Our Plumb Line

If my sermon yesterday left you wondering how can someone be truth, ask John or go straight to the source and ask Jesus. Jesus is the one who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). 

We might be better equipped to think of Jesus as way and life. Way gives us the sense of a path, as in Jesus is the model for living, and conduit, as in Jesus is the means by which we approach the Father. Life is unsustainable without air, water, and blood. Jesus breathes into us (John 20:22), washed us in baptismal waters, and sustains our lives through his blood. But how does this “truth” metaphor work?

In keeping with yesterday’s sermon theme of words meaning different things on different planes, I think “Jesus as truth” works on one level by Jesus being a type of plumb line. He establishes the exact vertical line and using him as a reference point, helps us see how close (and far) we are from where we should be. In that sense, Jesus represents the truth of our goal and we’re constantly reminded that we are not lined up rightly. This truth is a good means to keep us humble and motivated (if not demoralized). The truth that sets us free is that we haven’t perfected our lives of faith; there’s still work to be done.

There’s another truth Jesus represents that also sets us free – And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth…From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace (John 1:14, 16).

While seeking to live after the manner of Jesus is important and right and worthy of our effort, we need not give up hope despite continually coming up short. Jesus, the truth, isn’t looking at us with a scorecard to see how much better he was/is than us. He’s looking at us as one who is full of grace and truth, as one who showers us with grace upon grace. This gracious truth Jesus frees us to follow that truth Jesus, the one who loved God and neighbor perfectly and inspires us to try.

He is the truth – a gracious, loving example of how to love graciously.