John 8:31-59

Author: Lance Caughfield

The Truth Will Set You Free


31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?”


34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. 37 I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. 38 I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”


You Are of Your Father the Devil


39 They answered him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham's children, you would be doing the works Abraham did, 40 but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. This is not what Abraham did. 41 You are doing the works your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of sexual immorality. We have one Father—even God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. 43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is 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 out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”


Before Abraham Was, I Am


48 The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. 50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to him, “Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 But you have not known him. 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. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

Key Verse

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


Jesus teaches that believing in him isn’t enough. To be free from sin and death, we have to abide in him.


Jesus continues to talk to a crowd of both new believers and unbelievers. But he also makes it clear that there is a third group to address - those who say they are believers, but who do not really know him or live daily by his words.


Verse 30 says that “many believed” in Jesus as he spoke. His immediate response was to tell them that believing requires more than just a single decision. It requires “abiding in my word.”


Living constantly in Christ means more than just attending one or two services a week. It means constantly living alongside His life and example and teachings in all that we do. And being “in” that life means we are constantly influenced and strengthened by it. Jesus later illustrates this with this analogy: He is the vine and we are the branches, and if we ever cut ourselves off from him, we wither and die. (John 15:1-17),


The reward for this slavish devotion? Freedom. Freedom from sin. Freedom from death. Freedom from the things that really enslave us.


The unbelievers in the crowd latched onto that last point. How can anyone be free from death? And Jesus made his most direct pronouncement of divinity, by claiming to be the same I AM that God declared himself to be in Exodus 3:14.


By doing so Jesus ensures his crucifixion for blasphemy. But he also declares the source of his power to fulfill the promises he just made. He is more than a man. He is the eternal, omnipotent God, the God who sparked the universe and created man, standing before them in the flesh.


As a result of this confession, the “believers” react violently. They pick up stones to through at him, and he hides himself from them in response.

Discussion Questions:

What kind of believer are you?


What does it mean for you to abide in the Word?


If you struggle, what keeps you from fully abiding with Christ?


Are you free? Are you still a slave to something that is not of God?


Are there parts of the word that make you want to throw stones?

Call to Action

Seek to abide in Christ daily and free yourself from the earthly things that are enslaving you.




Lance Caughfield

Lance is the husband of Adrienne, the father of Megan and Erin, and the son of Alice. Those are the titles he is most proud of. He works as a civil appeals attorney with a state and national practice and writes for a national blog on appellate advocacy. He enjoys gaming, reading, writing, working outdoors, and spending time with his family. He is still working on abiding in God. Lance, Adrienne, Megan, and Erin have worshipped at Saturn Road for 6 years.