Post by Steve Botsford
“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,” John 8:31-32
In today’s Gospel reading Jesus tells the Jews who believe in him a simple formula for success. It is so simple, however, that it can almost seem impossible to completely understand. How is a good steward to interpret this statement?
The word “if” could almost be taken as a threat, for “if” one does not remain in his word one will not be set free.
The word “remain” could mean that one could be set free unless they do not “remain” in his word.
The word “word” could mean the scriptures as we sometimes refer to scripture or the bible, yet, the “word” might refer to Jesus himself, as we understand Jesus as the “word” of God.
“Truly” could mean that one might possibly could be a disciple but not “truly.”
And so on. Imaginably, we could be overthinking it!
Ironically, the Jews listened but didn’t hear. They listened to Jesus literally and missed the point entirely! Jesus wasn’t talking about literal slavery or earthen fathers. He was talking about doing the RIGHT THING! He was saying to follow him as the way, the truth and the life, and they would be free from the slavery of sin.
The Good News
We can also interpret today’s gospel within the context of the Good News. When we read The Appearance on the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35, we see Jesus as a companion on our faith Journey. The Latin meaning for companion is derived from two words: com meaning “with” and panis meaning “bread.”
With bread. As we recall in the Bread of Life Discourse, “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” John 6:35.
As we continue our faith journey this Lent, perhaps we should consider our companion for the journey. We are never alone as long as we are receiving, and walking with, the Bread of Life.
Lord, in my effort to become a better disciple, a mature steward, and your hands and feet, let me remain in you today trusting that to be with you is to become truly free from the slavery of sin.
Steve Botsford is a husband, father, catechist, educational consultant, blogger, and game designer.