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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

“Abraham is our father.”

      Last week we learned that the Pharisees believed that their descent from Abraham made them free and a member of God’s family. Jesus corrects them by saying, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the things Abraham did.” John 8:39  Jesus is saying that a real descendant of Abraham would do as Abraham did. Instead, they are seeking a way to kill Jesus. These scholars of the scriptures knew one of the Ten Commandments is “thou shall not commit murder,” and yet these religious leaders are plotting to kill Jesus. Abraham welcomed the messengers of God who came to him, but the Pharisees are plotting to kill God’s Supreme Messenger – Jesus. They are not acting as Abraham acted!
      We ended last week with the Pharisees saying, “We are not illegitimate children. The only Father we have is God himself.” This was a direct insult to Jesus because they believed Jesus was an illegitimate child because He was conceived out of wedlock. They had just said that Abraham was their father. Now they say that the only Father they have is God himself in an effort to correct their previous statement regarding Abraham. They are telling Jesus that they will listen only to God who is their Ruler and King.
        Jesus has an answer for this statement also. “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on My own, but He sent Me. Why is My language not clear to you? Because you are unable hear what I say.” John 8:42-43 If God was their Father, they would love Jesus because He came from God as His Supreme Messenger. He is God! Their unbelief and the murderous sin in their hearts blinded and deafened them to the Truth. As the evidence of being a descendant of Abraham is illustrated in acting as he did, the evidence of being a true child of God lies in our attitude and love for Jesus and His Word, and acting as He does. These Pharisees had closed their ears to Jesus. People hear and see what they want to hear and see! We must have sincere faith and obedience as Abraham did. These are true believers.

“You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.” John 8:44

       Jesus has shown the Pharisees that they are not true children of Abraham because they do not do as Abraham did. “Abraham believed God and by faith believed His promises. His belief counted to Abraham as righteousness.”(Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6)  Abraham was accounted righteous because of his belief in God and His Word. Jesus’ righteousness is also accounted to those who believe in Him. Jesus showed these Pharisees that God is not truly their Father because they reject the One God sent—Jesus-- and want to kill the innocent One. Now Jesus tells them plainly that their father is the devil. Their character has not been formed by God but by the devil. It is the devil who wants to destroy Jesus. These religious leaders do the lusts of the devil who was a murderer from the beginning, not the will of God. “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.” John 8:44 There is no truth in the devil. He is a liar and a murderer.  In the beginning, the serpent (devil) lied to Adam and the woman  bringing sin and ultimately death to all human beings. The devil works through our sinful, fleshly nature to do his evil work and lead us into sin. As I have said many times, there is no life in sin, only death. When we act according to our fleshly nature, we are being led by the devil, not the Holy Spirit. The devil, the prince of darkness, blinds us to the truth so we will do his evil pleasure. (see Ephesians 2:2) The Holy Spirit will always lead us to the truth and the ways of Jesus and the Father because they are one and are Truth. The Godhead will not lead us to do something against the Word of God. These Pharisees were not interested in the Truth because Jesus was a threat to their power and wealth as the religious leaders of Israel. They would not accept the Truth unfortunately because it is the Truth that will set them free from the bondage of sin. Their desire to kill Jesus was evidence that they were being controlled by the devil.

“Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin?” John 8:46

       In other words, “prove that I have sinned.” They couldn’t because Jesus is without sin. They are falsely accusing Him. Satan is the “accuser of the brethren.” The Pharisees have no proof.          Jesus tells them that if they cannot prove any charge against them, then “why don’t you believe Me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” V47 They have shut God and His Spirit out through their anger and hatred toward Jesus. Because of this, they are unable to recognize Truth. The irony is they were godlessly serving God. No doubt Jesus’ comment stung these religious leaders causing perhaps more anger toward Him.
      The Pharisees accuse Jesus of being a Samaritan and demon-possessed! This would be a tremendous insult to Jews. The Jews hated the Samaritans because they were Jews who had intermarried with the Samaritans. The Jews considered them half-breeds, law-breakers and unclean. They didn’t consider Samaritans children of God but children of the devil. This is why Jesus responded the way that He did. “I am not possessed by a demon, but I honor My Father and you dishonor Me. I am not seeking glory for Myself, but there is One who seeks it and He is the Judge.” John 8:49-50 While Jesus is honoring His Heavenly Father, His accusers are dishonoring Him. In all that Jesus said and did as He walked the earth, He was honoring the Father because He only spoke what the Father told Him to speak and only did what the Father told Him to do. This brings honor to the Father. When believers do as the Word tells them to do, they too honor God. These Pharisees were dishonoring the Father through their treatment of Jesus, God’s Sent One. God will look after Jesus and His glory. Jesus understood this which is why He never defended Himself. Jesus is in holy covenant with His Heavenly Father. There is no sin to separate them. Jesus is basically telling them that it is not Him who has the devil, it is the Pharisees who are accusing Him!
       Jesus in His flesh body didn’t seek to glorify Himself as we humans might do. It is easy for humans to make ourselves look good. All that Jesus did and said was to bring glory to His Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ words, “there is One who seeks and He is the Judge,” Jesus was actually prophesying of Himself. He is the One who came to seek and find. In the end, He will be the Judge of all. Jesus continued, “I tell you the Truth, if anyone keeps My Word, he will never see death.” V51 Jesus had warned them that they would die in their sins without Him. Now He is telling them how to avoid death – keep His Word. Jesus is speaking of spiritual death. All of humanity will experience physical death, but those who love Jesus will live spiritually for all eternity. Believers in Christ will see eternal life. The Word of God is the Word of life. As we obey His Word, it takes up life spiritually within us and we become more like Jesus.
      Again the Pharisees are looking with “natural” eyes. They say to Jesus in response to His statement regarding death, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your Word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” John 8:52-53  Of course Abraham and the prophets died physically, but Jesus is speaking of eternal spiritual life. Abraham and the prophets could not ascend into heaven and eternal life until Jesus paid the price of their sin by His blood. No one can enter heaven without the sinless blood of Christ paying for their atonement. And yes, Jesus is greater than Abraham but Jesus doesn’t respond to their question.
       Note how patient and long-suffering Jesus is with those who are plotting His death. Jesus speaks the Truth to them in spite of their heart attitude toward Him. He wants them to know the Truth. He reveals Truth because He is Truth – the Word of God. What they do with His Truth is entirely up to them.

      Jesus responds to the accusations of the Pharisees.  “If I glorify Myself, My glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God is the One who glorifies Me.” John 8:54 All honor and glory belong to God. Humans are not to glorify themselves but are to bring honor to God through our actions, words and deeds as Jesus did. In 1 Samuel 2:30 God said, “Those who honor Me, I will honor.”  And when Solomon asked God for wisdom and knowledge so he could lead God’s people, God said to King Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern My people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.” 2 Chronicles 1:11-12 Solomon’s heart was in the right place so God blessed Solomon with wisdom and knowledge as well as wealth, riches and honor. Solomon knew that it was God who made him king so it would be God who would give him the wisdom and knowledge to lead God’s people. Jesus also had the same heart. He sought no glory or honor for Himself as He walked the earth in His flesh body. All glory and honor were to be given to His Heavenly Father. God would do the glorifying and giving of honor. Solomon was a type and shadow of Jesus as the King of Peace who has the fullness of Godly wisdom and knowledge and will build His temple in the hearts of mankind. Jesus, like Solomon, also did not ask for the death of His enemies.
        Jesus continues, “Though you do not know Him (God), I know Him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His Word.” V55 Jesus knows God like no one else. Only Jesus can reveal the full heart and mind of God because He was with God as the Word of God before anything was created, and is God.  Jesus only spoke Truth. If Jesus denied that He knew God, he would be a liar like these Pharisees. Jesus continually gave evidence of the knowledge and wisdom He had of the Father by keeping His Word. Jesus had to finish the work God had sent Him to do. He was obedient unto death, even the death on the Cross. If we really know the Father, it will be evidenced by our submission and obedience to His Word.

“Your father Abraham saw My day and was glad.” John 8:56

        Let’s take a look at how Abraham might have seen Jesus’ day.

1.                            By faith in the promises of God
·   Hebrews 11:8-10Abraham looked forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
·     Hebrews 11:11-12 – Even though Abraham and Sarah were past childbearing age, Abraham believed God would honor His promise to give them a son who would make descendants “as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” These would be both earthly descendants (sand) and spiritual (stars – light-bearers) descendants. Abraham could have seen the birth of Jesus the Messiah in the miraculous birth of Isaac, the son of God’s promise.
·        Hebrews 1l:17-19 – At God’s Word, Abraham willingly offered His son of promise – Isaac – as a sacrifice for atonement for sin on Mount Moriah. All of God’s promises to Abraham regarding descendants were through Isaac, so Abraham had great faith to trust the God knew what He was going to do, even resurrecting Isaac from the dead if need be. In type and shadow, Abraham saw Christ’s day in this act of obedience. Jesus, God own spiritual Son Jesus, would shed His blood on the cross of suffering to atone for the sin of the whole world and then be resurrected to eternal life in the Heavenly throne of God.
·         Hebrews 5:10; 5:20; 7:10-21 – Abraham in Melchizedek, the High Priest – King, showed Abraham Jesus in type and shadow as God’s Heavenly High Priest and King Jesus over all in the heavens and the earth.
·    Genesis 24 – In the marriage of Isaac, Abraham’s spiritual son of promise, to his bride, Abraham could have seen the future Bride of Christ and the marriage of the Lamb. (Revelation 19:6-9)
       Abraham was a faithful and obedient follower of God. God revealed the ultimate fulfillment of His promises to Abraham in type and shadow through the above-referenced. As I have said many times, Jesus is the complete fulfillment of all that God promised in the Word of God.
          Again the Pharisees see with “natural” eyes and respond, “You are not 50 years old, and you have seen Abraham!” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was, I am.” V58  In other words, “before Abraham came into being, I am.” Not “I was” or “I will be” but “I am” meaning He is timeless. There never was a time that He didn’t exist!  In Exodus 3:14, Moses asked God who he should say that God is if the Israelites asked. God responded, “This is what you say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’“ By Jesus saying “I am,” He is saying He is God. Jesus is revealing that He is the full disclosure of God. In Jesus, God showed Himself to humanity. His saying “I am” angered the Pharisees even more. They took up stones to throw at Jesus. In the eyes of the Pharisees, Jesus making Himself equal with God was blasphemous and worthy of death. However, God was divinely protecting Jesus because His time had not come to die, so He walked away from the temple courts. Yes, this discourse was happening in temple courts with religious leaders! Those who are self-righteous and self-sufficient are blinded to Jesus. God works in humble hearts who recognize their sinful hearts, insufficiency and need of a Savior. Jesus had said all God wanted Him to say to these naysayers.
         Abraham rejoiced for the day when all of God’s promises would be “yea and amen” in Jesus. By faith, Abraham saw this, just as Christians can by faith see ahead when all sin is gone and evil is defeated. At that time, Jesus will receive all of the honor and glory worthy of the Lamb of God.

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