Daily Readings in John – Day Twenty-Eight
November 6, 2017
On today’s image: perhaps our openness to receive and tell the truth is part of our journey toward childlike faith.
John 8:31-38 (NRSV)
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 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’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. 38 I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”
Slaves or sons, chattel or children, adopted or objects?
The slavery language is provocative for us, with our country’s awful legacy of slavery and our trouble with ongoing human trafficking today. But I think Jesus was likely aware of just how provocative this language was in his context as well.
That said, what Jesus seems to be driving at is that you don’t need external bondage to lack inner freedom. Jesus suggests a psycho-spiritual dynamic people live under where our lack of belonging creates insecurity and impermanence, and where our misplaced actions and allegiances create cycles of obligation and habit that diminish our lives.
As someone who has full confidence in his beloved identity with God and who lives full-time in truth and goodness and beauty, Jesus suggests that his words take us away from our diminishment and toward his experience of full humanity.
The way there is to make a place in our hearts and minds for Jesus, and for Jesus’ words and truth.
Take a moment of reflection, if you are willing and able, and ask Jesus what truth you need to hear today? Ask yourself if you will make room for this.