Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A journey through John - 8:31-33

"Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, 'If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.' They answered him, 'We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, "You will be made free"?'

"Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave of sin.'"

There is so much that could be gleaned from these few verses, but right now I'm going to focus on the response that the Jews give to Jesus' offer of freedom: "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, 'You will be made free'?"

Wrapped up in those two little sentences are so many unfortunate things: misunderstanding, defensiveness, pride, denial, false security.

The Jews do not even know what kind of freedom Jesus is talking about, yet they immediately jump to justify themselves by their earthly lineage. They believe that, as members of the chosen people of God, they are all set, so to speak, and need no help from this uppity Jesus guy.

The problem is that these Jews have become so secure and complacent in their status as the chosen people of God that their hearts have grown cold, so much so that they react hostilely when God Himself speaks the truth to them in person.

How often is this true of us as well? How often are we too secure in our own earthly positions? How often do we cut Jesus off, telling him, "Hey, I'm a pretty good guy. Who are you to tell me how to live"? In so many words, probably not very often. But in our attitudes and actions? Far, far too often, at least for me. I don't like to be reminded that I'm a slave to sin. I don't want to be told that I'm not living up to all I was meant to be.

Jesus doesn't just want to call us out on all our shortcomings, though. He came not to criticize us, ridicule us, belittle us, condemn us, but to save us, to provide us with a way out of our self-destructive tendencies. And that way is Himself. As He said: "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). We must understand that. We must stop fighting Him. We must open ourselves to the wonderful freedom He never ceases to offer us.

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