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What Manner of Man

(A weekly program for knowing and following Jesus Christ)

By Richard M. Eyre


Would not the truest, surest definition of teacher be “one who plants truth in other minds and hearts?” Within that definition is a harder word to define. What is “truth?” For centuries philosophers have sought a workable, complete meaning. The author of truth—sometimes himself called “the Word”—defined it: “Truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come.”

It is truth that glorifies men and women and truth that makes us free (see John 8:32). Intelligence is the combination of light and truth: light comes from truth, and truth from light, and the two together (truth and light) are the glory of God.

Light is truth, and truth is light. The light of Christ permeates the whole earth and at least touches the heart of every man, both as a conscience and as a discerner of truth. Things that are right have a clarity, a feeling of rightness, a ring of truth like the clarion sound of a bell on a clear morning. Truth not only rings like a bell, it rings like a circle—its ends connect. It is consistent with other truth. All truth is “one eternal round.”

The thing that sets Christ apart from all other teachers of all other times (even more so than his preparation and his imagery and his power) was the profound ring of truth in all that he said. It stopped men in their tracks; it pried open tightly closed minds; it was a sweet, clear note in a world of confused disharmony. Christ the teacher never found it necessary to defend or debate his points. Each one carried itself by its own ring of truth; each one vibrated with the tonal frequency that could penetrate the material of mind and heart and soul.

There is one final quality that completes the picture and that further sets Christ apart as an incomparable teacher: behind the ring and power of his words was total love for those he taught. Just to hear the force and thrust of perfect truth was one thing; but to feel behind it the warmth of deep, personal love was something more, and it was this warmth that made the Lord’s teaching irresistible to the sincere (and threatening to the hypocritical).

Ponder this aspect of the Savior’s life by imagining him on the Mount. Each short phrase resounded in the ears of the listeners with pure truth; many eyes were transfixed on the light of his face; those hearts, for the moment at least, were lifted above, away from the lower earth, carried on the wings of his love.

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