Wednesday 13 April 2011

Bible Book:

"Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him ..." (v. 31)

John 8:31-42 Wednesday 13 April 2011


John's Gospel reveals an intense discussion and requires carefulthought to discern the words that reflect the mind of Jesus, thewords that reflect the views of his followers and the words thatmay be attributed to others.

The words in this passage provide an insight into the discussionsaround the identity of Jesus, Jesus' Jewish followers and theirstruggles with their Jewish identity and their new foundfaith.

Today's passage opens with "then Jesus said to the Jews who hadbelieved in him ..." (verse 31). It makes sense therefore to bearthis group in mind when thinking through this passage.

As the discussion develops we can discern issues facing these earlyfollowers of Jesus.

This new group of followers are urged to "continue in my word ifyou are truly my disciples" (verse 31). This is the way to so growin faith that "the truth will make you free" (verse 32).

But they go on to describe themselves as "descendants of Abraham"(verse 33). Jesus agrees (verse 37). This is indeed who theywere.

Jesus' followers are then urged to "do what you have heard from theFather" (verse 38). They reply "Abraham is our father" (verse 39),but go on to say "we have one father, God" (verse 41).

Questions around identity are important for all people. Peoplewhose faith journey spans different faiths never really escapethem. The relationship between faith, ethnicity, nationality andculture is complex.

Most of Jesus' first followers were Jews. Jesus himself was ofJewish roots. The relationship between the first followers of Jesusand their Jewish heritage is complex and requires careful handlingif misunderstanding and prejudice is to be avoided.

To Ponder

How do you think Jewish-Christian dialogue can bestrengthened? What can you do?

In what sense can Jews and Christians say "wehave one father, God"?

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