In this gospel, Jesus explains a truth that any Christian may find self-evident: we are all prisoners to our sin. Since the fall of man, the entirety of the human race has been susceptible to the grip of sin. In fact, sin has become widely accepted as an integral part of human nature. Rather your sin be greed, sloth, gluttony, wrath, lust, pride, or envy, we feel powerless in fighting it. Jesus challenges this belief. In this gospel, he tells us that whoever follows Him will be freed from their cage of sin. When we walk with Christ in every step of our lives, He protects us. He tells us that those who obey and love His words will be under his protection from the grip of our vices. He only has our better interest in mind, he wants to set us free.
Of course, this is not always what we want to hear. Sin has such a powerful grip on many of our lives that we may come to enjoy it and become angry with confronted with the truth that is is wrong. Nobody likes to be told that they’re a sinner, yet who of among us is perfect? Nobody likes to be told that we are wrong, yet who among us is infallible? How often do we ignore advice that demands a sacrifice of us, even if it is ultimately in our better interest to follow it? How many people disregard the word of Christ and His church because they think they know better, or because they simply don’t care enough to follow it?
When Jesus told the Jews who followed Him that they were slaves, they were obstinate and told Him that they, as descendants of Abraham, were slaves to no one. When He told them that He only conveys the truth as witnessed in the Father’s presence, they objected and said that Abraham was their father. When Jesus told them that Abraham would not be trying to kill a man sent by God, and that they are doing their own father’s work, they say that God is their father. Then, Jesus tells them that if they love God the Father, then they must also love him too, because He is the one sent by God. We do not know how the disciples responded to this. Two-thousand years later, we find ourselves faced with the same situation. Jesus tells us the truth, which has never changed. Will we, like the Jews, remain obstinate and insist that we know best? Or will we humbly submit to the truth of God, who frees us from sin?