There are three “truly truly” statements in this chapter. This is significant teaching and beyond significant. “Amen, amen”. These are completely trustworthy statements. A Hebrew word we all know that means we agree and accept and own this statement.
- 34 “Truly truly I say to you, everyone who commits a sin is the slave of sin and the slave does not remain in the house forever; but the son does remain forever. If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s offspring; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place (or makes no progress )in you. I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.”
- 51 “Truly truly I say to you, if anyone keeps my word he shall never see death.”
- 58 “Truly truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.”
Amen. I accept.
- Do I carefully accept and follow what Jesus has taught?
Let me make careful reading of all these statements and keenly observe what He teaches in them.
- Sin will kick us out of the house of God, but Jesus sets us free from slavery to sin with the consequence of hell.
- To never see death in the Greek is a statement that is saying we will not go to hell if we keep His word, follow His teaching.
- With what authority does Jesus speak? With the authority of one who existed before time.
How then to live? Under His authority, seeking to know His word and follow it truly truly.
Continuing with a “script analysis” approach to observation, what does this section of John, vs 31-59 tell me about Jesus, the Father, believers and unbelievers? Lets list the observations.
- Light of the world
- His witness is true
- He knows where He is from and where He is going
- If He judges, He is not alone but with the Father
- He is to go away
- He is from above
- He speaks what He hears from the Father, taught by the
JESUS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FATHER
- Does nothing of His own initiative
- The Father is with Him
- He is not alone
- He always does what pleases the Father
- He honors the Father
- He does not seek His glory but the Father’s
- Believers follow Jesus and won’t walk in darkness
- Believers shall have light of life
- Believers abiding in His word will be true disciples
- Believers shall know the truth and be made free
- Believers are of God and hear Gods words
- Believers keep the Word and never see death
- Believers need to abide in Jesus
- Unbelievers judge by the flesh
- Unbelievers die in sin
- Unbelievers are from below
- Unbelievers will know that Jesus is the I Am when they lift Jesus up (crucifixion )
- Unbelievers are slave to sin
- Unbelievers seek to kill Jesus
- Unbelievers are children of the devil, not the Father
- Unbelievers dishonor Jesus
The stakes are rising in this story about Jesus and his life on earth. These are sharp contrasts and they are becoming clearer to all around him and many are making decisions about what they think and thus what they shall do with Jesus. What is obvious in all this stunning contrast is that there is a choice to be made. One can hardly stay indifferent.
I know where I stand, but do I stand?
I stand for You,
because of You,
held by You,
kept safe by You,
with courage from You,
one with You.
It is You
Studying theatre helps me understand this section. I look at the pace of the exchange and I see a building of the tempo and it can be looked at in the narrations. Diagram time! John 8: 31-59
What do I observe about interaction with Jesus in this section?
- 31 Jesus spoke to those Jews who had believed Him.
- 33 They answered Him.
- 34 Jesus answered them
- 39 They answered and said to Him
- 39 Jesus said to them
- 41 They said to Him
- 42 Jesus said to them
- 48 The Jews answered and said to Him
- 49 Jesus answered
- 52 The Jews said to Him
- 54 Jesus answered
- 57 The Jews therefore said to Him
- 58 Jesus said to them
- 59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him;
- but Jesus hid Himself,
- and went out of the temple.
Dialogue, lines, that lead to a definitive action. One minute Jesus is speaking to believing Jews and the next they are picking up stones to kill Him. That’s a dynamic change.
What was so upsetting in Jesus’ words that they judged Him worthy of death? verse 58 “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am” In their eyes what he spoke was blasphemy and by law that requires stoning. As in Exodus 3:14-15 Jesus clearly identifies Himself as the Great I Am. They display their unbelief when they pick up a stone. Every good actor on stage has a backstory to his character development. So when they speak their lines, they are coming from a place of understanding the motive behind the line, the full truth implied in the line. For this statement of Jesus, I like the backstory Adam Clarke wrote and quoted from Calmet in his 1832 commentary about this very line in scripture: “Before Abraham was, I am – The following is a literal translation of Calmet’s note on this passage: – ‘I am from all eternity. I have existed before all ages. You consider in me only the person who speaks to you, and who has appeared to you within a particular time. But besides this human nature, which ye think ye know, there is in me a Divine and eternal nature. Both, united, subsist together in my person. Abraham knew how to distinguish them. He adored me as his God; and desired me as his Savior. He has seen me in my eternity, and he predicted my coming into the world.’ “
- What do my actions display about what I truly believe about Jesus?
- My faith is displayed in my actions as is my lack of faith. What actions do I take?
- What does that say about my belief?
Jesus is speaking to two groups of people in the crowd at the temple who are choosing to listen to Him or to confront Him.
To be a follower of Jesus I must abide in His word. Why? By abiding in His word, I shall know the truth and that knowledge shall set me free. Free from what? I am set free from the slavery of sin and shall remain in the house with Jesus forever.
To the group who does not believe, Jesus confronts them very directly. He basically tells them they are two faced, claiming to be Abraham’s descendants yet behaving like children of the devil because they seek to kill Him who has spoken truth to them. Rejection of truth has the heart of death. Acceptance of truth brings life eternal. When Abraham heard truth from God, he shared it with the people, just as Jesus was now doing. Sharing the truth He has from the Father.
- What do I do with the truth?
- Am I abiding, dwelling in the Word?
- Do I listen politely then go on my merry way ignoring what I have heard in the temple of His presence, or do I abide in it, taking His Word with me through my day?
Lord, remind me as I go about my business that I am under Your roof, I am on Your stage of life, and let my setting in Your house fill my conceptual context, fill all my thoughts, fill all my words and actions in my life. This little world of my relationships is under Your ownership, it is Your world and my life is Yours, surrendered to You. The play I have my bit part in has a purpose and story that brings you glory.
Soli Deo Gloria
- Jesus was taught.
- Jesus was sent.
- Looking at the roots, Jesus was inserted into the life of humanity with specific information to explain to us from our creator.
- He is fully prepared for the purpose He has come for.
- He fully knows that he will be crucified and that He will return to the Father.
- He makes Himself clear, however there are only some who understand and believe.
This section is affirming. At the moment most touching is ” He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him”. Jesus is aware of the feeling of loneliness. He alone is the Messiah. Is is very hard in the human emotions to feel alone. Yet He is not feeling this. Why? Because He is fully obedient to the Father. Now that’s a wow factor.
In order to obey the Father I must know what He wants from me. I must know His heart and that is why Jesus was sent. Jesus is the heart of the Father.
- What does Jesus command but to believe?
- How do I know that I believe? I obey.
- What am I being asked to believe today about Jesus?
- Today, I choose to obey. What shall that look like?
I may not know it at this moment, but as far as doing, it is the work that is before me today and knowing that as I do that work, I am not alone.
In obedience to the Father, I am not alone.
In obedience to the Father, I am not alone.
In obedience to the Father, I am not alone.
Someone write the music for this song! What does your verse say for this chorus?
Jesus was in the women’s court, in the treasury where He was teaching. This is where offerings were brought. Here, where women place their offerings, is the place where he chose to also teach and declare to religious authorities that “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Life has light.
Understanding comes when one follows Jesus.
Jesus, the one who exists, the great I AM; made manifest.
What a declaration made in the very place of offerings to God Most High. Once again Jesus is challenged by human authority and He proclaims His legal authority. In this place, at this time, Jesus is untouchable by the sin and rejection of mans authority. They want to take Him down, but no one dares. What a testimony in itself. Jesus challenged in the highest place of mans self-imposed authority with the truth of His authority. The witness sat in teaching mode and he was not removed. Those who were truly seeking must have been deeply impacted. Jesus also sat where the women were allowed. He did not make Himself exclusive to the men in the inner courts, but He chose to speak where all could listen.
I rejoice that He comes for us all. I accept the fullness of who He has made me and seek to follow His light that I may understand Him and serve Him. All glory to Jesus, the face of Our Father and the embodiment of the Holy Spirit.
I want to giggle this morning. I am glimpsing the big picture here. We have The Lord of all creation being confronted by “authority” of man. Really? God vs. man. Um, who can possibly win? Our pride is so amazingly powerful, it puff us up to the extent that we think we can confront Him and win! Ignorance lets us make those mistakes. But in those times that my own ignorance and pride has me confront truth, out of my own doubt, how wonderfully true it also is that there is mercy in truth.
The goal is that we learn and accept the truth; it does not matter if we stumble upon it through the sin of pride. If we humble ourselves, we shall receive mercy, just as the woman received mercy. Go and sin no more. That applies to those who confronted as well as it applies to me when I act out of the wrong spirit.
Lord, may the work I do, be done out of Your Spirit of truth; of truth and righteousness. Heal me of my brokenness and pride. Thank you for Your grace-giving, ongoing forgiveness. I seek today to make my choices out of your perspective. To honor and glorify you in how I do all I do this day. Knowing that I too, am forgiven much.
The crowd dissipated and everyone went home. Jesus’ home for that moment was to go to the Mount of Olives.
There are people who responded. Jesus went on the next day very early back to the temple. He had come to teach and people came to listen and learn. What did He teach? Rather than tell us that, John found it more significant to tell us how Jesus responded to a challenge of his authority by the rulers. The rulers, thinking they would trick Him, try to get Jesus to condemn a woman caught in the act of adultery. (Interestingly, Mosaic law condemns both man and woman) But for the rulers, the blame is not cast on the man who was doing this with her, just the woman. We know nothing of the circumstances. Yet Jesus exposed the sin of her accusers with a drawing on the ground.
Ah, the artist in me smiles to see Jesus use every method to communicate, and in this case convict.
Whatever he wrote there we do not know, but we do know that when combined with his next words, their power was undeniable. The first one allowed to throw the stone had to be without sin. Hm, did they fear Jesus would call them out for their sin if they dared to throw a stone? No one could risk it. No one dared. Each one was struck to the core and unable to stay, each one left in turn. Each one walked away from the accusation. Starting with the oldest and most experienced men, to the younger accusers. The woman, set up and guilty, has her life returned to her and told to go and sin no more.
What a set up, what a challenge! What mercy and forgiveness! We don’t know who these men were. Perhaps some of them later became His followers. Perhaps not. But that day, in front of the woman, they were humbled. She was forgiven and she left a changed woman.
However we have come to Jesus, whatever messy situation in our past, there are no human accusers who can condemn us. When we come to Jesus we are forgiven. Set free. Our life restored. Sin no more!
Jesus says confusing things. He is hard to comprehend. At the last Passover, about six months earlier, when so many had followed Him outside the city and then left Him because of the talk of eating His body and drinking His blood. They are still confused and pondering. This means they have been thinking for some time. Imagine being bugged all this time with a question like that! You have had this experience with Jesus out in the wilderness and were all fired up and then you left in confusion. Now you are back. Will He be here again? Will you be able to understand Him this time? So many thoughts and questions over the last months as you have contemplated the entire experience. The anticipation and emotions were hot. What a stew pot! No wonder Jesus had to come carefully into this kind of setting.
Yet when He comes, while not arriving with a retinue and not making a big entry, He does not stay in the background. He is there, once again, to stir the stew, to raise the stakes, to speak the truth for those who will choose to believe, to listen.
Jesus picks His timing. It is the last day of the feast of booths. It is the great day of the feast. It is the day the lights were set ablaze in the temple to remember the days when the presence of The Lord filled the temple. And then He enters.
“If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture said, ‘from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water‘” Jesus quotes Isaiah. Jesus speaks of a continuing coming to Him. My relationship is an ongoing thing, not a one time event. He teaches of the Holy Spirit, explains John. To believe, to come to Jesus is to drink and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Last time he spoke of being eaten. His flesh as true food and His blood as true drink. Now He speaks of thirst and drink. The time that has passed has deepened their thirst for truth.
Once again the effect of the teaching of Jesus is that the mob is divided.
- Truth draws.
- Truth divides.
- Truth confuses.
- Truth accepted, fills.
- Truth sets our hearts ablaze.
- Truth cannot be arrested.
It’s a process. It takes time.
- Am I patient with myself?
- With others?
- Am I willing to give the time to waiting?
- Do I allow myself and others the think and processing time that is needed?
- Do I thirst ?
- Do I come to Him for my true food and my true drink?
Jesus continued to confront and confound the multitudes who had come from all over the area and from many countries for the Passover. The discussions flew; point and counterpoint. There was no printed word for reference or research. They only had their teachers and each other. They were expecting a Messiah under certain circumstances, Bethlehem for one. They knew Jesus was from Galilee. People did not move from town to town then like now. They knew of the massacre of babies in Bethlehem but did not know His family had escaped nor of His time in Egypt. So they could not put what they thought they knew about the facts of Jesus’ ancestry together with their expectations of a Messiah. Thus, to counter that, they had the inner tug of recognition in every cell of their being as they responded to hearing the power and authority of His speaking. Their minds said He should be arrested, yet their bodies could not do so. The drawing power is irresistible and the choice to believe must be made over ones own understanding. Many made that choice. The arresting officers could not do their job. Not because of mob dangers, but because their own selves were responding to the power of truth emanating from Jesus as He spoke. Wow!
That is so encouraging. Be strong and courageous. Gods’ will and power cannot be circumvented. His will is being done. In the midst of the resistance from worldly authority, people believed and the power of man’s desires are thwarted by the power of God. Gods’ timing is Perfect and shall happen according to His will.
- Am I in His will?
- Do I fear persecution?
- Do I trust in the power of His truth?
Therefore, if I am in His perfect will, doing as He has called me to do, I can be strong and courageous to face whatever worldly power may seek to threaten me with bodily harm, confident that my bodily end shall come in His perfect time, His perfect place and in His perfect will for His perfect glory!