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As Jesus continued his discourse, where many believed on him, he then goes on to say their father is the devil! It ends up with those very ones trying to stone him. Is there a contradiction between this verse 30…

“And as he spake these words, many believed on him” and verse 59, “Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

Or is it fair to say that Jesus’ discourse went on to expose a proud assumption, and false pride on their part, which betrayed they had no heart-felt belief?

I ask this due to what Jesus said in verse 31, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.”

Are the words Jesus then went on to speak designed to expose what was really in their hearts, as to whether that contradicted their professed belief in him? I seek clarification from those who maintain there is a need for confession with the mouth that has sprung from heart-felt repentance, as opposed to those who might think a public confession of faith comes first, and is effectively viewed by them as the most important aspect of becoming a Christian.

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Are the words Jesus then went on to speak designed to expose what was really in their hearts, as to whether that contradicted their professed belief in him?

He said:

30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

They believed the truth of his previous statements, yet:

33 They answered him, We be Abraham's seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?

Notice that verse 30 was qualified by verse 31's "If ye continue in my word".

They may have believed his teaching, but they couldn't apply it to themselves.
That is why Jesus changed his tone and went on to accuse them.

Finally, he made the statement "Before Abraham was, I AM.", effectively claiming to be YHWH himself:

56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.
57 Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

It was a true statement, but to those listening it was the worst possible blasphemy, and the crowd reacted accordingly (verse 59).

There is no contradiction between verses 30 and 59.
Rather there is a transition between belief, inability to apply the truth to oneself, denial of the situation, and finally escalation that lead to violence.


(But I don't see how any of this relates to the part of the question in bold at the end about confession, repentance, etc. Perhaps you could expand that long sentence to make it more obvious what specifically is being asked and how it relates to these scriptures. In particular, what is the critical point in dispute (e.g. does repentance have to be "heart-felt", does it have to be "with the mouth", does confession have to be "public")? And perhaps provide non-biblical quotations that express the essence of the two conflicting views.)

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  • The Q in bold asks if there a contradiction between verse 30 and verse 59. The long sentence in bold at the end simply details who I am seeking an answer from (as categorizing this is a requirement of Stack Christianity.)
    – Anne
    Apr 1 at 15:58
  • "who I am seeking an answer from". I still don't see as any of this would be seen as a doctrinal position that differs between denominations. As it stands, it could have been asked on the Hermeneutics site (except for the bold statement). If it really is a question of doctrine, then it really needs to cite a position expressed by one denomination that seems to contradict the scripture. Apr 1 at 17:52
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    The verses in question deal with verbal profession of belief in Jesus (still claimed by many today) and how words of illuminating truth from Jesus expose shallowness there (still applicable today). It is unlikely that such ones will realise their true state, but those whose hearts are repentantly changed can make a genuine profession, surely? They will know who they are, for the truth of Jesus that sets sinners free is their portion. This crosses denominational barriers yet there remain two distinct groups. Jesus’ words cross all denominational divides.
    – Anne
    Apr 2 at 9:21
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In John chapter 8 Jesus is addressing Jewish people, but the Pharisees challenged him. Jesus rebukes the Jews (including the Pharisees) and says “If you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.” In verse 30 we are told that “even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.”

What was their faith in? Who did they think Jesus was? Was their faith just in the man who performed miracles and healed the sick? Were they simply looking for a Messiah who would rid them of the hated Romans? Did they think Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31)? Apparently not.

Although many put their faith in Jesus, it was short-lived because they were quick to turn on him and pick up stones to stone him to death (John 8:59) and later, on the day of preparation before the festival of Passover, they were baying for his blood and crying “crucify him!”

The prophet Isaiah foretold the reception Jesus would receive from his own people (in Isaiah 28:16), which prophesy was quoted in Romans 9:33:

As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.

Look at the contrast above between those people who refuse to accept who Jesus really is and those who place their trust in him. Romans 10:9-13 emphasises that confession of faith and trust is based on understanding that Jesus is Lord, and that he was resurrected from the dead:

The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming. That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame. For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile –the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Jesus himself declared that he is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and that the truth would set them free (John 8:32). Did those who heard him preach and who witnessed his miracles really believe in the truth of who he was? No, for their faith was shallow and self-serving. They did not place their trust in him because they did not accept the truth of his words. Why, even the demons believe, and shudder, because they refuse to call on the name of Jesus (James 2:19).

There is no contradiction between John 8 verse 30 and verse 59. The people who met Jesus could not confess Jesus as Lord because the Holy Spirit was not in them. Their faith in Jesus was shallow and without substance. What they heard did not change their hearts and minds to inspire them to follow Jesus because their profession of faith was not of the Holy Spirit.

Only the Holy Spirit can convict sinners of their need to repent and turn to God. This results in a genuine and heartfelt confession of faith. A verbal profession of belief in Jesus is meaningless if it does not come from the Holy Spirit which results in a transformed life of faith and trust in Jesus Christ and in who He REALLY is. Repent and believe! (Mark 1:15)

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  • Just to point out that the "I am" statement came as the culmination of Jesus' discourse, once they had betrayed their pride and where their confidence truly lay. Once the word of Christ illuminated their inward heart condition, they began to hate that light, ending up with seeking to kill him. The verses in question deal with verbal professions of belief that do not come from a repentant heart, so +1
    – Anne
    Apr 2 at 9:05

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