Set Free Through Faith in Christ (Jesus’ Claim to Deity)

Shared on March 3, 2024

As the light of the world, Jesus called on all people to follow Him in the divine truth. Do you have faith in Christ? In this week’s lesson, we take a look at Jesus’ claim to deity. Jesus’ claim was rejected by many Jews that were eye witnesses to His teachings and His miracles. Join Pastor McCrary as He goes over Jesus’ claim and what faith in Christ can do for those that believe.


This week’s lesson is the first lesson in the spring quarter of 2024.  The title for the spring quarter of lessons is Jesus is God.  The overarching theme for the first month of our lessons is Jesus’ deity being confirmed by His works.  Now, did everyone believe in Christ that was there to hear His claim of deity and witness His works?  No.

The Divine Truth

Our lesson this week covers scripture from John 8, a chapter we should be very familiar with.  In this chapter we see Jesus proclaim to the Jews, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12).”  As the light of the world Jesus revealed the truth to the world.

What is that truth? That we, mankind, are living in sin, disobedience of God. To get out of sin, Jesus said that one should follow Him. Following Christ has been central in my most recent sermon series “On the Path to Glory“. Those that follow Jesus will not walk in darkness, which means that they will not stumble (John 8:12; 11:9-10).

This proclamation is essentially at the center of our lesson. What is the truth will always come to the forefront when it comes to Christ. Jesus forces us to ask questions about the truth. At the same time, Jesus forces one to make a choice: will you believe Him or not? So, do you have faith in Christ, the divine truth, or do you doubt Christ, His truth?

Christ will set you free

In the opening verse of this week’s lesson,  Jesus is seen speaking to the Jews that believed in Him. Jesus said to them, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples (followers) indeed (John 8:31).”  This speaks directly to the confessed believer, not the professed believer. The professed love to talk about believing in Christ but they don’t truly live by faith. One must walk by faith in Christ.

Jesus continued and said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).”  This truth is not talking about truth according to the world.  Worldly truth is subjective (opinion based) or objective (an agreed upon truth as fact). Jesus’ truth is the holy and righteous truth delivered on behalf of the Father.

So, what does the holy and righteous truth set one free from?  The holy and righteous truth is able to free us from the limits of this world.  The divine truth is able to set us free from sin and its punishment of everlasting condemnation. The divine truth is what leads us down the path to glory!

Jesus has made a way for all to become holy and righteous.  What do we have to do to become holy and righteous?  Believe in the word of God.  Do you have faith in Christ?

There are many that say they would believe in Christ if they were there to see and hear Him.  However, because they weren’t there to see Christ, they doubt the teaching and preaching of Christ.  The problem with the notion of faith by sight is that there were many who saw Jesus but did not believe.

The Heart of Doubters

I preached a sermon a few weeks that you cannot doubt God and still enter into His glory!  The heart of unbelief is evil and we must do everything we can to overcome it.  Let’s take a look at the heart of doubters that Jesus dealt with in our lesson today.

Rejecting Christ 

As Jesus said this, some of the Jews said to Him, “we are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage (John 8:33).”  They then asked Jesus, how can You free us when we are already free?  So the people, it seems, were rejecting what Jesus said to them.  Why were they rejecting what Jesus said?

You have heard me speak on several occasions about the two different mindsets in the world.  Those two mindsets:  the worldly mind and the mind for heaven.  As Jesus said, “Do not lay up yourselves treasures on earth, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:19-21).”

These were people that believed everything was OK.  Their mind was more for the world than it was for heaven and so they were blind to their situation.  They didn’t think they were in bondage because they weren’t physically slaves to anyone.  Which, honestly, they were in a way not free because they were living under the authority of Rome.

These people also believed everything was OK because they were Abraham’s descendants.  There are many people today that think in a similar manner. Many believe they are good with God because their loved one pray for them.  Faith in Christ, you must understand, is a choice that you have to make for yourself.

Many people live with the notion that the rights to heaven can be passed down through genetics. Scripture repeatedly shows that such a notion is misleading. The children of Israel had a right to the Promised Land of Canaan through their blood but not to heaven. It is repeated by God in Ezekiel 18:4,20, “the soul who sins shall die.”

Jesus said, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin (John 8:34).”  What this means is that there is individual consequence to the decisions that we make. Just because my dad was a preacher did not mean that I would have an automatic ticket into heaven! I had to walk by my own faith in Christ!

Jesus was essentially telling this group that they must walk by their own faith to be saved. This group of Jews, however, believed they had it made just because of their bloodline. This was not just a problem for these Jews only as this notion stretched back before and after them.

This truth was a tough pill to swallow for this group which is often the case about the truth. The truth can be very difficult espeiclaly when it speaks against what one believes. Rather than opening themselves up to receiving the truth, they doubt it. Jesus told them that they were not doing as Abraham but were doing as their father (John 8:37-38)— the devil (John 8:44).

Now, I do want to be clear in that there is nothing wrong with asking the Lord questions. Asking questions is never wrong when one desires to learn. However, that is not what these Jews were doing. As we will see, they were asking Jesus questions in a manner where they believed Him to be a fool. This meant that they believed themselves to be wise in their way.

Jesus is Greater Than Abraham

The people asked Jesus, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon (John 8:48)?”  Again, they were blind to who Jesus was because their heart was not set on heaven. 

In response, Jesus told the people that He didn’t have a demon (John 8:49).  Jesus said that He honored the Father and did not seek His own glory (John 8:50).  Lastly, Jesus said to the people, “If anyone keeps My word he shall never see death (John 8:51).  This speaks to the promise of the Lord (John 3:16).

Do you see that Jesus was still giving this group an opportunity to turn from sin and accept Him? Again, the gospel leaves the people with a choice to make:  do you have faith in Christ or not?  This is the question that all people have to answer.

For me, this choice is rather easy to make as I have been walking down the path of faith for quite some time now.  However, as easy as a choice it is for me, Jesus is a stone of stumbling for many.  In Isaiah 8:14, the prophet said Christ would be a sanctuary for some but a “rock of offense” to others.   As many loved and had faith in Christ, there were many that day that felt offended.

Jesus is the ultimate test to see if one’s heart is for the world or for heaven.  I have found that people are more open to believing in aliens than they are Christ.  Why?  Because there are more stars in space that can be seen than heaven which is “invisible” to the eyes of man.

This group of Jews were set in their hearts not to accept Christ.  They said to Jesus, “now we know that You have a demon (John 8:52)!”  They would believe the word of Abraham and the prophets over Christ!  

So, they asked Jesus, are You greater than our father Abraham and the prophets?  They then asked, “Who do You make Yourself out to be (John 8:53)?”  One last time to this group, Jesus tells them, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day (John 8:56).”

Jesus was making it very clear to this group who He was.  You see, Abraham was visited by God and welcomed the Lord into his tent to eat (Gen. 18:1-5).  Abraham’s faith was like no other as I feel all people should model their faith after him.  

When God told Abraham to go to the land that became the Promised Land, he moved without hesitation (Gen. 12:1-4).  When the Lord commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, he did not doubt the Lord (Gen. 22:1-12).  For such faith, God made a promise to Abraham and greatly blessed him.

Guess what awaits all of those who do not doubt the name of the Lord!  God has made a promise and with that promise comes a great reward for all who believe.

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