To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Throughout history, man's desire for freedom has been a driving force behind many of the world's most influential movements and events. From ancient civilizations to modern societies, the yearning to break free from oppression, limitations, and constraints has shaped cultures, sparked revolutions, and inspired countless works of art and literature.
This universal aspiration isn't just about the absence of chains; it's about the human spirit's quest for self-expression, independence, and the ability to pursue one's passions and beliefs freely. Whether it's the freedom to speak, to dream, or to love, this need for freedom underscores the essence of what it means to be truly human.
Jesus addresses the subject of freedom in what he says to the Jews who believed him. "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." When Jesus speaks of knowing the truth, we must recognize that he himself is often referred to as 'the Truth' in the scriptures. "I am the way and the truth and the life,” Jesus declared (John 14:6).
Consequently, to be free, we need to know Jesus. But this knowledge has to go beyond an intellectual knowledge; it has to be a deeper relationship where we know the things he has said, and hold on to what he has taught? What does it mean to hold on to Jesus' teachings? How do we hold on to them?
To hold on to Jesus' teachings is to internalize and live by the principles and values he imparted. It's not merely about intellectual assent or rote memorization of scripture; it's about allowing his words to transform our hearts, minds, and actions. Holding on means making his teachings the foundation of our lives, using them as the lens through which we view the world, and the compass that guides our decisions.
How do we hold on to them? Firstly, by immersing ourselves in the scriptures, regularly reading and meditating on his words. This not only deepens our understanding but also strengthens our connection to Jesus.
Secondly, through prayer, where we seek guidance, wisdom, and the strength to live out his teachings even when it's challenging. We must also surround ourselves with a community of believers. In this fellowship, we can be encouraged, held accountable, and grow in our faith.
Lastly, by practicing what we've learned, making conscious efforts to apply his teachings in our daily lives, from the way we treat others to the choices we make in challenging situations. In doing so, we not only experience the freedom Jesus speaks of but also become beacons of that freedom to others.
Let us know the truth, and let the truth set us free.
God bless you.