There’s not much worse than adults running around like a bunch of babies. And that is what Jesus hits as He continues His conversation with the Jewish leaders in John 8:31-41. Jesus is offering them freedom, He is offering them love, hope, and passion. They only want to argue that they are already just fine, thank you. Why are they fine? Because of who their great, great, great, great, great, great, great, (etc.) grandfather was. Abraham is back there in the family line, God made Him a promise, so we are automatically okay. We don’t need your “freedom” Jesus, thank you very much. We are better than you (even though He was from one of the most crucial of Jewish family lines), and you can keep your offer.
Even their words have this defiant five year old tone to them. It sounds like me when my wife or kids say something I don’t like. This little brat comes out of me, and I dig in my heels.
Why do we do it? Why do we shrink to 3′ tall when we are challenged? Fear. The Jewish leaders are afraid. They are trapped in it. They live in it, promote it to others, sell it on the street in their religion, and bully people into being afraid with them. So do I. I am afraid of being ignored, hurt, rejected, left, being stupid, and a whole host of other things. What are we most afraid of? The very thing Jesus offers; freedom. We are so far away from freedom that it terrifies us. We prefer the comfortable chains of here to the amazing, breath taking freedom of there. Jesus knows this full well. Yet, He offers it. Knowing we are afraid of it, He offers it calling us to let go and jump with no net, no safety in sight. He promises freedom, but never, ever safety.
Yeah, for all my false bravado, for all my “extreme sports” background, for all my big talk, Jesus’ version of freedom scares the tar out of me. It simply isn’t safe. There is absolutely no predicting where you will go when you are set free. It’s all too grand, too wide, too beautiful to be able to take it all in.
So, do you want freedom? Jesus offers it with a sly grin and both hands full. How will you receive it? Or will you choose the chains of here?