Summary: Jesus is addressing those who think they believe, who think they follow God. They had the notion that they were children of God, but had never yielded to Him the depth of allegiance that is at the core of real belief. It is a dangerous spiritual state.
JOHN 8: 37-47
RECEIVING THE WORD [OF GOD]
Jesus here is continuing to addresses those who think they believe, who think they follow God. They had the notion that they were children of God, but had never yielded to Him the depth of allegiance that is at the core of real belief. It is a dangerous spiritual state.
Because they would not yield true allegiance to God and His word they would not yield allegiance to Jesus. They were self-will and self-confident and self-satisfied with their hardened condition. They possessed a blind determination that they knew what was right and true. Therefore the Word of God could not be received. Because they refused to yield to God, they became the enemies of Jesus. Their confidence came from powerful spiritual force that blinded them to the truth and held them back from the right course of action.
I. RECEPTIVITY TO THE WORD, 37.
II. RESISTANCE TO THE WORD / TRUTH , 38-42.
III. REBELLION AGAINST THE WORD, 43.
IV. REJECTING THE TRUTH, 44-46.
V. THOSE RECEPTIVE TO THE WORD, 47.
I. A PLACE FOR THE WORD, 37.
Jesus concedes their claim to be of Abraham’s lineage in verse 37. "I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.
The people laid claimed to Abraham, the man of faith. The man who based his life on following God’s word. The man who exhibited his faith in God by living in light of the promises of God, even when they weren’t quickly fulfilled or easily understood. Even against human reason Abraham followed God because he believed God’s word.
In spite of the fact that they were descendants physically of Abraham, they were not characteristically like him. He obeyed the voice of God. They disobeyed the voice of God. Jesus sets their desire to kill Him as verification that they were not like Abraham. Instead of heeding God’s word they were hostile to Jesus because of God’s Word. His word found no place in them. His word made no progress in them or with them. They had no room for it in their lives.
Note again that religious privilege does not guarantee a right attitude to the things of God. Neither does religious observation make one sensitive to the things of God.
II. RESISTANCE TO THE TRUTH, 38-42.
In verse 38 Jesus begins to reveal to whom they are listening. "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father."
Jesus insists, as always, that His message is not from Himself, but derived from His Father. He has clear vision of the Father and speaks according to the things He has seen in/with the Father.
They have also heard things from their father and they do these things also. [Speak and do are continuous present tenses referring to each one’s persistent practice.]
Who you are following is who you are obeying. Who you are listening to is who you will become like.
In verse 39 they again attempt to justify themselves by their relationship with Abraham. They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham.
Jesus made a distinction between hereditary children and true children. The religious leaders were hereditary children of Abraham (founder of the Jewish nation) and therefore claimed to be children of God. But their actions showed they were not like Abraham. Jesus insisted that character kinship seen in actions is the only real way to exhibit relationship with Abraham.
Jesus repeats that His enemies are doing the work of their father in verse 40 & the first part of 41. "But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. (41) "You are doing the deeds of your father."
Jesus sums up the intent of their deeds as the attempt to put Him to death. This attempt to put Him to death rises out of their hostility toward God. Jesus then characterizes Himself simply as the man who has told them the truth, the truth about themselves that they do not want to hear. Again this truth, this message did not come from Himself but from God.
Abraham listened to God’s truth and obeyed it (Gen. 26:5). To cherish murderous intent against someone who is telling you the truth is not the mark of Abraham’s children. Their actions thus proved that their father is ever so distinctly different from Abraham. True children of Abraham (faithful followers of God) would not act as they did. They would follow the truth even if it was difficult or challenging to do so.