31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”
Jesus has a dramatic downturn in popularity during John 8. In verse 31 he is talking to Jews who believed in him, not his enemies. But by the end of the chapter, they are picking up stones to stone him! What has he said that has caused such a turnaround? One of the things is that he has told them they can be set free.
This sounds like it should be good news so why is it such a problem? Probably because to be set free means that you weren't free to begin with, and they, like us, don't like the suggestion that we are slaves. We don't like the idea that we are enslaved to anything. We like to think we are free. But is that really true? Is there anything that you can't bear the thought of losing? Maybe your house or your job? If so, then you are enslaved to it, orientating your life around it, it controls what you dol. We are slaves. Is there anything you can't stop doing, even for a period of time? If so, then you are enslaved to it. If you can't stop doing it then you are not controlling it, it is controlling you. You are a slave.
You can be free. That's amazing news. But without recognising your slavery, the freedom seems irrelevant. Bad news comes before the good news. If we get stuck on denying the bad news, we will never get to the good news.