We all have two gods (at least). There’s the god we make up in our minds, and there is the actual God. And to the degree we allow scripture to shape our notions of who God is, our version of god comes to resemble the real God more and more.
The Jews in Jesus’ day were no different. In John 8 Jesus and the Pharisees were having one of their typical spats. You know – the ones where the Pharisees completely miss the boat as to what Jesus is getting at, and Jesus nails them/us with a truth so piercing it takes their/our breath away.
Jesus is explaining to the Jews that if they truly wanted to hold to Abraham’s teachings – claiming Abraham as their spiritual father – they would believe Jesus is the Messiah because Abraham’s teachings pointed to Jesus’ coming one day (8:39).
In the midst of this discussion, in which the Jews keep pointing to their lineage, Jesus says this,”I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word,” (John 8:37).
In other words, Jesus didn’t fit the Jews’ preconceived notion of what the Messiah would be like, so their minds were closed to the possibility that He really was the Messiah. He actually fulfilled the Jewish prophecies quite nicely, just not in the ways they expected.
They had no room for Jesus’s word – the truth. So they missed it.
People who reject Christianity are in the same boat. Jesus doesn’t fit their idea of what God should be or would be or is like. So they reject the notion that Jesus is the Savior. They have no room for Jesus’ word – the truth. So they miss it.
A lot of Christians are in the same boat too. For all the sermons we’ve heard, books we’ve read, Bible we’ve learned incorrectly, we have our own ideas of who God is and what He is like. Some of those ideas are right. A lot of those ideas are wrong.
The question is do we have room for Jesus’ word – the truth?
Are we open and humble enough to have our notions of Jesus challenged? Are we willing to change our beliefs about God if biblical teaching says we’ve got some things wrong?
In the midst of all the beliefs we hold so dear, let’s make sure we leave room for Jesus’ beliefs about Himself.