Have you ever come across someone who was absolutely convinced that they were right, whilst being absolutely wrong? We all have the potential to be like that. Usually, pride is at work in the mix: a certainty that we already know what the picture is going to be, while everyone else is still trying to get the puzzle pieces out of the box. When this attitude is full-blown, convincing people to see the truth can be a huge, almost impossible challenge. A few years ago in America, we saw certain people convinced, despite the evidence, that Donald Trump had won the presidential election. As a result, they stormed the US Capitol building. Their actions were consistent with their beliefs and with who they are. They just weren’t consistent with reality!
Over the last little while, we’ve been working our way through Jesus’ appearance at the feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. Jesus offered Himself as living water, and as light for those in darkness. He explained who He was, and some of those there decided to believe in Him. But, unfortunately, Jesus didn’t fit neatly into the way that they viewed the world. They thought they had everything figured out. They thought that they were God’s people by right of being Israelites. So when Jesus told them that through apprenticeship to Him they would know the truth, and that the truth would set them
free, they got upset with Him. They didn’t like being told that they were slaves. They were, after all, God’s people, weren’t they?
Jesus told them that anyone who sins is a slave to sin. He also claimed to be without sin, challenging the people there to truthfully convict Him of sin. Rather than being a slave, Jesus is the Father’s beloved Son. And when He sets slaves free, they are truly free; they are adopted into the family of God.
The people Jesus spoke to thought they were part of the family of God. But their actions
proved otherwise. They, like all people, were slaves to sin; children of the devil. Like us all, were in need of emancipation. But they couldn’t, or perhaps wouldn’t, see it.
The offer of freedom from sin is still there, for apprentices who, as Jesus said, “remain faithful to my teachings.” Such people live like Jesus in this world; they discover the Truth, and are free to live for God. Who they are is seen in what they do; the Father’s love is seen through them.
What about us? What do our actions say about who we are and who we follow?
Today’s text: John 8:30-59
To discuss: Is doing the right stuff, including coming to church, proof that we belong to God? How is believing in Jesus linked to our actions?