Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
Where we pick up in our text today, Jesus is going to define what a genuine disciple looks like. As a quick reminder, we saw last week that many came to believe in Him. What jumps out right away in this next verse are the words “if you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples”. This is a defining moment for those who just professed to be His followers and should be a defining moment for us today.
Disciples Hold on to the Word
To understand what it means to let the Word abide in us, it will help us to look at the opposite example. Jesus says in verse 37, the opposite of abiding in His word is that the word has no place in us. To abide in the Word means that it should affect every part of our life to have the Word in us, reformatting and challenging our thoughts and actions. If His Word isn’t abiding in us, then there is no affect. Abiding equals affect. This is how we change and grow, and as this happens we see the truth of who Jesus is more clearly.
Disciples Discover Truth in the Word
Jesus says in v.32, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” We hear a lot about truth these days. People are looking for truth and they are looking for freedom. People aren’t looking for ignorance. They aren’t searching for bondage. They are looking for the truth that will free them from those things. Every human heart is driven in that direction. So what is truth? Paul makes it clear in Ephesians 4:21, “the truth is in Jesus”. Jesus says it in 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”. John writes that when the Holy Spirit comes, He will guide you into all truth in chapter 16, verse 13. And in chapter 17, Jesus prays “your word is truth”. The truth of who Jesus is and what he’s done, and the only way to see Jesus clearly, is by the Holy Spirit opening your eyes to it. This is the truth that brings freedom.
Disciples Find Freedom in the Truth
When our eyes have been allowed to see clearly who Jesus is, it takes away any excuses we may give for why we are still in bondage. The excuses they give here are based on what they did or had done. Jesus addressed each one without any hesitation. If we want freedom, we need to go to the one who can give freedom. His name is Jesus. He is the one who paid the price and He is the only way we find freedom. Freedom is knowing Jesus, abiding in His Word, discovering more of who He is every day, and resting in who we are in Christ. May we be found truly in Him. May we abide in His Word, and as we do, may we know the truth and may the truth set us free.
Donavon said, “Abiding (in God’s word, and allowing his word to abide in us)) equals effect”. Think of some examples where God’s word has penetrated some area of your life that has led to a change of how you thought or acted.
There is a popular phrase that says we should “find our own truth”. Is that the same as finding truth in Jesus and his word? Explain.
How does the truth of God’s word lead to freedom?