Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed;…
1. Three mighty thoughts — knowledge, truth, freedom.
2. Men claim to be free born or to attain freedom at a great price; yet he who sins is a slave of sin.
(1) Political freedom is but the bark, intellectual freedom but the fibre, of the tree spiritual: freedom is the sap. Men contend for bark and fibre, Christ gives the sap. Sometimes we have political freedom, but formal, sapless, as dead as telegraph poles strung with the wires of politicians.
3. Circumstances cannot fetter freedom or confer it. Joseph was as free in the dungeon as on the throne. "Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage." The Israelites in the desert were a nation of slaves despite their liberty. It matters not where I place my watch, so I wind it, it is really free; if I interfere with the works, wherever it may be, it is in bondage. So of man — bind, chain, imprison; if the soul be in sympathy with God, sustained by truth, you have a free man; if the reverse, you have a slave. John, though in prison, was free; Herod, though on the throne, was a slave — Christ and Pilate. Freedom, like the kingdom of heaven, is within. The text teaches a threefold lesson — man may know; truth is: the knowledge of the truth brings freedom.
I. The word KNOW carries us back to the dawn of history.
1. Two possibilities are placed before man — life or knowledge. Full of life, he chooses knowledge at the risk of life.
2. The race is true to its head — exploration, geographical, scientific, philosophical.
3. Yet men were then setting up altars to the unknown God: men now to God unknowable. The great Teacher says: "Ye shall know."
4. The promise implies that man can trust himself and the results of his research and experiences.
II. THE SUBJECT OF KNOWLEDGE IS TRUTH. Truth stands in contrast —
1. With a lie. Christ accuses His hearers of being children of the devil. Today as then men lie; wilfully misrepresent in business, political, and social life. Truth is consistency between what we
2. With veracity, think and say and what is. Veracity is consistency between what we say and think; but we may think wrongly.
3. Truth is reality as opposed to a lie and to appearance. Christ, as Son of God and Son of Man, sets forth certain realities regarding both, and the relation between the two. That God is, what God is, and what man is: alienation and possible reconciliation; regeneration by the Spirit; the results of separation from and reconciliation with God. These facts, relations, results, are truth, and may be known,
III. THE RESULTS OF SUCH KNOWLEDGE IS FREEDOM.
1. Freedom from the past, "Son, remember;" but the knowledge of God's reconciliation blots out the sin-stained past as a cloud.
2. Freedom from fears for the future based upon the past.
IV. THE ONE CONDITION OF ALL THIS IS BELIEF IN CHRIST. Faith as a grain of mustard seed grows into knowledge, etc.
(O. F. Gifford.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
WEB: Jesus therefore said to those Jews who had believed him, "If you remain in my word, then you are truly my disciples.