Seven Wonders of the Word
“Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” – John 8:31-32
I never saw the movie “A Few Good Men” but I saw the trailers, I have seen a number of spoof’s of Jack Nicholson’s character bellowing out the line… “you can’t handle the truth!” There is if you will pardon me, some truth in that line. It’s not that we can’t handle the truth, its very often we don’t want to. When the truth is known, we lose control, we fear that the house of cards that we have constructed to give us the illusion of freedom will come tumbling down if the truth is truly known.
When Jesus speaks to his disciples, those who had been following them, he was laying bare the illusions that we cling to, that the world and our lives are all about us, that we are the boss, that we have everything in control. I think that is why Jesus addresses those who follow him in this way. To know the truth the real truth is to be exposed to its fullest in relationship to the God of all creation, nothing hidden, nothing reserved, we are fully connected to the Word and in being so known, we are free. Free to be who God created us to be in the first place. The problem is that often we are tempted to be something else, something we think we are supposed to be.
These things, the expectations of what truth is, can be imposed on us by family, culture, friends and even religion itself and we cling to them thinking that we will be truly free if we only… But Jesus points out a little later in John that he is in fact THE TRUTH. It is by connecting to him in relationship, fully known, totally exposed good and bad, that we find that we are loved with a love that not even death can defeat. When we cling to that love, when we draw our strength from that relationship we find that the Word shapes us and guides us into the fullness of truth and life and freedom.
Yes, I know connecting seems to be the opposite of freedom, but we all connect to something, we all align ourselves in some fashion or another, there is no such thing as a freedom apart, there is only freedom within. Jesus tells his disciples then as he does us today that if we want to know the truth, then we need to remain, or dwell in relationship with him and in him we are connected with the fullness of God.
When we are so connected, we find that we are free to live, free to love, free to serve, free to be who we really are, not just what we think we are, or what we think we need to be. The key here is where do you draw your strength from? Is it from the Word, or is it from yourself or other things that appeal to your sense of freedom? Jesus tells us that if we stay connected if we continue in all things we will be made truly free, all other ideas of freedom are forms of bondage, and in that light we very well might not be able to handle the truth. The truth of Christ, will change you, and maybe that is why we struggle with it. We like our own little self defined worlds, but Jesus doesn’t let you stay there with yourself as the center of the universe. The truth calls us beyond what we define ourselves as and into the fullness of what God has created us to be. Often we might squint deeply once we see, but it is in the light of God’s love for us that we not only can handle the truth, we can grow and flourish in this life and in our lives for others and be truly free.
This truth will change you.