For several chapters of the gospel of John, Jesus is dealing with his opponents. They accuse him of many things and don’t believe his teaching. Jesus continues to try to point them to the truth by talking about how even Moses (who they value) points to Jesus (John 7:21-24).
Jesus continues to claim that He is only doing the will of His Father…which makes them even angrier.
After several chapters of making his point (John 7-8) Jesus finally sees some of the people start to believe in him. He turns to them in John 8:31-32 and says this,
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
The truth sets us free only when we know it. How do we truly know it? To hold to the truth of Jesus’ teachings as his followers. Knowing is best done in action. To live the truth is to know the truth. Truth is not best known in the hypothetical.
The truth of Jesus’ teachings is not abstract. It is concrete, lived out in reality as disciples of Jesus. The truth of Jesus’ teaching is not hypothetical. It is real and it is practical and it has a real result in the lives of real people – being set free by truth.
There are just as many opponents to the truth of Jesus’ message today as there were then…and like Jesus’ day many of his opponents come from the inside rather than the outside. Those Jesus is rebuking in John are Jewish…they are the insiders. We see the same thing happening today. Many of those who have the hardest time with the truth of Jesus are those inside the church not those outside the church.
Last, there is one more effect of knowing and living the truth of Jesus and that is growing in love for Christ. He goes on to say this, “If God were your Father you would love me, for I came from God and now am here (John 8:42).”
If you want to know the truth to be set free by the truth you will follow Jesus, learn his truth to live his truth and see that it produces a deeper and wider love for Christ in your life. If your walk with Christ isn’t producing freedom or a deeper love then we need to double down on following Jesus as his disciples.
True freedom is found in the love of Christ that is developed from a life devoted to following Christ. As long as we try to have it our way we will never find freedom. So let us let go of our desire to be in charge and let us follow Jesus to find true freedom!