St John’s Gospel (24): Freedom in Jesus (John 8:21-36)
John 8:21-36 - Then He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” . . . “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” 25 So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” . . . 27 They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. . . . 30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him. 31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” 33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 35 “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 36 “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
> This Gospel Light produces both righteous judgments and gracious forgiveness.
> Righteous judgments follow the Law’s just process of witnesses, testimony, and judgment.
>Gracious forgiveness follows the Gospel’s foundation of atonement, mercy, and love.
The Origin and Identity of Jesus (vv-21-29) - Previously (vv12-20) Christ taught that His testimony is authenticated by the Father and His sign-works (Jn. 3:2, 5:36, 9:3). This section (vv 21-36) begins as a new part of His teaching in which He applies the testimony of His origin and identity. The application is bold: “unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (v24). Christ repeatedly declares His origin and identity, but they are blind to His references (v27). Unique to John’s glorification language, the full realization of His identity will be on the cross (“lifted up” v28, 3:14, 12:32). All Christ’s actions are because of the purpose of the Father (vv28-29).
The Offer of Freedom in Jesus (vv30-36) - It is striking that as He appeals to the purpose of the Father, some believe (v30). He calls those who believe to persevere in discipleship, resulting in confirmation in the truth. The fruit of truth is true freedom (v32). It is as though fog of their darkened minds was lifted for a moment, then the haze sets in again. Forgetting the entire history of Israel, these half-faiths respond that they have never been slaves as Abraham’s descendants (v33). Cutting through the fog of their words, Christ’s asserts the truth that all who sin are slaves of sin and only the Son can make them free, indeed.
>The greatest manifestation of Christ’s identity and purpose is the cross.
>The greatest means of freedom from sin is through trusting Christ’s work on the cross.