Scripture: John 17:17 CEB
“Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth.”
It is one of the most well-known sayings in the Bible. It has often been misused and misquoted. The premise of the saying is usually captured, but the context is almost always forgotten. This is the issue with a lot of the Bible. When we misquote the Bible or misuse Scripture or even take it out of context altogether we can cause damage. The saying I referred to earlier comes in The Gospel of John chapter 8 verse 32. In this saying Jesus is speaking to the Jews who have put their faith in him as the Messiah. Jesus is letting them know they must remain faithful to his teaching and continue as his disciples. Jesus says if they will do this, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Often this quote is taken out of context to mean any truth in any situation. While the premise of the saying may remain intact, it is not what Jesus was saying. Jesus was referring to a specific truth for a specific people in a specific time. Jesus was not referring to the truth that 2+2=4 will set you free.
This is so important to remember. Yes, when you know the truth it will be freeing. If you know that 2+2=4, then you are free to begin experiencing the rest of what math has to offer. If you do not know the basic truths of math, you will never get to the more advanced uses of math. However, Jesus was talking about a much more specific and eternal truth — the truth that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Jewish law. Jesus was talking about the truth of God sending him as the promised Messiah. Jesus said that if you remain faithful to my teachings and are a true disciple THEN you will know the truth. Then they would know the truth that God loves them and doesn’t just desire for them to follow a set of hundreds of laws. Then they will know that God sent the Messiah to take away their sins and make atonement on their behalf. Then they will know that they will spend eternity with God by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. THIS is the TRUTH that will set THEM free.
This is what Jesus is praying for in his prayer in John 17. Jesus asks the Father to, “Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth.” This is the same truth Jesus taught to the Jews who believed in him. This is the truth that Jesus taught to the Gentiles who believed in him. This is the truth that Jesus teaches to all of us still today. When we are saved by God’s grace through our faith in Jesus Christ we are made holy and righteous before God. Only God can make us holy. It is then our responsibility to remain faithful to Jesus’ teachings as disciples. When we remain in the truth, that God sent his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life, then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. To put it more succinctly — Jesus is the truth and Jesus sets us free! Just as Jesus prayed for the Father to make us holy, we must continue to pray for God to make us holy each and every day.
Make today count! Remain faithful to the teachings of Jesus in everything you do. Especially, remember to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor the way you have been loved by Christ. Keep this truth close to you and this truth will indeed set you free. Live in that freedom today. Love in that freedom today and offer a glimpse of the truth to everyone you encounter. Make today count as you allow God to continue to make you holy.
Prayer: God of grace and God of mercy, thank you for all you have done for me. I am forever grateful for the gift of your Son, Jesus. Empower me today through your Holy Spirit to live in your truth. I want to live in your freedom today. In the name of Jesus. Amen.