John 8:47 (Amplified Bible):
“Whoever is of God listens to God. [Those who belong to God hear the words of God.] This is the reason that you do not listen [to those words, to Me]; because you do not belong to God and are not of God or in harmony with Him.”
I once was sitting in room of a hospital, waiting for the results of the physical stress test I had taken. A nurse came into the waiting room and sat down next to me, taking my pulse and blood pressure to add to my chart. She asked me,
“Are you nervous waiting for the test results Mr. Thompson?”
“No,” I answered. “I’ve been praying about the results, as well as others, and He simply told me to leave the results to Him.”
My answer appeared to raise her curiosity.
“You hear from God? Actual words? I never hear words from God and I’ve been a Christian all my life.”
“A Godly heritage can be a powerful influence but never guarantees righteousness.” [Dr. Dennis Davidson – Mid-America Baptist Seminary]
THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, CHAPTER 8 –
The Crowd, the scribes and Pharisees…
“Early in the morning, He [Jesus] came back into the temple [court], and the people came to Him in crowds. He sat down and was teaching them” (8:2).
There is a back and forth questioning and answering at church on this day between Jesus, the ‘Jews’, the (“They’s”), I want to focus on before examining verse 47 in detail.
Who were the Jews represented in John Chapter 8? (verses 30-31)
I love when I am in biblical study, to read various bible translations for comparison. After doing so, I immediately go to the Interlinear Bible which is keyed to the Greek and Hebrew text using Strong’s Concordance.
John 8:30-31 (Authorized King James Version – AKJV):
 As he spake these words, many believed on him.  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;”
“in him” OR… “on him”?
They were ‘Jews’ which believed, and they continued to be so while they were believing.
Now the word ‘Jew’ in this Gospel always indicates adversaries to Christ Jesus. and as for these persons, we begin to see how superficial and unreliable their bond was to the Lord Jesus.
Over the remaining verses, these same ‘believing’ Jews took up stones to stone Him. They believed “on Him,” as some Bible translations claim, while others read believed “in Him.” One of my favorite ‘go to’ when studying Scripture is the Interlinear Bible; the bible is keyed to the Greek and Hebrew text using Strong’s Concordance.
John 8:30 Interlinear Bible:
These things of his speaking many believed ON (Strong 1519 [e] ) him.
I’m only pointing this out as one point of view to the narrative in John 8. Of course there were those who believed IN Jesus as the Son of the living God. It was the “inconsistency” that comes into play here, and today as well.
INCONSISTENCY TAKES HOLD – “Abraham is our father” (verses 39-41)
The gathered Jews were taking claim to a lineage to ABRAHAM and their ticket to heaven. In reality… they were honoring themselves, not Abraham.
Jesus wanted them to see that they could be his descendants, yet lack his spirit. Was not ABRAHAM our father JUSTIFIED by works when he had offered Isaac his son on the altar?
 Was not our forefather Abraham [shown to be] justified (made acceptable to God) by [his] works when he brought to the altar as an offering his [own] son Isaac?
 You see that [his] faith was cooperative with his works, and [his] faith was completed and reached its supreme expression [when he implemented it] by [good] works.
 Bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance [let your lives prove your change of heart];  And do not presume to say to yourselves, We have Abraham for our forefather; for I tell you, God is able to raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones.
MAKING FALSE CLAIMS – “We have one Father, even God” (verses 41-43)
In writing up her resume for a full-time job, an applicant described her summer job as ‘purchasing’, being responsible for accuracy of the daily cash transactions, maintaining the morale, alertness and well-being of the entire office staff. Actually–she went to Starbucks for the coffee.
Then the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but remove their hearts and minds far from Me, and their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning]” (Isaiah 29:13 AMP).
There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21 NIV).
THE COMPROMISING EVIDENCE REVEALED (verses 43-47)
Unfortunately the world Christian has lost a great deal of significance over the centuries and no longer means “one who has turned from sin, the old way of living, trusted Jesus Christ, received salvation by Grace.“
Many people who have never been born again consider themselves ‘Christians,’ simply because they say they are not ‘pagans’. After all, they belong to a local church, attend services semi-regularly, and even occasionally… give to the work of the Church!
It takes FAITH in Christ Jesus, who died for our sins on the Cross and rose again to give us eternal life (Warren Wiersbe).
And already the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire (Matthew 3:10).
The wind blows where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:8).
“A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due Me” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for My name” (Malachi 1:6 NIV).
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient” (Ephesians 2:1-2 NIV).
Because the “they’s” were not truly God’s children, they could not understand God’s Message as John 8:43 indicates:
Why do you not understand what I say?
It is because you are unable to hear what I am saying.
[You cannot bear to listen to My message; your
ears are shut to My teaching.]
The ‘religious’ become so wrapped up in their own way of thinking, they couldn’t understand the Truth. The Jews were unable to understand because they refused to listen receptively to Jesus [selective hearing].
Satan, “the father of lies and all that is false” (8:44), used their stubbornness, pride, and pre-conceived notions to keep them from believing “IN” Jesus. Do you know anyone like that?
It usually appeals to a natural desire–such as our need for intimacy or success or security. He uses legitimate needs to hide his real intent, which is to get us to disobey God’s Word. He knows that to entice us to take the bait; he has to hide the hook. And he’ll make it look as appealing as he can.
Being Prepared –
Don’t be surprised, when sometimes you wonder if God exists. Filled with questions that you feel at times like an unbeliever.
As followers of Christ, we are in conflict with God’s enemy, the devil, the father of lies. We wrestle against him and “the rulers of the darkness of this age” (Ephesians 6:12).
Two of the pieces of armor God has provided for us when we are attacked by DOUBT are “TRUTH” and “the shield of FAITH” (Eph. 6:14-16).
As we then soak our minds with God’s Word, our FAITH will be strengthened. The best protection against Satan’s lies is to know God’s TRUTH.
Good communication involves more than ‘good speaking’ qualities; it requires ‘good listening.’
So why were “THEY” such poor listeners?
It wasn’t because Jesus failed to communicate the message, but because they didn’t want to hear the truth–because it made them face up to their need to change. It is hard to tune into heaven’s message if our lives are full of earthly static.
Jesus intentionally challenged His listeners to test Him (verse 46):
“Who of you convicts Me of wrongdoing or finds Me guilty of sin? Then if I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?”
Jesus welcomed those who wanted to question His claims and character as long as they were willing to follow through on what they discovered.
Jesus’ challenge is clear to the two most frequent reasons that people miss when meeting Him:
- they never accept His challenge to test Him, or
- they test Him but are not willing to believe what they discover
In verse 47, Jesus answers His own question as to why the “they’s” couldn’t believe: “He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear then, because you are not of God.”
Jesus was speaking to those who thought they followed God. They had a notion that they were of course, Children of God, but never yielded to Him in depth of allegiance that is the core of real belief. It is a dangerous spiritual state.
TRUTH is an abstract concept and difficult for some people to know and appreciate. So many people today get so involved in the fallen world system that they no longer recognize God’s truth (John 18:38). God’s truth is a foreign language they cannot understand.
A RELIGION or A RELATIONSHIP?
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves the father loves his child as well (1 John 5:1 NIV).
Do you want a load to weigh you down or a love to lift you up?
Do you want impossible rules that do no good or an impeccable relationship that does the impossible?
Do you want a religion that leads to nowhere but eternal death, or a relationship that leads to eternal life?
Your answers will determine your ability to hear the truth in your choices that you make.
ARE YOU LISTENING?
Photo Credits: Google Search Images.
Commentaries: John 8:47 Commentaries: “He who is of God hears…” – Bible Hub.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible except where noted in the text.