Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).
Dictionary.com defines truth as: a) The true or actual state of a matter; b) Conformity with fact or reality; verity; c) A verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like; d) The state of character of being true; e) An obvious or accepted fact; f) Honesty, integrity; truthfulness; and g) Agreement with a standard or original.[i]
From the above definitions, we can say that, truth has many nuances that capture the essence of what it stands for. It’s sad to say that, it is a word that is often used loosely especially, when people find themselves in hot waters and want to get by or get away with the actual facts. Some people argue that, truth is relative; depending on once perceptions, what is truth to somebody might be lies to another. However, the following axioms about truth prompt mankind to take a hard look at truth. For instance, it is often said that; “Truth is the first casualty in every war.” “The truth will find you out.” You can hide the truth from people, but you can’t hide it from God.” These sayings are meant to push the importance of truth to a higher level. The reasons being;
1. Truth is the foundation upon which society is built on.
2. Truth is the steel that binds all human relationships together.
3. Truth is like a bitter pill to swallow; but brings healing to our souls, bodies and minds.
4. Truth set people free; irrespective of their social or economic status.
5. Truth emboldens people to confront human injustice no matter the cost.
The Abrahamic covenant gave the Jewish people a sense of national identity and pride. They knew that they were a special people, chosen and ruled by God. This theocracy brought with it both privileges and responsibilities. As long as they obeyed God, he is obligated to protect, bless, direct and teach them the right way to go. With this background, it was hard for them to imagine, let alone to see themselves in bondage. Jesus therefore struck the wrong chord when he said; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Upon hearing this, the people retorted, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free” (John 8:33)?
Jesus saw that, the people including the Pharisees and the Scribes were spiritually blind and that had put them in bondage. They were bound by the devil who fed them with lies; because, he is the father of lies. The writer of the book of Genesis describes his activity in the Garden of Eden when he said to Eve; “You will not certainly die,”… 5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4). Adam and Eve got hooked onto this lies and the consequence was the beginning of the human race’s downward spiral journey into the abyss of sin and bondage.
Jesus knew that his express purpose of coming into this earth is to save mankind from this bondage. Hence he said; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). In another passage, he also said; And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). The obvious question then is, What Truth is Jesus talking about? Exegesis of the two passages above brings out the following facts; a) The opposite of truth is lies. b) Truth brings freedom. c) Lies bring bondage.
After man was deceived by the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, It took the love and mercy of God to free us. The Bible says; For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus therefore came to this earth to set mankind from the bondage of sin. Hence Paul told the Galatians; It is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1a).
Jesus contrasted truth which only comes from God to lies which also originated from the devil because, he called him a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44c). Every day, we see the intrigues of the devil who lurks behind anything that could take the mind of people off God. He makes people believe his lies are the truth that would set them free.
During Easter time, we are reminded of the pain and suffering our Lord and Saviour endured to purchase our freedom. We hear of the crown of thorns he wore as part of his humiliation. We hear of the spear that was pierced through his side. We hear of his cry when he asked his Father; My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? We hear of his thirst while still hanging on the cross. We hear his last words on the cross when he said; “It is finished” (John 19:30b). All this and many more are part of the truth Jesus was talking about when he said; And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Saints let’s make it our aim to hold on to this truth, because there is no other truth that could lead us to heaven.
In conclusion, I want us to reflect on Isaac Watts’ hymn: WHEN I SURVEY THE WONDROUS CROSS.
When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.
On behalf of my family, staff and all members of Disciples Revival Church, I wish each one of you A HAPPY EASTER!!!
[i] Retrieved from Google.ca on March 28th 2017,
My books titled: African Spirituality: Did Africans Know God Before the Arrival of the Missionaries? and Understanding Love: Biblical & Cultural Perspectives can be purchased from Amazon.com or through the Publisher @ www.shidaanikei.com.
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