John 8:21-30

Jesus is here giving the truth in terms that seem pretty clear to those who have the retrospection to understand. Jesus has come from the Father to deliver a message of life directly to His children. A message they should hear, recognize, and believe because it comes from the One who made them and chose them.   Some who actually heard these words from the Messiah himself were either unable or unwilling to listen and believe. It can be the same even for us today concerning those issues we feel strongly about. This tendency becomes especially evident in our recent political interactions that we will sometimes deliberately ignore the truth that contradicts our desires because we just don’t want to admit we were wrong, or we will enthusiastically believe anything that supports our cause regardless of its veracity. Even as Jesus breaks it down in simpler terms, there are those who will refuse to believe.

We hear the frustration in Jesus’ words, “Why do I speak to you at all?” He wants so much for them to accept His message and believe. There are times when I think I understand exactly what Jesus is saying and in my frustration may make a mistake in my attitude toward others. Yet, where we might write someone off, He doesn’t give up. Even in the face of their disbelief He holds out hope that they might still come to understand, turn from their sins, and believe. This passage is such an incredible reminder of how far He is willing to go to love and forgive. After they fail to understand His words, He reveals that His act of submission to the Will of God by his sacrifice on the cross will clearly demonstrate His message. It calls to mind the words attributed to St. Francis, “Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.” When words fail, act.

In what ways might you be able to preach the gospel to those in your sphere of influence by demonstrating the sacrificial love of Christ through daily action?

What thoughts, prejudices, or attitudes do you struggle with that might interfere with your ability display such selfless love? Will you submit them to Christ?

Rev. Joshua Keith – Lead Pastor -Abundant Life Church of the Nazarene – Columbia, SC

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