"I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence ..." (John 8:34-38)

"Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father." (John 8:34-38)

Why is Jesus talking about slavery?

Jesus is responding to the institutional temple Pharisees who said:
"We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?" (John 8:33)
They said this in response to Jesus' prior:
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
In this statement, Jesus is utilizing the concept of slavery as a metaphor. It is not that he is speaking of slavery as in a human being enslaving another human being.

Rather, Jesus is referring to the reality that self-centeredness traps a person into a certain consciousness. That consciousness produces desires for self-centered enjoyment. When these desires take root in the mind they can produce activities that can harm others, manifesting sin.

Why does Jesus talk about the 'son' and the 'father' here?

The word "son" here is discussed allegorically. The Greek word translated* to “son” is υἱός (huios). This can be interpreted as a relationship of offspring in the context of a physical family. 

However, as indicated in the lexicon, this is "restricted" to a context of physical family ties. But it can also be translated, according to the lexicon, as "one who depends on another or is his follower."

Jesus is utilizing this word metaphorically in his statement above, as he clarifies and compares his relationship with God to the institutional temple Pharisees' deference to the Prophets.

While the Greek word πατήρ (patēr) can be translated* to "father," this word is limiting in that it typically refers to being a physical father to a physical child. But the word, according to the lexicon, can also mean, "the originator and transmitter of anything." 

In the context of Jesus' teachings about God, this would be more accurately translated to, "Creator," or "Lord."*

In the context of Jesus' statement, "Lord" or "Creator" is a more appropriate translation because Jesus wasn't referring specifically to the fathers of the Pharisees' physical bodies. He was referring to whom they respect and honor. 

This is also the case with the use of "son."

This translation* of υἱός (huios) as being God's follower and loving servant is confirmed in other verses in the Bible. Jesus himself confirmed this when he said:
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
There is also a historical context of followers (loving servants) of God:
When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. (Genesis 6:1-3)
And Jesus' disciples accepted this definition of "sons of God":
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26)
As mentioned in the struggle over Jerusalem and lands of the middle east above, the disease of false bodily identification is spread not only by virtue of a person being born in a certain family, but it also is spread by the misinterpretation of scripture. While the Supreme Being led his followers through His loving servant Moses, it was by virtue of following Moses that they were pleasing to God. It is a living testament.

Jesus is making a distinction between God's loving servants, who are part of God's spiritual family, and those of us who are primarily self-centered. Jesus wants to free us from the bondage of our self-centeredness.

A person whose focus is upon pleasing the Supreme Being is part of God's spiritual family. That person - that "child of God" or "loving servant of God" has the power to free others from the bondage of self-centeredness.

What has Jesus seen in 'the Father's presence'?

Jesus is trying to communicate to them that their eyes are shrouded by the darkness of ignorance. He is trying to communicate that he is able to save them from this ignorance through his teachings because he is God's representative:
"I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence"
Jesus accepts that they are Abraham's descendants, but he is communicating that he has a direct connection with the Supreme Being.

This indicates that Jesus has experienced a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. This can only be experienced personally from within the heart.

God's presence can be seen anywhere He allows Himself to be seen. But He tends to hide from those who do not want to be with Him. For most of us in the physical world, that means that God is unseen. Especially to the physical eyes. The Supreme Being created the physical body with the design of not being able to see Him.

But as Jesus professes, one can see the Supreme Being with the eyes of the heart. We can see Him through the eyes of love.

For most of us, these eyes are now covered up. Our eyes are blinded by the darkness of self-centeredness.

The problem is, these institutional temple Pharisees do not think they are in ignorance. They believe that because their physical bodies are descendants of Jewish prophets they are somehow privileged, and have some special relationship with God. Jesus is trying to dispel this myth that these Jews are somehow privileged with a special relationship with God.

Does God discriminate?

God does not give special advantages to someone depending on their race or nation of birth. This would be akin to racism, and God is not a racist. The reality, in fact, is that we are not these physical bodies.

This myth of a "chosen people" continues to this day as so many peoples are currently struggling for ownership of land in many places in the world - including the Middle East - by virtue of each side thinking they have some sort of privilege through heritage. As a result, some say that Jerusalem or other sacred sites and lands around the world belong to them because of some right of ancestry.

What they do not see is that none of them own anything. Only the Supreme Being owns the lands of the earth, as well as all the temples and sacred sites.

The physical bodies of human beings only live for a few decades before they die. Each of us must leave this physical body behind at the time of death. Therefore, humans cannot own anything. 

That which is taken away at death cannot be claimed as owned. Ownership is a permanent thing, and ownership means control. 

Only the Supreme Being has complete and permanent control over the earth. Therefore He is the only owner. So we must ask: Why are these peoples fighting over God's property?

Can each of us connect with God?

Each of us, despite our race or nationality, has the same opportunity to reach out and connect with God, and re-develop our own relationship with Him. It is not as if we can be born into a family and because being born in that family, we are automatically qualified with spiritual advancement. 

Yes, it is true that being born into a religious family is a sign of spiritual evolution. But this does not render any privilege with regard to our relationship with God. That is between God and each of us individually.

The Supreme Being treats all of us fairly and equally and gives us the freedom to accept our relationship with Him or reject that relationship. Being born amongst others who pray and talk about God and scripture certainly is an advantage in one's spiritual progression. 

But God looks at the heart: How sincere are we? How much do we really want to know Him and love Him? These are the qualities that the Supreme Being looks at - not the form of our temporary physical body or what family that temporary body was born within.

What about the "chosen people"?

Those who assume that because we were born in a certain family we are somehow God's "chosen" people is a misuse of the dedication and commitment of God's loving servants. It is they who testify to the relationships of loving service between God and His loving servants.

While certain groups seem to think that the Israelites were God's chosen people forever, they forget the parts of the Bible where God became upset at Israelites who had abandoned Him. It was not as if they were all His chosen people even though they had abandoned their dedication and worship of Him.

The Israelites who followed Moses were God's chosen because they were following God's instructions, imparted through Moses. In other words, they chose to follow God, so they became God's "chosen."

The Supreme Being wants each of us - every one of us - to return to Him. He does not want any one group or society to come back to Him any more than any other. It is each of us who make the choice. We are the ones who make the choice of whether we want to return home to God or remain in this physical world - where the self-centered souls dwell.

God has given each of us the freedom to love Him or not. After all, how could we truly love without freedom? Therefore, each of us has the ability to change direction, and begin refocusing our lives upon the Supreme Being. 

Regardless of our family origin, we each have the freedom to change our self-centered focus to one of focusing upon getting to know, love and serve the Supreme Being. It is our choice, each of us, as individuals.

Now once we make a determination that we are going to direct our lives towards coming to know, love and serve the Supreme Being, we then become one of God's "chosen" people. Why? Because we have chosen to follow Him.

Jesus also talks about being "set free." How does Jesus set us free? By following his and Moses' central teaching:
“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38 and Deut 6:5)

*Here is the translation of Jesus' statement according to the Lost Gospels of Jesus:

“Very truly I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave cannot remain in the house, but a child always stays there. So if the child sets you free, you will certainly be free. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you seek to kill me because you have no place for my teachings. I speak the things I know from my LORD and you are doing the things you know from your lord.” (John 8:34-38)