Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”
They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does.” They said to him, “We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”
From Heather Stephens
What I find interesting about today’s gospel is that it happens not between Jesus and the Jews who did not believe him, but between Jesus and the Jews who did believe him. He starts by giving them encouragement to continue doing what they are doing. In response, they become confused, saying “We’re not slaves? What are you setting us free from?” From there the argument begins to unravel with the Jews responding to Jesus talking about who his father is and who their father is by saying, “Abraham is our father,” and right after that “We are not illegitimate children. The only Father we have is God himself.” The argument dissolves shortly after where this gospel reading ends with Jesus saying some very harsh things about who he believes their father to be.
In that next section though, there is a clue as to what may have caused the whole argument. Jesus says, “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.”
Were the Jews standing with him that day distracted by their own desires to hear their truth and not what was being said to them?
How often do we not hear and accept truth for the same reason? Listen today with this held in your heart, “I might be wrong.”