John: Chapter Eight
(verses 12 – 30)
Jesus is teaching in the Temple when the Pharisees again try to lock him into a debate or a claim.
They do not recognize Him as the Son of God and as they challenge Jesus, He states this is because they are using the wrong criteria of looking at Him. They are using human standards not God’s standards. Even then, He uses man’s laws of two witnesses are needed for a testimony to be valid to show Himself. He is His own witness and so is His Father who sent Him.
While they continued to be lost in the conversation because they relied on their own understanding to evaluate the claims, many of the people there became believers in Christ because they opened themselves up to God’s way of thinking instead of holding on to their own.
It’s like it says in Psalms….
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”
Often times we think we know what is best for us and trust our heart to make decisions but often times we do not know what is best for ourselves or view things through clear eyes. Often we have made decisions in life that we regret later because we didn’t focus in on the right things and caused ourselves pain or trouble. However, God wants the best for us and knows best for us. If we look at things through His eyes, then our life can be a straight path. Sometimes we just need to let go of our own understanding.
If the Pharisees let go of their logic and their desire to prove themselves right, maybe they too would have softened their hearts and met Jesus for who He was, not who they assumed He was.
(verses 31 – 41)
Jesus then turns to talk to some of the people there who showed some ounce of faith in believing in Him but He wanted them to be clear what following Him meant. He talked about the spiritual aspect of slavery of us being slaves to sin. That sin keeps us from God, causes us and others hurt, and can change how we see things. That through accepting Jesus as Leader and Forgiver, we can have His freedom.
Their faith in Him goes away quickly as this insults their pride. They feel as descendents of Abraham (a hero of the faith talked about in Genesis) that they are immune to any spiritual problems. So much so that they forget their people had been physical slaves many times including the Egyptians as talked about in Exodus.
They are so proud of their physical heritage in Abraham that they get angry at Jesus’ claim that they need freedom from their sin and start thinking thoughts of killing Him. Odviously, their faith was not too deep if they were not willing to give up what they took pride in to follow God’s heart for them.
That’s what Jesus was talking about when He said they were not like Abraham because Abraham listened and believed God while they were ignoring Him because of human logic.
(verses 42 – 47)
Jesus calls them out saying that even though they are physical descendents of Abraham….that spiritually they are children of Satan because of their sin. That if they were children of God, tey would listen to Jesus, understand Him, and follow Him. But instead they hold onto human things which in turn are wordly things of Satan.
(verse 48 – 59)
Things continue to get worse as Jesus addresses them with the truth. He has no desire to be glory but to bring glory to His Father. Even after they try to say He is a Samaritian (a people who had similar beliefs as Jews but were more relaxed with their beliefs. They were also a people the Jews looked down on.) and demon possessed (thus calling Him crazy), Jesus didn’t try to defend Himself but kept the focus where it needed to be, on His Father….God.
The ultimate things Jesus says here is “Before Abraham was born, I Am”
God had been know to them by the name “I Am”
Ex 3:14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “
So when Jesus made this statement, it was very clear to them He was claiming to be the Son of God. This made them so angry, they decided to act on their desire to kill Him but He was protected and left. This was a long stretch away from believing in Him as the Son of God which they did just shortly before.
However, Jesus didn’t want just followers….He wanted people to follow Him because He lead to the truth. So if there was a choice between people following Him with their own agendas, their own ways, and their own purposes…..it wouldn’t work. They must realize that our understanding can lead us astray but God’s desire is the best for us and He knows the best for us. The only way to follow Him and receive all of Him is to submit to Him and His truth.
For those who do not understand this, they get frustrated and walk away. Even get angry at God for it. However, those who understand and follow Him…their paths are made straight. A straight path sounds pretty good to me…….