The clue is in the preposition “in”. The truth of God was in Jesus – resident in him from eternity and absorbed into his humanity. It constituted his fellowship with the Father, a oneness in mind. The Lord Jesus held all the truth of God in his heart. He was the vessel of truth. He contained it, revealed it, and explained it. He derived it from his Father’s heart. “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me” (V16). Jesus was the Truth that sprang from the Father’s bosom, the root of good tidings from heaven. “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1: 18). Cassirer brings out the true meaning of the text best of all. “No one has ever seen God. It is his only Son, who rests on the breast of his Father, who has made him known”. Jesus says it over and over again in various ways: I and the Father are one. I am in him and he is in me. Jesus knows the heart of the Father. He is in full accord with the Father. Therefore he can declare “such learning” as he has gained from the Father. Hence he is the “Word” – the Father’s self-expression, self-disclosure, to the world. His teaching is not human opinion or the wisdom of an eminent man. His teaching is the Word and Wisdom of God. His speech and action, gestures and facial expressions, conveyed the mind and mien of God at any given moment. His character and behaviour were unfailingly in harmony with the One who sent him. He was our way of hearing and seeing the Lord. Our point of contact.
Jesus’ utterances were given and prompted by the Father and communicated infallibly to us because he was “thrust” from the bosom of God – sent from the divine heart to disclose its unsearchable secrets otherwise unavailable to men. Jesus’ sayings are divine (John 3:31-36). Jesus shows the Father (John 14: 9-11). Jesus’ status is divine. He is the ultimate and only authority in the true knowledge of God. That is why he was independent of the rabbinical schools and their endless quotations from the writings of previous scholars. That is why he countered their frequent mis-readings of Scripture. He was supremely original and convincing compared to official teachers of Israel because the Old Testament was his Book. It was about him in its prophecies and by him through his Spirit. The Old Testament is Jesus’ home-ground. He knows it exhaustively. He is its content. Its composition is his. It comes from his heart, speaks his heart, and he taught it with all his heart – not as dusty, discarded documents, but as the declaration of God’s gracious rescue plan for fallen men. The truth was in him and issues from him. Howbeit, he did study.
Jesus pored over Scripture and it inundated his soul, filling him with a perfect familiarity with the intent of the Father, and informing him of the purpose for which he came. He could deduce every step of the assignment entrusted to him from the former Testament. He was its dedicated scholar, not from an abstract perspective, but in intimate connection. It was his brief and biography, his “vade-mecum” and preparation for life, death, suffering, and glory. In Scripture he read his identity in confirmation of his inner consciousness. Armed with his “double focus”, human and divine, Scripture was his constant reference. He authored and echoed its speech articulated in the prophets and psalms, he presented its message in a beguiling and poignant way. Jesus knew the Scriptures by heart. They filled his mind and facilitated his conversation, preaching, and teaching. He was the Living Word. His vast and infinite knowledge of the truth came from human study and the divine Spirit.
All this is to say that Jesus is our Teacher par excellence. There is none better nor anyone comparable. Jesus was deemed uneducated by the proud scholars of Israel. He is the great Educator of men in the ways and knowledge of God that lead to true life here and through eternity. His disciples were deemed uneducated by the same Jerusalem authorities who became their accusers and persecutors (Acts 4:13). The vicious mindset of the leaders of the nation remained unaltered. But the Apostles had been with Jesus and had gained an understanding beyond the range of mere human study and acumen.
The Apostle John shows us from where sound, solid, life-giving learning may be obtained. At the Last Supper he reclined on the Saviour’s breast and heard the beat of his heart as he spoke to his dearest companions (excepting Judas). John’s profound Gospel confirms all that he had learned from the One sent forth from the bosom of the Father. John brings to us Jesus in such a deep and intimate way that we can almost monitor his breathing as he addresses our inner ear.
Each Evangelist and biblical witness to our Redeemer portrays him through divine inspiration but also in an individual style that registers personal relationship and unique insight. Jesus in approaching men and women matches himself to their character and condition, ministering to their inmost and essential self with his effectual goodness, targeting their need and deficiency, rendering them healed and whole through the encounter. The Apostolic authors are testifying, “This is how Jesus touched me”. Their pens and voices are directed by the impression Jesus left upon them from the total influence of his Person, his pronouncements, and his performance. Without holding a pen Jesus, in multiple ways, produced the Apostolic documents. The Spirit ensures that the record is accurate and he tenderizes the heart to receive it in humility and trust.
The disciples learned from the Lord and agreed there was no trustworthy alternative to their instructor and friend, Jesus Christ (John 6:67-69). We also turn to him for safe, certain, and saving knowledge (John 17: 1-8). What he teaches to his folk stays with them. It is indelibly inscribed upon the heart and indescribably delightful. Each session in communion with him leaves us eager for more. His students are fully satisfied and yet always seeking for more. May we be found, often, leaning upon the Saviour’s breast.