February 16, 2023 – Thursday
John 8:31-32 NIV
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 NET
31 Then Jesus said to those Judeans who had believed him, “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:31-32 NKJV
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Jesus is speaking to the Jews or Judeans, the Jewish people in Jerusalem who had been listening to Jesus’ teaching in the temple and had believed His claim to be the Messiah. That was then. Today Jesus’ words apply to all who have read or heard His words about who He claimed to be and is.
I mention this because He is speaking a truth that transcends time, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. In other words, if we hold to His teaching or follow His teaching, even today, we become His disciples. But what does it mean to hold to or continue in His teaching? I think the NKJV captures what it really means, If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. We abide or live in His word. We are without excuse if we do not as we have full and complete access to His word and we are able to live in it if we so choose. Further, for those who do so, Jesus says, you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Now we know, or should know, He is speaking about freedom from the slavery of sin in a person’s life. Those He was addressing did not, but later He makes it absolutely clear.
Verse 33 shows how they did not understand when they said, 33 We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free? And that is when Jesus shocked them when He said, 34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.” When He spoke of their father, it was Satan He was speaking about.
What did they think of what He had said? They ignored all He had said about sin and their desire to kill Him. Then they began with what Jesus had already stated, 39a “Abraham is our father,” they answered. That was all they had, so Jesus gave them the facts one more time, 39b “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would] do what Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. 41a You are doing the works of your own father.” Once again, He is calling them out as sons of Satan.
What was their defense this time? It wasn’t to call upon Abraham as their father. No, they dug their hole even deeper replying, 41b“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” With that they set themselves up for Jesus’ devastating response, 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. He did not stop or pause here, but continued with, 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
The only answer they could come up with was to accuse Him of being a Samaritan as well as being demon possessed. Read the rest of the chapter to see how He dealt with those accusations. At the end He reveals Himself saying, 58 “Very truly I tell you before Abraham was born, I am!”
Bottom Line: We can believe Jesus, or we can believe the lies of the devil. Choose wisely. Eternity is a long time to be wrong.
Prayer: Almighty God, Thank You for having Jesus speak so clearly on the choice before us, to abide in Him and His word or to serve the devil. And we are thankful Your mercy came with the grace we receive when we choose your Son. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton