Liberty, Truth and Jesus

The original key stipulation of the biblical jubilee is, “proclaim liberty” (Lev. 25:10). “Liberty” means, “a flowing, free run, freedom” (Brown, Driver, Briggs). Thousands of years after that stipulation, the prophet Isaiah ties it to the Messiah, who when he comes, will “bring good news to the poor” and give the “oil of gladness” and “the garment of praise” to those who mourn. Those who are so blessed will be called “oaks of righteousness”. And all this, Isaiah says, is the “planting” or work of the Lord. These are all done so the Lord will be glorified.

Hundreds of years after Isaiah, in a synagogue service in Nazareth, Jesus proclaimed that, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled…” Not long after that, when His public ministry was in full swing, He said to the Jews who believed in Him, that if they knew the truth, the truth would set them free.

At that point in history, the Jews were under the rule of the Roman government. Even though Rome gave them an exceptional amount of autonomy, they were keenly aware of the Roman presence around them in the form of soldiers, governors, and appointed kings. However, when Jesus said the truth would set them free, He was not talking about political freedom – though the Jews took it that way. Jesus provides the best commentary for His own statement. He explains, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” Being a slave to sin is the ultimate bondage.

The freedom Jesus offers is a spiritual freedom from the bondage of sin — that is, release from the lifestyle of habitual lawlessness. He illustrates with an analogy: “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.” The Jews then would have understood Jesus to mean that they were not members of God’s family, despite their biological relationship to Abraham, because they were slaves to sin. If they were to become disciples of Jesus, they would know the truth of their condition and the truth about Christ, and Jesus would set them free. Believers would be freed from their bondage and brought into the family of God.

Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). Knowing the Truth will set one at liberty — free from sin, free from condemnation, and free from death (Romans 6:22; 8:1–2). Jesus came to proclaim liberty to the captives (Luke 4:18). “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God”.

Pastor Robert Chew