True Freedom: God’s Word

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

If you abide by my word, you are truly my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
(John 8:31-32)

Once in the darkness, we had been
Blind to the Truth, now we can see;
Why remain in the chains of sin
When the Word of God sets us free?

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in Him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But some replied, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be set free”?’ So Jesus explained to them, “Amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if a son frees you, then you will truly be free. I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me, because my word has no room among you. I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.” They answered and said to Him, “Our father is Abraham.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father!” They said to Him, “We are not illegitimate. We have one Father, God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here. I did not come on my own, but He sent me.” (John 8:31-42)

Reflection

The Jews thought Jesus was talking about political freedom, liberation from the Romans, as Israel then was under the dominion of Rome. But Jesus was speaking of 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 I wish to do as I please. 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 only 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.

A sad commentary on the kind of freedom that our young people are seeking today are the consequences of their willfulness that have seen 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 to drown him in the depths of despair. The spirit of disobedience is always the culprit. Such was our disappointment that all our efforts to teach our young house helper the right values had been in vain when she spent the night with her boyfriend without our knowledge and permission. When confronted about this violation of our basic house rule, she simply said she no longer wanted to work with us. We had no choice but to let her go. We can only pray that she will see the error of her rash decisions before it’s too late.

We cannot pursue the world’s pleasures and remain in God’s abiding grace at the same time. For “no man can serve two masters.” In this season of Lent, let us spend more time reading God’s Word in the Bible, rather than indulging in worldly activities that only distract us from our true purpose in life.

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

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