Wednesday after Cantate
Scripture: St. John 8:30-45 (NKJV)
8:30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.
31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
I would draw your attention to one little word from today’s reading: “in”. This little word makes all the difference in understanding what you have just read. Two distinctively different groups of people were listening to Jesus, yet both groups were believers. What makes this all the more strange is that some of these believers have the devil as their father.
Now, we usually think of believers as having God as their Father. But this isn’t exactly true. We need only listen to James: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19). The difference between the two groups of believers rests upon that one word, “in”. “As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him…”
Those who reject God’s forgiveness remain enslaved by sin, and have the devil as their father and master. There is no hope found in them because they only look within themselves. As God’s Word proclaims, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Matt. 7:21-23)
However, those who do not look within, but rather believe in Jesus “abide in [His] word.” It is the Word of God that gives life to believers. Believers in Jesus know the truth because the Word of forgiveness of sins brings freedom to those enslaved by sin. Believers in Jesus are now free to live as Christ works in them and through them in service to others.
Prayer: Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.