Updated: Apr 3, 2020
We all struggle to wrap our brains around who Jesus is. Son of God. Light of the World. Truth. The Great I AM. The people in his day were no different. John 8 covers a series of dialogues between Jesus and his opponents as they mislabel him over and over. We have to be really careful to avoid the same mistakes. Jesus offers freedom to those who follow him but warns of bondage for those who dismiss him.
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32 ESV)
What an incredible offer from Christ: true freedom. Jesus’s audience claimed to already be free without Christ (John 8:33), which is a mistake we’re also very prone to make in our culture. We prize our freedom and claim we have the ability to do whatever we want. But the Bible teaches us that there are only two options: we are either a slave to our sin and the devil or freed to be a servant of Christ (see Romans 6:16-18). Trapped in our sin, we are destined for eternal death. Only Christ, by his life, death, and resurrection, can free us.
The Coronavirus has caused all of us to feel trapped in some ways. Some of you are reading this while literally confined to your house. Quarantine is just a hint of what it feels like to remain in our sin. Hopefully, the longing for physical freedom prompts you to strive for spiritual freedom. Like a fast from food that is meant to push you toward more dependence and holiness in Christ, leverage this fast from society and the norms of life do the same.
Our verse shows us how that works. First, believe in Jesus. Have you trusted in him to save you from your sin? Having been saved, are you believing in him to guide you in the midst of trying times (Psalm 139:7-12)? Second, continue in his word. In its simplest form this is an encouragement to read God’s word daily. Follow this reading plan or one of the other great ones that are so easily accessible. But deeper than that, Christ expects us to abide in his word and that his word should abide in us. More than just read it, you should meditate on it, memorize it, discuss it with others, and apply it to your life. Then, no matter how confined you may be, everlasting freedom will be yours.