Texts for the Day
This week, we will be using the readings from Reformation Sunday rather than from the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost.
Commentary and Reflection
The commentary this week will focus on the Gospel reading. This is a short passage, but there is a lot going on and it takes some time to unpack it all. Before reading this study, spend some time on your own reading the passage several times. Note the words and ideas that move you or perplex you. Here are some that I noticed.
Commitment – Read John 8:12-59. The setting for this story is the temple in Jerusalem during the festival of booths (September-October).
In verses 31-36, Jesus is addressing a group of Jews who have recently come to believe in him. Jesus appears to questioning their sincerity. This is not an unfamiliar idea. What is holding you back from full commitment?
Truth – “The truth will make you free.” The idea of truth here seems to mean something more than just general knowledge. See John 14:6 where Jesus declares himself to be, “the way, the truth, and the life.”
What do you think Jesus means by truth? Is there a type of truth that is deeper than merely facts and history?
Freedom – The freedom that Jesus refers to is not a freedom to do as we please, in the way we understand freedom in our culture. Jesus is referring to a literal freedom from slavery. We are slaves to sin in the same way that many people in Jesus’s time were slaves to human masters.
While the idea of slavery can be intimidating, spend some time with it. Read John 15:12-17, where Jesus returns to the same theme (servants = slaves in the Greek). Is there anything to which you are a slave? How can faith and commitment to Jesus be a source of freedom for you?
What else do you notice in this passage that have not been mentioned? Why do you think this is the Gospel selection for Reformation Sunday?