by Rachael Stelzer
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So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).
Read John 8:21–38
To the Jews, parentage was everything. For a young Jewish man to approach the father of a young woman to marry her, he would have to recite his ancestry back to Abraham. The people of Israel needed to show that Israel (or Jacob) was literally their forefather. This was part of God’s covenant to make the Israelites God’s chosen people.
So when a young preacher suggested that holding to his teaching would help them know the truth that would set them free, some of the Jews took offence. ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?’
Jesus referred to their slavery as a sin, a slavery he does not share. ‘So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed’ or ‘truly free’ (verse 36).
Jesus goes further and suggests they are following their father, not Abraham. This is deeply offensive to the people, who wail, ‘we are not illegitimate children …’ Later in the chapter, Jesus even claims to know Abraham, which is the final straw for these proud people, who pick up stones, ready to kill him.
It’s easy for me to look down on these characters, but what am I a slave to? Is there anything in my life that blinds me from the truth? Has the Son set me free from my love of things? Of status? Of busyness? Of my own rightness? Of my goodness?
Every day, I need to return to the foot of the cross and lay down my cheap trophies. Then Jesus can set me free once again from the lies around me that I have picked up.
Lord Jesus, if the Son sets us free, we will be truly free. Set me free from the cheap trophies of this world – my family name, my goodness, my correctness, my power. Then I will be truly free to serve you in humility and joy. Amen.
Rachael Stelzer is Primary Lay Chaplain at Coomera Anglican College near Brisbane. She is a member of Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Rochedale and teaches primary kids in the Growing Kids group. Rachael loves crafts, reading, and sharing meals, coffee and life with her family and friends.