John 8:31-59 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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The True Children of Abraham
Comments for Study 11

John 8:31-59
Key verse: 31-32


I. The Children of Abraham (31-41)

>1. What had Jesus taught the unbelieving Jews in the previous passage? (12, 21, 24)

* John 8:12 "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

* John 8:21 "Once more Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come."

* John 8:24 "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins."

* Jesus taught that he is the Messiah, Elohim Jehovah.

* Jesus taught them that if they didn't believe in him they would die in their sins.

>What was the result of his teaching?

* John 8:27 "They (the religious leaders) did not understand that he was telling them about his Father."

* John 8:30 "Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him."

* Many of the average person believed that Jesus was the Messiah and that his words were true; while most leaders rejected him.

>2. What did Jesus teach these new believers about how to be his disciples and true children of God? (31)

* John 8:31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples."

* Jesus want to bring them closer to him and the truth.

* They had superficial faith; like seeds planted on the rock. Jesus wanted their faith in him to go deeper so that it would survive and produce fruit.

* "Jews" -religious leaders of the Jews who followed the law by the letter.

* The RSV translates it, "Continue in my word." Thus what Jesus is saying has a sense of prolong time.

* Jesus taught this in the temple area.

>What does this mean? (37b)

* John 8:37b "Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word."

* The word of God, the words of Jesus, must be a part of our life and ourself.

* We must practice Jesus word throughout our life.

>How can we hold to Jesus' word?

* Accept Jesus' words in my heart continually.

* Apply Jesus' words in my day to day life.

* Continually study, remember and practice Jesus' words no matter what.

* Examine myself in the light of Jesus' words.

>3. When we hold to Jesus' word what do we come to know? (32; 14:21)

* John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

* John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."

* Only if I truly accept his words into my heart and life will I come to know the truth.

>What is the truth, and what are its main characteristics? (1 Peter 1:24-25; Matt. 5:18; Lk. 2:10)

* 1 Peter 1:24-25 "For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you."

* Matthew 5:18 "I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

* Luke 2:10 "But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people."

* Jesus is the truth. To love the truth is to love Jesus.

* Jesus' words are for all people. (Lk. 2:10)

>What happens to us when we come to know the truth?

* John 8:32 "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

* "know" -experience

* Some may wonder if they are free. Jesus says continually accept him and his words in the heart and action and we will know. It is possible to know.

>How is it different from physical or human freedom?

* Know Christ in all things in our lives in light of his word. Don't become a slave to all things in our life and the past. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. He learned Christ through this and became a blessing.

>4. How did the Jews respond to his words? (33)

* John 8:33 "They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"

* They were confused by lies for they thought that they were following God and the law of God. They were had not been. Jesus was pointed that out to them here. But they did not want to brake away from their traditions and laws taught by men. Jesus wanted to be set free from the bondage of the law by making them men of the Spirit and his words of truth.

* They took Jesus' words as a personal attack because slavery, foreign oppression, and prejudice were sour spots in their history and lives. They were things they didn't like talking and thinking about and especially admitting too.

* Pride is a response, a defence mechanism to oppression.

* Pride caused them to miss the point of Jesus' words. From "set free" they implied that he was calling them substandard slaves to men. Instead of realizing that was talking about sin and the law.

>What were the good and bad points of their racial pride as Jews?

* Their pride helps them keep alive traditions of the past generations which can lead to more understanding of God's words.

* Their pride keeps them from learning new revelations and explanations from God and thus growing closer to God.

* Pride is a glue that keeps us from growing closer to God.

* Pride is a slippery hill that causes us to move farther away from God.

>To what had their pride blinded them? (Think about their past history and present situation.)

* They were slaves in Egypt, oppressed by neighbors in the promised land, defeated and made servants in Assyria and Babylon, controlled and conquered by Greece, and oppressed by Rome.

* Their concentration on what others had done to them only caused them to think about freedom form those who oppressed them. Instead they should have learned that all of mankind's problem is oppression and slavery to sin and the need to turn to God to be freed from it.

>5. What kind of freedom was Jesus talking about? (34)

* John 8:34 "Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin."

* John 8:36-38 "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

* Jesus did not react badly to their bad attitude. He tried to get them on the right path.

* Free to do what is right.

* The Holy Spirit gives us power to do what is right.

>How is a slave different from a son?

* A son has place, possession, and a future. A son can do as he wants and what he wants is to please his father.

* A slave had no place, no possessions, and no future. A slave can not do what he wants. He is commanded and thus obeys the father, his owner.

>What does "a permanent place in the family" mean?

* John 8:35 "Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever."

* We will never leave the love relationship with the Father.

* We will always have all privileges and honor of the family of God.

* Eph. 2:12-13

* Slaves are sold and no longer a part of the family.

>6. In what respect were these Jews different from Abraham, who was a blessing, even though they were his physical descendants? (37-40)

* John 8:37-38 "I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father."

* John 8:40-41 "As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the things your own father does." "We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself."

* They had no room for God's words.

* They didn't do the right things as Abraham did.

* Abraham didn't kill a man of God.

>What does their boast in verse 39 mean?

* John 8:39 ""Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did."

* Gen. 15:18

* Because of circumcision they thought that they did what Abraham did and were just as righteous as Abraham was. Abraham however, had room for God's words, which was Jesus' words. (Gen. 12:2-3)

* John 8:41b ""We are not illegitimate children," they protested. "The only Father we have is God himself."

II. The Children of the Devil (42-47)

>7. What did Jesus tell them about their true parentage?

* John 8:41a "You are doing the things your own father does."

* John 8:42a "Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father... "

* John 8:44 "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies."

* Their father was the devil, Satan, the liar and thief from the beginning.

* This truth doesn't apply to Jews alone. If anyone is not of Jesus, they are of Satan.

>What shows that they are not children of God, but children of the devil? (42a, 43-45, 47)

* John 8:42a "Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father... "

* John 8:43-45 "Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!"

* John 8:47 "He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

* They didn't love Jesus, the Son.

* Jesus' language wasn't clear to them.

* They wanted to do the devil's will, that is to kill Jesus, the Messiah.

* They listened to lies and spoke lies.

* They didn't belong to Jesus.

* They didn't belong to God.

III. Jesus' Claims about Himself (48-59)

>8. How did the Jews insult Jesus? (48, 52-53)

* John 8:48 "The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?"

* John 8:52a "At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed!"

>In response, what did he teach them about himself and what gracious promise did he give them?

* John 8:49-51 ""I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."

* John 8:54-55 "Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word."

* "you are a Samaritan" -a racial slur. They were saying he wasn't a pure Jew. He was a mixed blood. A sinner from the north.

* "demon possessed" -a often spoken claim by them.

* They didn't want to talk to Jesus. They just wanted to argue with him.

* Jesus repeated himself. He gives them a promise again.

>9. How did the Jews reveal their ignorance of God's redemptive plan through Abraham?

* John 8:52-53 "At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?"

* They thought Abraham died. They didn't understand resurrection.

>What did Jesus teach them about Abraham's joy, which could also be theirs?

* John 8:56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."

* The coming of the Messiah.

* "he saw it" -by faith.

* When did he see it. When he offered Isaac and God provided the sacrifice. Hebrews 11:17-19 "By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death."

>10. How did Jesus reveal himself to be God? (58)

* John 8:57-58 ""You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!"

* Jesus is saying that he is the LORD God (in Hebrew YHWH Elohim), the one who was with Abraham and his descendants.

* "I am" -Greek "Eimi" which John wrote his gospel account in. In Hebrew it is "YHWH". Jesus used the word that God gave Moses at the burning bush. Exodus 3:12-15 says, "And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain." Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."

* In the Exodus 3:12-15 quote above these are the English and Hebrew equivalents of the underline words (names) for God in order as they appear:
    God = Elohim
    you will worship God on this mountain = abad Elohim har
    God = Elohim
    God of your fathers = Elohim ab
    God said to Moses = Elohim amar mosheh
    I AM WHO I AM = Haya Haya
    I AM = Shalah
    God = Elohim
    the LORD = YHWH
    the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob = Elohim abraham Elohim yishaq Elohim yaaqob
    This is my name forever = shem olam

* Jesus used "I AM" thus claiming he is Elohim (creator God of Genesis 1:1), Haya Haya (I AM WHO I WILL BE), Shalah (I AM), and YHWH (LORD of the covenants).

* Elohim is a singular/plural word. When a Hebrew word ends in "im" it is plural, similar to the way English adds a "s" to make a nown plural. However, "Eloh" is singular in meaning and use. Thus, in the word Elohim God is stating that he is singular/plural or as Christians says, "Three in One and yet One."

* Jesus stated the truth about his identity before enemies. He was not afraid to. Nor should I be afraid to tell my identity before others.

* Mohammed, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, and other false christs take away from who Jesus said he is.

>What was their response to him?

* John 8:59 "At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds."

* Anyone who claimed to be equal with God and did not have proof to back it up was to be stoned.

* They could not stone him because God would not allow it and he would not allow it until it was his time to die. He had to die on Passover to fulfill prophecy.