October 27, 2018
John 8:31-33 …“They answered him, ‘We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, “You will be made free”?’”
When Jesus told the religious leaders that, as his disciples they could be made free, their response is both understandable and laughable. They were, of course, proud of their heritage as children of Abraham. It gave them a stable identity and set them apart from other people. But to say they had never been slaves to anyone was ludicrous. They had been a subject people for most of their existence! They just didn’t get what Jesus was saying, and neither do we. We, too, are invited to become disciples and receive the gift of freedom, and like those leaders we defer. “We’re Americans,” we say, “we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.” We’re proud of our independence and celebrate it with joy every Fourth of July. But what Jesus offers has nothing to do with our citizenship or political privilege. Jesus is talking about a deeper freedom, one that has to do with our inner inclinations. None of us is as free as we think we are. We are bound in a whole assortment of ways to our passions and desires. We’re even slaves to expectations, both of ourselves and of others! Because of that bondage, we carry excruciatingly heavy burdens of failure and guilt. Our souls yearn for the freedom that Jesus offers, and his promise is truly music to our ears.
Thought for the Day: When am I most aware of my slavery?