Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Your Holy Spirit on Your faithful people. Keep them steadfast in Your grace and truth. Protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Your Church Your saving peace.
After Jesus identifies Himself as the Messiah, those who at first believed in Him quickly changed their minds. They had a change of heart; they reconsidered, when they heard what it meant to be His disciples. Since the words of Jesus are life and the central fact and event of the Christian church, which is “always in need of reform” for we are living outside of Eden, we need, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to think on the meaning of the word He has spoken and then learn to understand the importance of Jesus word.
1. If you continue in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth.
A. The picture of Jesus as the hero-messiah is by no means limited to the people of His day. Many modern Christians also think of Jesus as a model for social, economic and political reform. Even the disciples, as pious as they were, were looking for Jesus to come and “restore the kingdom of Israel,” (Acts 1:6) Jesus constantly had to address this issue repeatedly throughout His earthly ministry. (Matt.11:14; 17:11-12; Mark 9:11-13) Modern messianic expectations of all sorts of people are directed to the attainment of world peace, economic prosperity, the enjoyment of good things of this life. Actually, one does not need to believe in Jesus in order to live for such hopes.
B. Those hopes contradict the Word of Jesus. This Word is important because we who believe Him shall know the truth – if we continue in His Word. It is truth regarding His person – who He is; namely, the only Son of the Father. (John 8:54-55)
Jesus is the truth in contrast to the devil, “the prince of this world,” whose nature it is to lie (v.44). It is truth regarding our condition and ourselves before God, our Creator and Judge.
According to our fallen nature, we have the spiritual image and likeness of the devil. To know the truth about ourselves is to know what has happened to us whom God originally had made for Himself. But the Jews did not want to know that. (v.33)
2. The truth will make you free.
A. This is not just any “truth” but the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (14:6) We confess Him as “the only begotten Son of God…who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffer and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures.”
B. How does Jesus make us free? By redeeming us from the judgment of God on sin (Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23). Forgiveness of sin is no sentimental disposition of God: “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin” (Hebrews 9:22) By obeying God’s law for us and by suffering the penalty of our trespass, He provided for our acquittal and life in Him (Romans 5:18-19) God as a member of His family receives the forgiven sinner. Freedom in Christ must be understood as sharing in the liberty of Him who “is all in all” (Colossians 1:15-20)
Jesus Christ, our truth and freedom, is also our continuing hope: “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My words, he will never see Death” (John 8:51; eternal death) We Christians live in this hope. Reformation Day reminds us how we live in hope, namely, by daily contrition for the sins that cling to us in this world and in the firm faith that God continually forgives us our sins for Christ’s sake.