“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8.31-36
When I read this passage I can’t help but remember one of the final scenes in the movie Braveheart with Mel Gibson when he cries out right before his execution — “FREEEEEDOOMMMM!” What a powerful and moving image!
I feel like Jesus is crying out “FREEDOM” in this segment of Scripture. Currently, he’s speaking to a group of believing Jews. People who have chosen to believe him and abide by his word. He is still teaching and helping them understand his words and the calling of God upon their lives.
Jesus is talking about freedom from sin and freedom in the Father. He begins by saying if they were really his disciples they would “know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” What a great line! It’s been stolen and robed by modern movies, slogans, marketing campaigns. But Jesus didn’t say this for truths’ sake. He said it in relation to knowing the Father. We will be knowers of the truth and this truth will set us free is we trust in the Father and love him with our whole heart.
Yet the believing Jews were still slaves to sin. They weren’t yet disciples of Jesus because they did not understand his teachings. They said to Jesus, “We are Abrahams descendants and have never been slaves to anyone.” But Jesus isn’t talking about actual slavery as we might understand it as one person in servitude to another.He is speaking about slavery to sin — an epidemic that affects all of humanity. Jesus has one solution for freedom from sin, adoption into the family of God by believing in the Son. Jesus said it best — “So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”
The question for us is- “Are we free?” Are we bound by sin or have we allowed Jesus to set us from from the penalty of sin and death? This was a new concept for the Jews listening. Always before their sins had been atoned by making sacrifices at the Temple. They were right by the Temple as they listened to Jesus. Perhaps they were listening to him while watching their fellow Jews bring doves to the altar for atonement.
Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. We are slaves to this sin until we allow Jesus to atone for our sin and shame.
Have you allowed the Son to set you free? Are you holding on to sin? Turn from your wicked, selfish ways and turn towards a Savior. For if you really want to be his disciple you must know the Truth, who is a person, and he will set you free.
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for your power and grace. I praise you in the midst of the storm. You are a good, good Father, perfect in all of your ways. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your love and help me surrender daily to your holiness. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen