"our hearts were burning"

The Truth Will Set You Free

We have heard it so often in our daily lives and in our popular culture that we let it pass by as a cautionary maxim, a proverb to live by, a common saying that reminds us that honesty is the best policy.  If we just tell the truth at all times, our parents instruct us, then we won’t be caught in the trap of having to lie our way out of situations — “The truth will set you free!”  Julia Roberts said it in a movie, you know, so it must be a good thing not to tell a lie.

Yet that is so distant from what Christ actually says in the Gospel of John.  And the deep revelation embodied in what he says resonates throughout the New Testament.  All things have been pointing to this and all things flow from this.

This moment begins with the Pharisees accusing Jesus of invalidly testifying on his own behalf about who he is.  And Jesus replies that “the Father that sent me is my witness too,” so there are the required two witnesses.  And, the Pharisees ask, still being caught up in human law, who is your father?  Jesus boldly claims that the one who sent him is truthful, and that “when you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He.”  This is the divine name revealed to Moses by God on the mountain, so there is no lack of clarity here.  And the Jews understand completely what Jesus is saying.  The Father and the Son are one and the same.  It is because of this blinding statement that those who do not believe will a short time later try to stone Christ to death for his blasphemy.

Yet for those who come to believe, Jesus assures them that what the Father has taught him is what he preaches.  And so he can say, and we can have ears to hear, “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will learn the truth and the truth will set you free.”

And, just in case the Pharisees and even we ourselves miss it the first time, Jesus tell us all just before his Passion and even now across the ages — “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” 


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