Key scripture: John 8: 32
“And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free”
When I first read the introduction for lesson 12 where Tom Inglis writes that God was“on a mission … to set the captives free”,I could not Help but to be reminded of Isaiah 61:1-2, especially knowing that this was the scripture that Jesus Christ used to officially open his ministry.
The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour… Today, as you listen, this scripture has been fulfilled.
What a declaration! I love that Jesus emphasises how He has fulfilled these scriptures that He has already completed the objectives of Isaiah 61:1-2. The Old Testament says “I will come and do”, Jesus who is the fulfilment of the Old Testament says “I came and I did”.He came and He preached the gospel to the poor, He proclaimed freedom to the captives, He opened the eyes of those spiritually and physically blind, He set free the oppressed and He declared his unmerited favour for all of us. The assignment was to set the captives free, those in Christ have been made free and free indeed.
At the cross Jesus “stripped all the spiritual tyrants in the universe of their sham authority and marched them naked through the streets” (Colossians 2:15 MSG).Jesus’ victory was a public display of his strength and might and Tom Inglis likens this to the victorious emperor of ancient times who would ‘display the enemy to his people, arousing his people to celebrate in his victory with him’.We celebrate because our champion has lifted us up from the ashes and has opened our eyes to the hideous nature of our enemy which previously, because we were spiritually blind were unaware of but now that we know the truth we can step away from the shadow and into the light.
Inglis stresses the importance of what is written in John 8:32, that it is TRUTH that shall set us free.
- John 14:6‘I [Jesus] am the way, the truth, and the life’,
- Revelations 19:11 Jesus is called ‘faithful and true’
What I took from the passages in John and revelation is that ‘The Truth’is not just a word but a title, the title of Jesus. A person receives a title based on who they are, who they are in relation to you and their profession and out of the respect we have for them, we refer to them by title, in the same manner that a student at school would call “teacher!” to the person who is responsible for educating him.
‘We’re living in a time of a knowledge revolution when the knowledge of God’s Word is freely available like never before. Knowledge alone however, can be frustrating because it doesn’t set you free, truth does. Revelation is God revealing something in His Word previously unknown to you. He has a way of revealing things to you that you need at the right time for a particular situation, such is the nature of revelation.’ (Tom Inglis’)
Take for example somebody who has always lived within a hot climate and has never experienced snow nor will ever see it in person. Explain to this individual what snow is, show them the dictionary definition, give them the scientific knowledge regarding snow, send photographic images of snow and videos of ski resorts covered in snow, they will now know what is snow but will lack the revelation. This time show this same person the ice in a freezer and their understanding of snow would reach a new level that goes beyond knowledge. This is the same revelation that I presume led you to Christ, I, having been raised in a Christian home had knowledge of Christ but it wasn’t until I was 15 that I had the revelation of Christ which drastically altered my perception of Christianity from religion to relationship. It is through this revelation that I understood that I had been made free, that I no longer needed to carry by my burdens.
It seemed like a dream too good to be true, when God returned Zion’s exiles [captives]. We laughed , we sang, we couldn’t believe our good fortune. We were the talk of the nations- God was wonderful to them!” God was wonderful to us; we are one happy people’. Psalm 126: 1-3
We shout with gladness in our hearts, and praise the almighty for He has freed us from the bondages of our enemy, our thanks and praises must be loud so that other nations and people will know how good our God is, for he set the captives free. ‘The spirit of joy and celebration should identify and exemplify Christianity more than anything else.