July 12 | John 8:48-59
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Jesus Makes His Sonship Known
by Dan Kidd
Today's passage begins with the Jewish faith leaders responding to Jesus' admonition, "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." By this point their disdain for Jesus was so severe that they first accuse him of being a Samaritan (their political and religious enemies) and then of being demon-possessed. Categorically, these are usually the types of accusations we hurl at the people who disgust us the most in the heat of our anger; the type of words that are usually better not said even if we believe them. But the audacity of Jesus' claims had provoked them to a venomous retort.
Perhaps Jesus was stung with grief? After all, these were the religious leaders who should have been the first ones in line for God's Kingdom, Messianic revolution. They were the ones entrusted with the Scriptures and the temple, the ones who would preached about the goodness and saving grace of the awaited King. When the time came, these religious leaders rejected the Kingdom work and the King. Maybe it was his indignance that led Jesus to be as forthcoming as he'd ever been with them, proclaiming boldly exactly who he was and the purpose of his ministry. "Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death [...] My Father, who you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me, [...] your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad," and "before Abraham was born, I am."
Jesus' honest audacity here is stunning. And in response the religious leaders' blood boiled and they turned murderous.
Honestly, their reaction is unnerving. How could these faith leaders, face-to-face with God the Son, hear the truth--the Gospel Israel had waited centuries for--and reject it so profoundly? I think we'd all like to think we wouldn't be so foolish as to deny the truth about Jesus when we were nose-to-nose with him. But we can't know for sure.
And this is why the Apostles' Creed is so very important for us. It grants us the opportunity to confess together and routinely the truth about who Jesus is and what Jesus has done. It allows us to marvel at the God, the Son. I was repeat these words, we seed ever-deeper his lordship over our lives. Because of how remarkable, how unfathomable it is that our Creator joined us in humanity, we can cling to that beautiful truth together, as we confess "I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord."
Prayerful Reading – Thank the Lord for this Gospel Word. Read the passage again, first prayerfully inviting God to speak to you through your reading. Ask him to guide you to certain words or phrases that he'd bring to life and speak to you, or that he would help you imaginatively see or encounter Jesus in this story. Ask the Spirit to help you read with faith, and to respond to what you hear from these verses.