Christian Education is in the business of moving people’s spirits. As education is understood to mean “to lead out,” then Christian education is leading people’s spirit out of untruth toward the truth. But why the truth? Why do people struggle for ages to grasp the truth? Pontius Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?” (John 18:38). But Jesus said to his disciples that “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Many people don’t understand what truth is. The saga for discovering the truth never ends. It drains all our time, energy, passion, and it even challenges our core being. Somehow our soul is restless when we are wandering in the land of untruth. As many have understood, especially those working extremely hard in the schools, universities, research centers, institutes, and so on, that education is in the business of unraveling the truth. We can only find rest by finding the truth, even if that truth we found is only a tiny fragmented piece of the whole. But the question posed by Pilate remains: “What is truth?”
It is ironic that for a high rank official in the greatest nation in the world at the time of Jesus, truth is not known. The Greco-Roman world followed the footsteps of Socrates in his journey to find truth, and yet even after 400 years the top rank people, whom Plato called the philosopher kings, did not know the truth. The Book of John is written fascinatingly employing irony in every corner. Not only the “philosopher kings” that did not know the truth, but also those considered the spiritual leaders of the Jews, whom people would identify as close to the truth because in their hands God’s revealed words were entrusted, did not know the truth as well. What is truth? If we read carefully on John 8:31-32, then we will find something very interesting: “31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John mentioned that Jesus said these words to those who believed. This means that He did not say these to those who did not believe. It is ironic that for those who thought they knew the truth, they actually did not know the truth. And the reason is simple, because they did not believe and hold on to Jesus’ teaching and thus they were not His disciples. In other words, only His disciples get to know the truth.
People will protest and ask: “So only Christians can know the truth?” Of course not, if what we mean by truth includes all the fragmented pieces of truth we can lay our hands on. In that case, we should proceed and say that even atheists know some truth. What does it mean then that those who don’t believe and hold on to Jesus’ teaching don’t know the truth? We shall look at the book of John again when Jesus prayed for His disciples, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). It is very interesting reading the book of John, especially if we pay attention to the wordplay. In the first chapter, John identified Jesus Christ as the Word. Jesus himself claimed that he is “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). So, if we are trying to conclude the meaning of truth as understood in the book of John, then we should find that the word of God is truth, Jesus’ teaching is truth, and thus Jesus’ teaching is God’s word, and moreover Jesus is the Word and he is The Truth. And this “truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Atheists may know some truth, but that truth can’t set them free. Only the truth in Christ Jesus can set people free, because the truth in Christ Jesus is the Word himself, and the Word who became flesh is the Redeemer of the world. Atheists, non believers may know some truth, but they don’t know this special truth, the one and only truth that leads to eternal life, the one and only truth that breaks the bondage of sin and free people from slavery. The requirement to know this special truth is actually very simple, that we need to do just one work: “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). To know this truth that will set us free, we need only to believe and hold on to Jesus’ teachings.
This is the business of Christian Education. Christian Educators are called to speak of the truth, to teach the truth to the world, and those who believe and hold on to the teaching will be set free. All truth is God’s truth. It is the duty of the Christian Educators to integrate the fragmented pieces of truth into an integrated whole in Christ Jesus. People from all over the world cannot stop chasing the truth. We are born for the thirst and hunger to truth. No philosophy, no religion, and nothing in this world can deny our need for truth. It is because our nature as Imago Dei that we cannot escape from our quest to find the truth. After all, we are created after the perfect image of God, who is Jesus Christ. And know this, that Jesus Christ is The TRUTH.