Thursday, November 12, 2020
The conversation between Jesus and the Jews in John 8 fascinates me. It is a study of contrasts between the One with a spiritual mindset and those with hearts of stone. Jesus sought only the honor of the Father. The Jews sought to defend their traditions. They even went so far as to honor a fellow human above the Messiah.
Here are two principles I glean from their conversation with Jesus as found in John 8:52-57.
- John 8:52-53 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?”
The hearts and minds of the Jewish leaders were totally captivated with the admiration of Abraham’s faith while ignoring the object of his faith. They were more satisfied to honor Abraham for his faith than they were to acknowledge the One in whom Abraham believed. In practical terms, they placed their faith in their religion rather than in their Savior. This is far too common today. People choose to be identified by their religious systems rather than by their relationship with Jesus. They even claim that any kind of faith is valid. But faith is only so valid as the object in which it is placed. Any faith placed in anything or anyone other than Jesus Christ is futile. Religious tradition cannot save from sin. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can.
2. John 8:56-57 “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?”
The people with whom Jesus spoke were blinded by their desire to protect their religious heritage. Look at the dialogue. Jesus said to them, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” But rather than have the same perspective of Abraham, which would have caused them to see Jesus as their Messiah, they chose to ask Jesus if He had seen Abraham. Imagine that. The people were given a chance to understand what Abraham saw when Isaac was born, and when Isaac was rescued from sacrifice, and when the covenant was established that an offspring would be a blessing to all the nations of the world. They had a chance to join in the fullness of joy that Abraham experienced when he saw the coming of the Messiah to save the world from its sin. Yet they were so blinded by their tradition of exalting Abraham that they actually asked their Messiah if He had seen their spiritual father. How sad that we also seek to bring Jesus down into the realm of human tradition and experience. We want Jesus to validate what we choose to believe, rather than believing in Jesus and bringing all other beliefs into subjection to Him. We would rather be seen by Jesus than to see Him.
I challenge you to ponder these two truths, and see if there is anything in your heart or mind that is of greater importance than pure and simple faith in Jesus Christ alone.