Jesus said, “Whoever is of God knows the words of God, the reason you do not hear them is that you are not of God” (John 8:47). Of course, they heard what he said, but they could not grasp what he meant because their minds were fixed on their own way of thinking. Is it not the same today?
Thankfully there are some listening who want to believe and understand what Jesus says. To them he says, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” (verse 32). This confuses them! Free from what? As descendants of Abraham, they say, we are not “enslaved to anyone, how is it that you say, ‘you will become free?’” (verse 33).
Jesus then makes the point, “Everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin … If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (verse 36). Most of his listeners fail to get the point. Were they of God or not? If they were they would listen and develop an understanding of his words.
Perhaps some who listened would later hear Peter’s speech on the day of Pentecost, words which challenged because they “were cut to the heart” (Acts 2:37). Freedom was accomplished because they were honest with themselves, accepted this true teaching and were baptised! They heard Peter quote the Psalms, “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence” (verse 28). There are the two paths – of life or death. They all began by walking on the path to death, but were given the opportunity to be set on a different path by seeing “the truth” that is revealed in God’s word.
And today? Well, all can read God’s word and develop an understanding of what Jesus taught and then decide which path to walk on – there is no third way.