Wednesday

] ‘... You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’” (vv. 32-33)

John 8:31-47 Wednesday 30 July 2014


Background

It can be embarrassing to watch an argument, especially when thearguments turn to family insults.

Again, Jesus presses the crowd about both his identity andtheirs. As Jews, they are descendants of Abraham. As the Son ofGod, Jesus' identity is about the kingdom of God. One commentatorsays, "One's attitude towards Jesus is what makes the differencebetween having true descent from Abraham or not - between being alegitimate member of God's family or not a member at all. One'smembership in that family is not affected by one's claims, but byones relationship with Jesus."

Jesus here, therefore, is changing the tables on the openness ofthe kingdom of God - no longer is this offered to those who'belong' to the right group of people. Instead, the kingdom is opento anyone who accepts a relationship with Jesus. In the face ofthose who would create boundaries to the edges of religion, Jesuschallenges preconceptions and expectations of his antagonists, andturns their world upside down.

Significantly, Jesus does this by discussing truth and freedom -two values core to human identity - the challenges of truth and theexperience of liberation (and its opposite). He tells a group ofpeople, who annually narrate the experience of Exodus as a nation'sliberation story, that freedom does not come through genetics, butcomes through discovering the truth about Jesus' identity. This isworldview shaking rhetoric.

Liberation comes not through the experience of the past, butabout the present reality of a relationship. Revelations of truthare not defined by taught behaviours, but by self-discovery andrelationship withJesus.

This relationship can turn the known world upside down.

In today's society, where theological positions can be portrayedas being oppositely entrenched, and where truth is inadequatelydescribed as being a relative commodity - it can be liberating forus to discover something more about the character of Jesus and thecommunity to which he is calling us to belong. We too arechallenged to a journey of self-discovery rather than a recitationof the narrative of the past. In the midst of our truth, ourexperience, our shared story and our sharing of bread and of wine -we too are able to discover how we might be set free.

To turn the world upside down.


To Ponder

  • What does freedom look and feel like to you?
  • What can you do to liberate someone, today?
  • Imagine that you were watching this debate. How do you feel,and how would you want to interject?
  • Turn on the radio and dance to a piece of music. How does thishelp you to experience liberation?
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