John 8:31-32 - So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Our text today is a message that has brought comfort to untold millions of people, but let's be clear about this: the truth that makes people free is the truth of Christ. This is not just the truth about Christ. It is the truth that is in Christ, the truth that is Christ Himself. "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," (John 14:6b). Jesus said this, and He meant exactly that.
Part of Christ's statement about truth is sometimes found inscribed above library doorways or on the gates of institutions of higher learning: "The Truth Will Set You Free" (John 8:32b). Taken out of context, this line might seem to say that any kind of truth about anything at all will help set people free. People would like to believe that. They would like to think that man's search for knowledge, which has made tremendous strides forward in so many areas, will eventually free mankind from all error, all pride and prejudice, and everything else that has undermined human existence for millennia.
Christ calls us everywhere to freedom. He offers this freedom, this genuine liberty, from the slavery to conform and from the nagging fears which are so much a part of modern life. When Christ sets a person free, buck-passing and excuses go out the window. When Christ sets us free, we are free to live as we were intended to live. "So, if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).
The disciples of Christ were ordinary folk, like you and me. They were not educated in the formal sense of the word, but they were intelligent. They saw Christ and recognized Him for what He was: the Son of God and the Savior of the world. And then they show how intelligent they really were: they followed Him and they became His disciples. They continued in His Word and understood it as truth, that truth which alone can make you and me free from everything that holds us down and condemns us.
We have the Word of Christ that all of this is true. It was Christ Himself who said to Nicodemus one night: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). This promise of life, true and real life, free as life was meant to be, is for all people everywhere. That is why we proclaim it each week here in the United States and around the world, to anyone and everyone who will listen.
This is why we proclaim it to you today.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, You have given us the truth in Your Son Jesus. By Your Holy Spirit, may we believe and trust in Him as our Savior. Amen.
From "And the Truth Shall Make You Free!" a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Oswald Hoffmann, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. When was the last time you did a double take in recognizing someone? Who was it?
2. How does abiding in Jesus' Word indicate to others that we are His disciples?
3. When did you last hear someone speak about God in an especially insightful way?
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