They said … they declared … they replied … they retorted. An argument seems to be brewing here. And at the end, stones picked up to throw. I’m thinking to myself: must be religious leaders. Weren’t they always looking to stop him? I read it again a little more slowly, and these snippets stand out:
28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I Am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.” 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him.
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:28-31 NLT
It was the believers. It was the believers who said, “What do you mean ‘You will be set free’?” They weren’t slaves, they insisted. But Jesus corrected:
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. 37 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. 38 I am telling you what I saw when I was with my Father. But you are following the advice of your father.”
Oh, it gets heated. They declare, they reply, they retort: Abraham is our father! God is our father!
“You say, ‘He is our God, 55 but you don’t even know him. I know him.” John 8:54b-55a.
Rocks aimed at yesterday’s adulterous woman. Aimed in today’s reading at Jesus. In my own heart, whose advice do I seek? Is there room in it for the Lord’s message? Are there rocks in my hands today–and who am I aiming at? Brother-sister-neighbor-adversary … perhaps the target is actually my Lord.
Lord, I grow closer to you when my heart is open. When truth confronts and stirs, I pray I would put down my rocks and turn to you. I am so grateful for your forgiveness and love, that you long to restore. I want to know you better and more each day. Help me to show the very same mercy you’ve shown me to others. I don’t want to throw rocks at anyone anymore.