Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Lent
Daniel 3:14-20,91-92,95 + John 8:31-42
“… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Historically, freedom for the Jews was based upon two figures of their past. First, descent from Abraham—their father in faith—was considered the foundation of the People of God. Second in importance was adherence to the Law of Moses, who led God’s People from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. Yet the Gospel accounts show that many in Jesus’ day who were living in the Holy Land were in fact slaves.
Jesus, we might say, taught that authentic and lasting freedom comes from adherence to the truth. More significant than this teaching, however, is that Jesus revealed Himself to be Truth incarnate. As we draw closer to Holy Week, we might anticipate Pontius Pilate’s feckless query: “Truth? What is truth?” In our own culture, it’s claimed that truth can be manufactured according to one’s own will, if one even wishes to bother with the idea of “truth”. The human person, in this false view of reality, is free to manipulate truth at will. Jesus reveals a much more demanding relationship between truth and freedom.
Jesus declares “to those Jews who believed in him, ‘If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” Each person who seeks to follow Jesus must reckon with this declaration by first believing in Jesus. Through belief—that is, through faith—the Christian disciple can remain in Jesus’ word. In all things, Jesus’ word is a call: a call to self-sacrifice for the love of God and neighbor. Living out this truth is the only means by which to find authentic and eternal freedom.