John 8:31-59 (NRSV)
31Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
TRUTH SETS YOU FREE
God’s truth never restricts you; it always sets you free! Are you discouraged? Is there a sense of bondage in a particular area in your life? A lack of victory over a certain sin? A harmful addiction? It is possible that you do not yet understand a truth about God that can release you.
If you feel powerless to meet the challenges before you, take encouragement from the promise of Philippians 4:13 — I can do all things though Christ who strengthens me. If you are defeated by circumstance, hold on to the truth of Romans 8:28 that God can work your most difficult situation into His good. If you are enslaved to a particular sin, work the truth of 1 John 1:9 into your life, which promises that if you confess your sin, God is faithful to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. All of these truths await the Holy Spirit’s implementation into your life.
It is one thing to know about the truth. It is yet another thing to experience the truth of God being worked out in your life. God’s truth will have no effect upon you unless you accept it and believe it. Perhaps you have already read and heard accounts of God working mightily in the lives of others. But have you allowed God to implement those truths into your life? What truth about God would you like to be experiencing in your life? Ask Him to implement that truth into your life today.
33They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
What?! They are forgetting the 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and the 70 years of exile to Babylon, and even the present occupation of their land by the Romans! By denying their enslavement, whether political or spiritual, they are denying their need for Jesus and the true freedom he can give them. And isn’t it amazing how easily we will believe a lie if it suits us.
34Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
Praise God! “I am Free!” Click HERE and join in the celebration!
37I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. 38I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”
Jesus and Abraham
39They answered him, “Abraham is our father.”
Genesis 15:5-6 (New International Version)
He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, 40but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41You are indeed doing what your father does.”
They said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.”
42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. 43Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. 44You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
I love how the NIV puts it: When he lies, he speaks his native language . . .
45But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.
46Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God.”
48The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
By calling Jesus a Samaritan, they are claiming he is not a true Jew, not a true son of Abraham. By saying Jesus has a demon, they are connecting Jesus with the devil instead of with God.
49Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge. 51Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.”
52The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, ‘Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.’ 53Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?”
54Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God,’ 55though you do not know him. But I know him; if I would say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. 56Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad.”
57Then the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
58Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.”
This is the third time in this chapter Jesus uses the phrase I Am (John 8:24, 8:28), and here in John 8:58.
I Am: The ancient Greek phrase is ego emi, which is the same term used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament in Jesus’ day to describe the Voice from the burning bush.
In using the phrase I Am (John 8:24, 8:58, 13:19) Jesus used a clear divine title belonging to Yahweh alone (Exodus 3:13-14, Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 43:10) and was interpreted as such by Jesus’ listeners (John 8:58-59).
59So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
1) Jesus says anyone who commits a sin is “a slave to sin.” Some of my readers may remember saying this confession in church: “We confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.” Have there been times in your life when you have felt the weight of that bondage? Thank God for the gloriousness of his forgiveness!
2) Galatians 3:26-29 says: So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. So through Christ, Abraham is your father, too! What does this mean? What fullness of blessing does this bring?
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.