39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.
Jesus said to them,
Jesus challenged the Jews to deal with the truth of who Abraham was.
“If [assuming it is true] you were Abraham’s children,
Jesus conceded for the moment that the Jews were the spiritual descendants of Abraham, but they were not; they were mere physical descendants of this great patriarch.
you would do the works of Abraham.
The definitive test of being the spiritual descendant of Abraham is what one does, not what one says. Talk is cheap. Our character must match our mouth.
The “works” here are faith and living out that faith. Abraham’s works evidenced what he believed. Abraham demonstrated his faith by his conduct (Ja 2:21-24). People who follow Abraham’s faith do what he did. The Jews, however, demonstrated a deep discrepancy between what Abraham did and what they did.
But now you seek to kill Me,
Jesus now demonstrated how these Jews differed from their father Abraham. Instead of honoring God’s messenger (Jesus) as Abraham would, these Jews tried to kill Him, the Father’s ambassador to Israel. Abraham was no murderer. The actions of the Jews demonstrated that they did not have the spirituality that Abraham had.
a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God.
Jesus faithfully communicated what God had to say to Israel. The Jews sought to kill Jesus because He told the truth.
Abraham did not do this.
Abraham did not kill God’s messenger. Unlike their physical father, the Jews did not walk in his spiritual footsteps.
No one can become a believer without God taking the initiative.
The issue that Jesus asserted here was revelation. He told “truth” that came from God. No one can know anything about God except by revelation. Here Jesus told these people what He had known with the Father from eternity. If a person is going to believe, God must first take the initiative in showing Himself.
Following revelation from God, there must be positive volition to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Finite man cannot find God on his own. He must depend on God disclosing Himself to his puny mind first.