33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
It is important to note that the people who were now speaking are different from verse 30. Those here are unbelievers (Jn 8:37-41, 44-47). Jesus says three times that they did not believe Him.
33 They answered Him,
The response of the Jews in this verse shows that they did not understand what Jesus said to them. They now developed an attitude of hostility toward Jesus.
“We are Abraham’s descendants [seed],
This phrase is an allusion to God’s promises to Abraham (Ge 12-15). The Jews viewed their identity as associated with Abraham. This is where they derived their confidence about their personal salvation. They deemed that they had some fancied sense of privilege before God because they were related to Abraham. They did not know their need to be free from their belief system.
and have never been in bondage to anyone.
Historically Jews were enslaved by many nations. They were in bondage to Egypt, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Syria, and Rome. Their thinking here was that they were religiously free; they were not referring to social or political freedom. Their belief was palpably untrue.
How can You say,
These people were incensed that Jesus said that they were in bondage.
‘You will be made free’?”
The Jews did not grasp that they were slaves to the sin of unbelief. They did not recognize their spiritual need. Spiritual pride has a blinding effect; it blinds one to oneself.
Freedom was considered a birthright of every Jew. The crowd thought that Jesus spoke of religious freedom, but He spoke of inner freedom. Spiritual freedom is liberation from error and sin.
Religion can save no one.
Religion is no guarantee against God’s judgment. The devil uses religion to advance many false ideas. It is his ace trump to deceive people. People need a Savior, a Redeemer, not religion. This is a very hard concept for people to accept because they have a religious approach to their belief system.