31To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. 32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
34Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father…
… 58“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” John 8:31-58)
So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. Another famous quote from Jesus only found in John’s Gospel. If you have never heard the song from Hillsong Worship titled “Who You Say I Am” you will after reading this devotion. That line above is the starting line of the chorus:
“Who the Son sets free, oh is free indeed.
I am a child of God.
Yes, I am”-Hillsong Worship
What beautiful lyrics. Such a powerful anthem. I kept it on repeat as I wrote this devotion. But what does this mean in the context of the conversation Jesus is having with a group of “people.” This is the end of the conversation which began with the verses we covered yesterday. For all intent and purposes, it can be assumed that this is all one big discussion recollected by John and happening soon after Jesus drew a line in the sand to save the adulterous woman. Here Jesus says that the “truth will set you free.” Jesus is the truth. His words are the keys to freedom. The Jewish audience claps back that they have never been slaves because they were descendants of Abraham (I guess they slept through history class and missed the part where God used Moses to free their descendants from Egyptian slavery). John 8 was read in our reading plan back on Holy Saturday and I hope you took time to pause and soak in everything the author was recording for the world to study for millenia to follow. Starting with that first story of love and grace, to this exchange where the crowd tries to paint Jesus as possessed by a demon, and after Jesus hits them with the “I am” reference they even try to stone Him, John 8 covers a range of emotions. While I included a lot of the feel good verses above, I left out where Jesus rails against the crowd in a very heated exchange that is worth studying again as Jesus tells the crowd they “belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. (John 8:44)”
The truth that this crowd could not see is that Jesus is the Son of God and His teachings, His words are the key to the kingdom, the path to absolute freedom. Jesus is the New Testament, the Old is obsolete. He will set you free and His truth is liberating:
Love God. Love everyone else just as much.
Reading plan: John 19:1-27
Deeper reading plan: 1 Chronicles 27, 28, 29
Prayer and meditation: Pray for the sick, pray for the lost and their loved ones. Pray for redemption for this lost world. Pray for a reviving rattle to shake COVID off this planet. And continue to pray for all those in medical professions, grocery stores, supply chain operators, first responders, and the amazing teachers still doing all they can to teach the students they love so much.
Fitness challenge: The next two weeks we are jumping back up to 3 sets. 21 reps of each exercise 1-7, then repeat for a total of 3 sets:
1. Standard push-up
2. Sit-up or crunches
3. Air squats
4. Hand-release push-up
5. Leg lifts
6. Lunges (7-each leg)
7. 4-count flutter kicks