By Becky Rokitowski
Pastor at Riviera UMC
Saint Petersburg, FL
First, read John 8:31-32
John Wesley once wrote:
“When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me.”
I hold this quote close to my heart. It reminds me to remain humble in my understanding of the world.
In the scripture reading today we are instructed as disciples to remain faithful to God's teaching, and then given a promise that when we do that, we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free.
Sometimes I think we want it the other way around. We want to discover truth, and then cling to that rather than to Jesus. We want things to be black and white, and right or wrong ... things are more simple that way when we can judge them and label them.
There is a story in the Bible of Jesus breaking the Sabbath laws by healing someone, and another where he allows his disciples to pick grain. It was against the law to do these things on God's holy day. Jesus tells his accusers that the Sabbath was made for people … people weren't made for the Sabbath. It's not that the Sabbath observance was wrong, it's just that people were following God's law rather than God. The deeper truth was found in God's value for humanity (who should work and rest), but when people were left unhealed or unfed because of the law, then the spirit of the law (the greater truth) was broken, even if the letter of the law was followed.
Jesus tells us that he is the way, the truth, and the life; we are instructed to cling to his teaching. For me, this means wrestling with scripture, going to God in prayer when decisions need to be made, and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead. I must never think that I have all the answers, and have no need of God's revealing truth. More often than not, God stretches me, causes me to rethink what I once thought was immovable, and humbles me by revealing the limits to my knowledge. There is freedom when we trust that the God of truth will lead us, and when we lean on that, rather than ourselves.
Prayer: God, so often I think I have all the answers. I read the Bible and think I understand it, rather than letting you form me each day and deepen my understanding you. Help me to be a faithful follower, a disciple of your teaching, and humble in my convictions. Continually reveal your truth to me, and guide me in your ways. Amen.
1. Can you think of something in the Bible where your understanding has changed over time?
2. How does God reveal truth to us?
3. The last line of this scripture is "and the truth shall set you free." This is a well-quoted passage of scripture. Why do you think that is so, and in what ways does truth lead to freedom?