31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
This phrase often works its way into popular culture. “The truth will set you free.” Which truth? Free from what? “The truth that you didn’t commit this crime…will set you free from prison.” “The truth that coconut oil is great…will set you free from not knowing that coconut oil is great.” If it means everything, does it mean anything?
The people listening to Jesus had a sense that the answer is no. No, this is not a fuzzy maxim to apply to everything; if it were, it wouldn’t mean anything. So, they wanted to know: Which truth? Free from what?
They say to Jesus: “We have never been enslaved to anyone! How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus has an answer. You don’t realize it, but the one who took you in made you his slave. Sin said ‘move in with me,’ but he put you in the slave quarters. Sin will not fulfill his promises to you. The sin you tend will never satisfy your appetite. Sin will eat you up and spit out your bones. Sin’s house is no home.
But Jesus has a counter-offer. In fact, that’s what he started out with. “The truth will set you free.” I will set you free from that house, where you are a slave. The truth is: You’re welcome in this house, where you will be part of the family. The truth is: I conquered sin and death, so you don’t have to stay there. The truth is: You’ll fit in here, because my Spirit will clothe you. The truth is: You’ll be loved here, because my Father loves those who come calling.
The truth is: “The truth will set you free.”