Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative to present Jesus in the context he walked in with the unknown disciple that narrates introducing my thoughts and sparking more ideas with his questions. Enjoy.
Jesus had just won over some more people in the temple. He said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
There’s no point in converting if you’re not going to follow the teachings. That was accepted everywhere. It’s like promising to be faithful to your wife even though you never intended to in the first place. Your whole heart has to be in it.
They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”
“Why did they say that,” Nathaniel whispered to me.
“I don’t know. We’ve been enslaved many times through the history of our nation. They know this.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”
“Abraham is our father,” they answered.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.”
Our Jewish tradition held to Abraham’s righteousness. Because of that, we were part of God’s family because Abraham was our ancestor. Jesus just told us that’s not good enough.
He also called us out on not acting as Abraham did. Hypocrites.
“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
Jesus just threw down the gauntlet. Challenging them with the fact they didn’t act like Abraham or God.
The crowd stirred angrily. What was their answer going to be?