“Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” John 8:51
Yeshua spoke these words during a heated argument with His people, which resulted in an attempt to stone Him (verse 59). They did not understand what He said, because they did not see beyond the literal meaning (verses 52-53). What did Yeshua mean?
We see this in Romans 6 as well, where Paul writes about being a servant of sin, or of righteousness. Paul writes in verses 17 and 18 that we are made free from sin through obedience to the doctrine that was delivered to us. And that is the doctrine of His truth. Paul concludes: “For the wages of sin is death” (verse 23). But, says Yeshua, if we keep His saying (His truth), we will never see death.
To be a servant of sin is to be a servant of lies and delusions. Sin is in fact the lies and delusions in our mind and heart (thoughts of our heart), as we read in Genesis 6:5 where the reason for the flood is mentioned. In John 8 the comparison with slavery is made as well. When Yeshua says that the truth of His Word makes us free, the people respond: we were never in bondage to anyone, how can You say this (verse 33)? Yeshua explains that He means this spiritually: when you commit sin, then you are a servant of sin (verse 34). If He means this spiritually, how would He mean death in verse 51 spiritually?
In John 8:31-32 Yeshua says that His Word, His truth, makes us free. Psalm 119:25 says His Word quickens us (makes us live). The insight that His truth brings makes us live (spiritually) (verse 144). Psalm 119 is about the joy of His law. The word translated ‘law’ is the Hebrew word torah. The word ‘law’ often has a negative connotation. Torah, however, means instruction, teaching. His Torah is His truth by which we will live. The word ‘live’ (Hebrew: chay) appears no less than sixteen times in this psalm.
Today, as in Yeshua’s time, sometimes heated arguments take place about freedom and not wanting to be a servant of literal, visible matters related to the worldly kingdom. Without taking a stand on that, I want to focus on the Kingdom that Yeshua was always talking about: His Kingdom. And that Kingdom is within us (Luke 17:21), in our mind and heart. For it is the things of Him that are eternal, which are not seen; the temporary things we see will pass away (2 Corinthians 4:18). Maybe your focus has shifted because of everything that is happening in the visible world around you right now. It may also be that you are now realizing more than ever the importance of keeping your focus on Him. To what extent are you still a servant of sin (lies and delusions) in your heart and mind? Yeshua says in John 8:37 that if there is no place in your heart and mind for the truth of His Word, then you are seeking to kill Him. You then kill the working of His truth in you. What things do you allow into your heart and mind? What do you read, what do you listen to, what do you watch? What words do you speak, or write? When He is in your ‘house’ (heart and mind) (John 8:35) then you are no longer a servant, but then you are free through His truth and you will not see death. Regardless of what is happening around you in the physical world, in the worldly kingdom.