The Truth Will Set You Free 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, c “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will d know the truth, and the truth e will set you free.” 33 They answered him, f “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, g everyone who practices sin is a slave 1 to sin. 35 h The slave does not remain in the house forever; i the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet j you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 k I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard l from your father.” You Are of Your Father the Devil 39 They answered him, m “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, n “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now o you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth p that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, q “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have r one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, s “If God were your Father, you would love me, for t I came from God and u I am here. v I came not of my own accord, but w he sent me. 43 x Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot y bear to hear my word. 44 z You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. a He was a murderer from the beginning, and b does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. c When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 d Whoever is of God hears the words of God. e The reason why you do not hear them is that f you are not of God.” Before Abraham Was, I Am 48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and g have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but h I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet i I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, j I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never k see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! l Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet m you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never n taste death.’ 53 o Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, p “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. q It is my Father who glorifies me, r of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 1 55 But s you have not known him. t I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be u a liar v like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56 w Your father Abraham x rejoiced y that he would see my day. z He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 1 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, a I am.” 59 So b they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
31 ἔλεγεν οὖν ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς τοὺς πεπιστευκότας αὐτῷ Ἰουδαίους• ἐὰν ὑμεῖς μείνητε ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τῷ ἐμῷ, ἀληθῶς μαθηταί μού ἐστε 32 καὶ γνώσεσθε τὴν ἀλήθειαν, καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια ἐλευθερώσει ὑμᾶς. 33 ἀπεκρίθησαν πρὸς αὐτόν• σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ ἐσμεν καὶ οὐδενὶ δεδουλεύκαμεν πώποτε• πῶς σὺ λέγεις ὅτι ἐλεύθεροι γενήσεσθε; 34 ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς• ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν δοῦλός ἐστιν τῆς ἁμαρτίας. 35 ὁ δὲ δοῦλος οὐ μένει ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, ὁ υἱὸς μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. 36 ἐὰν οὖν ὁ υἱὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλευθερώσῃ, ὄντως ἐλεύθεροι ἔσεσθε. 37 Οἶδα ὅτι σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ ἐστε• ἀλλὰ ζητεῖτέ με ἀποκτεῖναι, ὅτι ὁ λόγος ὁ ἐμὸς οὐ χωρεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν. 38 ἃ ἐγὼ ἑώρακα παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ λαλῶ• καὶ ὑμεῖς οὖν ἃ ἠκούσατε παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ποιεῖτε. 39 ἀπεκρίθησαν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ• ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς• εἰ τέκνα τοῦ Ἀβραάμ ἐστε, τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ ἐποιεῖτε• 40 νῦν δὲ ζητεῖτέ με ἀποκτεῖναι ἄνθρωπον ὃς τὴν ἀλήθειαν ὑμῖν λελάληκα ἣν ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ• τοῦτο Ἀβραὰμ οὐκ ἐποίησεν. 41 ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν. εἶπαν [οὖν] αὐτῷ• ἡμεῖς ἐκ πορνείας οὐ γεγεννήμεθα, ἕνα πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν θεόν. 42 εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς• εἰ ὁ θεὸς πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἦν ἠγαπᾶτε ἂν ἐμέ, ἐγὼ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐξῆλθον καὶ ἥκω• οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ ἐλήλυθα, ἀλλʼ ἐκεῖνός με ἀπέστειλεν. 43 διὰ τί τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμὴν οὐ γινώσκετε; ὅτι οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν. 44 ὑμεῖς ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστὲ καὶ τὰς ἐπιθυμίας τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν θέλετε ποιεῖν. ἐκεῖνος ἀνθρωποκτόνος ἦν ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ οὐκ ἔστηκεν, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἀλήθεια ἐν αὐτῷ. ὅταν λαλῇ τὸ ψεῦδος, ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων λαλεῖ, ὅτι ψεύστης ἐστὶν καὶ ὁ πατὴρ αὐτοῦ. 45 ἐγὼ δὲ ὅτι τὴν ἀλήθειαν λέγω, οὐ πιστεύετέ μοι. 46 τίς ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐλέγχει με περὶ ἁμαρτίας; εἰ ἀλήθειαν λέγω, διὰ τί ὑμεῖς οὐ πιστεύετέ μοι; 47 ὁ ὢν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ τὰ ῥήματα τοῦ θεοῦ ἀκούει• διὰ τοῦτο ὑμεῖς οὐκ ἀκούετε, ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἐστέ. 48 Ἀπεκρίθησαν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ• οὐ καλῶς λέγομεν ἡμεῖς ὅτι Σαμαρίτης εἶ σὺ καὶ δαιμόνιον ἔχεις; 49 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς• ἐγὼ δαιμόνιον οὐκ ἔχω, ἀλλὰ τιμῶ τὸν πατέρα μου, καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀτιμάζετέ με. 50 ἐγὼ δὲ οὐ ζητῶ τὴν δόξαν μου• ἔστιν ὁ ζητῶν καὶ κρίνων. 51 ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐάν τις τὸν ἐμὸν λόγον τηρήσῃ, θάνατον οὐ μὴ θεωρήσῃ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. 52 εἶπον [οὖν] αὐτῷ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι• νῦν ἐγνώκαμεν ὅτι δαιμόνιον ἔχεις. Ἀβραὰμ ἀπέθανεν καὶ οἱ προφῆται, καὶ σὺ λέγεις• ἐάν τις τὸν λόγον μου τηρήσῃ, οὐ μὴ γεύσηται θανάτου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. 53 μὴ σὺ μείζων εἶ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ, ὅστις ἀπέθανεν; καὶ οἱ προφῆται ἀπέθανον. τίνα σεαυτὸν ποιεῖς; 54 ἀπεκρίθη Ἰησοῦς• ἐὰν ἐγὼ δοξάσω ἐμαυτόν, ἡ δόξα μου οὐδέν ἐστιν• ἔστιν ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ δοξάζων με, ὃν ὑμεῖς λέγετε ὅτι θεὸς ἡμῶν ἐστιν, 55 καὶ οὐκ ἐγνώκατε αὐτόν, ἐγὼ δὲ οἶδα αὐτόν. κἂν εἴπω ὅτι οὐκ οἶδα αὐτόν, ἔσομαι ὅμοιος ὑμῖν ψεύστης• ἀλλʼ οἶδα αὐτὸν καὶ τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ τηρῶ. 56 Ἀβραὰμ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἠγαλλιάσατο ἵνα ἴδῃ τὴν ἡμέραν τὴν ἐμήν, καὶ εἶδεν καὶ ἐχάρη. 57 εἶπον οὖν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι πρὸς αὐτόν• πεντήκοντα ἔτη οὔπω ἔχεις καὶ Ἀβραὰμ ἑώρακας; 58 εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς• ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί. 59 ἦραν οὖν λίθους ἵνα βάλωσιν ἐπʼ αὐτόν. Ἰησοῦς δὲ ἐκρύβη καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἐκ τοῦ ἱεροῦ.
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples Intro Recap: in the temple. During Tabernacles. 'Light' and 'darkness' already illustrated in this interchange. They will 'seek him'. Jesus is the 'I AM'. How does 'truth' set us free? 1. Jesus' disciples will know the truth, and the truth will set them free (v31-47) v30-32. Jesus is saying this to those who had 'believed' in him; he's separating true and false disciples. Cf 6.60-68. True disciples abide and persevere to the end. So the proof is not a previous experience, nor an attraction to Jesus for what he can give you, but a present persevering faith in God the Father through Jesus the Son, for his own sake; this is shown in continuing in his word. In what sense does the 'truth' set us free. Truth that you know in Jesus; ie the light. True knowledge of God, in the face of Jesus. Not as simple as 'truth about my circumstance', since you can genuinely focus on different 'truths' with quite different results. E.g., your weight, your achievements. v33 Name dropping. Spiritual pride from pedigree. Never been enslaved? v34 everyone who sins is a slave to sin; and sin enslaves. Meaning of 'slave' and of 'sin'. v35-36 Jesus the Son has come to set slaves free, so that they too might live in his 'house' and enter true life as Sons before the Father. Meaning of 'freedom'. v37-40 literally offspring of Abraham, but not true children of him since they do not do what he did; above all, take God at his word. And when God visits them, to respond with awe, worship, and faith. v41 'not born in sexual immorality' - trying to mock the circumstances of Jesus' birth? Spiritual pride, God is our Father. But saying this does not make it so. v42 if God were your Father, you would love his big love, Jesus the Son. v43 when pushed, the false disciple cannot bear to hear Jesus' word. Response to God's word is what separates true and false disciples, not certain activities or temperaments (e.g., how brave and hardcore the Christian things you do are). v44 instead, to love darkness and lies - and not bear the true words of Jesus, is to be a child of the devil. No middle ground. He is the 'Father' of lies, whether or not people are aware of this [cf like dark spy masters carrying out their deception with agents totally unaware]. v45-47 BECAUSE I tell the truth, you do not believe me. The 'world' has a shared 'paranoia', a shared deception and narrative about itself and everything which cannot bear the light. But whoever is of God hears the word of God. [Bible-teaching churches 'uncover' and 'gather' the people of God in each generation in each community, whilst simultaneously revealing false disciples, who eventually fall away]. 2. Jesus' disciples will never die (v48-59) v48 turn to ad hominem attack; you are a samaritan and demon-possessed. A convenient narrative to enable them not to have to listen to what he says. v49-50 Jesus does not seek his own glory. But the Father seeks the Son's glory. And anyone who knows and loves the Father will love the Son and seek his glory. v51 Jesus' disciples will 'never see death'. Different aspects of death in the Bible: spiritual separation from God; literal physical death; eternal condemnation. Jesus talks of the first and third, and the second of being no cause for worry for his people cf 11.25-27. v52-55 forcing his words into their narrative. Jesus does not seek his own glory, but the Father seeks his glory. v56 Abraham rejoiced to see Jesus' 'day'; the day of the Lord is Jesus' day. Putting all things right and bringing to fulfilment all the gracious plans of God. This is the life beyond death which Jesus gives his people. v57-59 They realise the significance of what he has said. He is the true I AM (Exodus 3.14, Isaiah 43.10, 13, 25 etc). You would never write this if it was a fiction. The only options are that Jesus truly is mad, or demon-possessed, or the son of God. He cannot be a good moral teacher and claims what he did. God's glory . He sends his Son to set slaves free. Slaves who have chosen slavery. FCF . v30 cf v31. Fickle faith! Which won't abide and persevere. Slavery to sin and devil. Sin by nature and by choice. Each person chooses sin, which enslaves. We need freeing! Our slavery is such that we don't even know we're slaves! H1 . Murder, violence, outright selfish lies. The ongoing antagonism to Jesus. H2 . Hidden selfish lies. Outer morality but still lies and the sin of self-righteousness. See it in the passage, self-righteous about their pedigree. Because they are associated with Abraham, they must be righteous like him. Claiming that their Father is God. Fundamentally not 'bearing' to hear Jesus' word. Not taking him at his word. Person of Jesus. He is the true Son who can set the slaves free indeed. Before Abraham was, Jesus is the true I AM; the Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. Work of Jesus . v40 a man who told the truth was killed for telling the truth. Light of the world extinguished in darkness. The true Son put to death as a slave. The life-giver is exchanged for a murderer, so that liars and murderers like us could go eternally free. Union with Jesus. If you abide in Jesus' word, you are truly his disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. You will never see death. Invitation . Be a son of Abraham and take God at his word. Confrontation . Acknowledge your sin and be set free. Consolation . You are really free. True freedom is the freedom to choose to obey joyfully. Freedom of the will distinct from free agency. Keep persevering in faith, since those who persevere to the end will be saved. Wrap up : If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples. Jesus' disciples will know the truth, and the truth will set them free. Jesus' disciples will never die.