How many books have been written on freedom? How many wars have been fought in the name of freedom? Which war has not been fought in the name of freedom? Which parliament does not identify itself as a freedom temple, and which politician does not create his image in the likelihood of a freedom’s temple’s priest? Which civil constitution does not found its principles on freedom? Which catalogue of human rights does not include freedom as its apex and root? Science, culture, politics, economy, technology, religions, all of that is officially at the service of man’s freedom. Being free is the highest desire of all the young generations. Everything has to be free. Free thought, free trade, free business, free religion. All has to be done in freedom and for freedom. How is it possible to live without freedom of speech, of expression, of communication, of love, of travel, of choosing one’s own destiny, of opinion? How many laws have been promulgated in the name of man’s freedom? How many words have been spent in the name of freedom, to defend it, invoke it, to beg, extol, celebrate it? How many revolutions, ideological battles, imprisonments have occurred in the name of freedom? How many slaveries, tortures, how many concentration camps, loots, killing, slaughters, how many devastations in the name of freedom, for freedom’s sake, for the love of freedom?
Jesus met a group of Jews who seemed to be available to his Word and even believe in Him. With them Jesus tried to go deeper, to dive into the way of wisdom, revealing them what freedom is, what freedom is not, how to get freedom, how to reach it, how to live it. What He revealed is not based on man’s thoughts, conventions, beliefs, but according to God’s plan. Jesus revealed to those people the freedom’s wisdom and literally said: if you remain [greek: mèno] in the Word, mine, truly disciples [greek: mathetès] to me you will be, and you will know the truth [greek: alètheia] and the truth will free [greek: eleutheròo] you.
The process that leads to freedom and to man’s liberation begins with a very precise spiritual and intellectual state: the secret of the secrets of freedom lays in a verb: remain, greek mèno, “remain steady, persist, keep subsisting; stay still, persevere, resist”. Etymologically this verb is linked to the Egiptian mn, “stay, be still, be stable”, and to the Akkadian manzazu, “waiting, stop, stopping place”, and the Hebrew menuchàh, “stopping place, place of rest, place where it is possible to stop in peace”. The first step toward freedom, the first in the evangelic procedure to be free, is remaining, residing, establishing oneself in Jesus’ Word and, at the same time, letting Jesus’ Word rest, be within us. What does it mean to remain in Jesus’ Word? It means knowing it, practicing it, navigating in it, being passionate about it, falling in love with it, entering in it with pleasure, with deep gratification and gratitude, feeling great love and utter trust in it. What does letting Jesus’ Word remain within us mean? It means letting the love and the deep abandon for the Word persuade us to always substitute our human words, so dark, always judging, sad, throwing up attachment and possession, vain, depressed, fake, and in which we dunk our inner dialogues, with the Word’s word, so full of life, joy, inspiration, overflowing wisdom, forgiveness, understanding.
The second step is a consequence of the first one. A man who loves the Word and falls in love with it to the extent that he wilfully chooses to substitute it, in every inner dialogue, to the deceiving human words, that one will become Jesus’ disciple beyond any confession or religious belonging. What does it mean to be his disciple? The Word, with which the believer gradually substitutes, in his inner dialogues, all human words, generated from trainings, managed by the ego, becomes inevitably a life’s choice, becomes actions, behaviours, personality, it becomes man’s essence. That is how the Word transforms the believer in Jesus’ disciple. Being Jesus’ disciples leads to the third step towards freedom, it allows to enter the power of wisdom, to get close to the truth as God understands it and not as man pretends to possess it. Since birth, the clarity of man’s intelligence is subdued to every kind of abuse and cerebral washing in the form of morals, conventions, trainings and every kind of lies and enormous deceptions. Jesus’ disciple, remaining in the Word and feeding on it, can start sowing in his spirit the seeds of the truth according to God and not to men. At this point the miracle happens, freedom’s miracle, the true one, the one according to God and Life. It is truth, and nothing else, that has the power to set man free: the text uses in this case the Greek verb eleutheròo, even though in other cases, for the same concept, the gospel uses the verb lýo, “loose, set free”, in all its variations. In the gospels eleutheròo is used only twice: here and in John. What does eleutheròo mean? “Set free”, set free from someone. It means that who is not free is possessed by someone, someone who does not want his good, who keeps him enslaved and possesses him. It does not mean just loosening the slavery leash, but setting free from a bond that eradicates one’s belonging to his human and spiritual essence of God’s child. Indeed eleutheròo etymologically means “being free from tributary bonds”, as the one who belongs to a nation, to a family is. The original Akkadian aladu, “give birth”, is linked to the Semitic root yld, referring to the hebrew yèled, “son, generated”, “born”, and yalàd, “generating”, recalling being born, existing, belonging; the akkadian ellu means “free”. Eleutheròo therefore means being freed as coming back to belonging to something else, to something from which we’ve been previously taken away, it is getting away from being controlled, from the mortal possession to be reborn as a free being.
The liberation and freedom that Jesus proposes to man is freedom from the dominion and possession of Satan, the Evil one, to which man is subdued because of the covenants he signed with him. Satan’s dominion generates slaves in sin, sin that etymologically means “missing the target”, the target of love and life. Jesus literally said: Amen amen, I say to you that whoever commits sin is slave to sin. According to Jesus it is Truth that gives birth to free children, while sin, Satan’s dominion, gives birth to slaves. The freedom that Jesus proposes is not a generic freedom, it is freedom from the destructive dominion of Satan, that manifests itself in the inner dialogue of the one who throw up thirst of dominion, vanity, avidity, competition, conflict, rage and spite. While man is under Satan’s dominion, he will be able to fill with freedom only the words in his mouth but not his heart, his intentions but not his actions.