In Chapter 8, we read “Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know he truth, and the truth will make you free.” He seems to raise the bar for his true disciples, and to offer them a freedom beyond our human understanding. This truth is different from the thinking of most people today, for this truth Jesus speaks of puts God, rather than our own personal feelings and ambitions, as the one true good. And unlike our understanding of freedom being the ability to do whatever we want according to our own desires, this freedom that Jesus speaks of is a freedom from sin, which is an alienation from God.
In the commentary for this lesson there is a quote about Jesus from Pope Paul VI in 1974 that says “He is the joy of the world; He is the image of the invisible God; He is the way, the truth and the life; He is the One who knows us even from afar; He knows our thoughts; He is the One who can forgive us, console, cure, even raise from the dead; and He is the One who will return, the judge of one and all in the fullness of His glory and eternal happiness.”
Part of the challenge of this truth is for us to realize who we are, and who God is. This requires some serious self-knowledge on our part, which brings a humble realization of our weakness and our sinfulness, and the recognition of our need for God as our Creator, Redeemer and Friend. It is an interesting question to pose to ourselves: When we face the truth about ourselves, how does our relationship with God change?
We could all be in a situation like the Samaritan woman at the well, who encounters Jesus, and her life is forever altered. She has encountered Truth, and her priorities, relationships and activities have changed as a result. I can think of ways that my life has altered as I have tried to grow in my relationship with God, from bigger changes like ongoing study, to smaller day-to-day efforts to love as I am loved by God. And I think that when we make these efforts–large or small–to be more forgiving, less judgmental, and more willing to carry the cross we are given, then we help to bring this Truth to the world around us.
I hope that you will find in this rich chapter several good things to ponder in your life. Franciene and I hope that you are enjoying this lesson, and–as always–feel free to call or email either of us with any questions. We look forward to seeing you next Tuesday!
In His Love,
Franciene and Karen