I will be speaking to a group of 50 men next week. This is a group that meets at our church on Thursday mornings at 6:00. I was asked to do this a while ago and I have been praying about what to speak on. Today as I had my various Bibles and books in front of me asking the Lord to give me a hint on what to talk about I started writing down things about the men that attend this event every week. They are fathers and business people. They are husbands and friends. They are smart and curious. It dawned on me that one reason they show up is to know more things. So I prayed, “God, what is it you want these men to know?” Almost immediately he responded saying, “I want them to know my Son!” So I asked another question, “How does one get to know your son?”
Well, at some point in the past I placed a sticker in my Bible, this must have been 4-5 years ago. The sticker is one that an executive admin might place on a document for their boss that says simply “Sign Here” and has an arrow on it. You know what I mean? You buy them at office supply stores. Well, this sticker has been pointing to John 8:31-32 for years and I never have known why I put it there. I have looked at it often and simply shrugged and moved on. Well, today I know why it is there. John 8:31-32 says:
“Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
“You will know the truth…” In a previous blog post I talked about Pilate looking Jesus in the eye and asking what truth was. John 14 told us that Jesus himself is truth. So, how do we get to know truth? We must hold to Jesus’ word! OK, easily said, but what does that mean?
Quick, before reading any further answer this question, “What is a disciple?” (This is where you play the Jeopardy tune in your head and we take a 15 second pause…) Not so easy is it? The term disciple is one that we read about a lot in the church. We can say it easily enough. Some say the word discipline comes from it, yet the definition is not so easy to pin down. Well, the Greek makes it much more clear. The Greek word for disciple is “mathetai”. This word is translated into English as disciple, but the meaning of the word is “one who learns.” Look at the word again; the root is ‘math’, everyone’s favorite subject in 8th grade. Literally speaking, a person who loves math is a person who loves to learn!
So coming back to our verses, if we truly are disciples, then we truly love to learn. And if we love to learn, we will continue in Jesus’ word. Or said a different way, we will continue to follow and do what he has told us to do. And by extension, we will know the truth. And what is truth? Jesus! Somehow God was telling me to tell the men on Thursday that he (God) wants the men to know his Son (Jesus). And to know his Son is to know truth. And we get to know truth by keeping to and following his word. Only then can we truly become learners and disciples of Jesus.
And finally as if to put an exclamation on this John states it again in a way that leaves no room for doubt. Verse 32 says in part, “…the truth will set you free.” Well, in verse 36 we read, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!” Everything is very consistent. Jesus declares that following his word will allow us to know the truth. By the way here is another cool thing about Greek. Those that know how to write in Greek DO NOT use the article (in grammar the article is the word “the”) unless it is absolutely needed. Many times you will read about “a rock” or as the Apostle Paul would say “a gospel”. And almost immediately after that you will see the writers shift and say “the rock” or “the gospel”. When the article is employed, it is pointing out a specific thing, usually one that is well known. In our verses the Greek is quite clear, the article is used every time before the terms ‘word’ or ‘truth’ are employed. In other words there is “the Word” and there is “the Truth”. There are not multiple aspects of the Word or the Truth.
And this brings us full circle. God wants us to know his Son. To know his Son we must continue in His Word. By staying in His Word we will know the Truth. And the Truth, being Jesus himself, will set us free. Now we have to ask, “Free from what?” But that is for another day. Be blessed my friends.