Summary: Those who derive their reality from the world they see and hear about them are not living in the true reality that God wants for them.
The Jewish people were confident of their standing as the "People of God." They had this confidence for two major reasons; they could trace their lineage back to Abraham, and they bore the sign of the covenant which was circumcision. Jesus acknowledged their physical lineage in the previous section but wanted to show that a relationship is not based upon physical traits and characteristics but upon acknowledgment of God and doing his will (Hos 6:6 and Is 1:2-3). They derived a salvation reality based on externals rather than a relationship with God the Father.
Jesus also makes this very plain in his conversation; "if you were children of Abraham you would do what he did." He also made it very plain when he said, "If God was your father, you would love me." The use of these two conditional sentences clearly shows that those who thought they were God’s children who would receive their blessing through Abraham were, in fact, mistaken.
• All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.
• The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place.
• The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.
• A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
• Cars that crash will almost always burst into flames.
• Persons knocked unconscious by a blow to the head will never suffer a concussion or brain damage.
• It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.
• Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds—unless it’s the door to a burning building with a child trapped inside.
• All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they will go off.
• Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.
• It is not necessary to say hello or goodbye when beginning or ending phone conversations.
• Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.
• It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts; your enemies will patiently wait to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.
If all you ever saw and all you ever heard came from Hollywood you would not be surprised by such statements. After all, what we see and what we hear form the basis for our beliefs about the world and our reality. If someone who believed such things tried to live out some of those deceptive "Hollywood truths" he would quickly be injured or killed. The same is true for those who try to apply deceptive worldly truths to spiritual concerns except with far worse consequences. The consequences for such an error are eternal. Unfortunately, most people see and hear far more from the world than they do from their Creator.
Jesus didn’t have Hollywood to contend with but he still had an ungodly world that taught a deceptive reality just like the movies. The Jews of Jesus’ era were convinced that they were in God’s favor simply because of their ancestry, ethnicity, and rituals. Just like a parent concerned with his child’s perception of Hollywood reality, Jesus was deeply concerned for mankind’s
perception of spiritual reality. Just like the Jews of Jesus’ day, people live out a deceptive reality provided by the world around them rather than true reality. Although he addressed this issue in many ways and with many people, one of the clearest examples is found in the book of John. A personal relationship with God and exposure to godly models helps you discern and apply God’s will to your life. Let us see how Jesus clearly attempts to correct their view of reality and the behavior that stems from it in John 8:39-47.
The Jewish people were confident of their standing as the "People of God." They had this confidence for two major reasons; they could trace their lineage back to Abraham, and they bore the sign of the covenant which was circumcision. In the paragraphs just prior to today’s Scripture Jesus acknowledged their physical heritage but wanted to show that a saving relationship is not based upon physical traits and characteristics but upon knowing God and his will (Hos 6:6 and Isa 1:2-3).
I. If your primary focus is on the world you will not have a true godly reality. (vv 39-42)
The Jews to whom Jesus was speaking claimed to be children of Abraham and God as their only father. They did not, however, demonstrate the kind of behavior that someone from the outside would connect with Abrahamic behavior. They had deceived even themselves. They lacked the faith of Abraham and more importantly, they were hostile to the one whom Abraham would love to see and whom Abraham would worship. While they claimed one thing with their mouths, their actions belied their true beliefs and priorities. They did not respond the way the one they called their Father, God, would want them to.