About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Children Of Abraham (ch. 8:31-41)


In verse 31 Jesus says something important about discipleship.  Many people were following Jesus from place to place and claiming to be disciples when in fact they werenít. They were only on the band wagon while it was a popular thing to do.  Here Jesus tells those who had just come to believe in Him that if they hold on to His teaching, theyíd really be His disciples.  A disciple is one that sticks with Jesus through thick and thin.  Everyone who claims to be a disciple of Jesus is not necessarily a true disciple of Jesus.


The word "disciple" simply means "one who learns."  For the Christian, a disciple of Jesus is one who learns from what Jesus teaches him.  Then, once learning he puts what he learns into action. 


The next sentence is an often over used and misquoted sentence.  Jesus says, "Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free."  We are not set free until we are true disciples of Jesus who hear the truth from Jesus and follow His truth.  After hearing, obeying and following the truth of Jesus we will be set free.


The question then should be asked, "What are we set free from?"  Iíve been in many Pentecostal and Charismatic meetings over the years and have heard this verse used in a Sunday morning worship service.  Iíve heard it said that we should be set free from our inhibitions in order to get up and dance to the music.  This is not what Jesus had in mind here.    


The Jews replied by telling Jesus that they've never been slaves to anyone.  
That was a ridiculous statement. 

As a matter of fact it was not true. Over the centuries they had been slaves to Egypt, Babylon, Persia, and Greece.  As they uttered this ridiculous words they were in bondage to Rome.  


In verse 34 Jesus made it very clear what type of slavery they were involved in, what they were enslaved to.  Jesus tells them that they are slaves to sin.  Being set free by the truth of Jesus means to be set free from the sin, it destructive force, and its penalty. It has absolutely nothing to do with singing and dancing on a Sunday morning.


Jesus statement of knowing the truth and being set free from the truth has been one important ideal that our western world justice system has embraced.  It was, but not any more, a fundamental of western culture.  We've long since departed from Biblical thinking and this statement and according to Genesis 2:16 and 17, when you step beyond the boundaries that freedom is fenced in by, you will die.  Western civilization is committing cultural suicide by forsaking the truth that has set us free.       


In verse 35 Jesus speaks of slaves.  He says that slaves are not part of a family.  They are hired hands.  A son on the other hand is a part of the family.  This is a prelude to what He was about to say.


In verse 36 Jesus says that "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."  Once again, He is not talking about singing and dancing.  He is not talking about political or cultural freedom.  He is saying that He is the true Son of God and He can set us free from our sin and its devastating affects on our lives.  Only then can we be truly free.  In other words, we may be free externally, in the culture in which we live, but if we're not free internally, we're not really free.


In verses 37 and 38 Jesus admits that they are biological sons of Abraham, but, Abraham is not the ultimate father of Israel .  He is only the earthly father of Israel .  Jesus says that He has been and now is, in the presence of the ultimate Father of Israel, and that is God.  What He hears from God, He passes on to Israel , but Israel rejects everything He repeats from His Father.        


In verse 37 Jesus tells the Pharisees that they have no room for His word.  It was for this reason that led Old Testament Israel to idolatry and the worship of pagan gods that led God to bring a famine of hearing His word that lasted from the days of Malachi to the days of John the Baptist.  Not having room for God's word, and by that I mean the Bible, is the most fundamental problem the modern day western world church faces today.  


In verse 39 the Jews arrogantly respond again by saying that Abraham is their father.  This is supposed to make them special.  This is supposed to separate them from the rest of the nations.  This was their great boast.   


Then Jesus tells them that if they were Abrahamís children, as to put a sense of doubt into the conversation, then theyíd do as Abraham did.  Abraham obeyed God, something these people arenít doing by both their rejection of Jesus and their failure to obey the Law of Moses they claim to obey. 


In verse 40 Jesus reminds the Jews that they were attempting to kill him. That would both break one of the Ten Commandments and it would also be doing something that Abraham never did.  If these Jews claimed to be children of Abraham then they should live like Abraham and forget about killing Him. 


In verse 41 the Jews catch on to what Jesus is saying, which was, they are illegitimate sons of Abraham.  They respond by telling Jesus that they arenít illegitimate children, and that their true father is God Himself, that is, the same father Jesus claims to have.


In verse 41 Jesus also says that they are doing the things their own father does. We'll see in the next section just what Jesus means by this.   

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