A Congregation of Conservative Evangelical Christians

“Our Daily Bread” Devotion, January 28, 2021

January 28 | Bible in a Year: Exodus 16-18; Matthew 18:1-20

Free at Last
If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:36
READ JOHN 8:31–36

Twenty long years passed before British journalist John McCarthy—a five-year hostage during Lebanon’s grueling civil war—met the man who negotiated his release. When McCarthy finally met U.N. envoy Giandomenico Picco, McCarthy simply said, “Thank you for my freedom!” His heartfelt words carried great weight because Picco had risked his own life during dangerous negotiations to secure freedom for McCarthy and others.
We as believers can relate to such hard-won freedom. Jesus gave up His life—enduring death on a Roman cross—to secure spiritual freedom for all people, including each of us. Now as His children, we know “it is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” the apostle Paul boldly declared (Galatians 5:1).
The gospel of John also teaches of freedom in Christ, noting, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
But free in what ways? In Jesus, we experience freedom not only from sin and its hold on us but also from guilt, shame, worry, Satan’s lies, superstitions, false teaching, and eternal death. No longer hostages, we have freedom to show love to enemies, walk in kindness, live with hope, and love our neighbors. As we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading, we can forgive as we’ve been forgiven.
For all of this, let’s thank God today. Then let’s love so others will know the power of His freedom too.
By Patricia Raybon
REFLECT & PRAY
Dear liberating God, thank You for my freedom—for setting me free from spiritual death and releasing me to love.
What spiritual chains still hold you hostage? As you release those chains to God, what words can you use to thank Him for setting you free?

SCRIPTURE INSIGHT
The Jews presumptuously believed that their spiritual heritage as Abraham’s descendants had given them a special standing with God—a misguided sense of privilege, immunity, and false spirituality (John 8:33, 39). But they had failed in their responsibility and duty as God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 10:12-13). Jesus warned the teachers of the law and the Pharisees that they had “neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness” (Matthew 23:23) and “the love of God” (Luke 11:42; see Micah 6:8). Their privileged status as Abraham’s descendants blinded them, causing them to dishonestly say that they had “never been slaves of anyone” (John 8:33), when throughout their history they had been enslaved by Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Greece, Syria, and Rome. They also refused to see that they were slaves to sin (v. 34). They wouldn’t acknowledge that Jesus is who He claims to be—their promised Messiah (7:26-27, 40-43; 8:25). K. T. Sim