To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’ Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:31-36 (NIV)
Read: John 7-8
Consider: When Jesus talked about freedom in John 8 the Jews immediately became defensive. They thought ‘How dare anyone call us slaves when we are Abraham’s sons’. Jesus, however, was talking about being a slave to sin. It is incredible that Jesus was speaking to ‘… the Jews who had believed him’. What an indictment that they believed him, yet didn’t really understand. His message wasn’t about Jewishness, but had much wider implications.
What the Jews missed was that everyone, irrespective of birth, nationality or ethnic origin, is a slave to sin. No matter how good they thought they were, or how their heritage led them to think that they were in a privileged position, this all amounted to nothing.
While John 8:1-11 isn’t in all ancient manuscripts of the gospel, it is a very powerful illustration of the inherent sinfulness of man. Having brought the adulterous woman to Jesus, he wouldn’t condemn her. His suggestion was that anyone without sin should throw the first stone (in judgement). However, the woman’s accusers left one by one until there were no accusers left. Jesus instruction to her was to go and sin no more. The Jews themselves acknowledged their sinfulness by walking away.
There is a very powerful truth in these chapters. It is that anyone in sin is excluded from God’s family (because they are a slave to sin). Once a person is saved from their sin (set free), they are adopted into his family.
Pray: Father, we acknowledge that we have been slaves to sin. May we trust in your Son, so that we may be free indeed! Amen