The Truth Will Set You Free
31Jesus told the people who had faith in him, “If you keep on obeying what I have said, you truly are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 They answered, “We are Abraham's children! We have never been anyone's slaves. How can you say we will be set free?”
I tell you for certain that anyone who sins is a slave of sin! 35And slaves don't stay in the family forever, though the Son will always remain in the family. 36If the Son gives you freedom, you are free! 37I know that you are from Abraham's family. Yet you want to kill me, because my message isn't really in your hearts. 38I am telling you what my Father has shown me, just as you are doing what your father has taught you.
Your Father Is the Devil
39The people said to Jesus, “Abraham is our father!”
Jesus replied, “If you were Abraham's children, you would do what Abraham did. 40Instead, you want to kill me for telling you the truth that God gave me. Abraham never did anything like that. 41But you are doing exactly what your father does.”
“Don't accuse us of having someone else as our father!” they said. “We just have one father, and he is God.”
If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and now I am here. He sent me. I did not come on my own. 43Why can't you understand what I am talking about? Can't you stand to hear what I am saying? 44 Your father is the devil, and you do exactly what he wants. He has always been a murderer and a liar. There is nothing truthful about him. He speaks on his own, and everything he says is a lie. Not only is he a liar himself, but he is also the father of all lies.
45Everything I have told you is true, and you still refuse to have faith in me. 46Can any of you accuse me of sin? If you cannot, why won't you have faith in me? After all, I am telling you the truth. 47Anyone who belongs to God will listen to his message. But you refuse to listen, because you don't belong to God.
When I was young I would often want to attempt things that were beyond my ability. My mother’s predictable response was that I wasn’t allowed, to which I would reply, “Why? I know how.” My mother would always say, “Knowing how and being able are two different things.” Her retort was simply an acknowledgement that some things are learned only through time and experience. There are some lessons which books and teachers simply cannot impart.
This is Jesus’ point with regard to knowing his teachings; it is by obeying that we truly come to know the truth of his wisdom and the power of his teachings which will set us free from all kinds of entrapments. We learn to pray by praying. We learn to witness by witnessing. We learn to love by loving.
One of the easily swallowed lies of Satan is that we know something simply by thinking it’s true. We think that by agreeing intellectually we have come to know, when in effect Jesus wants us to agree with our wills; to do intentionally what he teaches.
Accordingly our obedience will determine several corresponding realities. It determines if his message is really in our hearts (v 37), if we really love him (v 42), who our true father is (vs. 44), if we are still slaves or true sons of God (vv 35, 36), if we have genuine faith in Jesus (vs. 46), and if we belong to God (v 47).
Reading and even agreeing with Jesus’ teaching, even these devotionals, will not ultimately set you free. The issue is not if you know how to obey, the question is; are you? Obeying is the hallmark of a true follower of Jesus. It always has been.
We call you our Lord and leader. Help us to follow you not simply in word and thoughts but with deeds and actions. Use us to extend your kingdom through obedience to your word. We ask this for your glory. In your name we pray, Amen.
Merv Budd is Sr. Minister at North Burlington Baptist church and the National Director of the Equipping Evangelists (E²). Merv has served as a missionary with Operation Mobilization in India and Nepal and he holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from Regent College. He is presently working on his Doctor of Practical Theology Degree from McMaster Divinity College. He has a passion to see all people given an opportunity to put their trust in Jesus Christ. He is married to Lisa and is the father of Josiah and Danielle.