Please read John 8:31-36 “Then Jesus 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 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.”
Jesus is causing a little upheaval here in this back and forth with those listening to him. Jesus says, “if you continue in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” But those listening to Jesus, who seem to have forgotten their history of slavery in Egypt respond, “We are children of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone.” They have forgotten the parting of the red sea, the wandering wilderness years, the arrival in the promised land and most importantly how God was faithful through it all. As far as it is up to them, they have arrived and no longer need to depend on God. They are independent. Free. Self-sufficient.
Truthfully, sometimes we sound like this too. We forget what enslaves us, we forget the times God has delivered us, we forget the faithfulness of God through all our ups and downs. Jesus cautions, there are still ways that we are enslaved. We don’t ever NOT need Christ. Jesus urges his listeners to continue in his word, and if we believe that Christ is God’s word made flesh then it is that living breathing word loose in the world that is present with us now. This word made flesh keeps creating and inviting and forgiving and being lavishly merciful. Jesus keeps putting flesh on God and opening up the doors and windows of God’s household calling each of us to come on in.
For your devotional time, I invite you to think about how and when we sound like Jesus’ hearers in this Gospel story today. What are we forgetting about our own enslavement? What are we putting our trust in, our own abilities or God? And then consider how Jesus makes you free. What does freedom look like?
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Gracious God, you created us all in your image. Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil, and grant us grace to magnify your love for all creation. Through us give hope to the hopeless, love to the unloved, peace to the troubled, and rest to the weary. We come to you trusting in your mercy through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Friend. Amen.