Read – John 8:31-47
The truth can be a hard pill to swallow – even for those who believe.
We are now on our third day of “A Season of Dedication,” but let me remind you that as we continue in John 8, it is still the same day for Jesus and those listening to Him in the Temple. Keep in mind this is “the Last and Greatest Day” of Tabernacles, also known as “The Eighth Day.” It is a day for new beginnings with the “living water” of the Spirit being poured into the lives of those who would receive Jesus as LORD (see – Jn. 7:37-39).
On this the Eighth Day Jesus now begins to speak to those who had just believed in Him.
If you and I were there that day, we would count ourselves among those Jesus is talking to. He says something we accept without thinking much about; “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn. 8:31-32). We abide in His word, know the truth, and are free – right?
Let’s not be too quick to think this is true about us today. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth about ourselves to us – the truth about our deceitful hearts (see Jer. 17:9). Why? The truth can be a hard pill to swallow – even for those who believe.
Those who had just believed in Jesus that day immediately challenged His words. “We are not enslaved to anyone,” they said, so “how can you say the truth will set us free?”
Jesus directs their attention to the bondage of their hearts; “Anyone who practices sin, is a slave to sin,” He says, “but if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” We’re quick to respond with an “Amen!,” but Jesus does not stop there. He continues telling those who believed in Him that day that they will seek to kill Him because His word does not abide within them. Do we still want to be among the group of new believers Jesus is talking to that day?
It’s one thing to hear Jesus’ words and say an amen of belief, and it is another to let His word abide or remain within us. Jesus will go on to tell them that He speaks the truth but now they don’t believe what He says. Why don’t these “believers” believe? Jesus tells them, “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).
So what does it mean for Christ’s word to abide or remain within us so we are free? How can we know that we are free indeed because we are “of God” hearing “the words of God?”
In a word it is obedience. James put it this way, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (see – Jm. 1:22-25). When we look around our community, our churches, how many of the people we see are quick to believe, but are hearers only and not doers of the word?
More importantly, what about the face that looks back at us in the mirror? As believers in Jesus are we among those who are only hearers shouting an “Amen?” Or are we doers of the word who live a life of obedience to the LORD and His commandments in our day to day lives?
Let’s make today a day to dedicate ourselves to not just believing in Jesus, but obeying Jesus. Let’s be honest to God as we pray.
LORD, I understand today that obedience is the litmus test that shows I am “of God” hearing “the words of God.” Holy Spirit empower me to not only have eyes to see and ears to hear, but give me also a heart willing to obey Your word.