8:31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

 33 They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”

34 Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

37 I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. 38 I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”

Like all of Jesus’ teaching, these words he spoke to the religious leaders of his day, function on more than one level at the same time.

Jesus describe two apparently contradictory aspects of the human condition. On one level, we are all bound, enslaved to a smaller version of ourselves than the luminous being we were created to be. In their small egoic selves, the threatened, insecure religious officials do not “know the truth” and they are not “free”. In fact, they are so far from knowing “the truth” that they do not even see how bound they are.

We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone.

On another level we are all gloriously and absolutely free to live as the embodiment of Spirit. Sadly, we fail to recognize this freedom. We develop over the years into beings who are bound by social convention, demand and expectation. We live enslaved to the false stories about our nature and life that we have been told and have taken to heart. Something in us yearns for the beauty and truth we still faintly discern, but another dark force pulls us back into the destructive pattern that characterized the lives of those who sought to destroy the light that was Jesus.

We live in this uneasy place between total freedom and the bondage that so often seems to be our default position when the freedom for which we were created feels too hard or to uncomfortable to bear.

The beginning of our ability to perceive the freedom that is our true nature is understanding that we need to liberated from the small controlling little being we have come to believe will keep us safe. We need to confront the reality that we are powerless to free ourselves from our enslavement to this lesser self that we have learned to be.

The religious bureaucrats who oppose Jesus lack the self-awareness to know that they their egoic self is bent on a path of destruction. Enslaved to their small selves, they are seeking to destroy the power of life and to kill the presence of love. As Jesus says to these unconscious adversaries,

You look for an opportunity to kill me.

Again, as we have seen earlier, Jesus exhorts these wayward religious men to live authentically the truth embodied in their own tradition saying to them,

you should do what you have heard from the Father.

Jesus understands that, in their true selves, these people “have heard from the Father”. He only wants them to honour what they have heard. The willingness to follow where their own faith leads will cause them to see the truth and the power of love and beauty manifest in the person of Jesus and in every part of life.

What prevents me from seeing the truth and beauty that are evident to those who are able to see?