Meditations in 1 John : 66 : He who is True
1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true–even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Every now and then in Scripture gems stand out, verses or phrases or words that leap out with great significance. Our verse above is one such hidden gem, tucked away at the end of this letter where it is probably missed by most. All around the world, world religions strive to make sense of their understanding of the unseen world. Through the centuries of human history, communities have wondered about and then worshipped ‘gods’, the conclusions of their superstitious wonderings. Were there ‘powers’, personal powers that influenced the world? Today we struggle to understand the powers of El Nina or El Nino in the Pacific Ocean but still don’t understand the causes. One God, many gods, an impersonal force, or no God or gods? What is true? What is real? Who or what is there, or is there nobody? Such have been the questions throughout human history.
And then Jesus Christ came into the environment of Israel in history, an environment that already had history with Jehovah, the One Creator God, a God to be worshipped through the means of sacrifices, a God at a distance, a God who knew everything and was all powerful and everywhere. In a whole variety of ways – words and works – Jesus declared himself to be the Son of God, THE unique, one and only Son of God. We look at his words, we look at his works and we look at his life, death and resurrection and we marvel and wonder, and those who have not got such strong personal prejudices as to be blinded, see and realise that this is true. This one person was who he said he was.
John’s starting point here is, “We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding.” We have knowledge – that which we just spoke about above – and that knowledge brings us understanding; yes this the Son of God, yes this is a true reflection of God, God showing Himself to us in ways that we can understand and cope with. This is like me taking a part of me and turning it into an ant to communicate with ants. That, of course, is impossible, but God is God and can do all things, and so He’s come in human form, the form of a man, and lived and spoken and acted into our world to show us the sort of being that He is. To our total surprise He is completely for us: “News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them.” (Mt 4:24) He didn’t write them off, he didn’t reject them, he didn’t chastise them for living such godless lives that they got sick and demon possessed – he healed them!
Now within this gem of a verse comes a gem in its own right: “so that we may know him who is true.” Remember what we pondered on earlier, about mankind’s seeking for what or who is true? Jesus is true, Jesus is real. Most of us put on a face, we pretend to be something but Jesus was exactly who you see in the Scriptures, the unique, loving Son of God. Do you remember Jesus’ description of Nathaniel: “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” (Jn 1:47) Likewise there was nothing false in Jesus. He was not pretending to be someone or something that he wasn’t. When we look at Jesus in the Gospels we see the unique Son of God, exactly as he is.
And then John makes it even more clear: “And we are in him who is true–even in his Son Jesus Christ.” So when he said before, “we may know him who is true,” we might have been confused about the ‘him’ because, we might have reasoned, surely there is only one who is absolutely true – God. I’m speaking about Jesus, John says to remove any doubt and then comes his climax, the climax of this letter, the climax of the whole Bible even: “He is the true God and eternal life.”
Wow! Absolutely no doubts there. He, Jesus, is the true God. Take it in word by word:
- THE true God, i.e. the one and only One.
- The TRUE God. You need have no doubts about Him; there is nothing false or pretend in Him.
- The true GOD. THIS IS God, the one and only Creator God, the all-knowing, all-powerful One, who is loving, compassionate, forgiving, the One who is for us.
This is who Jesus is! He’s not merely a carpenter of Nazareth. He’s not merely a good teacher. He’s not merely a miracle worker. He is the Son of God, He is God! That is the climax of the Biblical revelation! He is God and He has come to us to redeem us from our sins. Hallelujah!