You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Unless you just arrived from another planet, you have heard that sentence many times in your life. These words are the words of Jesus and they are found in John 8:32. They are true beyond a doubt, and in a wide range of applications. But you may not be familiar with the response to that statement by the people who heard it first.
Then said Jesus to those Jews who believed on him, If you continue in my word, then are you my disciples indeed; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We are Abraham’s descendants, and were never in bondage to any man: how say you, You shall be made free?
Now, this response is truly astonishing. The Jews had been a conquered people in one way or another for most of the years since the Babylonian Captivity. They had been under the Medes, Persians, Greeks, and here they sat under the heel of the Romans even as they spoke these words. Yet they thought they were free.
It’s almost an analogy for life, in general. Is it possible that we are living out our lives in a kind of bondage while we say, along with these Jews,
We are free men. We have never been in bondage? It’s possible, I suppose, to be a slave and not know it. Most of us are in one kind of bondage or another. The terrible irony is that we have forged our own chains and wear them when we could probably just as easily cast them off, because the chains are in our minds.