Read John 8:31-47.
Some of the Jews had begun to believe in Jesus. You would think that he would encourage them or say, “I’m happy to have you on board;” but that’s not what he did. No he said,
If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Was their belief not enough? While we read only that they had believed in him, Jesus knew their hearts. He knew the depth of their belief. He knew that perhaps their belief was only in his miracles or the idea that he would be their liberator from Roman oppression. He wanted their belief to be based on his teaching–on the words of truth he spoke. This was the truth that would set them free.
Their response reveals the true state of their “belief.”
We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?
I guess the 400 years in Egypt just slipped their minds.
There’s a saying that a person has to get lost before he can be saved. These Jews had too much self-righteousness to think of themselves as slaves to sin. They were riding on the coattails of their ancestor, Abraham.
Jesus burst that bubble pretty fast.
I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word….He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.
Jesus had some pretty harsh words for those “sons of Abraham,” and I won’t repeat them all here. Suffice it to say, their inability to hold onto the teaching of Jesus revealed the true state of their hearts, and thus of their belief, or lack thereof.
Could Jesus use the same harsh words for me? Am I holding on to his teaching, or do I prefer to pick and choose what suits my fancy and sit back on my own self-sufficiency? Do I believe in the concept of Jesus, but not the truth of his word?
He tells me I can’t have one without the other. Either I accept Jesus, hard words included, or I’ve not accepted him at all, and my father remains not God, but the Devil.
I believe in the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth, So Help me God. I’m going to hold on to him and his word.
What about you?