“Can You Handle the Truth?”
Jesus is addressing the crowd in the Temple, still the last day (8th day) of the Feast of Tabernacles and His recent proclamations within the midst of the Feast have caused many in the crowd to believe in Him. Let’s resume: John 8:30-59 There is a split in the crowd addressed in verses 30 & 31: “many believed in Him”, “Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him”. Many are listening but not all are believing. So to those who want to follow Him, Jesus gives instruction: “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” ______________________________________________________________________________
Abiding leads to knowing the truth, which in turn leads to freedom (vs. 32)
The fact that the Jew’s claim (verse 33) that they have never been in bondage to anyone, is a total disconnect with their history and absolute denial about their present circumstances as they stand and talk with the Lord. Most of their history has been written while they were captives to one nation or another, in fact their national story began with deliverance from captivity from Egypt. All that time they had been descendants of Abraham.
So Jesus makes the point that sin is something that controls us, that without Him we are slaves to sin. And in verse 35 He makes the point that we must have an identity change: we must go from slaves to sons, so that we can abide in the house (God’s kingdom).
Jesus concedes that He knows they are Abraham’s children – a national identity, but what matters to God is that we have our spiritual identity in Him, and that identity is individual, not corporate. We are free in Christ when we have an individual relationship with Him alone, not dependent upon any other person or institution. Why was Abraham so important to Israel? Let’s look at a few attributes of Abraham:__________________________________________
Jesus makes the point in verse 40 – 46 that if you don’t act like a son, doing what the Father instructs you to do, you are not being a son. _______________________________________
In verse 47 Jesus lays out the most verifiable test for discerning knowledge of God: “He who is of God hears God’s words”. At this point the others in the crowd begin their argument with Jesus. ______________________________________________________________________
With this accumulation of witness Jesus cuts to the chase (so to speak) and in verse 58, in the midst of the questioning about Abraham, He makes this statement: “I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” So Jesus is saying point blank that He is fulfilment of many prophetic views as the I AM, the ego eimi. Here are a few and you can study them at your leisure:
Isaiah 41:4 – “I the Lord, am the first; and with the last I am He.”
Isaiah 43:10 “That you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He.”
Isaiah 45:18 “I am the Lord, and there is no other.”
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