Summary: The source and effect of experiencing true freedom.
I wonder how you and I might respond if someone showed up on the scene and began say things like:
Follow me and you can be free!
I’m going to show you the path to true freedom!
And then what if this same person told you that you were living a lie and then made exclusive claims to truth?
And what if he went so far as to say:
Follow me and you will know THE truth AND the truth will set you free!
Depending upon your circumstance in life that statement might raise a number of questions in you mind.
(ILL) I remember in the 60’s when the idea of FREEDOM meant all kinds of things like – free love – no rules – no authority – for some it meant escape into some sort of alternative reality through a psychedelic drug experience
(ILL) Conversely – I’ve met people over the years that the idea of FREEDOM meant – freedom from addiction.
Its interesting to me that today in Colorado 2006 most of us would respond very similarly to the way a group of educated and religious people responded when a man named Jesus showed up and began to challenge the status quo.
John 8:31 –36
31So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35“The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
First we want to notice the response that these Jewish leaders had to Jesus’ statement that they could be free.
And again I suggest that it is very plausible that a person today might respond in a similar way.
Verse 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”
Now, we have to think about who it is that just said that.
Who was it? It was the Jews. Is it true that the Jews (the descendants of Abraham) had never been enslaved? No that was not a true statement. In Jewish history by the time these men were alive – the descendents of Abraham had been enslaved to --- no less than 6 different empires – Egypt – Assyria – Babylon – Greece – Syria and Rome
What’s the point? Obviously they had been enslaved before. Physically, historically – and in fact at the time they were saying this they were not actually free as a nation – they were under Roman rule and they hated it.
Here’s the point – they were referring to an inward sense of freedom – they were simply saying to Jesus – We are FREE to think and believe and do what we want to think – believe and do. We are FREE in the truest – deepest sense of the word.
And that is how the typical individual living on this earth today is just like the typical Jew living in Israel in the first century.
We would say – I am free to think and believe and do what ever it is I want to think and believe and do –
Our culture today has even taken that a step further to say --- We are so free – we are free to decide what is or is not true – we can even choose to believe that what is true or real for one person might not be true or real for someone else --- IN fact the typical “post modern” person would say – you can’t even tell me what is true or right BECAUSE I am free to choose for my self – and so is everyone else --
Now if Jesus had been talking about physical – or political – national freedom – Freedom in the physical sense – He would have come back to the Jews and simply reminded them of their past – but Jesus didn’t do that but rather he went on to explain why they were not free – we’ll get to that in a moment
But first we need to grapple with the absolutes that are confronting us in this story.
Jesus made 3 absolute and exclusive claims here that give rise to debate.
First lets look at the debate these men had with Jesus.
Jesus is saying that there is an absolute – ultimate – real – inner freedom – available to those who know the truth.