When the Truth speaks to you
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.” They said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God.”
“…and the Truth shall set you free.” He told them. But the Pharisees thought they were the ones with the corner on truth. How could this young teacher claim to have truth to share with them. Power, yes. New interpretations of the Law, perhaps. Truth? No.
And the audacity He had to call them slaves! They were the chosen people of God, born of the line of Abraham himself. They had no experience of slavery. That was something reserved for the baser Gentiles. Well, politically they might be slaves, but their spirits would never be tethered. Jesus pointed out to them that if they sinned, they were already spiritual slaves, and sacrifices would not free them because it was not misdeeds that condemned them in this instance, it was their belief in a lie. They followed a lie and in doing so shared and spread that lie out to everyone around them.
What was the lie? The lie was that God judges us and punishes us for our imperfections.
What is the truth that sets us free? Jesus taught that God loves us so much that He was willing to take those spiritual consequences of our sin upon Himself.
That should have been very good news… a good truth for the Pharisees to hear. Yet many were disturbed by this truth. Not only did they get off the hook, everyone else did too! If everyone gets out of jail free, there is no real benefit in being a Pharisee anymore, perhaps even being a Jew! The truth of God’s love threatened their very identity.
If that is hard to understand, think about Blockbuster Video. They were a major franchise for movie watching at home until Netflix took advantage of the increased availability of Wi-Fi in homes and started streaming movies to the viewers, thus eliminating the middle man of video rental stores. The Pharisees felt like Jesus brought in a truth that did not set them free. It put them out of business.
Maybe they were in the setting business. Jesus opened His life to investigation. “Which of you convicts me of sin?”, He asked. The lack of evidence turned their convicting back upon themselves. “Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God.”
What truth gives you hope and excitement? Why?
What truth makes you unsettled? Why?
What truth do you need to share?