Lent Day 2
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” – John 8:31-32
Picture the scene with me. Although it’s not yet time for the crucifixion, the tension is slowly building in Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has predicted that he is going somewhere out of reach. He has warned his hearers that they would die in their sins for not believing in him. He has predicted his death, saying that the moment of his “lifting up” is when he will be known. In fact, the moment of lifting up will reveal two things: that Jesus is who he says he is, the Messiah, the Great I AM, and that he does nothing on his own—rather, he acts and speaks only what he receives from his Father.
Whether or not the Jews listening to Jesus knew what he meant by “lifting up,” many believed him (8:30). And it is to these that Jesus explains what it means to truly be a disciple: to continue in his word.
What does this look like?
Justin Rizzo sings a simple song that, I believe, describes this well. The second verse of “Found Faithful” says:
Don’t want to be ashamed
The day I see your face, God
Keep my footsteps firm
Hold me in your grace!
This is what it means to be a disciple. It is a deep longing to see God face to face, a longing that is rooted in the wonderful reality that God has already shown us his face in Jesus. It is a process of being caught up with the whole community of fellow disciples who are walking together with God. It is a cry from the depths of our being to be found faithful and steady to the end. And the glory of it is that God does hold us in his grace, enabling us to walk firmly in his word.
It is in this steady, grace-enabled walk that we truly are disciples, as we continue in Jesus’ word. This is the way to know the truth. We could say that this is the way to know the Truth, Jesus himself (John 14:6). In the steady walk, continuing in his word, we come to know all that is true about the Father—for Jesus is the only door to the Father.
So, truly being a disciple, continuing in Jesus’ word, leads to a knowledge of the truth that ushers us into the very presence of God. And which is first, really? We start in God’s presence because of his own initiative, and then we come to know him; this leads us into discipleship, and continued discipleship gives us more truth and revelation, which leads us deeper into his presence. It really is a glorious spiral!
This truth that we come to know in Jesus is the kind that sets us free.
Picture chains falling off.
Picture waking from a nightmare.
Picture taking in a huge gulp of air after being under water, feeling like your lungs were going to burst.
This is the freedom we have—freedom from sin, a gift that comes with continuing in Jesus’ word!
Jesus, we want to be found faithful and steady. Give us the grace to continue in your word and truly be your disciples. You are the truth, the only way to the Father—and in you alone we find glorious freedom! All praise to you, O Christ.