Jesus was still teaching and He was saying some profound things. Some of the crowd believed Him. Immediately Jesus said some things that would stretch their new faith and test its validity. Verses 31-32 read,
“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The people who still refused to believe Jesus, including the Pharisees thought He was talking nonsense and they kept trying to trip Him up. They were incredulous. The said, “We’ve never been slaves! How can we be set free?”
Jesus answered, always keeping in mind that some in the crowd believed and some were listening with open and inquiring minds. He didn’t point to the Romans guards and ask the listeners to again claim they were not slaves. He didn’t remind them of their years in Egypt or Babylon. He pointed them back to the true matter. Verses 34-36 read,
“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
These words included the Believers in a wonderful promise, they moved from slavery to sin to becoming sons with Jesus. Now, Jesus not only told them God was His Father, but theirs as well. But He continued and His next words for the skeptical and narrow minded in the crowd. Verses 37-38 say,
“37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”
The Jews answered Jesus with the self-importance that often covers up sinfulness. Verses 39-40 read,
“They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did.”
Jesus pointed out their hypocrisy. ‘You claim to be children of Abraham but you don’t do what He did, you don’t have faith and you don’t obey God. You are looking for any reason to have me killed.’ But Jesus wasn’t finished. He wasn’t going to leave it, He identified their father as the devil. He told them they were behaving like the devil not Abraham. He told them the reason they couldn’t believe the truth was because they were followers and slaves to the devil. His character was revealed in them. Verses 42-46 read,
“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is 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 out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
You either seek the truth or you seek an answer that placates you. If you want that easy answer you will believe the lies that are so prevalent. Satan makes them plentiful. He desire is to keep you away from Jesus. God’s desire is to glorify Jesus so that you will come to a relationship with Him. If you are not following Jesus, you are following the devil and you are in cahoots with him and his schemes.
That either infuriates you and makes you call me a hater and any other names you can think of, or it makes you reflect on your spirit and consider that you need Jesus. It made crowd made them grow even angrier. They didn’t want their sin exposed. Rather than recognize it and repent as people who truly wanted to please God would have done, they resorted to name calling. Verse 48 reads,
“The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
Jesus didn’t respond with defensive words or anger. He used their words to prove His point that they were not seeking to please and glorify God. He also continued teaching for those in the crowd that were willing to hear the truth. Verses 49-51 read,
“Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
Those were hard words and the new believers would either hear them and their fragile faith would be strengthened as they sought to understand or broken as they joined the mocking crowd.
The crowd continued to accuse Jesus of being demon possessed and asked Him who He thought He was. His answer was revolutionary and it would make people make a choice right then and there. Verse 58 reads,
“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
Jesus had just said He was God Jehovah. There was nothing veiled or vague about the statement. The people picked up stones to kill Jesus but Jesus made Himself hidden and left the temple.
It may seem harsh to say that a person either follows Jesus or Satan, but it is the truth. Your life either exalts Jesus or something else. Every else serves to keep people away from the truth, freedom and a relationship with God. Only Jesus can bring salvation. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. Everything else is satanic.
It might look good, even beautiful. The father of lies is great at making everything else seem appealing while sullying Christ. Do you seek the truth or do you seek answers to placate your curiosity? The truth doesn’t always make us feel good. The truth is we’ve fallen short, we are flawed, and we are sinners. But the rest of the truth is that Jesus forgives, saves, and makes us complete.