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John 8:32:45, NIV
32 "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 33 They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" 34 Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
37 "I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. 38 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father." 39 "Abraham is our father," they answered. "If you were Abraham's children," said Jesus, "then you would do the things Abraham did. 40 As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. . . .
42 "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. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. 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. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!"
April 4, 2011Earlier today I watched Charlie Rose interview the golfer, Arnold Palmer. What caught my attention was how much Palmer talked about his father. From his toddler years through high school, Arnold grew up on his dad's golf course, helping to do whatever needed to be done. His dad was his hero, and he said he always tried to emulate him.
I looked that word "emulate" up in the Thesaurus and it means to take as a model, follow the example of, pattern oneself after, follow, copy, imitate, try to equal. Since this chapter from the gospel of John is on my mind, I thought immediately of Jesus and how much he talked about his Father in heaven, the one who sent him, is always with him, and loves him as a only son.
We should not be surprised that Jesus spoke so frequently about his Father. Not only because of the eternal bond between them, but also to inspire us all to get to know his Father so that we will learn our purpose for living, know that he will never forsake us, and love him as dearly loved children love their father.
More journal entries
September 30, 1983We are slaves to many things. So many things possess us. We need them in order to live. God would have us need only Him--that's really getting down to basics.
Sin is a dominating master. It controls us. Something from without, foreign to us; or something from within, dividing my heart? Eating when I'm not hungry, sleeping when not in need of rest, giving up when I should keep going, feeling angry when I don't get my own way. These are decisions I make for myself, choices I am not proud of, options that leave me feeling disgusted with myself.
What is my master then?--the self-centered "I" on the throne. When I do not live as a child of God, then sin controls my acts, reactions, emotions, moods, etc. I sin unless I surrender myself to God's control. In practical terms, what does this mean? Jesus lived so close to God, he never sinned. Most of us live so close to this physical, visible, tangible world, that we sin and think it's normal because everyone else is living just like us, many even worse. We take our standards from those about us. Jesus never did that.
The National Council of Churches uses the slogan, "Jesus is Lord." Jesus is just one of many lords for most of us. Salaries, jobs, houses, possessions, interpersonal relationships, thrills,--all these "lords" are of equal or greater value than Jesus.
I need structure, and outside regulation from others, in order for me to be productive. I could very easily waste this whole day and call it my personal vacation! My will power and self-discipline tend to collapse easily. I have no outside form of encouragement for my journaling. It's all a self-motivated response to studying the Bible.
So be it, Father, you know me and meet me where I am. My aspirations, joys, disappointments, the times I fail and indulge my body with food and sleep and comfort. I have so many excuses to justify my failures. I am a slave to sin. It masters me and I can do nothing about it.
I echo the words of the apostle Paul: "Who will deliver me?" Jesus does not want to condemn us. Instead he introduces us to his Father in heaven because truth and freedom are found in knowing God.
Anyone who sins is a slave, but the Son wants to set us free. Free to be God's sons and daughters. He said I can know the truth that will set me free. The greatest freedom is to know God and choose the life God has chosen forme.
October 1, 1083Slaves and sons. Those who sin are slaves. A son also sins but remains a part of the household nevertheless. Slaves go from one allegiance to another. A son has only one father. A slave can be more faithful, even more useful than a son; but rarely is a slave loved as a son! This reminds me of the slave Onesimus and Paul's letter on his behalf to Philemon.
Sons of Abraham?--no, you do not resemble Abraham. Jesus seems to be saying he is the son who can grant freedom and a permanent position in the household to all who are slaves to sin. They didn't believe Jesus could remove another's sins. That was blasphemy. Only God blots out sin. And they surely didn't believe in the connection between Jesus and God.
October 2, 1983Does Jesus reduce religion to the ultimate friendship? Open communication and daily reflecting on his words, loving God and being loved by God. The holy presence with us in our lives--converting, healing, instructing, strengthening, leading, loving, encouraging, transforming. Drawn by love, not fear. Passively we receive grace and mercy and loving kindness. Actively we maintain it as our desire increases and his transforming work begins.
October 3, 1983Thou shalt not kill is basic to the sons of Abraham. Verbally they would agree that killing was evil; yet some of them were planning to kill Jesus. An inconsistency they could explain rationally, just like the pacifist Dietrich Bonhoeffer plotting to kill Hitler.
Jesus can't get through to them that he is the Son of God and not the Devil. Wouldn't you think people could tell the difference--but so often we can't. We don't know God well enough to discern him, or else evil disguises itself so well. I've also called evil good and good evil. Biblical righteousness makes for peace, not strife.
October 4, 1983My father; your father. Truth vs. lies. Lies and murder are companions. Truth and freedom are companions. Truth comes from God; lies from the father of lies.
This verse is about what we reflect. Jesus reflecting God. The others reflecting the evil one. Children of light; children of darkness. You will be a copy of your parent.
I used the "reflecting" imagery in the Day Apart prayer:We all come with various needs, hurts, and wounds that refuse to go away. For each of us, I pray, that our need will be the golden door of opportunity through which Jesus will enter our lives today. Help us to know before we leave here this afternoon, that we have been with Jesus. Jesus, the teacher, preacher and healer, Savior of the world and Savior of each of us in particular. And since we have been with you today, may we reflect to the world about us--family, friends, strangers-- the light, the loving compassion, the gentleness, the righteousness of Jesus. Come Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Grab our attention. Please feed us and fill us, that we may receive new life. Not for our sakes' alone, but for betterment of the world you love.
October 7, 19083Doing what Abraham did. He certainly wasn't perfect, but he knew the voice of God and tried to obey. At age 75, childless Abraham began a long journey of faith with his beautiful wife Sarah. Their story is told in Genesis and the chapters weave their way through times when Abraham got it wrong and when he got it right. There are heavenly visitations and a divine promise that Sarah will bear his child. A man of many questions, yet always trusting the voice he knew so well. Although tried and tested, he was faithful to the end. His life characterized by growth and change, and by confidence in, and love for, his God. People claiming Abraham as their father, have their work cut out for them.
October 8, 1983They wanted to kill Jesus because he was telling them the truth that he learned from God. Abraham would never have done that. Abraham would have dug a well for Jesus and given him space in which to dwell. Then possibly living side by side, Abraham would have observed the character of God reflected in Jesus' life. But that all takes a great openness and a sense of his own security which these people didn't possess.
October 12, 1983The proof here of whether we are God's child is that we love Jesus. Also hearing and understanding his words. These antagonists questioned so much because they didn't want to believe. Their questions kept Jesus at bay and out of their lives.
October 14, 1983I do not like the sound of Jesus' words in this passage. He is reacting to their rejection of him. Provoking them, not trying to win them. Why did you argue, Jesus? Why didn't you use a parable instead of accusatory debate. You sound angry and I find that painful. Help me to understand.