33“But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
34Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.35A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.36So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.37Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message.38I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”
39“Our father is Abraham!” they declared.
“No,” Jesus replied, “for if you were really the children of Abraham, you would follow his example.40Instead, you are trying to kill me because I told you the truth, which I heard from God. Abraham never did such a thing.41No, you are imitating your real father.”
They replied, “We aren’t illegitimate children! God himself is our true Father.”
42Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me.43Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me!44For you are the children of your father the gdevil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.45So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!46Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?47Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God.”
48The people retorted, “You Samaritan devil! Didn’t we say all along that you were possessed by a demon?”
49“No,” Jesus said, “I have no demon in me. For I honor my Father—and you dishonor me.50And though I have no wish to glorify myself, God is going to glorify me. He is the true judge.51I tell you the truth, anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!”
52The people said, “Now we know you are possessed by a demon. Even Abraham and the prophets died, but you say, ‘Anyone who obeys my teaching will never die!’53Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
54Jesus answered, “If I want glory for myself, it doesn’t count. But it is my Father who will glorify me. You say, ‘He is our God,’55but you don’t even know him. I know him. If I said otherwise, I would be as great a liar as you! But I do know him and obey him.56Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.”
57The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?”
58Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I AM!”59At that point they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden from them and left the Temple
This is a long and tortured debate between Jesus and the religious leaders. You really need to read it several times and let it “settle in”. But in its simplest form, it offers a choice.
On the one hand you have Jesus offering truth (himself) which in turn will bring you life and freedom, if you put your faith in him. He isn’t requiring rituals punishments or even that you become good before you come to him. He is only requiring that you come to him. And when we do truly come to him we know the truth in our hearts and that truth truly does set us free. No more living the lie of sin and false fulfillment. No more desperately living in hopelessness and guilt.
On the other hand, we have what the world and the devil have to offer. A life of wallowing in the mud and despair of sin. Of trying to become “good enough” and failing over and over and over. It is all a lie. Trying to be good enough is really trying to bring yourself glory. Jesus didn’t even seek that and he truly was “good enough”. It is all a big lie that ends in an eternity of loneliness and desperation.
Lord, please open my heart to grasp your truth more fully every day. Thank-you for pulling me from the lie and saving me, for no reason whatsoever. Praise you Father, forever and ever. Amen. *obbs*