And Many Believed in Him

Large crowds of Jewish people followed Yeshua because they believed in the works He performed and the words He had spoken. Many had been healed; some were cleansed from leprosy, while others who had longed to hear of the kingdom were refreshed in the good news of salvation. The Jewish people at the time were looking for the Messiah, and Yeshua had the right credentials. In their eyes there was no doubt – He was the long-awaited Messiah.

"If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

For centuries disciples have reflected on the sayings and teachings of their Rabbis. Indeed, enthusiastic disciples have promoted their respective Rabbis' teachings believing that others could benefit from the wisdom and spiritual understanding, and by applying it to their lives the hearer could, hopefully, enjoy a more meaningful journey.

Yeshua, however, promised His disciples more – they would know the truth, and the truth would set them free! "They answered him, 'We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, "You will be made free"?'" (John 8:33)

As descendants of Abraham they were not permitted to be servants. "For the children of Israel are servants to me; they are my servants whom I brought out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 25:55).

A Hebrew could purchase another Hebrew, as a servant, but it was only ever to be a temporary arrangement: " . . . he shall serve six years; and in the seventh year he shall go out free and pay nothing." (Exodus 21:2)

Even then the Hebrew servant was not to be treated as a normal servant, but one who had been employed for his specific skills and trade. " . . . you shall not compel him to serve as a slave. But as a hired servant . . . " (Leviticus 25:39-40)

Only when a Hebrew servant declared, "I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free . . . " did he surrender his right to freedom, " . . . and he shall serve him for ever" (Exodus 21:5-6)

This arrangement of servitude, however, was to be considered more the exception rather than the standard. Despite the Hebrew servant being in debt to his Hebrew master for seven years, the master was to consider him with compassion. "You shall not rule over him with rigour, but you shall fear your God." (Leviticus 25:43)

Alternatively, the people of Israel could purchase male and female slaves from the nations. "Moreover you may buy the children of the strangers who sojourn among you . . . " In contrast to the Hebrew servant, the non-Hebrew servant was considered as personal property of the Hebrew master: " . . . and their families who are with you, which they beget in your land; and they shall become your property. And you may take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit as a possession; they shall be your permanent slaves. But regarding your brethren, the children of Israel, you shall not rule over one another with rigour." (Leviticus 25:45-46)

This distinction between Israel and the nations was further emphasized when a Hebrew sold himself to a non-Hebrew, because it was the duty of the brother or nearest kinsman to redeem him with the price of his release. Thus the descendants of Abraham could not to be considered enslaved to any other human. The people of Israel were distinct because they were servants of the Most High.

"Yeshua answered them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave to sin. And a slave does not abide in the house for ever, but a son abides for ever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.'" (John 8:33-36)

The imagery was not uncommon to the hearers. Servants were common; some would have had servants in their employ. They would have understood and appreciated the position and authority of the master over his servant. The servant obeys his master's instruction. Consequently the servant's master is identified by the servant's action. When a person commits a sin he is following his master's instruction – thus he is a servant to sin.

Furthermore, a servant would one day leave his master's house and would not have any part in the inheritance, even though he had worked hard and had contributed to his master's prosperity. Whereas a son would enjoy the labours and prosperity of his father's house. A son would be entitled to the inheritance because he remained his father's son for ever.

As descendants of Abraham they were servants of the Most High, but as sinners they would one day leave His employ. Only as sons could they remain in the Father's house. "But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12)

As sons they could partake of the Father's inheritance, but in order to become sons they had to believe and follow His Son. Because, "if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:32)

Knowing the truth is liberating. Knowing the Son is to be set free. As Yeshua declared, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

Salvation comes through the Son. God is the only One who can provide salvation, and His provision is through His Son, Yeshua, " . . . that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life ." (John 3:16)

"Then Yeshua said to them, 'When you lift up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father taught me, I speak these things. And he who sent me is with me. The Father has not left me alone, for I always do those things that please him.'" (John 8:28-29)

To remain in Yeshua's teaching is to know the truth. To follow Him is to be set free from the power and authority of sin. "As he spoke these words, many believed in him." (John 8:30)