“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”– John 8:31-32
We have all heard the phrase “The truth shall set you free”, but what does that really mean? Are we using it correctly? Most of the time it is trying to get people to be honest so they won’t have to hold on to guilt or confess to wrongdoing or even just to live honestly, but when Jesus said these words it meant so much more.
In John 8 Jesus’ authority was being challenged. The Pharisees and other Jewish people were wondering who this man was who stepped in the way of the stoning of the woman caught in adultery. They wanted to know by what authority He felt He could do such a thing.
Then, Jesus told those who were with Him or “believed” that He was the truth. He had taught them many things during His ministry and He expected those who believed Him to follow His teaching and hold true to His message. His message of redemption and reconciliation is the “truth” that would set the people free.
It was not a call to live an honest life. It was not a call to confess to wrongdoing. It was a call to follow Jesus wholeheartedly and follow His teachings. It was a call to love, to serve, to show mercy, to give grace, and to give glory to God in the process. This is truth!
Our sin is great, but His grace is greater! In Jesus’ words he always said “very truly” as a confirmation of being truth! Jesus is legit! There is no question. He is the truth that will set us free from our slavery to sin. That is the only thing we need to confess. We are sinners, broken without Him, but when we receive Him we are free from our faults and failures as humans. He has given us life. The truth of Jesus is what we need to rest in and that is the only truth we can expect to set us free.
We can speak honestly, but let’s face it, when we are honest it doesn’t always set us free. We still hold on to guilt, we still potentially lose friendship; we still make enemies, and other consequences.
Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?” without recognizing he was looking right at Him. Do not overuse the phrase and acknowledge it for what it was and is meant to be for us. The truth will set us free from separation from God, which means that truth is not a thing, but a person. That person is the Christ that came to save and renew the relationship of creation with the Creator. Through the truth of Christ, we experience life and life to the full in order to move forward in His love to bring glory to His Name!
Question: Have you embraced the truth of Christ and the freedom it truly brings?