31 Jesus spoke to the Jews who had believed him. “If you obey my teaching,” he said, “you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth. And the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s children. We have never been slaves of anyone. So how can you say that we will be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “What I’m about to tell you is true. Everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave has no lasting place in the family. But a son belongs to the family forever. 36 So if the Son of Man sets you free, you will really be free. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s children. But you are looking for a way to kill me. You have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. You are doing what you have heard from your father. ”
This passage of Scripture was directed to those who supposedly believed in Jesus. The teachings were completely new to those wanting to understand what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus. Jesus discusses what it means to be truly set free and being a child of God rather than a child of the devil. I imagine these truths would have been quite confronting to those in their hearing.
I do love the dialog here between Jesus and the “believers,” the grappling with the confronting truth that sinners are slaves and do not belong to God’s family. Just because you are a physical descendant of Abraham does not make you a son or a daughter of God -ouch! And it gets worse, in fact unless the Son(Jesus) has forgiven you of your sin the devil is your father. Imagine hearing that!
An out was given to these “believers” and it’s the same promise Jesus makes to us today. If you want to be a disciple of Jesus you have to live out what he tells you. You have to stick to Jesus teaching day in and day out. Allow his words to permeate your heart and mind. Forgiveness breaks the stranglehold of sin and sets us free to become the sons and daughters of God. As children of God we have a position in God’s family as well as rights and obligations. A slave or a sinner is trapped in a dead end life and does not belong to the family God.
Dear God, thank you for allowing me to be part of your family through believing in your son, Jesus. Thank you for forgiving me and setting me free from sin.
Written by Ainslie Woods