Abraham Did Not Do This

From the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD Israel's spiritual leadership included the Pharisees and Sadducees. They were men of honour and of good reputation – known for their good works, their knowledge of the Scriptures, and for their compassion toward the sick and the widowed – they were highly esteemed in the Jewish community. They prayed and fasted regularly, and were fervent in their pursuit of God, and endeavoured to emulate their father Abraham. They were men who had been discipled by teachers of renown whose lives were exemplary. But something was not quite right.

"I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill me . . . " It was uncharacteristic that these honoured men, who descended from Abraham would not receive Yeshua's word. It was as if their minds were closed to accepting anything that Yeshua had to say, " . . . because my word has no place in you." (John 8:37)

"They answered and said to him, 'Abraham is our father.' Yeshua said to them, 'If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham.'" (John 8:38) The claim here is that Abraham would have listened to Yeshua. Whilst these men had numerous good works, typical of their father Abraham, they were not behaving as Abraham would have in this instance.

It happened while Abraham was sitting under the terebinth trees of Mamre. He was resting in the shade from the heat of the day when three men appeared. Abraham, immediately, arose and invited his visitors to stay for a meal and to rest awhile. They agreed and a conversation with Abraham ensued.

"Then they said to him, 'Where is Sarah your wife?' And he said, 'Here in the tent.' And he said, 'I will certainly return to you according to the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.'

"And Sarah was listening in the tent which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, 'After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?'" (Genesis 18:9-12)

This was the second occasion in which Abraham heard the promise. Sarah, apparently, was not present the first time when the Lord told Abraham, " . . . your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him." (Genesis 17:19). But on this particular occasion the messenger asked, "Where is Sarah your wife?" She was standing by the tent door and this time Sarah heard, and she laughed, just as Abraham did when he first heard the message.

"And the LORD said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh, saying, "Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old?" Is anything too hard for the LORD?'" (Genesis 18:13-14)

Both Abraham and Sarah laughed when they first heard. However, on this occasion, Abraham received the messenger. He listened to the message, and accepted it as a promise. Abraham's heart was open to receive the hope. His mind was not closed to the impossibility. He accepted his visitors and the message they brought.

Significantly, even though he could not confirm its validity until Sarah had begun to show signs of pregnancy some time later, Abraham was prepared to leave it in God's hands. If the promise were from God, then Abraham believed God would bring it to pass. Subsequently, Sarah gave birth to Isaac as promised.

How would that have worked in Yeshua's day? If Abraham had been present in Yeshua's day, he would have received Him and His message, because Abraham's heart would have been sensitive, and his mind receptive to God's mercy. Then Abraham would have watched for confirmation of Yeshua's word. This was the way of Abraham.

Unfortunately, when Yeshua spoke to the descendants of Abraham they refused His message. To them it was impossible and absurd. Moreover, rather than looking for confirmation of Yeshua's message they sought ways to kill Him. Indeed, totally contrary to the ways of Abraham.

"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." (John 8:40) The procedure to validate Yeshua's claims was straight forward. From their perspective they required confirmation: "Was he speaking the truth or not?" And if He were, "Was it from God?". The fact that Yeshua's word was confirmed by many miracles should have been sufficient proof, and should have seen Him received as a man who spoke the truth. In addition, the types of miracles He performed gave authenticity to the fact that His message was not from man, but from God.

Not only were these spiritual leaders rejecting the word spoken by Yeshua, but they were actually planning to kill Him. And Abraham would not have done this either. By acting this way they showed themselves not to be children of Abraham.

Yeshua accused them, "You do the deeds of your father." And they responded, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father – God." (John 8:41) Sadly, they had prejudged Yeshua before they had considered His words or His miracles. What He said was of no significance to them because their minds were made up: Yeshua was born in sin. Nothing He could say or do would change their thinking.

"Yeshua said to them, 'If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of myself, but he sent me.'" (John 8:42)

Just as the messengers were sent by God to Abraham, so too Yeshua was sent to Abraham's descendants. But unlike Abraham who would have loved Yeshua, they had refused Him.

"Why do you not understand my speech? Because you are not able to listen to my word." (John 8:43) The word Yeshua spoke was uncomfortable for some. But these men were unable to listen; it was as if His word were unbearable. Abraham, on the other hand, would have listened. Thus they acted as if they were not Abraham's children.

"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44)

Abraham stood in the truth. He waited for the promise to be fulfilled. Unlike Abraham, they looked for ways to be rid of Yeshua.

"Which of you convicts me of sin? And if I tell you the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." (John 8:46-47)

Those who allow God to speak to them, will hear His word. As it is written, "But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at my word." (Isaiah 66:2)

Abraham listened and saw the promise fulfilled. Abraham believed, and it was considered by God as Abraham being righteous before Him. "And he believed in the LORD, and he accounted it to him for righteousness." (Genesis 15:6)

The Messiah came to reveal the truth. He came to demonstrate the life pleasing to God, and to show the way for those seeking God's kingdom and His righteousness. Surely, all who are waiting for the Hope of Israel would listen to Yeshua's word and consider His miracles. Abraham would have done this.