Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 20

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 8:31-59.

Obviously, just about everything that Jesus said, was and is profound but this particular dialogue that the Apostle John records, between Jesus and the Jews in the Temple, covers an awful lot of ground and Jesus clarifies a number of truths that we really need to pay attention to. In addition, there are Jesus’ words, that encompass and personify who He is and Whom Jesus speaks on behalf of. I would strongly recommend initially reading over this entire portion of Scripture in it’s entirety, and then proceed thereafter, with the commentary below.

John 8:31-36 NASB

“So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

It’s important to note that some of this dialogue is addressed to those Jews who had believed in Him. To those who believed in Him, Jesus gives truth that they can count on, have faith in and know for a certainty. Notice that Jesus says “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine, and the truth will make you free.” Jesus seldom tells us something without explaining specifically what it entails. Here Jesus talks about continuing in His word and the truth that is contained in His word will set them free. Keep that “if you continue in my Word” in the back of your mind, because we will be coming back to it later.

Right from the onset, the Jews who are also listening to Jesus and questioning who He is, take exception to the fact that Jesus tells them that they are enslaved. Considering that the Jews, in their past, had been in bondage to the Egyptians, Assyrians and Babylonians and where currently under the power of Rome, one would think that they would have identified with being set free, but not so. But Jesus breaks it down for them, He tells them that even though they are the descendants of Abraham, that whoever commits habitual sin, is in fact, a slave to sin. In other words, sin controls them.

Remember how I have indicated that whenever Jesus says “truly, truly” or “verily, verily” Jesus is talking about a reality that is of primary importance.

Also note that Jesus uses the familiarity of the position or standing of a slave, as compared to the position or standing of the son, of the master, as having the authority to set a slave free. And Jesus, being the Son of God, does indeed have the position, authority and power, to set us free from being habitually enslaved to sin.

John 8:37-47 NASB

“I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.  But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. You are doing the deeds of your father.” They said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.”  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.  Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?  Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

Jesus acknowledges that the Jews are descendants of Abraham, but points out that His word has no place in them. That means that they do not recognize Him for who He is, nor do they take the truth that He speaks as originating from God the Father. Recognizing the source of what Jesus told us and following Jesus’ word is paramount with being a disciple of Christ. Jesus uses the contrast between what they say and what they do, along with the identification of the applicable source that it originates from.

Note: “I speak the things which I have seen with My Father, you do the things which you heard from your father.” And “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?”

Note: I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.

Note: If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.

And what would be the deeds of Abraham? Genesis 15:6Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Abram acted upon his belief in God. Abram did what God directed him to do.

Note: “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word.” And “The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

John 3:6 comes to mind: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”.

They say they are of Abraham but they do not do what Abraham did. They did not respond to the truth of God by believing in and trusting in God, like Abraham did, their reliance was in their ancestral connection to Abraham and Jesus points out the shortsightedness of their thinking and indicates who their true father is.

Verse 8:41 where the Jews infer that they were not born of fornication, may indeed be an inference that Jesus had been born out of wedlock, definitely a slight, to say the least.

Jesus continually emphasizes that His words, actions and all that He does, are in accordance with and under the direction of, God the Father. Always.

John 8:48-59 NASB
“The Jews answered and said to Him, “
Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”  Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.  But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.  Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.”  The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’  Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’;  and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”  So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”  Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.  Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

It would have been pretty difficult for any of the non-believing Jews in this crowd, to have heard what Jesus had just previously said and not understand what He was saying about them.

The push back now begins in earnest.

They infer that He is a Samaritan and that He has a demon, neither of which is obviously intended to be complementary.

Jesus denies that He has a demon, states that He honours the Father and that they dishonour Him. Jesus also notes that the source of where honouring ultimately counts, is from God the Father.

And then we have another of those “truly, truly” statements of truth that Jesus gives us. “Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” Obviously this pertains to spiritual death because we know that everyone who lives in a physical body is subject to die once (Hebrews 9:27). Note that exclusion from spiritual death is associated with keeping the words of Jesus.

John 5:22-24 NASB comes to mind:

“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

And 2 Peter 1:16-18 NASB:
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.  For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”—  and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

Note that Jesus tells us to keep His word.
Note that Jesus keeps the Father’s word.
(Told you we would be coming back to this).

And then we have the final words in this portion of Scripture:

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”  So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”  Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.  Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

So we know that Abraham was shown when Jesus, the promised Redeemer, would appear and that he saw it and was glad. This shouldn’t surprise us.

And then we have another “truly, truly” statement from Jesus that is breathtaking:

Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.

Exodus 3:14 NASB

“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

It is no coincidence that the next word is “Therefore” because Jesus was clearly claiming His eternal existence and thus, claiming to be God Himself. They accordingly picked up stones to stone Jesus for blasphemy.

Leviticus 24:16 NASB

“Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

More to follow:

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

3 comments

  1. Thank you Bruce. The Word and Spirit of God mean everything to me; Christ is my entire life since I lost my husband John, and as I see so many conforming to this world instead of Christ in this time of trouble, I am so thankful for your continued musings from the Gospel of John the Beloved that encourage, edify, and anchor us in the Way, Truth and Life. Grace and peace to you.

    Like

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