JESUS TURNED BACK to the people He had been teaching and said:
“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me does not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.”
“Thou bearest witness to Thyself,” some Pharisees objected. “Thy witness is not true.” B4t Jesus said:
“Even if I bear witness to Myself, My witness is true, because I know where I came from and where I go. But you do not know where I came from or where I go. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. And even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone, but with Me is He who sent Me, the Father. And in your law it is written that the witness of two persons is true. It is I who bear witness to Myself, and He who sent Me, the Father, bears witness to Me.”
“Where is Thy Father,” they asked contemptuously. And Jesus replied:
“You know neither Me nor My Father. If you knew Me, you would then know My Father also.”
“I go, and you will seek Me, and in your sin you will die. Where I go you cannot come.”
The Jews were perplexed at this, thinking He was speaking of killing Himself. But He went on:
“You are from below, I am from above. You are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sin.”
“Who art Thou?” they asked. And Jesus said:
“Why do I speak to you at all! I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you; but He who sent Me is true, and the things that I heard from Him, these I speak in the world. When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that of Myself I do nothing: but that I preach only what the Father has taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, because I do always the things that are pleasing to Him.”
To those that believed in Him He said:
“If you abide in My word, you shall be My disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
Now there was a protest that the children of Abraham had never been slaves. And He explained:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. But the slave does not abide in the house forever; the son abides there forever. If therefore the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are the children of Abraham; but you seek to kill Me because My word takes no hold among you. I speak what I have seen with the Father; and you do what you have seen with your father.”
“Abraham is our father,” they said. And He answered:
“If you are the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham. But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, one who has spoken the truth to you which I have heard from God. That is not what Abraham did. You are doing the works of your father.”
Now they chose to think He was accusing them of idolatry.
“We have not been born of fornication; we have one Father, God.” But He said to them:
“If God were your Father, you would surely love Me. For from God I came forth and have come; for neither have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you cannot listen to My word. The father from whom you are is the devil, and the desires of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie he speaks from his very nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth you do not believe Me. Which of you can convict Me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God.”
Some in His audience may have been humbled by His words, but many were bitterly resentful. “Are we not right,” they challenged, “in saying that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” Jesus answered:
“I have not a devil, but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. Yet I do not seek My own glory; there is one who seeks and who judges. Amen, amen, I say to you, if anyone keep My word, he will never see death.”
This, they claimed, was sure evidence Jesus was mad. “Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and Thou sayest, ‘If anyone keep My word he will never taste death.’ Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom dost Thou make Thyself?” Jesus replied:
“If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. It is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say that He is your God. And you do not know Him, but I know Him. And if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be like you, a liar. But I know Him, and I keep His word. Abraham your father rejoiced that he was to see My day. He saw it and was glad.”
Again they resorted to captious argument. “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?” Alluding to His eternally continuing existence, Jesus said to them:
“Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I am.”
No longer able to restrain their anger, they sought to stone Him, but Jesus escaped from them and left the courts of the temple.
Meditation: The Jews to whom Christ was speaking regarded themselves alone as a free-born people. Other nations might be slaves, but not the children of Abraham. Hence they resented Christ’s statement that Hiss truth would make them free. But Jesus explained that anyone who sins is a slave of sin. We who are proud of our political freedom often fail to see our own slavery to sin. As long as any sinful habit has a hold on us, we cannot claim to be free men.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 135-138. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.