Week of Monday, November 29 ­– Sunday, December 5
Free Indeed – Man as Instructor
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free… So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” – John 8:31-32, 36 ESV
Many of you know my military story. It was my privilege and honor to command the Army Special Forces or Green Berets. This elite fighting force for good all over the world is motivated by the motto: “De Oppresso Liber,” which is Latin for “To Free the Oppressed.” I have personally participated in a number of missions where that was our objective. It involved going behind enemy lines to free people being held against their will.
One of those individuals was an American journalist by the name of Kurt Muse. He was being held captive by Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian Dictator. Our mission in Operation Just Cause was primarily to depose Noriega, but also to rescue Muse. I can assure you that this mission to free a fellow American did not happen without a fight, but by the grace of God my team made it out of Panama alive. Every year on the anniversary of his liberation, Kurt Muse always calls me to thank me for his freedom. I was just doing my duty, but I appreciate his gratitude and I think we can all appreciate how Kurt felt when he was set free.
Military missions like that have helped me grasp something of the enormity of Jesus’ mission as a liberator of the oppressed. He went behind enemy lines and sacrificed his life on the cross so that condemned sinners like you and me could be set free. For me personally, the words of Jesus about freedom in these verses are among the most powerful in the New Testament. 
Notice that there is a clear pathway to freedom in these verses. To those who put their trust in him (v. 30), Jesus taught that it all hinges on abiding, continuing, and staying in his word. Jesus says that is what makes us and marks us as his genuine disciples. It is in his word that we discover transcendent truth—truth as opposed to the lies Satan spreads and the culture regurgitates. Those who remain in the written word and follow the living word will know the truth. And that truth liberates. The truth sets us free! 
Free from what? At that point in history, the Jews were under Roman rule. While Rome gave them a measure of autonomy so long as they peacefully toed the line, it was obvious that they were a subjugated people. Anyone with minimal situational awareness could see that—particularly with all the Roman soldiers, a Roman garrison, a Roman governor, and Roman tax collectors. Yet when Jesus declared that the “truth would set them free,” he was not talking about liberation from Roman rule. The context is clear. He meant liberation from sin: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (v. 34). Being a slave to sin is the ultimate bondage.
As we read back in Luke 4:18 (quoting from Isaiah 61), Jesus came on a Spirit-anointed mission “to proclaim good news to the poor … proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.” He breaks chains and liberates captives through proclaimed truth, the Good News. Jesus sums it up in John 8:36: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” 
Men, the mission of Jesus must become our mission as Instructors, who can in turn become liberators. You can help liberate your family and friends by connecting them to both the written truth and the living Truth (John 14:6). Jesus can make them “free indeed.”
  • What does it mean for you as Instructor to help your family and battle buddies abide, continue, and stay in Jesus’ word? Ask a trusted mentor to help you come up with some creative ways to keep your family in the word. Again, text the word “Bible” to 67742 to join our Bible Reading Plan to get a set of Bible readings and a couple of discussion questions for each day’s reading.
  • Who are some men in your world in bondage and needing to be liberated with the truth?
  • Ask God for insight and direction on fulfilling your role as Instructor.