And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
The verse is one of the best known in Scripture, one of the most quoted.
Truth is one of the most highly rated thing in this world. I’d say that, if given the option, the majority of people would say that the truth is the most important thing about life. That is, if people understand that the truth in question is an/the absolute truth (truth with a capital “T”).
Our society has the tendency of focusing on the concept of subjective truth. The general feeling is that truth can be whatever you want it to be. What’s true for one person is true for that person while it may not be true for the some other person. Ultimate truth, within today’s society, is either nonexistent or unattainable (and therefore, in that regard, seemingly unimportant).
But when Jesus talks about truth in this passage from the book of John, it does not seem possible that He is talking about finding your own personal truth that best fits your way of life. No, Jesus seems to be making claims about an ultimate or absolute truth (and when I say seems to be, I mean He has to be).
In the verses after these, Jesus talks about slavery and specifically slavery to sin. A slave generally cannot free him or her self. So, if something enslaves a person, that person needs freedom. When Christ speaks of this kind of slavery, it is slavery of the worst kind, but there is truth that will break these chains. Jesus claims to be this truth a few verses later when He says, “So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free” (John 8:36). The audience Christ spoke to in chapter 8 did not understand what Christ was talking about when he talked about their slavery (v. 33). They had a hard time understanding what it was that they needed freedom from, nor were they able to understand what they needed freedom for.
Jesus talks about being a part of a family in verse 35, and much of the rest of the passage is a discussion between Jesus and the crowd of Jews around Him about who their father was. If we drop it into a different kind of terminology, perhaps a more secular terminology, it is acknowledge a need for something passed this life, something greater than this life.
I believe that in every individual lies a thirst that cannot be quenched by the waters of this world. Jesus calls Himself “the way, the truth, and the life” and that “no one can come to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). That’s a bold claim. Jesus says that He is everything you need to tap into the existence of the God who is all-powerful and all-knowing. Jesus calls Himself the answer; He calls Himself the truth that leads to that which lasts forever.
Should there not be a depth to this? Should there not be breadth? Who is this Jesus? Why is He so important? He claims to be the only connection that we have between this life that passes away and the everlasting.
So, we will not be afraid to ask questions; nor will we be afraid to seek answers. We will seek out this truth that sets us free.