True Freedom in God’s Word

John 8: 31-42
Dn 3: 14-20,91-92,95 / Dn 3: 52-56

If you remain in my Word, you will truly be my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:31-32)

Pleasures of this world are lies where
Satan lures us with false freedom;
God’s Word might be a cross to bear,
But will bring us to God’s kingdom.

Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you remain in my Word, you will truly be my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there for ever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my Word. I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, do what you have heard from the Father.’ They answered Him, ‘Abraham is Jesus and Abraham our father.’ Jesus said, ‘If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.’ They said to him, ‘We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but He sent me.’

Reflection

The Jews must have wished that Jesus was speaking to them about political freedom, liberation from the gentiles, as Israel then was under the yoke of Rome. But Jesus was talking about spiritual freedom, the freedom from sin, and alienation from God. Much like the error of the Jews in Jesus’ time, many people today think freedom means being independent, possessing the power of choice to do whatever one wishes to do as he pleases. This is certainly not the kind of freedom that Jesus was talking about, because this freedom only leads us away from the truth. What our Lord is teaching us in today’s Gospel is the freedom from the bondage of sin, from which the truth in the Gospel can liberate us. Jesus is teaching us that if we abide by His Word, the Holy Spirit will empower and guide us to live our lives according to God’s will. In my younger years I never gave much importance to the Word of God because I couldn’t imagine myself poring over an ‘antiquated book’ when there were more fun things to do in life. But ever since my wife and I joined a community of believers, we found so many valuable lessons in the Bible that we now believe helped us to distinguish what is vital and lasting from what is irrelevant or harmful.

It is a sad commentary on the kind of liberation that this materialistic generation is selling today: a harmful license that has given free rein to the wanton spread of drug addiction, illicit sexual relations, abortion, alcoholism and all the evils of a permissive society. In the end, it is not freedom at all, but a millstone that the prince of lies has tied around the sinner’s neck that will eventually drown him in the depths of despair.

We cannot pursue the world’s pleasures and remain in God’s Word at the same time. For “no man can serve two masters” (Mt.6:24). As we approach the Holy Week, let us spend more time meditating on the Word of God in the Bible, rather than indulging in worldly activities that only distract us from our true purpose in life.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Word, which has freed us from the bondage of sin and ignorance, and has become the sword and armor in our lives. Amen.

Comments are closed.