As a teacher, Jesus made the most extraordinary claims.
- He claimed that his words held more authority than any other teacher,
- that they alone were capable of revealing truth,
- that acceptance of his words could actually give life, and
- that his teachings took precedence over God’s etched commands given to Moses.
No other teacher spoke with such authority. No other sane person came even close to making such shocking claims. His words contained greater power than anything mankind had ever heard before.
In the time and space of Roman controlled Palestine some 2000 years ago, Jesus informed his followers, the vast majority of whom attempted to follow the Old Covenant Law, that only through adherence to what he taught would they be able to know truth.
“To the Jews who had believed, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn 8:31-32).
Our family Wineskins study noted that those Jews historically held to the teachings of God through Moses and so this ultimatum required that they shift their focus. The admonishment to fix our eyes upon Jesus is not just a poetic phrase about belief, it is a divine shift of focus, elevating Jesus to center stage.
This unique teacher and Lord demands that we uphold him as our method of interpretation. He is the cryptograph of life, the decoding cipher for understanding truth. He becomes our Cross-tinted glasses. He becomes the corrective vision to our damaged views.
Wearing glasses backwards results in distorted views of reality. Describing details viewed through a scope while the cold mountain winds water the eyes is sure to be filled with inaccuracies. Painting the face of the veiled wedding bride requires more imagination than fact. Reporting on the Orient from the isolation of the Arctic is sure to garner ridicule. It is a simple fact, that if the eye is darkened from reality, all conclusions will be full of darkness.
Without Jesus, truth is truly relative. In truth, Truth can only be understood by viewing the various aspects of life through the light-shifting words of Jesus. By definition, this is because he is truth itself.
As we reviewed in the past, the Sermon on the Mount reveals this amazing power even over the former words of God recorded in the Old Testament. Those who choose to reconsider Scripture in light of how Jesus’ words shift former meanings will be granted clarity of truth. Those who prefer to retain their traditional understandings aside from the incarnational alterations will remain blind to the truth, as if some obscure veil dulls their focus.
“But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away” (2 Cor 3:14).
Why is such a shift necessary? Why didn’t God just present his word as intended for all time? Why can’t the Jews just add Jesus as a continuation to their system of belief in God? Why are the words of Jesus so shattering?
“. . . so that in everything he might have the supremacy” (Col 1:18).
For this reason, it is imperative as Christians that we discover exactly what Jesus meant by requiring that we uphold his teachings in every detail of our life and our worship.
How does “my teaching” impact your pursuit of truth?