Its a Matter of Life or Death: John 8:31-59

About this Episode

Its a Matter of Life or Death: John 8:31-59 is the topic that will be discussed today on RIOT Podcast, a Christian Discipleship Podcast.

Last week was such a great show. We talked about two very important nuggets that are in the bible. The first was that Jesus said he was the light of the world and that in Him there is no darkness. We also talked about how he only did everything that pleased His Father. He gave us all a clue as to how to have God's light in us, we are to do everything that pleases the Father. Those two nuggets open the door for us to live a life that is centered on God's perfect will. This week we will be continuing that conversation in our reading of John 8:31-59.

In verses, 31-47 Jesus talks about the difference between freedom and being in bondage and then in verses 48-59, He talks about the differences between honor and dishonor. Let’s read John 8:31-47 and unpack the differences between freedom and bondage.

Read John 8:31-47

In vs 33, we read the pronoun “They” Who are “they”? In vs 30, it ends by after these things, many believed in Him. So Jesus is telling them here, that in order to be my true disciple you must abide in His word like the other believers already have. So the “they” were most likely not the believers, for why would they argue with Jesus if they already believed? What Jesus is saying here is that when we obey His Word, we grow in spiritual knowledge, and as we grow in spiritual knowledge, we grow in freedom from sin.

They claim that Abraham’s descendants had never been in bondage was certainly a false one that was refuted by the very record in the OT. The Jews have been enslaved by (seven) mighty nations, as recorded in the book of Judges. The ten northern tribes had been carried away captive by Assyria, and the two southern tribes had gone into seventy years of captivity in Babylon. And at that very hour, the Jews were under the bondage of Rome!

Jesus explained that the difference between spiritual freedom and bondage is a matter of whether one is a son or a servant. The servant may live in the house, but he is not a part of the family, and he cannot be guaranteed a future

Whoever keeps on practicing sin, is the servant of sin. These religious leaders would not only die in their sins, but they were currently living in bondage to sin.

In the rest of this section, we see the debate centered around the word “father.” Jesus identified Himself with the Father in heaven, but He identified them with the father from hell, Satan. Of course, the Jews claimed Abraham as their father, but Jesus made a careful distinction between Abraham’s seed (the physical descendants) and Abraham’s children (the spiritual descendants) because of personal faith.

Nature is determined by birth, and birth is determined by paternity. IF God is your Father, then you share God’s nature, but if Satan is your father, then you share in his evil nature. Jesus did not say that every lost sinner is a child of the devil, though every lost sinner is certainly a child of wrath and disobedience.

What were the characteristics of these religious leaders who belonged to the Devil? For one thing, they rejected the truth, and they tried to kill Jesus because He spoke the truth. They did not love God, nor could they understand what Jesus taught. Satan’s children may be well versed in their religious traditions, but they have no understanding of the Word of God.

Satan is a liar and a murderer. He lied to our first parents and engineered their deaths. Cain was a child of the Devil, it says in 1 John 3:12 “We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother”. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brothers were righteous.

The religious leaders could not refute Jesus' statement, so they attacked Him personally. Their statement in vs 41 that we are not born of fornication was a slur on Jesus' own birth and character. After all, Mary was with child before she and Joseph were married. But their attack here in vs 48 was more obvious. For a Jew to be called a Samaritan was the worst insult and then to be called a demon-possessed person only added further insult.

They were dishonoring him but he was honoring the Father. Remember, He said it was impossible to honor the Father without honoring the son. They were seeking their own glory, but He was seeking the glory that belongs to God alone.

Jesus had warned them that they would die in their sins because of their unbelief, and now in vs 51 He invited them to trust His word and never see death. Once again the leaders lacked the spiritual insight to understand what He was saying. Abraham was dead, yet he was a godly man, and the faithful prophets were also dead. This kind of talk only convinced them more, that He had a demon.

How did Abraham see Jesus that is, His life and ministry on earth? The same way he saw the future city: by faith. God did not give Abraham some special vision of Jesus’s life and ministry, but He did give him the spiritual perception to see these future events.

The statement found in vs 58 can be translated as “Before Abraham came into being, I am”. This again is another affirmation of His divine sonship, and the Jewish leaders received it as such. Jesus once again is making Himself equal with God and this was the sin of blasphemy, worthy of death.

The most difficult people to win to the Savior are those who do not realize that they have a need. They are under the condemnation of God, yet they trust their religion to save them. They are walking in the darkness and not following the light of life.

If God is your Father, then heaven is your home. If He is not your Father, then hell is your destiny. It is truly a matter of life or death.

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