Todays’ 8th chapter in John’s gospel is one of the most heart challenging chapters in the Bible. When we come to ch. 16 we must take notice of how Jesus tells his disciples, “I have said these things to you, that … you may remember that I told them to you.” [v.4] – then in v.13, we specially note his added promise, “When the Spirit of truth comes” this spirit “will guide you into all the truth…” John in particular was inspired to write out, in detail, “all the truth” – we must make sure we look into it every day – using it to guide us in our lives so that we can ‘see’ in this worlds’ ‘darkness.’
Today’s chapter describes how Jesus challenges his hearers: “unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” [v.24] He had just told them, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” [v.19] To “know” in the sense that Jesus means here, is to develop a relationship. When we come to ch. 10 we will see the simple – but challenging words of Jesus – “”You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also, just as the Father knows me …”[v.14,15]
Those who truly “know” Jesus respond to his appeal to “abide in my word…” [v.31]. True disciples, says Jesus, “know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [v.32]
This saying provokes an intense discussion – and challenging comments by Jesus, “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.” [v.43] Of course, they ‘heard’! But they were not “of God.” Jesus bluntly says, “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” [v.47]
Has it not be the same ever since! People read the sayings of Jesus and the later writings of his followers looking for confirmation of what they want to believe, such as going to heaven when they die. This is a tragedy – caused by a failure to embrace in their hearts and mind what Jesus actually said – and his disciples later wrote.
How thought challenging are these words of Jesus! ” Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” [v.51] Those who truly believe and “keep” the words of Jesus – although they may “sleep” (which is what Jesus said of Lazarus – ch. 11 v.11) – they experience a timeless sleep until the resurrection [v.24/25]. Will they not – on the resurrection morn – think they have just had a brief sleep!
“If you (and I) abide in (his) word.” We will, with that ‘abiding’, live lives that are a rewarding day after day experience – but we must make sure we truly “abide in” his “word” – feeding our minds and hearts on it day after day!
By Bro D.Caudery
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