“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ ” John 8:31–32
As Jesus comes to the end of his verbal exchange with the Scribes and Pharisees he turns to those who “believe in him” and tells them, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The part about abiding in his word being essential to their being his disciples was not offensive, it was expected that anyone’s disciples should abide in the teachings of their master, however the part where he said that they would know the truth and that the truth would set the free, set the Jewish leaders off.
“We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
The fact that anything should be required to give them standing before God was offensive them. They had a pedigree, Abraham was they forefather, and they believed that this fact alone was sufficient to guarantee their perpetual place before God. They idea that something else was required in order for them to truly be free was odious to them.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’ ” John 8:34–36
Jesus then goes on to point out that they’re all sinners because they’re plotting to kill him because he’s teaching the people what the Father is directing him to teach. Their lies, together with their other sins, prove that while they may be descendants of Abraham they’re still slaves to sin and children of the Devil.
It occurs to me that we’re no different than the Jewish people taking offense at Jesus pointing out their deficiencies. Very few people in this world react well to being told that the parts of their lives they’re most proud of are actually worthless. Let’s face it, just like the Jewish leaders we’re strongly tempted to rely on, and to point to, our heritage, our past actions, and our membership in a social or religious community as reasons for us to have a claim to a place with God. But friends who your parents were, where you claim membership, and the things you’ve done in the past count for nothing when it comes to abiding with God. Jesus sacrifice of himself alone purchased for you the opportunity to come into the presence of your Heavenly Father. It’s Jesus alone that supplies the opportunity and the forgiveness and cleansing to make that possible.
There is, however, something required of you if you’re going to remain with God. Obedience. Jesus makes it very clear that obedience is require if we’re going to abide. As we abide with him, Jesus is going to daily teach us the truth and it’s our responsibility to choose to accept and obey the truth revealed.
Let’s choose to be Christ’s disciples and obey his word today.