And...it's back to Daniel, the Babylonian Exile, and a story ruined forever for me by VeggieTales. It's not Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. No. It's Rack, Shack, and Benny...and the Bunny Song they must not sing. In the Biblical version, the king challenges the three men: “Who is the God that can deliver you out of my hands?” From that God, in today's Gospel, comes the answer: “If the Son frees you, you will be truly free.” Christ, though, is not speaking of physical slavery, but of slavery to sin. He is speaking to the Jews who believe in Him, and He is just as harsh towards them as towards the Pharisees. If they remain in His word, they will truly be His disciples, and then the truth will set them free. None of it is settled; many of them will yet choose to remain in slavery. They'll stick with Him through Palm Sunday, no further.
“Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.” There's a world, literally, of difference between that and the popular idea that real freedom is the freedom to do whatever you want – even sin. Christ today is saying that the way to freedom is to follow Him; to refuse to sin even though the refusal will seem to limit our freedom. This season calls us to more than simple refusal; Christ did far more than simply 'not sin', and we're reminded to follow Him the entire way.