God’s Renewing Word of Wisdom
John 8:31-59: The debate between Jesus and the religious authorities intensifies. In the ensuing dialogue, Jesus challenges his opponents regarding their claim to be children of God and declares them to be children of the devil. The religious authorities then accuse Jesus of having a demon in him.
The Truth Will Set You Free
31 So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; 32 you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 “We are the descendants of Abraham,” they answered, “and we have never been anybody’s slaves. What do you mean, then, by saying, ‘You will be free’?”
34 Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave does not belong to a family permanently, but a son belongs there forever. 36 If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free. 37 I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are trying to kill me, because you will not accept my teaching. 38 I talk about what my Father has shown me, but you do what your father has told you.”
39 They answered him, “Our father is Abraham.”
“If you really were Abraham’s children,” Jesus replied, “you would do the same things that he did. 40 All I have ever done is to tell you the truth I heard from God, yet you are trying to kill me. Abraham did nothing like this! 41 You are doing what your father did.”
“God himself is the only Father we have,” they answered, “and we are his true children.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God really were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own authority, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to listen to my message. 44 You are the children of your father, the Devil, and you want to follow your father’s desires. From the very beginning he was a murderer and has never been on the side of truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he is only doing what is natural to him, because he is a liar and the father of all lies. 45 But I tell the truth, and that is why you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you can prove that I am guilty of sin? If I tell the truth, then why do you not believe me? 47 He who comes from God listens to God’s words. You, however, are not from God, and that is why you will not listen.”
Jesus and Abraham
48 They asked Jesus, “Were we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon in you?”
49 “I have no demon,” Jesus answered. “I honor my Father, but you dishonor me. 50 I am not seeking honor for myself. But there is one who is seeking it and who judges in my favor. 51 I am telling you the truth: whoever obeys my teaching will never die.”
52 They said to him, “Now we know for sure that you have a demon! Abraham died, and the prophets died, yet you say that whoever obeys your teaching will never die. 53 Our father Abraham died; you do not claim to be greater than Abraham, do you? And the prophets also died. Who do you think you are?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I were to honor myself, that honor would be worth nothing. The one who honors me is my Father—the very one you say is your God. 55 You have never known him, but I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see the time of my coming; he saw it and was glad.”
57 They said to him, “You are not even fifty years old—and you have seen Abraham?”
58 “I am telling you the truth,” Jesus replied. “Before Abraham was born, ‘I Am’.”
59 Then they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and left the Temple.
Today’s Key Verse: John 8:31, 32
Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Reread verses 31 and 32. What does being set free by the truth mean to you? In yesterday’s reading, Jesus said, “you will know that ‘I Am Who I Am’ ” (verse 28); and in today’s reading Jesus says, “Before Abraham was born, ‘I Am’ ” (verse 58). John’s Gospel includes seven of Jesus’s “I Am” sayings (6:35, 48; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:5), and two of them appeared in readings earlier this month (6:35, 48; 8:12). God’s divine name “I AM” was first revealed to Moses (Exodus 3:14), and Jesus’s use of the name connects him to aspects of God’s nature and identifies him as the one sent by God. What does Jesus’s use of the divine name mean to you?
Lord Jesus, as your follower I believe that your Word is truth that indeed sets me free. You have revealed God’s love to me and made me a child of God. Continue to guide me in the way of your truth. Amen.
And now, join us in a prayer of thanksgiving that unreached believers in Cameroon are now receiving Bibles. Loving God, for the people living in Cameroon, circumstances have grown more dire in the past few years. Terrorist attacks, a civil war, and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have contributed to making the distribution of Bibles difficult in this country. In addition, poverty prevents many believers from acquiring their own Bibles without help, and illiteracy prevents many from connecting to Scripture. Despite these hardships, many people have discovered a way to engage with the Bible. Thanks to Bible-A-Month partners, people are hearing your Word through audio Bible listening groups. Over 280 new audio Bible listening groups were formed last year, and over 1,400 new believers have committed their lives to Christ. We pray, Lord God, that through these efforts there will be many new coverts to Jesus Christ. Amen.
1 Kings 3:1-15: Solomon prays for wisdom.