39 “Abraham is our father,” they answered. Jesus said, “Are you really Abraham’s children? If you are, you will do what Abraham did. 40 But you are looking for a way to kill me. I am a man who has told you the truth I heard from God. Abraham didn’t do the things you want to do. 41 You are doing what your own father does.” “We have the right to claim to be God’s children,” they objected. “The only Father we have is God himself.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me. I have come here from God. I have not come on my own. God sent me. 43 Why aren’t my words clear to you? Because you can’t really hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil. You want to obey your father’s wishes. From the beginning, the devil was a murderer. He has never obeyed the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his natural language. He does this because he is a liar. He is the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you don’t believe me! 46 Can any of you prove I am guilty of sinning? Am I not telling the truth? Then why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you don’t hear is that you don’t belong to God.” 48 The Jews answered Jesus, “Aren’t we right when we say you are a Samaritan? Aren’t you controlled by a demon?” 49 “I am not controlled by a demon,” said Jesus. “I honor my Father. You do not honor me. 50 I am not seeking glory for myself. But there is one who brings glory to me. He is the judge. 51 What I’m about to tell you is true. Whoever obeys my word will never die.” 52 Then they cried out, “Now we know you are controlled by a demon! Abraham died. So did the prophets. But you say that whoever obeys your word will never die. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died. So did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” 54 Jesus replied, “If I bring glory to myself, my glory means nothing. You claim that my Father is your God. He is the one who brings glory to me. 55 You do not know him. But I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him. And I obey his word. 56 Your father Abraham was filled with joy at the thought of seeing my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 “You are not even 50 years old,” they said to Jesus. “And you have seen Abraham?” 58 “What I’m about to tell you is true,” Jesus answered. “Before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 When he said this, they picked up stones to kill him. But Jesus hid himself. He slipped away from the temple area.
Verse 43 tells us Jesus says: “Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me!”
This is an intense exchange between Jesus and some Jews who we are told earlier in verse 30 had decided to believe what Jesus was telling them. The discussion in the following verses doesn’t end the way you would expect. Jesus challenges their beliefs and they begin by asking questions, then they become argumentative and finally it finishes with them wanting to stone Jesus!
Jesus comment to them is that they can’t even hear Him. They are not listening for His voice – they get stuck at so many places because of how they think God will reveal himself to them. Jesus answers every question they have but not with answers they are wanting to hear.
Lord – help me listen for your voice – not just what I want to hear in the way I want to hear it. Help me keep my eyes fixed on You – so that when you speak I recognise your voice and listen to what You are saying to me.
Written by Ps. Linda Quinn