In his book on language, British diplomat Lancelot Oliphant (1881–1965) observed that many students give correct answers on tests but fail to put those lessons into practice. “Such undigested knowledge is of little use,” declared Oliphant.
Author Barnabas Piper noticed a parallel in his own life: “I thought I was close to God because I knew all the answers,” he said, “but I had fooled myself into thinking that was the same as relationship with Jesus.”
At the temple one day, Jesus encountered people who thought they had all the right answers. They were proudly proclaiming their status as Abraham’s descendants yet refused to believe in God’s Son.
“If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did” (John 8:39). And what was that? Abraham “believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). Still, Jesus’ hearers refused to believe. “The only Father we have is God himself,” they said (John 8:41). Jesus replied, “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God” (v. 47).
Piper recalls how things “fell apart” for him before he “encountered God’s grace and the person of Jesus in a profound way.” When we allow God’s truth to transform our lives, we gain much more than the right answer. We introduce the world to Jesus.
Father, thank You that You receive anyone who turns to You in faith.
Faith is not accepting the fact of God but of receiving the life of God.
John 8 is a chapter filled with conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders of Israel. In verses 1–11 the conflict is based on whether a woman caught in sin should be publicly executed or shown compassion. In verses 12–20 the point of friction focuses on whether Jesus is who He claims to be: the “Light of the world” and the Son of God. The religious leaders dispute Jesus’s claim that God is His Father, even accusing Him of being born illegitimately (v. 41). When Jesus says that He existed before Abraham was born (vv. 56–58), His antagonists respond by attempting to stone Him to death.