O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in You alone I put my hope. You move me to sing, “Our God Reigns!”
Read JOHN 8:42-47
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Today, if you hear his voice, ‘Do not harden your hearts'” (Psa. 95:7,8).
Our passage today contains some of the harshest words Jesus spoke. But we have to remember, first, that he was confronting the Jews as a Jew himself and, second, that however this passage has been used by subsequent generations, there is, emphatically, no justification for using this, or any other passage in Scripture, to justify anti-Semitism.
The polemic is heightening as the conversation continues as to who is the true father of the Jews. The Jews’ attitude towards Jesus belies their claim to be children of God (42). If they were truly God’s children they would recognize that Jesus had been sent from God, but because they do not want to hear Jesus and his message they cannot hear what he is saying (43). Everything his opponents do and say indicates who their true spiritual father is (44), and in keeping with the nature of the devil they desire only to kill and to lie. Those aligned with the truth are on the side of God and indicate that they are truly God’s children. Those who align themselves with lies show they are on the side of the devil. For all these reasons, they cannot and will not believe Jesus, even though everything about Jesus’ life, words and actions proclaims his origin and identity. Why? They cannot hear God because they do not belong to him (47).
In this passage Jesus revealed the level of spiritual indifference of his opponents and it serves as a salutary warning to us. We must remember that Jesus’ audience here is religious people. Despite their assertion and faithful religious practice, they are plotting murder and embracing lies. They proudly vaunt their religious credentials, but this is no guarantee of sanctity. Is there a warning here for us today?
How does God speak to you? To what extent do your traditions become impediments to hearing God’s voice?
Lord, I long to hear Your voice. May I have listening ears, attuned to the Spirit’s voice.
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