“Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more,” Jesus said to the adulterous woman brought to Him for condemnation. Then, He turned to the crowd He had been teaching and said, “I am the light of the world, he that shall follow me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.”
A way out! Hope for everyone sitting there who’d just realized they, too, had stones of sin heavy in their hearts. Instead of a response of gratitude, however, the haggling began, finger pointing declaring Jesus had no right to speak in this way since He had no one else to vouch for this authority.
“Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man,” Jesus explained, “And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.”
Wow! The One who’d just chosen NOT to judge was the One who had every right to judge, the One who walked in perfect harmony with the holy Spirit of God. Instead of the dark dungeon of judgement, He offered Himself as a light for life. And He had the authority to do so.
Among the temple crowd, a few felt the stirring of hope and chose to believe.
It was to these, the believers, that Jesus said. “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Freedom! What a delightful word-choice for a group of people whose heritage was one sprinkled with the oppressive burden of slavery, captivity, and subjection to pagan rulers. Yet, these believers' reply was sorely lacking in faith. “We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou,’Ye shall be made free?”
Did you feel it? The wall of resistance flung up by the ones who’d just glimpsed Jesus’ real authority and believed it? Their level of belief took them only so far. Far enough to see that Jesus was gracious to sinners. Not far enough to become a personal level of trust..
Don’t we also take our stance on feeble foundations that quake and shake beneath us rather than step up to the new ground God provides? Like the believers clustered around Jesus in the temple, we can see enough to recognize partial truth, yet remain tethered to always has been, afraid to leave our present security for the promise of bold advancement.
Just as Jesus did in Luke 8, He allows us to see how warm and welcoming He is. We experience His love and feel the gratitude that our wrongdoings have been met with grace. Then He invites us to follow Him. To sell out. To CONTINUE in His Word. And our hackles rise. Why would we want to submit to another authority when we’ve built this tidy little monument to some past experience—even worse, to someone else’s past experience? “Humph! I don’t need religion. I’m doing just fine on my own!” or “Yes, I see that Jesus is God, but my family has believed something else for generations. I see no reason to change,” or “Lifestyle alterations? Why would I want to do that? Why can’t I just do what I want to and let God forgive me? I really don’t like the ‘go and sin no more’ statement. Maybe I was wrong about this Jesus fellow.”
When we start building defenses against Jesus’ challenge to take a closer look at who He really is and who He wants to be in our lives, we set ourselves against the truth. After all, HE is TRUTH. In our effort to convince HIM that we need nothing more, we distort the facts in our own thinking. Our bondage suddenly looks like freedom. Wrong relationships appear acceptable. Destructive habits seem like ways to enjoy life. Life without Christ feels like “really living.”
To the self-deception, we add offense. “Jesus says truth will make me free. How dare He! Is He saying I’m wrong?!” The resistance wears us down until we return to our original faulty thinking. “Who does Jesus think He is anyway? Why should I trust Him?”
So Jesus breaks it down, showing how needy we really are. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” He presents the choice: which master do you want to serve? Then, He shows the consequences. If we choose to serve sin, we are slaves to that which is temporary and powerless to help us. But if we choose Him, He is eternal. He is powerful, well able to provide liberty. He remains in authority and can put us in a no-judgement zone just as He did the adulterous woman.
That's a good place to be. So let's continue believing when our believing challenges what we thought we knew. Let's smooth our ruffled feathers and keep believing until our believing becomes the relationship God intended our faith to be.
Tip/Tidbit: Do you pick and choose the aspects of Jesus you want to keep? Are there challenges or commitments you prefer to ignore? Why? Remember that Jesus has your best interests at heart. You are the one to receive freedom from your choice to follow Him. Still having trouble? Take a closer look at the One who loves you enough to die for you. Listen for His words—they are whispers of love. Turn to His truth--It is His embrace
The One with all authority is the Word you can abide in and the Truth that will set you free.
Experience the freedom that comes
with believing the truth.