God’s Word of Life
John 8:21-47: In Exodus 3:13-15, God’s name (I AM) is revealed to Moses. In John’s Gospel, Jesus’s use of the term “I am” connects him to God. (Yesterday’s reading included one of the seven “I am” passages in John’s Gospel.) When challenged about his identity, Jesus says “I Am Who I Am.” Jesus tells the people that those who believe in him will know the truth and that the truth will set them free from slavery to sin.
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.”
You Cannot Go Where I Am Going
21Again Jesus said to them, “I will go away; you will look for me, but you will die in your sins. You cannot go where I am going.”
22So the Jewish authorities said, “He says that we cannot go where he is going. Does this mean that he will kill himself?”
23Jesus answered, “You belong to this world here below, but I come from above. You are from this world, but I am not from this world. 24That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. And you will die in your sins if you do not believe that ‘I Am Who I Am’.”
25“Who are you?” they asked him.
Jesus answered, “What I have told you from the very beginning. 26I have much to say about you, much to condemn you for. The one who sent me, however, is truthful, and I tell the world only what I have heard from him.”
27They did not understand that Jesus was talking to them about the Father. 28So he said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that ‘I Am Who I Am’; then you will know that I do nothing on my own authority, but I say only what the Father has instructed me to say. 29And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.”
30Many who heard Jesus say these things believed in him.
The Truth Will Set You Free
31So 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’?”
34Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35A slave does not belong to a family permanently, but a son belongs there forever. 36If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free. 37I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are trying to kill me, because you will not accept my teaching. 38I talk about what my Father has shown me, but you do what your father has told you.”
39They answered him, “Our father is Abraham.”
“If you really were Abraham's children,” Jesus replied, “you would do the same things that he did. 40All 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! 41You are doing what your father did.”
“God himself is the only Father we have,” they answered, “and we are his true children.”
42Jesus 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. 43Why 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. 45But I tell the truth, and that is why you do not believe me. 46Which one of you can prove that I am guilty of sin? If I tell the truth, then why do you not believe me? 47He who comes from God listens to God's words. You, however, are not from God, and that is why you will not listen.”
Reread verses 31 and 32. What does being set free by the truth mean to you? Reread verse 39-47. What does Jesus say to those who claim to be Abraham’s children and when they claim that God is their Father? Jesus says that those who come from God listen to God’s words (verse 47).
In what ways do you listen for God’s words?
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 I know that you are from God and have opened the way for me to listen to God’s words. Continue to guide me in the way of your truth each day. Amen.
Bible study leaders and participants
John 12:20-36a: Jesus speaks about his impending death.