15.The Faithful and True Witness
Men are neither machines nor animals, because they don’t exchange only information nor emotions. They exchange human words, freely. Men being free, they are also fallible: they can be mistaken or can lie to others, and so important exchanges need witnesses. For example, when a marriage occurs or a legal process, or when a person takes out a bank loan. But these witnesses are men, so also fallible. Humanity is bogged down by lack of truth; even with tribunals calling for two witnesses, the language still remains polluted, which is discouraging. And so since the night of time, men have sworn in the name of the divinity.
The Koran tackles this problem:
“O you who believe! When death approaches one of you, let two reliable persons from among you act as witnesses to the making of a bequest, or two persons from another people if you are travelling in the land and the event of death approaches you. Engage them after the prayer. If you have doubts, let them swear by God: “We will not sell our testimony for any price, even if he was a near relative, and we will not conceal God’s testimony, for then we would be sinners.”
If it is discovered that they are guilty of perjury: let two others take their place, two from among those responsible for the claim, and have them swear by God, ‘Our testimony is more truthful than their testimony, and we will not be biased, for then we would be wrongdoers.’” (Sura “The Table” 5, 106-107).
We therefore swear by God. But what if God is a trickster? (Sura “The A’rafs” 7, 99). Does God have a need to be tricky like a man? Isn’t it painful that God could be tricky and deceive us?
The position of Jesus (‘Issa) is: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from Evil (Rajim, the Damned)” (Matthew 5, 37). Sure, some things must be hidden without there being in those cases any deception. Jesus (‘Issa) says in effect: “Do not give to dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you” (Mt 7, 6).
When Pilate questions Jesus (‘Issa) to judge him: “Are you the king of the Jews […] What have you done?” Jesus replies that he has come into the world, “to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice” (John 18, 35-37). On the opposite side, Pilate is not firm in the truth which he does not want to hear: “What is truth?” (John 18,38). Jesus (‘Issa) is the faithful and true witness who has endured a cruel death in testimony of the truth.
He testifies to the Truth which is in God and which is God.
Jesus has a unique place in the human language and his disciples have followed his example. They died martyrs for the truth; would they have fabricated a false testimony or false Gospels?
This teaching is so important today when there are so many lies, when we are manipulated, when we are kept in fear to render us slaves. Well, no, let us turn toward Jesus, he who is the truth: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14, 6).