Today’s passage: John 8:31–59
Focus verse: “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31–32)
Jesus speaks to the Jews who believe in him. He encourages them to hold fast to his teaching. By doing so, they prove they are his disciples, his loyal followers. As his disciples, they will understand his truth. That knowledge provides them with freedom from their sins.
Wow! There’s a lot packed into these two verses.
The passage starts with believing in Jesus. We affirm who he is—the Son of God. And we accept what he came to do—to heal us and to save us (Matthew 9:2–7).
Though this is a great start, there’s more. James reminds us that even the demons believe in God and that conviction makes them shudder in fear (James 2:19). Mere belief in Jesus is not enough. Believing in him is just the start.
To those who believe, he urges them to hold on to his teaching. This is more than a mental agreement with what Jesus tells us or a feel-good acknowledgment of his character.
Instead, we move forward to act according to what Jesus says to do. We take his words seriously and put his instructions into practice.
To those who hold on to his teaching in this way, they show they are his loyal disciples. They’re not followers in name only, but followers in living a life consistent with what Jesus invites them to embrace.
They put their faith into action, and, as a result, they impact people for Jesus wherever they go.
As for these disciples, they know the truth that produces salvation as a certainty. This reality gives them freedom from the penalty of their sins.
Their spiritual rescue—and ours—can only come from Jesus and through Jesus by his once-and-forever sacrifice to make good on the things we’ve done wrong. Through Jesus we become right with Father God. This truth sets us free.
I hope you believe in Jesus. And as a believer in him, I yearn to grasp his teaching as detailed in Scripture and revealed by the Holy Spirit. In doing so we will be his disciples and know the truth—salvation truth—that sets us free.
- Do you believe that Jesus came to heal and to save us? Why?
- How can you hold on to Jesus’s teaching?
- How can you take Jesus’s words seriously and put his instructions into practice?
- What can you do to put your faith into action?
- What does being set free by Jesus’s truth mean to you?
Tips: Check out our tips to use this online Bible study for your church, small group, Sunday school class, or family discussion. It’s also ideal for personal study. Come back each Monday for a new lesson.
Read more in Peter’s new book, Living Water: 40 Reflections on Jesus’s Life and Love from the Gospel of John, available everywhere in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.