lighting of the lamp stands during the celebration; but looking at the larger reading, one sees the use of true light employed by Jesus and the author John on more than just this occasion.  Alan Culpepper and Gail O’Day argue that there is more imagery than the lamp stand alone.  “The use of light symbolism in the Fourth Gospel provides the final context within which to place Jesus’ words in 8:12a,” writes Culpepper and Day, “In 1:4-10, light is the central image for the presence of the Word in the world.  ‘Light’ (phos) and ‘life’ (zoe) are identified in 1:4 as two ways in which the Word expresses itself in the world.”[72]
Another passage worth noting (although there are many verses in this key conversation that show an interconnectedness, space limitations restrict this study to only a few examples) is verses 31-32.  Here Jesus says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”[73]  Those who hear him say this think he is talking about actual slavery, not realizing that Jesus is talking about slavery to sin and the condemnation that comes from sin.  As Morris put it, “The truth of which John writes is the truth that is bound up with the Person and the work of Jesus.  It is saving truth.  It is the truth which saves men from the darkness of sin....”[74]
            As one looks to the final key conversation, that is Jesus’ discussion with Pilate, two declarations by Jesus draw from the previous conversations throughout the book of John.  These two statements seem to complete John’s evangelistic effort.  The first is Jesus’ kingship and the Kingdom of God.  Kostenberger points out that, “Apart from 3:3 and 3:5, this is the only instance of ‘kingdom’ terminology in this Gospel, which stands in stark contrast with the Synoptics, where the phrase ‘kingdom of God’ is exceedingly common.  In both cases in the present Gospel, the use of the term seems to be constrained by the specific encounters of Jesus with Nicodemus and with Pilate....”[75] Looking back to Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, one sees that both times Jesus is telling Nicodemus how to obtain entry into the Kingdom of God.  In the latter conversation, Jesus tells Pilate that this kingdom is in fact his kingdom, one that is “not from the world.”[76]  And based on Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, it would seem that one must be “born again” to enter this kingdom.  To be “born again” this conversation suggests that one must believe in the Son of God, that is, the King of the Kingdom.
            The second statement of Jesus’ of which to give special attention should be familiar to the reader, only now it is very clearly spoken.  Pilate hears Jesus talking about a kingdom and inquires, “So you are a king?”  Here it would seem, that Pilate doesn’t fully understand Jesus purpose.  “Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king.  For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”[77]  To the reader that hears, or is starting to hear Jesus’ voice, this should sound extremely familiar.  This reader should see the Truth.  But Pilate simply (or maybe even flippantly) asks, “What is truth?”[78]

            This study has attempted to demonstrate how John portrays Jesus as the Truth through several key passages of his book.  John 1:1-18 is a gospel of Truth; it is the gospel of Jesus.  Everything that follows is John’s evangelistic effort to share that Truth.  Additionally, through Jesus’ recorded declarations and corrections, one can come to find a better understanding of what that Truth is.  Certainly, more than three passages can be examined in detail to further demonstrate how the interconnectedness of John’s Gospel tells the larger narrative of Jesus’ Truth, and it is this author’s desire that these studies are indeed conducted. 
Carson, Donald A. The Gospel According to John. Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991.
Carson, D. A. and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids,
Michigan: Zondervan, 2005
Culpepper, R. Alan, and Gail R. O'Day. The Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of John. The new
interpreter’s Bible. Volume IX. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon, 1995.
Duffield, Guy P., and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave. Foundations of Pentecostal Theology. Los
Angles, California: Foursquare Media, 2008.
Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Leicester,
England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994.
Keener, Craig S. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, Ill:
InterVarsity Press, 1993.
Kostenberger, Andreas J. John.  Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament. Grand
Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004.
Kruse, Colin G. The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale New
Testament Commentaries. Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 2003.
Lea, Thomas D., and David Alan Black. The New Testament: Its Background and Message.
Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003.
Lenski, Richard C. The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg
Publishing House, 1961.
Moloney, Francis J. The Gospel of John. Boston, Massachusetts: Brill Academic Publishers,
Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans,
Neyrey, Jerome H. The Gospel of John. New Cambridge Bible commentary. New York:
Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Strong, James, John R. Kohlenberger, and James A. Swanson. The Strongest Strong's Exhaustive
Concordance of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2001.  

[1] Jn 6:47. All biblical references, unless otherwise indicated, will be taken from the English Standard Version.
[2] James Strong, John R. Kohlenberger, and James A. Swanson, The Strongest Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2001), 1590.  In the Greek, the word is amen (amen) #281, meaning “the truth, a formula of solemn expression of certainty.” 
[3] Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1971), 8.
[4] Colin G. Kruse, The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Leicester: Inter-Varsity, 2003), 27.
[5] Ibid., 25.
[6] Ibid.
[7] Jn 20:30-31.
[8] Kruse, 21.
[9] Francis J. Moloney, The Gospel of John (Boston, Massachusetts: Brill Academic Publishers, 2005), 6.
[10] Ibid.
[11] D. A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2005), 277.
[12] Jn 2:13-16
[13] Jn 2:16.
[14] Jn 2:18-20.
[15] Jn 21:21-22.
[16] Jn 3:2.
[17] Jn 3:9.
[18] Jn 4:21.
[19] Jn 4:23, emphasis added.
[20] Jn 5:21.
[21] Dt 32:39, 1 Sm 2:6, 2 Kgs 5:7, Tb 13:2, Ws 16:13
[22] Andreas J. Kostenberger, John, Baker exegetical commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 187.
[23] Jn 5:25.
[24] Jn 6:35.
[25] Jn 6:51.
[26] Jn 6:68-69.
[27] Jn 7:5.
[28] Because much debate is centered on Jn 8:1-11, there is the possibility that this conversation and the previous one are actually one single conversation interrupted by a passage that might not belong where it is.  However, for the sake of this paper, this author will treat this section as a separate conversation.
[29] Jn 9:3.
[30] Jn 9:35.
[31] Jn 9:38.
[32] Morris indicates that the opening of “Verily, verily” suggests that this is not the opening to a new discourse, but a continuation of the previous one.  Morris, p. 501.  Certainly the Jews questioning Jesus’ ability to heal a blind mind (Jn 10:21), ties chapter 10 to chapter 9.
[33] Jn 10:3-4.
[34] Jn 10:7.
[35] Jn 10:11
[36] Morris, 509.
[37] Jn 10:19.
[38] Jn 1:20.
[39] Jn 10:25.
[40] Jn 10:27.
[41] Jn 10:30.
[42] Jn 10:42.
[43] Jn 11:14-15
[44] Jn 11:25-26.
[45] Jn 11:26.
[46] Donald A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), 414.
[47] Jn 11:27, note the connection between this narrative and the John’s opening through the use of “coming into the world” here and in Jn 1:9.
[48] Jn 11:42.
[49] Jn 11:45-46.
[50] Jn 11:48.
[51] Jn 12:42-43.
[52] Jn 16:29-30.
[53] Richard C. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1961), 1110.
[54] Jerome H. Neyrey, The Gospel of John, New Cambridge Bible commentary (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 275.
[55] Jn 18:28
[56] Jn 14:6.
[57]  Jn 14:17.
[58] Jn1:14.
[59] Jn 1:17.
[60] Strong, 1589.
[61] Guy P. Duffield and Nathaniel M. Van Cleave, Foundations of Pentecostal Theology (Los Angles, California: Foursquare Media, 2008), 81.
[62] Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 195.
[63] Ti 1:2.
[64] Jn 3:19-21.
[65] Donald A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), 122.
[66] Ibid.
[67] Jn 1:9.
[68] Jn 1:14.
[69] Jn 1:16b.
[70] Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 285.
[71] John 8:12.
[72] Alan R. Culpepper and Gail R. O'Day, (The Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of John. The new interpreter’s Bible. Volume IX. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon, 1995), 632.
[73] Jn 8:31-32.
[74] Morris, 457.
[75] Kostenberger, 528.
[76] Jn 18:36.
[77] Jn 18:37.
[78] Jn 18:38.

*This post was, in its entirety or in part, originally written in seminary in partial fulfillment of a M.Div. It may have been redacted or modified for this website.