To This End Have I Been Born
“To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.”
Jesus’ purpose for coming into the world was as much misunderstood in the first century as it is today. While celebrations abound, they reflect a zeal for God, yet void of the knowledge of his righteousness (Romans 10.2-3). Ignorance of God’s will is not new. Both Isaiah and Hosea attributed it to God’s people in their day (Isaiah 5.13; Hosea 4.6). Many can quote scripture from memory, yet their understanding of those passages in the context of God’s eternal purpose is still a mystery to them (Ephesians 3.3-6).
In the first century, it was believed that Jesus would set up an earthly kingdom of the nature of David and Solomon (Luke 17.20; 19.11; Acts 1.6). This, in turn, was due to a misunderstanding of the prophecies of God about “restoring all things” (Acts 3.21).
Jesus plainly stated his reason for coming: to “bear witness to truth.” Yes, this involved redeeming man from his sins, for everyone had sinned (Romans 3.23). Jesus came to take away sin, yet he was equally plain in teaching that man was in sin through disobeying God’s words. We must repent of this disobedience, and Jesus taught that plainly (John 15.22-25).
Jesus also said to Pilate, “Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice” (John 18.37b). What did Jesus mean by these words? Jesus was speaking of obedience. Notice:
“He who is of God hears the words of God.”
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
“They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth into order to be saved.”
2 Thessalonians 2.10
“He who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
1 John 4.6
Was it hard for Pilate to see the truth about Jesus? For people today, the same question is in order: Why is it hard to see the truth? Jesus taught why there is difficulty in seeing truth in his parables. In Matthew 6.19-21, he said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Truth is hard to see when one’s real desire lies elsewhere. For some, truth is not their treasure; there are other things in their lives that are worth more to them. Truth will reveal where a person’s heart is. The truth about your heart’s treasure is declared when you disobey God’s word. Truth will exact a high price of you. Jesus said plainly in Luke 14.26-27, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
Truth is the most important discovery you will make in your life. For the Christian, every relationship and all future relationships will be defined by the path of truth. Consider these four things:
- Your associates will be determined by truth (Psalm 1.1-4).
- Those with whom you have fellowship on a religious basis will be determined by truth (Ephesians 5.8-13).
- Your relationship with God will be determined by truth (1 Peter 3.10-12).
- Your eternity will be determined by truth (1 John 4.1-6).
Consider a quote from H. L. Mencken: “For the truth-teller and truth-seeker, indeed, the whole world has very little liking. He is always unpopular, and not infrequently his unpopularity is so excessive that it endangers his life. Run your eye back over the list of martyrs; non-tenths of them stood accused of nothing worse than honest efforts to find out and announce the truth.”
What has the truth cost you? Anyone who begins the course of pursuing undenominational Christianity will quickly discover that most religious people have no interest in such a stand. When others see that you are willing to sincerely question long-held religious practices, you will become a perceived threat to them. Those who cannot defend their practices based on truth will often justify themselves by a slanderous attack on you personally.
When you make a firm commitment to seek and stand upon the truth, then you will find those difficult occasions where you must choose between relationships with men and the truth of God. You must decide to live by principle and righteousness (Joshua 24.15). If you live by what is right, God will be with you (1 Peter 3.10-12). While many people observe Christ’s birthday, few observe his precepts, for it is easier to keep holidays than commandments. Jesus was plain as to which observation defines discipleship (John 14.15).