There are many who consider themselves to be “free.” Free to do whatever they please. Free to think in whatever manner they feel is correct. Free to live life without regard to life itself. Free from the “bondage” of service to their Maker. Yes, perhaps even we may think we are free…the question is: Are we truly free?
33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. 37 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. 38 I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”
39 “Our father is Abraham!” they declared.
“No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.[h] 40 Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing. 41 No, you are imitating your real father.”
They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”
42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me! 44 For you are the children of your father the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me! 46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
48 The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”
49 “No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me. 50 And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge. 51 I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”
52 The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,[i]’ 55 but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”
57 The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?[j]”
58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am![k]” 59 At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple.
There is a group of people that consider themselves “special,” set apart, and certainly they are. But these people boast of a physical freedom that exists only in their minds, after all they were subject to the Romans. Jesus came to shine his light upon these people. That although they were physically captives they could be spiritually free. After all, it is this freedom that lead the apostle Paul to exclaim, while in prison, “rejoice…again I say rejoice!”(Phil 4:4). But how I can obtain this freedom? The answer is revealed in verse 30, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Obviously the natural question to ask is, well what is truth? Jesus answers that also, “I am…the truth.” (John 14:6). We are slaves to sin and by result, we are slaves to death. But Jesus came to give us freedom, both from sin and death. As the woman caught in adultery, we are also given the same invitation, “Neither do I accuse you, go and sin no more.” Jesus came to set us free; will we accept the gift of his salvation?
Do you want to get to know the “truth” better? Keep on following our devotionals as we continue to explore the book of John.
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Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.