Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


John 8:31-36
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 8:31
v31 (continued): Many religious leaders were mixed into the crowd listening to Jesus that day, and it was especially to these leaders that Jesus spoke when He predicted His crucifixion and said it would prove to them His complete submission to the Father (v28). The response to His words was remarkable: Many believed in Him. It may have been the sincerity with which He spoke about His approaching death or a sudden recognition that the Bible does indeed speak of a suffering Messiah that moved their hearts, but in that moment, John says, “...many believed into Him...” (literal). Recognizing what had happened, Jesus spoke to these new believers and said, “If you remain in My word you are truly My disciples” (literal).

Monday: John 8:31
v31 (continued): The fact that He said, “If you remain…” tells us that Jesus did not consider an initial burst of faith to be sufficient to qualify someone to be called His disciple. He did not discount the sincerity of new faith but cautioned those in the crowd who had taken this step that their relationship with Him, which began by “believing into Him,” must now lead to a lifetime of obedience to His teaching. Only those who continued to believe and obey what He taught them would He consider to be His disciples. That He meant, when He used the term “disciple,” someone who is saved rather than someone who is merely a student, becomes evident in the next few verses (vs32-36). He will go on to explain that true disciples hold the role of sonship in God’s family, and then He contrasts those “sons” with “slaves” who because of their slavery do not remain in God’s family “unto the age” (the age to come).

Tuesday: John 8:32
v32: Those who believed the revelations He was proclaiming about Himself and who were willing to submit to Him by obeying His teachings, Jesus said would not only receive salvation, but they would also discover a truth which would set them free from slavery to sin (v34). He said, “You will know the truth (about Me and what I have made possible for you) and the truth will free you” (paraphrase). But in that statement He did not specify which truth is the truth that sets us free; however, in this context He must be speaking about the truth of who He is and what He has done for us. He said if someone “remains” in that truth by continuing to believe and obey, that person will grow in their understanding of that truth which will bring to them a greater and greater freedom from sin. In effect, He said obedience to the gospel will lead to a deeper understanding of it which will lead to greater freedom from sin. So true discipleship will always lead to moral cleanness.

Wednesday: John 8:33
v33: When He first made this statement Jesus didn’t identify the specific bondage from which His disciples would be set free. He merely said, “The truth will free you” (v32). That ambiguity allowed some in the crowd to take offense to His statement. They considered the suggestion that they needed freedom to be an insult. In effect they replied, “How dare you suggest that we are not free. We are Abraham’s seed and have never been enslaved to anyone” (paraphrase). It seems certain that those who said this were not those in the crowd who had newly believed. They must be those who did not believe. That group was about to enter into a bitter confrontation with Him (vs37-59).

Thursday: John 8:33
v33 (continued): Their claim that those who had descended from Abraham had never been enslaved is so inaccurate it is hard to grasp what they meant. The sad truth is apparent to anyone who looks back over the history of the nation. Abraham’s descendants were often enslaved by oppressive foreign governments (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Syria). In fact at the time these words were spoken, Israel was enslaved to Rome. The leaders who made that claim may have meant that in spite of the fact that they had endured centuries of oppression, true Jews had never renounced their faith. There was always a core of men and women who resisted being assimilated by the godless cultures which dominated them (“remnant”). But even so, it is hard to argue that, at least outwardly, they had never been slaves (Ne 9:27-31, 36-37).

Friday: John 8:34-35
vs34-35: Jesus immediately clarified His meaning. He said, “Truly, truly (literal: Amen, amen) I tell you that everyone doing sin is a slave of sin, but the slave does not remain in the house into the age; the son remains into the age” (literal). The “house” of which He speaks is God’s household or family. The “son” is the person who has become a child of God (Jn 1:12-13). The “slave” is the person enslaved to sin and who never discovers freedom from sin, so in the end that person is removed from God’s house. But Jesus promises His disciples that He will show them a truth which will set them free from all sin. For that to happen a disciple must learn to escape the appetites and impulses of their flesh, the temptations of the world and the assaults of the devil.

Saturday: John 8:36
v36: Jesus concluded this teaching on freedom by saying, “If therefore the Son freed you, you will be [being] free” (literal). In other words, He will enable each disciple to live in such a way that he or she will continually be free from the control of sin. That person will have the power to escape the enslaving grip of sin, and that freedom will be with them for the rest of their life. And it will apply to every type of temptation and spiritual attack. This, by the way, is the truth Paul explains so profoundly in Romans chapters six through eight. The apostle bases his entire teaching on that subject on one central truth: As believers, we have been spiritually united with Christ in His death and raised with Him in His resurrection (Ro 8:3-11). He says it is because of Christ’s death and resurrection that the children of God have been given the power of the Holy Spirit which enables them to walk free from sin. Christ’s death and resurrection must therefore be the “truth” Jesus said His disciples would “know” by “remaining in His word.” Those who understand this truth will discover that it contains power to free us from sin. So then an essential part of our discipleship becomes learning to walk in that freedom.  


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