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John 8:39-59, Jesus and Abraham

Friday, March 2

Courage to Fight for Justice

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Jesus' words are stirring up the religious leaders. He is claiming to be glorified by God, from God, and he claims to have come before Abraham and the prophets -- is more than the prophets. And the leaders are angry. No, livid. No, enraged. In fact, they're so upset at Jesus' blasphemous words, they throw stones at him, perhaps to kill him. Although Jesus' words are words of truth, justice, and peace, they vehemently despise him and his words. Jesus' truth stirs them to hatred.

It makes me think of the many before and after Jesus who have fought for truth, justice, and peace, and have been met with hatred and anger. Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Sitting Bull, Susan B. Anthony, -- all of these were persecuted for their courage to speak their truth. But the persecution didn't stop them -- if anything, it fueled them more. They knew that truth, peace, and justice are God's way. They were all willing to follow Jesus' lead and stand bravely for those who had no voice. Such a truth is eternal, being birthed long before Abraham, and living as long as there are people on this planet. When we are faced with injustice, with whom will we stand?

Narrative Lectionary Text: John 8:39-59

They answered him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing what Abraham did, but now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. You are indeed doing what your father does." They said to him, "We are not illegitimate children; we have one father, God himself." Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now I am here. I did not come on my own, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot accept my word. You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is from God hears the words of God. The reason you do not hear them is that you are not from God."

The Jews answered him, "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon; but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and he is the judge. Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death." The Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets; yet you say, 'Whoever keeps my word will never taste death.' Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets also died. Who do you claim to be?" Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, 'He is our God', though you do not know him. But I know him; if I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and I keep his word. Your ancestor Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day; he saw it and was glad." Then the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am." So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.