By Tyson Thorne

July 31, 2019

John 29 Large

While it is unclear if all these teachings of Jesus were on the same occassion or different events strung together (probably the later), the point isn't when Jesus taught these truths but what truths Jesus taught. Today's passage (8.31-59), however, is directly linked to yesterdays (8.21-30). John links the two by informing the reader this discussion was to those who believed him to be the Messiah. This is amazing seeing as how the passage ends with the people wanting to stone Jesus. We're getting ahead of ourselves, however, so let us see how this transformation takes place.

Yesterday we left off with the question, is it enough to believe Jesus is the Messiah? The first words out of Jesus' mouth in this passage addresses that very issue: “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” One of the most repeated phrases in American literature comes from Jesus, though most people don't know it. Truth set's people free. Amazingly, the first part of Jesus' thoughts on the mater are always left out, "If you continue to follow my teaching." Jesus teaches truth, and this is the setup for what comes next.

Jesus teaches that mankind is already divided into two camps. No, not Democrat and Republican. The division is far deeper and goes to the foundation of a person's way of life. We've discussed Jesus' teaching on freedom in this passage before, something you may want to read again to refresh your memory. But the crux of the matter comes down to who one cedes control of their life to.

Due to the sake of time we won't delve into the Jewish belies surrounding much of this conversation. We will point out that when under pressure, the people default to their national identity. "We are children of Abraham," they say, "and God is our Father." While God chose Abraham to father a people for himself, and while God called that people from Egypt and gave them a land to call their own, they have strayed far from God's desire for them.

Jesus draws a distinction, between the children of God and the children of the devil. Once again, Jesus offers up evidence for his judgment of the people. They may be stated in a series of if/then statements.

If God is your Father, then you will love Jesus

If God is your Father, then you will accept the teachings of Jesus

If God is your Father, then you will listen to God's Word

If God is your Father, then you will respond to God's Words

If the devil is your father, then you will not accept Jesus or his teachings and will accept lies instead of truth, running from God's Word and acting in disobedience.

Based on these basic rules Jesus concludes his evaluation of the people simply, "You do not belong to God" (verse 47). It wasn't an insult, t was a statement of fact backed up by well reasoned evidence. How did the people react? The way most people do when losing an argument: with personal attacks and deflection.

"You are a demonized Samaritan!" they responded. Samaritans were a mixed-race of people, Jewish and Babylonian or Persian mostly. Because they intermarried they were rejected by the Jewish population as outcasts. Calling Jesus a Samaritan was a personal attack. Saying Jesus was "demonized" (demon possessed) meant that his words could not be trusted. A similar kind of attack is used in politics today. When one side can't win an argument they call their opponent "racist". Humanity hasn't changed much over the last couple thousand years. Jesus doesn't react to their words, chosing instead to keep the discussion on track and doubling-down on his earlier teachings saying, "If anyone obeys my teaching, he will never experience death."

Instead of stopping to think through Jesus' argument, the reacted emotionally, asking if Jesus thought himself greater than Abraham and the prophets. Jesus' short answer was "Yes", his long answer includes his revealing that the one they call God is, in fact, his Father. He concludes by saying that Abraham was pleased to see the Messiah's day. Then he does something unexpected. We've argued wether or not Jesus used the very personal name of God previously, and decided probably not. Here there is no guessing. Jesus states plainly and clearly, "Before Abraham came into existence, I AM."

And that was all the people needed to hear. "Blasphemy!" they shouted while picking up stones to kill him with. We're not certain how Jesus got away from them. John simply tells us that suddely Jesus was hidden from them. As if he had a cloak of invisibility. He didn't, of course, but somehow he was able to conceal himself and slip away from their murderous intent.

Learn Biblical Hebrew Online


English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish



How to setup an RSS of Windows Reader Service