21 days of prayer and fasting - John 8
First the woman caught in adultery is set free by Jesus, the only one who was qualified to condemn her because He was the only one without sin. The men who brought her to trap Jesus thought either He would ignore the Law or He would give a harsh judgment. They were slaves to their own understanding of the Law. So their picture of God was too small.
Then (verses 12-30) He proclaims He is the light of the world. The result is that we can walk/live not in darkness but in the freedom that light brings. We can move around freely when we can see where we are going and we can see spiritual things when we determine to follow Jesus! When the Pharisees object to this, Jesus gives them a picture of God - He invites them to look at Him. He is the one who comes from above and can demonstrate what Father is like. But they do not want the freedom that brings, though many others believed (verse 30).
Jesus teaches plainly how we can be free in verse 31 - if we live in His word, in conversation with Him, we will be his disciples/followers and we will know the truth. That word ‘truth’ can also be translated ‘reality.’
How do we live in His word when He is not physically on earth speaking with us? By following the Spirit. He is the Spirit of truth/reality who leads us into all truth/reality (John 16:13).
Freedom does not come from throwing off restraints. Freedom does not come from political action. Freedom does not come from self actualisation, trying to find fulfilment and meaning through what we do or how we present ourselves.
No, freedom comes from following Jesus, living in what He says, developing a lifestyle of conversation with Him.
If the Son sets us free, we really are free (verse 36)!
The Pharisees rejected this. Jesus did not fit the mould of religious teachers. He did not look like their picture of righteousness - they followed a Law and did not recognise the Lawgiver, the only human ever to fulfil the Law, who died and rose again so that the Law could be written on our hearts instead of being external.
Jesus confronts them: they are from below and He is from above. Like the Judaisers Paul warned the Galatians against, they were more interested in externals (trying to do religious things and obey religious rules) than in following the Truth. At the end of the chapter, when He makes clear He is God, their reaction is to stone Him for blasphemy.
How tragic that they were more interested in their limited understanding than in experiencing reality/truth!
How like us sometimes!
Let’s keep our hearts tender before God so that we live in conversation with Him and recognise what He is doing and saying.