John closes chapter 8 with Jesus’ words to us, a new audience of believers. While our reading on the back page starts with John 8:31, I think it should have started with 8:30. “Even as he spoke, many believed in him.” To those who believed him he said…”
What follows are the keys to freedom and a glimpse of the true freedom even as the prisoners all around him continued to argue that their beautifully decorated prison cells were what freedom looked like.
Jesus provides the 3 steps to true freedom in verses 31,32:
- Be my disciples. For clarity, he even helps distinguish here between real disciples and false/not-real disciples. Being a disciple of Jesus is not a matter of saying some words or trying really hard to do good or being born a certain way or anything like that. Being a real disciple is letting go of everything else we think we know and holding on to his teaching. That means putting faith completely in Him.
- Know the truth. The only path to knowing the truth is to become a disciple. Faith leads to knowledge, not the other way around. Believing is seeing. The truth is the core message of the gospel, the truly good news, that God loves us so much that the Father sent Jesus to become a man and die, even though he had no sin, to pay the price to redeem us from our sin and adopt us to be His children for all eternity.
- The truth will set you free.
But what does it mean to be free? We get a small glimpse of it in verses 56 and 58.
“V 56. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” The word translated as rejoiced is the Hebrew word agalliaō. This word, in turn, is a combination of two words, agan and hallomai. Agan mean much or very much. Hallomai means to leap, to spring up or gush up like a geyser of water.
Jesus tells us that Abraham was “leaping very much” at the very thought of seeing Jesus’ coming. This reminds me of the description Elizabeth gave for the reaction of John the Baptist in her whom when she said he skipped at the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb.
Jesus goes on to say that in faith Abraham experienced (saw it) the promise of Jesus coming to earth and was glad. The word for glad is chairō, which is more commonly translated as rejoiced (42x vs 14x as glad).
One of the few other places in the bible these two words are together is Revelation 19:7, where the great multitude of heaven in a voice that roared like rushing waters cries out “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready”
As Jesus further states in v58, the prompting for both of these events, past and future, was believers standing in the presence of God, the I am. And, yet, on that day, in that temple in Judea, the people stood in the presence of the I am, they did not rejoice and they were not glad. They were dead on the insides and rejected true freedom found only in Jesus.
But I say, not me. I’m looking forward to some leaping. I’m looking forward to rejoicing and joining the multitude in breaking some decibel level records! I’m looking forward to experiencing fully the marriage of Jesus with the church.
physical death is not victorious over those who follow the word of Jesus to believe in Him
Abraham rejoiced in his faith in God and the promises/covenants of God. He saw this day through the eyes of faith.
It is the name of God given to Moses at the burning bush. It means that Jesus is calling himself God
It is all the difference. Jesus was a real man. He either said these things or he didn’t. The argument cannot be made that he was a good teacher or prophet. Teachers and prophets do not claim to be God. He either was God or wasn’t. If he was, then God came to this earth and shed his own blood for the redemption of my sin. That is what makes real life.