Truth and freedom—they are two very important words. I was talking in Part 1 about the day Jesus was facing his trial. We can read it in John 18 in the New Testament, where he is facing Pilate. They were having a conversation. And Jesus said, I’ve come to bring truth into all the world; and Pilate said, What is truth?
Many people in our world define freedom as the capacity to do what they want to do—to follow their impulses.
Jesus says in John 8:31-32, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” These words can sound presumptuous to us, even arrogant, but let me set up the context where Jesus says this. In our passage, in John 8, Jesus is in conversation with some of the Jewish people who once believed in him, and they’re saying, Jesus, we know where we came from: We are the descendants of Abraham, who had lived 2,000 years before. They’re saying to Jesus, We are the biological and spiritual descendants of Abraham. But we don’t know where you came from; we don’t know who your father is.
The Authority of Jesus
They were insinuating that Jesus had an illegitimate birth. The Scriptures teach that the Holy Spirit supernaturally enabled a virgin named Mary to conceive. I know that many people find that very hard to accept, but a miracle, by definition, is when God intervenes and causes something that was otherwise impossible to become possible. So if you believe in God or that there might be a God, it shouldn’t be that difficult to believe that Mary could have supernaturally conceived, with God’s help, a human being who would become God in human flesh, Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ Jewish detractors say, Hey, we’re the children of Abraham, but we don’t know where you’ve come from. Who is your father? Jesus responds by saying, “Before Abraham was,”—and Abraham lived 2,000 years before—“I am” (John 8:58 KJV). Another amazing statement from Jesus. He is saying, categorically and without any contradiction, I am God. That’s why his fellow Jews wanted to stone him: that was blasphemy to them and they couldn’t cope with it. Jesus had to die. Be put away forever, or so they thought.
C.S. Lewis points out that if Jesus actually claimed to be God, which he did, then he was either a liar, a lunatic—or he was Lord and God. And if Jesus Christ is in fact Lord and God in human form, then it’s not an overstatement for Jesus to say, “If you hold to my teaching, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” You see, because Jesus’ truth reflects reality, it reflects the way things really are.
If you’re a pianist or a musician you would understand the laws of vibration, the laws of notes, the laws of scales, and if you honour them and you practise, you will be free. So it is with the way of Jesus Christ. If we understand his wisdom and his laws, which reflect reality, and we practice them, we will flourish and we will be free because Jesus is a rule that sets us free; it’s a reign that liberates us. He sets us free to enjoy life to the best we can. We’re not on our own.
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else,” declared C.S. Lewis.
Jesus Christ is the truth by which we see everything else.