John 8:31-32 English Standard Version
The Truth Will Set You Free
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Let us return to the basics of scriptural understanding.
Who is speaking? Jesus
Who is hearing? Jews who believe Him.
What are their circumstances? Jews are a conquered people living under Roman rule.
There are many aspects of life for these Jews at this time. Herod was their Tetrarch, one of four appointed to control the people of the region. What the people wanted was for the Messiah to come and set them free from Roman rule and rid them of Herod. They wanted a King.
Now we must decide what Jesus meant for these Jews to understand. His intentions are more important than their understanding. What did Jesus mean when he said “abide in my word”?
Abide takes on three distinct aspects. A place, of time, and of qualities that would be produced in those people who believed in Jesus. These qualities are generalized as faith, hope and love. It is these character traits developed within the believer that identifies them as disciples.
Now Jesus has not been crucified. He has not risen from the grave. His atonement is on the horizon but has not taken place at this time. His words are no less true for these Jews who believe. Understanding the need for atonement to set us free from the penalty of sin is important. Truth is about to set them free? What will they be set free from in this place and at this time?
This goes back to the circumstances of the times. What did their Tetrarch say to them? What did their religious leaders tell them? Manipulation and control comes from words and commands which are based on self-interest of the speakers. The Tetrarch’s office was to control the Jews, manipulation. The Pharisees had their own agenda. Both of them were confronted by the presence of Jesus in their midst.
Their lies were being exposed.