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Attention! Change of e-mail address

Posted May 24, 2020 By admin

It has come to my notice that my e-mail address that I was using for the blog is no longer active because the e-mail client that I was using is no longer active. I have therefore changed the e-mail address and you can now send your comments, posts, or your decisions to accept Christ to me now and I will be able to receive them. The new address is below and again, I am sorry for those of you who sent e-mails to the old address and did not receive any reply back. God Bless!

admin

New e-mail address: thechristianpatriot2020@gmail.com

In the last post, we looked at a suffering blind man and some questions that the disciples had regarding his condition and we looked at how God uses suffering in our lives. In this post, we are going to look at the actual miracle by Jesus to restore this man’s sight and the start of the reaction to it.

Before we do that though, in the last post, I neglected one other way God will use suffering in our lives and it’s the most hardest for Christians to understand or accept…for correction. Doubtful this was the case of this blind man that Jesus encounters but God will use suffering in our lives either personally or nationally to get us back on the right path. It is my firm belief of the reason why we have this crisis now in our country with COVID-19. Any decent parent will tell you that sometimes you have to give your kids a spanking to correct them and get their attention and that is what God is doing to America and perhaps the world right now…giving us a spanking. 9/11 didn’t get our attention. Oh it did for a while but then we rebelled against God and elected Barack Obama as president for not just one but two terms. Then God gave us Donald Trump to right the wrongs that Obama created and we rebelled against that so God is giving America another “spanking”. God is doing this to correct us because He love us much like when a parent spanks their child. They don’t do it out of anger. They do it out of love. If you know your Bible then I am sure you are aware of Proverbs 3 and verses 11 & 12 where Solomon says…

(11) My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; (12) For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. … Proverbs 3:11-12 NKJV

One of my favorite verses regarding God’s correction comes from Hebrews. If you know your Bible then you know it as well…

(11) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. … Hebrews 12:11 NKJV

In other words, God’s correction, painful as it may be, will put us on the right path if we have learned anything from it. Whether America has learned anything from this latest “correction” by God remains to be seen. Enough about that and now let’s move on to the study on the passage for this post. As always the text link for the entire chapter and audio is included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this time again in Your Word. As our country, and the world, try to get back to some type of normalcy from this major disruption in our lives, Father we pray that we will learn from this and set our country back on the right path, that is back to You, no matter how that has to be accomplished. Thank You, Lord, for blessing our lives, keeping us and our families safe and please help those who are suffering intensely right now in this crisis and we pray that they turn to You Lord for comfort. Right now Lord, we turn to Your Word. We put away all distractions and we come with open hearts and open minds to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 9

Continuing in John Chapter 9 now….

(6) When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. (7) And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. (8) Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” (9) Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” (10) Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” (11) He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” (12) Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.” … John 9:6-12 NKJV

What we are reading here is the sixth sign that John talks about in his Gospel giving proof of the deity of Jesus Christ. The first sign, if you remember, was changing the water into wine at the wedding in Cana. The second sign was the healing of the nobleman’s son that we read about in Chapter 4. The third sign was the healing of the impotent man in Chapter 5. The fourth sign was the feeding of the five thousand in Chapter 6. The fifth sign was Jesus walking on the water and rescuing the disciples also found in Chapter 6 and now we come to the sixth sign…the healing of this blind man. Let’s look at this passage a bit more closely now…

vv 6-7 – (6) When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. (7) And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

Jesus had just finished answering His disciples about their question of this man’s suffering and now it was time for Him to get to work so to speak. Jesus spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva. My first impression was “Yuck!” LOL! It was probably a good thing this man was blind so he couldn’t see what Jesus was actually doing! LOL! There is a lot of speculation about why Jesus did this. Some say that the man had no eyes and Jesus made eyes for him in this manner. It is possible because it was the way man was formed to begin with. We read in Genesis…

(7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. … Genesis 2:7 NKJV

If He could make man this way, then eyes would have been made that way as well? Something to think about but not that important.

The best explanation of why though was that Jesus was using the lowest and dirtiest things on this earth to create a miracle. The Lord uses the dirtiest and most objectionable and useless things to accomplish His purpose. This, I believe, is also a picture of sinful man, the lowest, dirtiest thing on this earth in God’s eyes, and the miracle of Christ opening the eyes of a sinner and changing his or her life forever!

After rubbing the saliva clay mixture into the blind man’s eyes, Jesus then tells the blind man to Go, wash in the pool of Siloam. Jesus is testing the faith of this blind man and also calling upon some effort on his part to complete the miracle. This was one of the few times in The Gospels where Jesus helped someone without being asked to. For the most part, Jesus didn’t do anything for anyone unless they came to Him in faith believing that He could do it. This miracle however, was to prove His deity to not only the disciples but to the rest of the onlookers. He calls upon the man’s faith though and tells him to wash in the pool. Even though this man was blind, he was probably aware of where this pool was. The name of the pool was Siloam and John tells us what this means in parentheses. It means the word Sent. There were other pools in the temple area that this man could have gone to so why here? It was because it was a reference to the Messiah, Jesus, the One sent by God who would bring “sight” to a blind world.

It is really hard to tell from the passage whether this man really had faith that Jesus would give him sight or not. It could have been a “what have I got to lose?” moment because he was tired of being blind and at this point was willing to try anything. It could have been that he just wanted to get the crud out of his eyes! LOL! Anyway, the man did what Jesus told him to do and he received his sight. This wasn’t a gradual thing that happened over time. It was instantaneous! It was a pivotal moment in this man’s life because he had been blind his entire life and had been begging on the streets to survive and now he could see! Moving on to verse 8…

vv 8-9 – (8) Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” (9) Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.”

The people who knew this man and the fact that he was blind couldn’t believe that he was able to see now. They ask the question Is not this he who sat and begged?. There was a noticeable improvement in this man that they could actually see. Some of them said This is he while some of the others refused to believe it was him and said He is like him. The proof that it was him though was when the man takes away all doubt and says I am he. Besides the physical aspect of this miracle that Jesus performs on this blind man, it is also a picture of what a truly saved person should look like to others…a noticeable improvement. The fact is that even though they knew that this man was blind, there was a noticeable improvement that they really couldn’t deny even though it prompted questions…this man could now see! If we are truly saved, others should be taking notice of a changed life not a “business as usual” life. People may try to explain a changed person’s life away but there should be no doubt about the person being changed. Let’s finish out this passage. …

vv 10-12 – (10) Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?” (11) He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.” (12) Then they said to him, “Where is He?” He said, “I do not know.”

The obvious question is now asked How were your eyes opened?. How could a person who was born blind just suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere suddenly have sight? This was truly a wonderful and marvelous thing that happened! Psalm 111 says…

(2) The works of the LORD are great, Studied by all who have pleasure in them. … Psalms 111:2 NKJV

There was no better example of this than what happened to this blind man and should have prompted questions.

The man who was blind now just simply responds by telling them what had happened. At that particular time, the man really didn’t know that Jesus was God in human flesh so he says a Man called Jesus rubbed the clay into his eyes and told him to go to the pool of Siloam and wash. Again this is a picture of someone who’s life has been changed by Jesus. This man was in fact, giving his testimony. He was just simply stating the facts of what happened. This man’s testimony will become bolder as this chapter moves along when he begins to realize who Jesus really is but for now he is just simply telling them what happened. This is what our testimony should be…just simply stating the facts. One other note before moving on. If we have truly experienced the Lord’s power and goodness in our lives then we should never shy away from telling others about it! Psalm 34, David says…

(3) Oh, magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together. (4) I sought the LORD, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. (5) They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. (6) This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles. … Psalms 34:3-6 NKJV

We owe it to our Savior to show and tell others about the goodness and power that Jesus has in our lives!

The next question that the crowd asks is Where is He? We are not exactly sure why the crowd asks this question. Some probably asked just out of curiosity sort of like “Where is he so we can see him?”. Others perhaps meant the question to cause harm to Jesus. The question, “Where is he that we may seize him?”. That may have not been too far from the truth either because, not to get too far ahead of ourselves, in John Chapter 11, there was a proclamation out at the time that if anyone knew where Jesus was, they were to report it to the chief priests and the Pharisees. …

(57) Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a command, that if anyone knew where He was, he should report it, that they might seize Him. … John 11:57 NKJV

It could also be too that others really wanted to get to know Jesus because they believed on Him. The question, “Where is He that we can get to know Him?” Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you want to look at the situation, the man didn’t know where Jesus was. He also wasn’t really too sure who Jesus was either but he had an idea and his testimony will reveal his beliefs as the chapter progresses.

So to close out this post out and our two part look at suffering and why God allows it, the most important thing to remember is that suffering in this lifetime, our lifetime, is only temporary. Suffering in eternity is permanent! Whatever you and I are going through in our lives right now, is nothing compared to what you will go through in the future if you do not accept Jesus Christ into your life! A relationship with Jesus Christ is more important than the economy, more important than the upcoming election, more important than a vaccine for this virus, and more important than anything that is happening in your life right now! That may tough for some of you to hear right now and you may be thinking to yourself, “You must not be suffering at all right now!”. Man, I wish that were the case but the fact is I’m suffering too right now with uncertainty of whether or not I am going to be able to go back to work or not. If I can’t go back to my occupation because of this virus, then I am going to have to “re-invent” myself at age 59. The truth is too, I have suffered just about my entire life in one form or another. I have had way more bad times than “good” times in my life but the fact is I have been able to handle the bad times a lot better now with Jesus Christ in my life! You might be also saying to yourself, “You don’t know or care about what I am going through!”. You’re right in one way. I don’t know what you’re going through right now but you’re wrong because I do care otherwise I wouldn’t be trying to convince you that you need to make a life change by accepting Jesus if you haven’t done so already. I may not know what you are going through but Jesus does and He can help you! This COVID-19 virus might be a way of Jesus throwing that “life preserver” out to you and telling you to grab it so He can pull you in like a lifeguard rescuing a drowning person! The fact is that we are all drowning! We are drowning in a thing called sin and Jesus is the only rescue for it! When you accept Jesus into your life, you’re sin slate is wiped clean and you become a “new creation”! Paul says this in 2 Corinthians where tells us…

(17) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. … 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

For those of you who don’t know who Paul was before he found Christ, he was a murderer of Christians! He was known as Saul of Tarsus. If salvation worked for this guy then it can work for you too no matter what you’ve done. When Jesus was crucified, He was crucified with two criminals. One was on His right and the other on His left. One of them turned away from Jesus. The other one turned to Jesus. In Luke’s Gospel, he gives the account of this story…

(39) Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” (40) But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? (41) And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” (42) Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (43) And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” … Luke 23:39-43 NKJV

One of them was saved. The other was not. One of them went to heaven. The other did not. What side of the cross do you want to be on? You have the chance to decide today! Without Jesus Christ, we have reason to be worried. Without Jesus Christ, we should be fretting. Without Him, we have no hope, no future, no forgiveness, no eternal life. But when we come to the cross of Calvary where Jesus died for our sins, when we ask for forgiveness on the basis of His blood shed there, when we pray to Him, asking Him to become our Savior and Lord, He saves us and sets us free. He gives us peace. That’s what we all need during this pandemic! Putting your faith and trust in Jesus Christ will give you the answers you are looking for and the comfort you seek! If you are truly ready…I mean everything that you’ve tried just isn’t working in your life…and you’re ready for Christ to change your heart and your life, then all you have to do is ask Him to come into your life! In Romans 10:9-13, Paul says:

“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.” … (Romans 10:9-13 NIV)

Now just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

If you’ve prayed the above prayer with a sincere heart, then you are saved. The next step is to start going to church, getting baptized to publicly profess your faith, and reading the Bible and learning God’s Word. I pray with all of my heart that you prayed the above prayer! Please let me know if you need any help with your new “walk” with Christ! ( *_* )

John Chapter 9. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to open a new chapter because it seems like it took forever to get through Chapter 8 but here we are.

With the COVID-19 crisis going on, we come to this chapter, I think, at the appropriate time. No matter how you view this virus, whether you think it’s a hoax, whether you think it’s a sinister plot perpetrated by China and the Democrats to push a political agenda, or whether you think that this virus really is a serious problem the fact is that COVID-19 has caused suffering in some shape or form to everyone. Some have lost loved ones to the virus. People have lost their livelihoods and their homes and their finances all at the snap of a finger because of stay-at-home orders in just about every state in America and we all are suffering the isolation and loneliness caused by this crisis. At times like this, the age old questions pop up once again…”Where is God?” and “How can a God of love allow suffering in the world?”. These questions always surface when we are faced with some kind of pain in our life.

In John Chapter 9, we are introduced to such a man that might have been asking the very same questions himself. He’s a man that was born blind, the Scriptures say, forced into a life of begging to support himself. Along comes Jesus and his life is forever changed! In Chapter 9 we are going to see four different points…a man suffering, a miracle to alleviate that suffering, and then faith and not only faith, but a man not afraid to that defend that faith! In this post, we will look at the first one…a man suffering and questions regarding it and Jesus responding to those questions. Let’s get started and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and the audio are included but before we get started, let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the Word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God. We come, Lord, and we bring ourselves. We bring our attention, our minds, to engage in the words that we hear, the words that we read, the thoughts your Holy Spirit is going to give us, the questions we’re going to be wrestling with– some hopefully that will be answered.  Lord, You are the One we turn to for help in moments of weakness and times of need. We ask You to be with Your servants and others in this time of crisis in our country. Psalm 107:20 says that you send out Your Word and heal. So then, please send your healing Word to Your servants. We ask You to turn our weakness into strength, suffering into compassion, sorrow into joy, and pain into comfort for others. May Your servants trust in Your goodness and hope in Your faithfulness, even in the middle of this suffering. Now Lord, we turn our attention back to Your Word opening our hearts and minds to it to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! All of this we pray in the saving name of Jesus Christ…Amen!

John 9

Let’s look at this very short passage for this post, the first five verses in Chapter 9. …

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. (2) And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (3) Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. (4) I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. (5) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” … John 9:1-5 NKJV

John doesn’t say when this takes place but it presumably takes place as Jesus is leaving the temple area after what happens in Chapter 8. Chapter 8 ends with the crowd picking up stones to stone Jesus and Jesus slipping away from the crowd. Jesus is about to cause another controversy as we move along in this chapter but let’s look at these five verses more closely. …

v 1 – Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.

As Jesus was leaving the temple area, He spots a man who was blind from birth. In the King Jimmie Version, KJV, it says that the man was blind from his birth, in Greek ek genetē, which means out from, by reason of, or out of birth. Besides leprosy, blindness was one of the biggest health problems in biblical times. It was caused by a number of factors…unsanitary conditions, poverty, unfiltered sunlight (no sunglasses in those days), and blowing dust and sand. Babies in the womb sometimes would develop a condition called “Ophthalmia neonatorum” literally gonorrhea of the eyes. A bacteria would lodge itself within the birth canal of a woman and then as the baby was being born, attach itself to the baby’s eyelids and get into the conjunct of the eye, the mucous membrane of the eye, and in about two or three days, pus pockets would form around the eyes and a week or two after birth, the baby is completely blind. It’s actually still a problem in some parts of Africa and other parts of the world today. This was probably the case with this man that Jesus sees as He is leaving the temple area. During that time, the blind were sentenced to eek out a miserable existence. It was not uncommon to see the blind as well as the lame begging on the streets. It was the only way to support themselves.

Please take note that Jesus saw this blind man. This wasn’t a casual, “Yeah I see this blind guy. Gee what a shame that he is blind!” observation but an intense, compassionate observation, the Greek word eidō. Jesus saw his suffering and had compassion for him. We have this idea that God doesn’t see our suffering or that He doesn’t care. Nothing could be further from the truth! He sees our suffering and He sympathizes with us just like He saw this blind man and had compassion for him. Whatever suffering that we are going through in life right now, Jesus is with us and He cares! We see this all throughout the Scriptures. Here are some notable example of this…

(10) For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,” Says the LORD, who has mercy on you. … Isaiah 54:10 NKJV

(13) As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him. … Psalms 103:13 NKJV

Back in Isaiah again…

(13) Sing, O heavens! Be joyful, O earth! And break out in singing, O mountains! For the LORD has comforted His people, And will have mercy on His afflicted. (14) But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me.” (15) “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. … Isaiah 49:13-15 NKJV

and finally in 2 Corinthians, Paul says…

(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (4) who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. … 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV

The fact is that people that believe that God doesn’t see our suffering and doesn’t care aren’t really looking for Him! Moving on to verse 2…

v 2 – And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Suffering brings questions. There’s no doubt about that and there’s nothing wrong with that. One of the funniest responses to the question of suffering comes from an episode of “All In The Family”. Archie is arguing as usual with his atheist, liberal son-in-law Mike, “Meathead”, and they are arguing about why there is so much pain and suffering in the world. Mike says that there couldn’t be a God because if there was, that He would never allow it, a typical atheist viewpoint. So Archie turns to Edith and asks her if there is a God why there is so much pain and suffering in the world. She pauses for a second and then replies, “So when we get to heaven, we’ll notice the improvement!”. Not a bad answer by the way since no one really knows the answer to that question. That question of pain and suffering is the number one reason for either not coming to faith in Christ or losing faith in Christ. No one likes to suffer and when people do, they are most likely to blame God. What makes it worse is, if you are a Christian, and you are suffering or your fellow believers are. Why does God allow this? Why doesn’t He reserve suffering just for the evil people in this world? It’s a question that Asaph in Psalm 73 wrestled with and he almost lost his faith because of it! In Psalm 73, Asaph says…

(2) But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; My steps had nearly slipped. (3) For I was envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (4) For there are no pangs in their death, But their strength is firm. (5) They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like other men. … Psalms 73:2-5 NKJV

Get the picture? Asaph is complaining about how the evil and the wicked people in the world seem to flourish. Everything seems to be going their way. They don’t have as much physical suffering as believers do. Their bodies are healthy. They escape many of the troubles and tragedies of decent people and even if trouble should strike them, they are heavily insured against every conceivable form of loss. He was beginning to lose faith. Further down in Psalm 73, he says…

(13) Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. (14) For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning. … Psalms 73:13-14 NKJV

The picture here is he is suffering, a believer, but around him for unbelievers, it’s business as usual so why bother having faith?

Getting back though to the passage in John and verse 2 here in Chapter 9, the disciples pose a strange question to Jesus…Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?. The insinuation here is “Surely this man must have done something wrong or his parents for him to be blind!”. It’s strange because how could this man have sinned if he was born blind? Did they believe that the soul returns to a new body after death? Were they suggesting that the man was born blind as a result of the sins that God knew that the man would commit later on in his life? It was clear though, that they believed this man’s blindness was caused by sin in the family. They were probably referring to the passage in Exodus where God forbids the worship of other gods. In Exodus 20, verse 5, it says…

(5) you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, … Exodus 20:5 NKJV

It was a misunderstood verse then and a misunderstood verse today. When God said this, He wasn’t speaking about personal punishment. He was talking about national punishment. “If you do these things, then I will punish the nation!”. That’s what God meant and it did happen when the Jews were sent into captivity in Babylon as well as other examples throughout their history. That was the theology though. If you were born blind, or became lame, or had leprosy or some kind of tragedy happened to you etc, it was the result of some kind of sin in your life or your family’s. In The Book of Job, Job had all of these tragedies that happened to him and then his health was taken away from him and you remember his three friends were telling him that the reason why he was suffering so much was because there had to be some type of sin in his life. That’s not true because God says, “Have you considered my servant Job? There’s no one like him on earth! He’s the best I got!”. 

Sometimes though, suffering is a result of sin or some type of stupidity that we commit in our lives. If you’re driving a 100 mph in your car down the highway and the cops pull you over for speeding and give you a ticket and you’re thinking, “I should have read my devotions this morning. I didn’t and now God is punishing me!”, no that’s not the reason!  It’s because you were driving 100 mph in your car down the highway! Actions causes reactions. So this coronavirus may not be the result of personal sin but I’ll tell you what…it could be God punishing the nation as a whole. Now to verse 3 in our passage…

v 3 – (3) Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

Jesus answers them by saying, neither this man nor his parents sinned. He says this not because this man or his parents were sinless but that the blindness was not the direct result of sin. He was putting to rest that argument of suffering being the result of some kind of sin in this man and his family’s life. There is another theology that most Christians believe and it’s extremely popular here in America. You’ve probably heard it. It’s called “The Prosperity Doctrine” or “The Health, Wealth, & Prosperity Gospel”. It teaches that yes there is suffering and yes there is evil but if you are true child of God, then you don’t have to go through that. You’ll always have good health, you’ll always be wealthy, and you will always prosper in life. In other words you will never suffer and if you do it’s because you don’t have enough faith! That’s a crock! Sometimes, in fact, most of the time, the Lord allows suffering in our lives for a greater purpose! Look what Jesus says as He continues on…but that the works of God should be revealed in him. He is telling His disciples, “Yeah he’s blind now but watch what happens! Watch what I am about to do!”. The fact is that Jesus had always intended on healing this man even before he was born but it was on His timing and for His purpose. It was no accident that this man and Jesus had come to this moment. Sometimes God allows suffering in our lives for a greater purpose. We don’t see that right away though and at that moment, we really don’t even think about that. We just want the suffering to end! Moving on now to finish out the passage. …

vv 4-5 – (4) I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. (5) As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus knew that He had a limited time on this earth. Within six months of this meeting with this blind man, He would be crucified, resurrected, and gone from this earth. So it was like Jesus rolling up His sleeves and saying, “Let’s get to work!”. Again, Jesus had compassion for this man and, I’m not trying to put human limits on Jesus, He was more than capable of doing something for him. The text says I must work but did you know that some of the modern versions of The Bible say, We must work? I generally don’t like modern translations of The Bible because they twist certain truths to fit the way society lives today but in this case, I love that translation…we must work. It’s our duty to, if we can and have the means to do it, to aid those who are suffering and in pain. It is supposed to be one of the key points in proving our faith to others. In Proverbs 3, one of Solomon’s more popular chapters in the book, he says…

(27) Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. (28) Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. … Proverbs 3:27-28 NKJV

In James, he echoes this as well by saying…

(15) If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, (16) and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? … James 2:15-16 NKJV

Jesus says that He must do these works while it is day the night is coming when no one can work and finishes it off with as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. He was speaking here about His ministry. He only had a short time before He would be crucified, resurrected, and gone from this world so He had to do the works of His Father while He was still able to even if it meant healing this blind man on the Sabbath. There is a broader meaning to this though. We Christians only have a short time in this world as well. We will either die or be taken away by the Lord in the rapture so we must work while it is day because our night is coming as well when we will no longer be able to show the Lord’s goodness and mercy to others. The lion’s share of Christians though in America do not have this attitude. They are more interested in their needs, wants, and comforts to even bother helping someone else out. In “The Believer’s Bible Commentary”, William MacDonald puts it best when he writes…

Christians are wearing crowns instead of bearing a cross. We become more emotionally stirred over sports, politics, or television than we do over Christ. There is little sense of spiritual need, little longing for true revival. We give the best of our lives to the business world, then turn over the remnants of a wasted career to the Savior. We cater to our bodies which in a few short years will return to dust. We accumulate instead of forsake, lay up treasures on earth instead of in heaven. The general attitude is, “Nothing too good for the people of God. If I don’t pamper myself, who will? Let’s get ahead in the world and give our spare evenings to the Lord.” This is our condition on the eve of Christ’s Return.

I ask you with this attitude is there any wonder why Jesus has not come back for His church yet? In the next post, we will look at the healing of this blind beggar by Jesus.

So to close this post out, here are some takeaways that might help us out while we are dealing with this COVID-19 crisis. The fact is suffering defies all explanations. I can’t say for certain why we have this problem right now at this particular time. I have my opinions just as I am sure you do as well but that is not the point here. We have to realize that suffering, no matter the reason why, is a part of life. It’s not always the result of one’s personal sin. The atheist viewpoint is that because there is evil and suffering in this world, there can be no God. There is another viewpoint that I didn’t talk about in the passage but I will now and that is called a Deist viewpoint where one believes yes there is a God and yes there is evil and suffering in the world and God would like to help out but He can’t because He’s unable to because He’s still “learning”! Yep but with every generation, every war, and every bad thing that happens, God is getting better and maybe one of these days, He’ll get it right! May I say if that’s your viewpoint, it’s not a god worth worshiping because it’s like having a big brother that can’t help you out when you really need him! So that’s the first takeaway. Suffering is a part of life and as far as this new virus that we’re dealing with is concerned, people get sick and people die. Get over it! It’s part of life. Nobody lives forever and cowering in our homes is not going to change that. We will all some day die! The next takeaway from this is God uses suffering for a greater purpose. Suffering in our lives can be used by God in three ways. The first is suffering will equip you. You can’t help someone else who is hurting or with a problem unless you’ve “been there done that”. Might I add, it will help you tell others about the good news of Jesus Christ as well. When others see us suffering and how we use our faith in Jesus Christ to hold us up in difficult times, it will cause others to stand up and take notice and say to themselves, “I need that!” which brings up the second way God uses suffering in our lives…to strengthen our faith. A faith that isn’t tested every now and then really isn’t a good faith to have! Paul, the apostle saw this first hand. He had, what he describes as a “thorn in the flesh”. No one knows for sure what that was. There has been speculation what it was. Most agree that it was some sort of eye trouble probably caused by being stoned and left for dead and went to the “third heaven”. Some have jokingly said that the “thorn” was his wife! LOL! Anyway, whatever it was, he talks about in 2 Corinthians where he says…

(7) And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. (8) Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. (9) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. … 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV

Wow! If only we had that same kind of attitude! And when Paul wrote this, he wasn’t sunning himself on some beach in Acapulco drinking Mai tais! He was languishing in a prison cell! Suffering strengthens you and again using this crisis we have now in our country as an example, having a firm solid faith is more valuable than health. James also says in his letter…

(2) My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, (3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. … James 1:2-3 NKJV

Again not written when times were good. Christians were being persecuted by Nero the emperor of Rome at the time. They were being arrested, imprisoned, and in many cases slaughtered by the thousands. Job was another good example. He suffered more tragedies than most people do today in their lifetime and nearly almost all at once I might add. Look at what he says…

(10) But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. … Job 23:10 NKJV

Do you know how gold is tested for purity? It is put in a furnace! When you want to test how strong one’s faith really is, just put it in the “fire”! One last biblical reference about this before moving on, Solomon says in Proverbs…

(10) If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small. … Proverbs 24:10 NKJV

You can actually substitute the word “faith” instead of the word “strength”.

The final takeaway from this is that suffering brings obligations. It demands a response from us. Jesus saw a suffering man and He did something about it, well we didn’t see that yet but we will in the next post. He didn’t see a blind man and say, “Gee a blind man what a shame!” and walk away. He did something about it. There’s a thing that we all suffer from in America. It’s called “compassion fatigue”. It’s where you see so much bad things on the news and are subjected to images of pain and suffering day after day and night after night, that you become numb to it. In a lot of cases, people actually enjoy seeing it. Did you know that the main reason why our highways are so congested across our country is that every time there is an accident, people slam on their brakes and drive slowly by to see what’s going on? The late comedian George Carlin joked about this fact. He said in a skit about it that it’s like, “Excuse me officer can you bring the bodies a little closer? My wife and I have never seen a body shaped in that manner!” All kidding aside though, we have to guard from this compassion fatigue.

So to close this out, I’ll end with this…what are you doing to help people who are suffering during this crisis in our country? Is there someone who you can you take food to or help out financially if you’re able to that doesn’t have a job right now and has very little or no money coming in? What about just lending a truly sympathetic ear to someone who has a high case of anxiety because of this crisis? Most of all, do you know someone who needs to hear the good news of Jesus Christ?

I’ll end this with the way I do many of my posts, an invitation for you to except Jesus if you haven’t already. Just like Jesus said to His disciples that one has to do the works of God while it is day because night is coming where no man can work, it applies to unbelievers that haven’t accepted Jesus. You must do it while it is still “day”. That means while there is still time. There is going to come a time when Jesus will return and it will be too late. It will be “night”. Your “night” may not be then. Your “night” may be your death! Funny thing is, is this lockdown that has occurred because of the COVID-19 crisis will end but if you don’t accept Jesus in your life today, right this second, you will be eternally locked down in hell and separated from God! It doesn’t have to be that way though. He doesn’t want it for you and I don’t want it for you either but you can change that right now! In Romans 10:9-13, Paul says:

“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.” … (Romans 10:9-13 NIV)

Now just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

If you’ve prayed the above prayer with a sincere heart, then you are saved. The next step is to start going to church, getting baptized to publicly profess your faith, and reading the Bible and learning God’s Word. I pray with all of my heart that you prayed the above prayer! Please let me know if you need any help with your new “walk” with Christ! Stay safe everyone and God bless you and yours!

We have FINALLY come to the end of Chapter 8! LOL! For the last few posts, we have been taking a very long look at the “I am the light of the world” discourse that Jesus has been giving to the people in the temple, mainly to the scribes and Pharisees, the group who is being most hostile towards Jesus. He has really incurred their wrath by telling them that the devil is their father and now this will climax by a statement that Jesus makes that will ultimately decide the fate of our Lord. Before we get started though looking at this final passage in Chapter 8, let’s pray…

Father,

We come before You again to hear what You have to say in Your Word. Father, this is a very difficult time for us…for our families, for our economy, and for our nation as a whole. Many of us have never seen or witnessed this kind of unrest, uneasiness, and uncertainty that our nation faces today and not only America, but the rest of the world. Father we know that You are in control of this, that You are using this COVID-19 crisis perhaps to bring the world closer to You. It may be the very last chance that we as a people can come back to You in true repentance. No one knows Your purpose for this Father…only You know that but we know by faith that You are using it for Your glory. Lord, there are a lot of people out there hurting right now. They’ve lost their jobs, perhaps maybe some loved ones and it feels like their whole world is crashing down around them. It’s actually the way I feel. Hopefully though we are using this time of isolation to get to know You and Your Word better and that is why we are here now Lord to hear Your Word. So speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the holy and saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

Perspective is how you see something. It’s your viewpoint on what you are seeing or reading or hearing. Everybody has a different one though. For an example a group of people witness a car accident. Now you ask each and everyone of them what they saw and each one will tell you a different story. It is why the Gospels in The Bible are different from one another not because of contradiction the way so many people believe. In fact, Thomas Jefferson, in writing about The Bible said…

“The whole history of these books (i.e. the Gospels) is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills.”

Source: Letter of Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, January 24, 1814.

I have great respect for our founding fathers but Thomas Jefferson couldn’t have been more wrong! In Matthew, Jesus is portrayed as a king so Matthew wrote his Gospel with that perspective in mind. In Mark, Jesus is portrayed as a suffering servant so that is the focus of his. Luke portrays Jesus as a man and that is his focus in his writings. Now we come to John’s Gospel. John in his Gospel has one purpose and one purpose, perspective, only…proving that Jesus is God and he presents evidence so you the reader will come to that realization and believe in Jesus.

In this “I am the light of the world” discourse that Jesus has been giving the crowd, Jesus has been giving His own perspective of the crowd. He calls them liars, children of the devil, and that they really didn’t know God. They thought they were heaven bound because they were descendants of Abraham and because of their traditions but it was exactly the opposite. They were hell bound and would suffer eternal separation from God. It wasn’t just Jesus’ perspective…it was the truth!

The crowd on the other hand, had a different perspective of Jesus. They saw Him as a liar, a fake, a fraud, and the brunt of their jokes and anger and it all culminates right here in this last passage in Chapter 8 and as I said, will ultimately seal the fate of Jesus. Let’s look at this last passage in Chapter 8 and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and the audio are included…

John 8

(48) Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?” (49) Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. (50) And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. (51) Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.” (52) Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ (53) Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?” (54) Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. (55) Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. (56) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” (57) Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (59) Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. … John 8:48-59 NKJV

This passage, like I said, is the climax of a heated argument with Jesus. Jesus’ words are cutting to the heart and the crowd is getting very emotional. Arguments generally will start on an intellectual level. Then they will progress to an emotional level and then sometimes progress even further into a physical level which is happening here in this passage. It starts with Jesus trying to portray to the crowd who He is back in verse 12. It progresses with name calling by the crowd and finally, in verse 59, the crowd is ready to stone Jesus! This is a long passage so it will probably be a long post because there really is no point in the passage where I can divide this into two parts. Some points in this passage, we have already looked at so I won’t dwell on those that much. Let’s look at this passage more closely now. …

v 48 – (48) Then the Jews answered and said to Him, “Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

The crowd now goes back to abusive language and name calling. They call Jesus a Samaritan. To be called a Samaritan was an insult. They were a hated people by the Jews and were considered an enemy of the Jews much like the Romans. They hated the Samaritans. If you were a Jew, you just didn’t set foot in Samaria. In fact when they traveled from Jerusalem to Galilee instead of taking the shortest route, which is through Samaria, they would go around Samaria. Back in John Chapter 4 if you remember, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at a well who is surprised that Jesus is even talking to her! She asks Jesus, “Why are you asking me for a drink? I’m a Samaritan woman!” The Samaritans were considered false teachers and religious heretics. They had their own temple on Mt. Gerizim and they even had their own bible. When the Jews got of captivity and came back to rebuild Jerusalem and its walls in 485 BC, the Samaritans wanted to help but the Jews flat out told them, “No!”. So telling Jesus that he was a Samaritan was basically telling Him that He was an enemy of the people, an enemy of Israel.

The next insult that the crowd hurls at Jesus is that He has a demon. They basically tell Jesus that He is nuts, crazy, out of His mind…demon possessed. In other words they are in fact saying to Jesus, “You are the devil!”. Can you imagine telling Jesus that?! It is still widely held belief of Jesus Christ by Jews today! In fact, did you know in the Jewish Talmud, in an English translation of it, it actually says in the Talmud describing the crucifixion…

“On (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover Jesus the Nazarene was hanged and a herald went forth before him forty days heralding, ‘Jesus the Nazarene is going forth to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and instigated and seduced Israel to idolatry. Whoever knows anything in defense may come and state it.’ But since they did not find anything in his defense they hanged him on (Sabbath eve and) the eve of Passover. Ulla said: Do you suppose that Jesus the Nazarene was one for whom a defense could be made? He was a mesit (someone who instigated Israel to idolatry), concerning whom the Merciful [God]says: Show him no compassion and do not shield him (Deut. 13:9). With Jesus the Nazarene it was different. For he was close to the government.”

In short, the accusations in the Talmud says, “Jesus the Nazarene practiced magic and deceived and led Israel astray”.

So the crowd basically is calling God, Satan and Satan, God! Moving on now…

vv 49-51 – (49) Jesus answered, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me. (50) And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges. (51) Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”

There are two things that are taking place that you need to pay close attention to here. First, notice the calm way that Jesus reacts to their insults. He isn’t shouting (at least John doesn’t make mention of it but He could have been talking loudly over the crowd) and He isn’t being taken in by their insults by insulting them back. He is giving them a gentle answer. In Proverbs 15, Solomon says…

A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. … Proverbs 15:1 NKJV

Jesus gives them a soft answer. Peter writes in one of His letters…

(23) who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; … 1 Peter 2:23 NKJV

It is human nature to lash out when we are attacked and fight back, however Jesus doesn’t do that here. Jesus tells them that His teachings do not come from a demon. They come from God The Father. He tells them, I honor my Father and you dishonor Me. In the next verse, Jesus says, I do not seek My own glory. Everything that Jesus said and did was not to draw attention and glorify Himself but to glorify His Father in heaven. He is the One that Jesus tells them who seeks and judges. Pay close attention to the last part of verse 50. Anyone who dishonors Jesus is, in fact, dishonoring God and God will seek out and judge those who do!

The second thing that is going on is Jesus’ attempt at yet another invitation to them. In verse 51, Jesus says to the crowd, Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death. Jesus did not mean that they would not die physically. Everyone in that crowd would eventually experience physical death but what Jesus told them was spiritual, that they would not die spiritually. He was telling them and us that as long as they believed in Him and His word, they would have eternal life with Him in heaven and would escape hell and eternal separation from Him. This is an odd way to respond to one’s insults. Like I said, human nature is to lash out at someone who is attacking and insulting us not to offer them an invitation! I like the Christian music band Casting Crowns. There is a song that they do called “If We Are The Body” and in the lyrics, the song says…”Jesus paid much to high a price for us to pick and choose who should come”. It means that we can’t decide who to extend an invitation to Christ based on our likes and dislikes of people. Our job is to invite people to Christ and then it is their job whether or not to accept that invitation. Moving on to verse 52…

vv 52-53 – (52) Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ (53) Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”

Again the Jews did not understand what Jesus was talking about. They had it in their minds that He was talking about a physical death. They were now convinced even more that Jesus was “mad” and again accused Him of having a demon. They reminded Jesus that Abraham was dead and so were the prophets so how could He say that if they kept His word that they would never see death. They began to realize that Jesus was insinuating that He was greater than Abraham and the prophets all who were dead. Abraham had never delivered anyone from death and neither had the prophets. This was not entirely true because Elijah had raised the widow’s son who had died which is told in 1 Kings 17. Probably a case again of the Jews not knowing their own Scriptures but Elijah couldn’t save anyone from a permanent death which is what they probably meant. None of their fathers could deliver anyone from death. The only one who could do that was God Himself so now the question becomes…who do You make Yourself out to beBefore moving on, this is the fundamental question in John’s Gospel…who do you think that Jesus is? That is the title of this study in John’s Gospel that I have chosen…”But who do you say that I am?”. The way you answer this question and your true belief in that answer determines your eternal destiny! Moving on to verse 54 now…

vv 54-56 – (54) Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. (55) Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. (56) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

These verses here are a repeat of what Jesus has been telling them throughout this chapter. He didn’t come to honor Himself but to honor and the work of the Father and that they did not know the Father. The Jews thought Jesus was seeking to attract attention to Himself. Jesus reminded them that this was not the case. It was the Father who was honoring Him, the very God they professed to love and serve. The Jews said that God was their Father, but actually they did not know Him. Yet here they were speaking with One who did know God the Father, One who was equal with Him. They wanted Jesus to deny His equality with the Father, but He said that if He did this, He would be a liar. He knew God the Father and obeyed His word. Let’s back the truck up here so to speak for a second. If you want to know if you’re truly saved or not, ask yourself this question…do I keep His word? Many Christians profess to believe in God but not many actually keep His word. I can read The Bible every day, backwards and forwards but if I am not reading it with an open heart and a humble desire for God to rebuke me, teach me, and change me, if I have my heart set on the things of this world and not things in the heavenly kingdom, then I don’t really know God at all and therefore, I am a liar as well! These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves and the big reason, that I believe, why the church has not been raptured yet. The Lord is certainly not going to take us back with Him if we don’t show a true desire to be with Him!

Verse 56 is a little puzzling. Jesus says, Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad. When exactly did Abraham see His day? There’s a lot of speculation and it fills up pages in a lot of commentaries. It could have been when Abraham took Isaac up to Mt. Moriah to offer him up as a sacrifice. The whole crucifixion and resurrection scene was played out here. Abraham was told by God to take his son, his only son whom you love. By the way, that is the first time the word love appears in The Bible and it refers to a sacrifice being made. Abraham sacrificing Isaac takes place on Mt. Moriah the exact location it is believed to be where the crucifixion of Christ took place and then the part where God stops Abraham at the least minute from sacrificing Isaac. Perhaps Abraham saw this by faith as future events where Jesus would offer Himself up as a sacrifice for man’s salvation and perhaps what Jesus is referring to in this passage. That’s really not the issue here about what Jesus is telling this crowd. The issue that Jesus is reinforcing here is that “it was Abraham who recognized My superiority and My priority–not vice versa. You’re talking about Abraham and he’s the guy and he’s our father and he’s the superior one.” However Jesus is telling them that Abraham, that guy that they keep pointing to, recognized the superiority of Jesus and that He was the priority. He saw His day and was glad. Let’s move on and finish out the passage and the chapter now. …

vv 57-59 –  Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (59) Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

The crowd then tell Jesus that He couldn’t possibly have seen and known Abraham because He wasn’t even 50-years-old yet. Actually, Jesus was believed to have been about 32 or 33-years-old at this time. Once again the Jews revealed their inability to understand divine truth. Jesus had said, Abraham rejoiced to see My day, but they answered as though He had said that He had seen Abraham. There is a great difference here. The Lord Jesus claimed for Himself a position greater than Abraham. Jesus was the fulfillment of Abraham’s thoughts and hopes. Abraham looked forward by faith to Christ’s day.

Jesus then sums up His entire “I am the light of the world” discourse. He begins with Most assuredlyVerily, verily in the King Jimmie version. Whenever Jesus began a statement using this, it was to say, “Listen up and pay attention!”. In other words, it was a message of grave importance. Jesus continues by saying, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM. This was the claim that Jesus made to be not only equal with God but to be God Himself! If anyone ever tells you, “Well you know Jesus never claimed to be God!”, you can point out this verse to them. It was exactly what He was claiming because He was and is God. Notice that Jesus didn’t say before Abraham was, I was. That might simply mean that He came into existence before Abraham. Rather, He used the Name of God: I AM. The Lord Jesus had dwelt with God the Father from all eternity. There was never a time when He came into being, or when He did not exist. Therefore He said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” The phrase I AMego eimi in Greek, comes from Exodus 3:14…

(13) Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”  (14)  And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” … Exodus 3:13-14 NKJV

The Jews knew exactly what Jesus was claiming which is why the chapter ends with the Jews wanting to pick up stones and stone Him. The penalty for blasphemy, which they believed that Jesus was committing, was to be stoned to death. Jesus eludes the seething mad crowd and gets away because it wasn’t His time to die yet. The funny thing though, Jesus’ enemies understood what Jesus was claiming and yet those who profess to love and follow Him today deny this claim!

To close this out. it wasn’t Jesus that was committing blasphemy…it was the Jews. So far up to this point, Jesus claimed…

  • to be the quencher of human thirst
  • satisfier of all hunger
  • light of the world
  • that He came from heaven not from earth
  • that if one believes in Him that they would never see death
  • that He predated Abraham

Nobody could have made these claims that Jesus made unless they were in fact God! In Colossians, Paul says…

(15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (16) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. (17) And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (18) And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. … Colossians 1:15-18 NKJV

He is the Redeemer, Creator, Regulator of the universe, Savior, Head of the church, pre-eminent…He is God!

Now, this is a moment of invitation to you if you do not have Christ in your life. If you are rejecting Christ, you too do not have that much more time. When Christ comes and the curtain is drawn, time is up and there will be no second chances! It doesn’t have to be this way though. Nothing that we can say, nothing that we can do will be acceptable to God unless we accept His Son Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior who died for our sins. He paid our sin debt and He, and He alone, is the only way to salvation. Jesus says in John 14:6:

““I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” … (John 14:6 NKJV)

All you have to do is ask Him to come into your life! In Romans 10:9-13, Paul says:

“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.” … (Romans 10:9-13 NIV)

Now just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

If you’ve prayed the above prayer with a sincere heart, then you are saved. The next step is to start going to church, getting baptized to publicly profess your faith, and reading the Bible and learning God’s Word. I pray with all of my heart that you prayed the above prayer!

Heavenly Father,

We come before You once again with open hearts, open minds, free from all distractions, to hear Your Word and Your truths. These are not my thoughts or my words or my beliefs but Your very words and serves as a warning to Your people about who is and who is not a child of You. Truth can hurt Father but sometimes just as in physical situations, it has to hurt before it can heal. We pray Father that You would bless this time in Your Word and make it fruitful, open the eyes of those believers who need to hear these truths, as well as those who have not come to You yet. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

Here’s a startling fact that some of you are aware of but most of you aren’t. The fact is this…God is not the Father of all humanity! Before you think I have fallen away and close your browser, let me explain. There is a thing that runs rampant in America and probably other countries of the world I would imagine as well. No, it’s not the coronavirus! It’s called universalism. It is the belief that everyone is a child of God. That no matter what you believe or don’t believe, we are all brothers and sisters of God and that we are all going to heaven. If you actually take time to read The Bible and study it though, you know that this is not true. Yes, we are all created in the image of God and He loves us but it doesn’t mean that we are all His children. Universalism is a worldview but it is far from reality. In the last post, I mentioned according to Newsweek, 85% of Christians in America believe there are other paths to heaven besides Jesus. That is the reality in most believers’ minds and a dangerous way to go through life spiritually speaking. Take a guess why the Church hasn’t been raptured yet!

The human body is made of trillions of cells. How you look, that is the physical aspects like hair color, eye color, as well as future health problems that you may have later on in life, are all determined by DNA in those cells. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. It is also how one’s parentage is decided simply by taking a DNA test something that is done about 220,000 time a year in our country it is estimated. This only determines physically though of who one’s father is. Just because someone is your father doesn’t mean that you are exactly 100% like him. I’m not talking about physically. I’m talking about personality traits and spiritually. Here’s an example of what I am talking about. If you know your Bible, one of the wickedest kings to ever rule Judah was Manasseh however his father was Hezekiah one of the holiest kings to ever rule Judah. Hezekiah may have been Manasseh’s father but Manasseh was not exactly a chip off the old block spiritually speaking! How can you tell who your father is spiritually speaking? In this passage, Jesus gives kind of a DNA test to help determine that. A word of warning though. This is not a “feel good” study of this passage. These are truths that believers need to hear, not my thoughts or words or beliefs but what God’s Word says! If you can’t handle that and have a worldly view as most Christians do, feel free to close the browser and keep “drinking that Kool-Aid”! Let’s get started and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along. …

John 8

Let’s look at the passage for this post…

(37) “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. (38) I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” (39) They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. (40) 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. (41) You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” (42) Jesus 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. (43) Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. (44) 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. (45) But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (46) Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (47) He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” … John 8:37-47 NKJV

These are tough words that Jesus is saying to these people but something that they needed to hear! We are in the middle of a discourse that Jesus is having mainly with the Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees and the scribes. This passage continues Jesus’ “I am the light of the world” discourse. Jesus is addressing a group of Pharisees and a crowd of people going back and forth in the temple area paying their temple tax. Jesus had just saved a woman from being stoned to death and now He is addressing a group of “holdovers”. His message to them, and us, is very clear in this passage…God is not everyone’s father, the devil is real, and everyone has a relationship with him. The question is what side of that relationship that you fall on! Let’s look at this passage closer now. …

v 37 – (37) “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.

Jesus acknowledges here that they are Abraham’s descendants. They were only descendants of Abraham by birth and family lines certainly not by behavior though because Jesus tells them but you seek to kill Me. This was not the act of those who were Abraham’s spiritual seed. If Abraham had still been alive, Abraham would have been overjoyed to have seen and walked with Jesus not find fault with Him and try to kill Him! Further down in Chapter 8, Jesus tells them…

(56) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”… John 8:56 NKJV

The fact was that Abraham believed God and he also gladly received heavenly messengers not try to kill them! In Genesis 18, speaking about Abraham, it says…

Then the LORD appeared to him by the terebinth trees of Mamre, as he was sitting in the tent door in the heat of the day. (2) So he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing by him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, (3) and said, “My Lord, if I have now found favor in Your sight, do not pass on by Your servant. (4) Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. (5) And I will bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh your hearts. After that you may pass by, inasmuch as you have come to your servant.” They said, “Do as you have said.” … Genesis 18:1-5 NKJV

The reason why these Jews wanted to kill Jesus, Jesus tells them, is because My word has no place in you. I have a slight discrepancy here the way this is printed in the Bible. The “w” in word is not capitalized and it should be. These were not just the words of a man but of God. They were in the presence of God as a Man though they were either completely blinded to this fact or resented it. The reason why the Word of Jesus had no place in them was probably because of conviction though. Conviction caused by the Word of God in someone results in either total repentance or total hostility and that is what is happening with these Jews that Jesus is addressing here in this passage. The more He speaks to them, the more they are being convicted by His words and the more hostile they are becoming. Moving now to verse 38…

v 38 – (38) I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”

There are two fathers mentioned here in this verse. They are the two fathers that we as humans are divided by…God and the devil. We all have natural fathers but we fall into one of two categories. We are either sons (and daughters) of God or sons (and daughters) of the devil. Christ’s teachings and His words were from heaven…what He had seen with My Father. Jesus was there with God the Father from the foundation of the world. Jesus had seen it all and done it all with His Father and could only do what the Father did and said. Back in Chapter 5, we recall this passage…

(19) Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. … John 5:19 NKJV

Jesus then goes on to say in the rest of verse 38 that they are imitating the works of their father…the devil. How do we know that Jesus was talking about their father being the devil? Because He names Him further down in this passage as we continue. To verse 39 and the next few verses…

vv 39-41 – (39) They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. (40) 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. (41) You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”

Once again, these Jews insisted that Abraham was their father and Jesus again points out to them if that were the case, you would do the works of Abraham. Children tend to imitate their parents. They try to walk, talk, and act like them. This was not the case with these Jews who claimed Abraham was their father because they wanted to kill Jesus. And why did they want to kill Him? Because He spoke the truth which He had heard from God. All part of the conviction of God’s Word producing hostility in people. They were descendants by flesh from Abraham but that’s all they were. They did not morally or spiritually imitate Abraham and this truth cut them to the heart. Jesus then points out that they were doing the deeds of their father. He doesn’t mention it right away but Jesus is referring to Satan or the devil as their father. No argument there because they were doing the deeds of Satan just as their ancestors had as well. In Luke, Jesus says…

(47) Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers killed them. (48) In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. (49) Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,’ (50) that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, (51) from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation. … Luke 11:47-51 NKJV

The Jews of course have no idea what Jesus is talking about when He tells them You do the deeds of your father and respond to Jesus by slandering Him and saying, We were not born of fornication; We have one Father–God. This was an insult. We believers know that Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary, and that she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. She had no physical relationship with Joseph until after Jesus was born. It was widely believed though that Jesus was the illegitimate son of Joseph and Mary so this is an insult that is thrown at Him. The Jews finish their insulting statement with a “holier than thou” one…we have one father–God. They truly believed because they were descendants of Abraham that their ticket to heaven was automatically punched. Jesus responds to this as well as we move on to verse 42…

vv 42-43 – (42) Jesus 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. (43) Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word.

Jesus responds to their statement about God being their father by telling them, If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God. It was a foolish claim that these Jews made that they loved God because if they did then they would love Jesus who came from God. Those who claim to love God and yet hate, deny, or ridicule Jesus Christ do not love God. Jesus drops a hint of who He is by saying  for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. There was no particular time when Jesus was born the Son of God, This relationship lasted all of eternity. Why? Because He is God in human flesh! This is why if you say you love God and yet hate or deny Jesus Christ and His teachings, you are in effect hating your Creator! People who claim to love God, love Jesus! Peter says in one of his letters…

(6) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (8) whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (9) receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. … 1 Peter 1:6-9 NKJV

Why did Peter write this? Because he was asked by Jesus not once but three times after the resurrection…Peter, do you love Me? Notice Jesus doesn’t ask him if he loved God but if he loved Him. To love Jesus is to love God because they are one and the same!

So this is the first part of Jesus’ “paternity test” that He gives the Jews…who do you love? Did they love Jesus? Of course not because they wanted to kill Him! Now the second part of the test…what do you understand? In verse 43, Jesus says to the Jews, Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. There is a difference between the words speech and word. Christ’s word is what He taught. His speech referred to the words that He used to express the truths found in His Word. Again I believe the “w” in word should be capitalized. Anyway, the people couldn’t understand what Jesus was saying because His Word had no place in their hearts. When He spoke of bread, they thought only of literal bread. When He spoke of water, they never connected it with spiritual water. Why was it that they could not understand His speech? It was because they were unwilling to tolerate His teachings. Children understand the language of their father. If these Jews were truly God’s children, then they would understand Jesus’ speech. They couldn’t though because God’ Word is foolish to the natural man. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells us…

(14) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. … 1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV

It is the devil, Satan, that causes this blindness in people’s hearts and minds to God’ Word. Paul says again in 2 Corinthians…

(3) But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, (4) whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. … 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

The god of this age that Paul is referring to in this passage, is the devil. This is why it is impossible for anyone to understand God’s Word unless the Lord opens up your heart to it. Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe so they are unable to see the glorious light of the good news and he uses science, in a large part, to do it by confusing people. It’s Satan’s greatest tool. He also uses our thoughts and desires to do it as well…how we want to live our lives. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…there are no contradictions in The Bible except the contradictions of how we want to live our lives! That is what The Bible contradicts! People don’t understand the Christian message. They lack the ability to get it. That is why, any person who is saved, has to have their heart opened up by the Lord Himself. You can’t do it. I can’t do it. Only the Lord can do it. It has to be sort of this ah-ha moment. This epiphany. A revelation of who they are and who God is. Moving on to verse 44 now. …

v 44 – (44) 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.

Now Jesus gets right to the point and who their father really is…the devil! Jesus is not saying that they had been born of the devil as believers are born of God. He meant that Satan was their father by imitation. Please note that Jesus refers to the devil as a real being and not an object or spirit. He uses the words he, his, and him to describe him. Many people believe the devil is a spirit or an analogy. He is not a real human being just a symbol of evil. A poll was taken of people who claimed to be born again Christians and they were asked a simple question…do you believe the devil is a real person or just a symbol of evil? Nearly half, 48 % said no just a symbol of evil. However, the devil is actually a real person. We’re not talking about the cartoon character with horns on his head, a red jumpsuit, a long sharp pointed tail, with a pitchfork but an actual person. His name is actually Lucifer. In Isaiah, we find a brief description of him, what happened to him and why, and what will ultimately happen to him. …

(12) “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! (13) For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. (16) “Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, (17) Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ … Isaiah 14:12-17 NKJV

The Book of Revelation echoes this passage in Isaiah as well. Moving on now because I do not want to dwell on this subject, Jesus says to the Jews…the desires of your father you want to do. Jesus was telling these people that the devil was their father because they were imitating him by their desires. Most children imitate their fathers, at least boys do. They dress like them, act like them, and even try to talk like them. The desires of these Jews were to kill Jesus, a Man sent by God. That wasn’t the act of people who claim to love God but of the devil! They also showed their relationship with the devil as being their father by living the way they lived. They lived their lives not by doing the things of God but by doing things of Satan. The expression of the desires of your father you want to do, meant what they wanted to do what was in their hearts.

Jesus then tells them that the devil, their father, was a murderer from the beginning. He brought “death” to Adam and the whole human race. Jesus also says that their father, the devil, did not stand on the truth because there is no truth in him. Their father was a liar and not only that he was the father of all lies. The reason why sin and death entered the world is because of a lie. The Jews imitated the devil in these two ways. They were murderers because the intention of their hearts was to kill the Son of God. They were liars because they said that God was their Father. They pretended to be godly, spiritual men, but their lives were far from it. So that’s the third part of Jesus’ “DNA” test…what do you do? Moving on now…

v 45 – (45) But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.

Those who continuously listen to lies begin believing strongly in them and therefore, can’t handle the truth when confronted with it! All part of the fact that conviction causes hostility. An example of what I am talking about is the brainwashing and indoctrination that has been going on in our educational system for decades now with teachers and professors constantly telling their students that God doesn’t exist that The Bible is a book of fairy tales and the result has been a country that has completely lost its way on the principles that it was originally founded on and America is in the process of imploding because of it. Only a matter of time before it totally collapses!

Anyway, here was Jesus standing before these Jews speaking the truth which He always had and they would not believe Him. This showed the intentions of their hearts was evil. Richard C.H. Lenski, a pastor and New Testament commentator, put it best when he said in one of his commentaries…

When it meets the truth, the corrupted mind seeks only objections; when it meets what differs from this truth, it sees and seeks reasons for accepting this difference. … RCH Lenski (Interpretation of St Paul’s Epistles to Timothy, Titus, & Philemon)

Moving on now and finishing up the passage. …

vv 46-47 – (46) Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (47) He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

We now come to the last part of the “DNA” test…when do you listen? No one could ask the question, Which of you convicts Me of sin, if they were not truly the Son Of God. Only the Son of God, Jesus, was a perfect, sinless Man and there is no one in the world who can prove otherwise! Jesus was telling the truth to them and yet these Jews did not believe Him. What Jesus says in verse 47, that refusal to hear God’s Word, proves that God is not your father! This is not my belief or opinion that I’m telling you but the words of Jesus! Jesus is the one saying this! That is what Jesus is also telling these Jews here. If a man really loves God, he will hear and obey God’s words. The Jews showed by their rejection of the Savior’s message that they did not really belong to God. They did not listen to the prophets and as a matter of a fact, they killed them! In Isaiah, it says…

(8) Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever: (9) That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; … Isaiah 30:8-9 NKJV

Jesus didn’t comfort their distress…He brought distress to their comfort! This can be said of the world today and of many Christians…too busy with the cares and the pleasures of the world to hear the Lord!

So here’s the takeaway and I’ll close with this…who is your father? Take the “DNA” test. Who do you love? Do you love Jesus even though you can’t see Him? Do you talk to Him in prayer and spend time with Him in His Word? What do you understand? Is Jesus opening up your heart to His Word or is the devil blinding you to it? Remember children understand the language of their father. What are you doing? Do your actions prove your relationship with Jesus? Paternity of God is demonstrated by conformity of God’s kids. Obedience proves relationship. It does not produce relationship. Finally, when do you listen? Refusal to hear the reveals that God is not your Father. Christians only want to hear messages that make them feel good not what they need to hear. A telltale sign that a person is not spiritually related to God as their Father is their refusal to hear. Not just their inability to get it, but once they do get it, they don’t want it. They have a hardened heart. The biggest problem that the prophets in The Bible like Jeremiah and Isaiah had was because the messages they gave hit too close to home and the people didn’t want to hear the truth. They wanted to be lied to. Going back to Chapter 30 in Isaiah, it says…

(9) That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD; (10) Who say to the seers, “Do not see,” And to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. (11) Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us.” … Isaiah 30:9-11 NKJV

This is not only a Biblical problem but it is a problem with America today! Christians won’t listen to anything that causes conviction and we refuse to take any kind of action to change the immoral and idolatrous course of this country other than praying about it! So not everyone has God as their father as is widely believed and everyone has a relationship with the devil. The question is…what side of that relationship do you fall on…his friend or his enemy? Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and this time that we have been able to spend in it. Lord we know that these have been some harsh statements that You have made in this passage but hopefully they will serve as a wake up call to Your people for them to realize that we are not all Your children only those who choose to truly believe and follow You and walk in Your ways. Lord we live in some trying times right now and we pray that you would help us and strengthen us through them. Help those who are suffering right now either from sickness or from loss of work and the loneliness and isolation and that we would learn from this and we pray that Your glory and Your will be accomplished through it. Lastly of course Lord we pray that anyone who hasn’t given their lives to You that they would do so today and we pray this in the name of Jesus Christ…Amen!

 

In the last post in this study of John’s Gospel, we looked at the best ways and worst ways to die. We learned the best ways to die is believing in Christ, having confidence in His work, and being fixed on His Word but the worst ways to die is in unrepented sin, self righteousness, and in worldliness. In this post, this is going to be a continuation, of sorts, of those points but this time, we are going to look at the best ways and worst ways to live.

One of the most precious things to people is freedom. Nations have gone to war over it including our own country. On July 4th 1776, 56 men signed a document called The Declaration of Independence the beginning of it which reads…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Please note to all the atheists who say our country was not founded in the belief of God in the words “by their Creator”! Anyway, they are talking about having freedom in this document. People love freedom. We love the freedom to do what we want and when we want. I do believe, however, that there is a thing called having too much freedom something that our country suffers from. Freedom has to have boundaries or problems result which America is dealing with today. Those boundaries are in God’s Word. When God’s Word is discarded, as our nation is desperately trying to do right now, that nation and its people are headed for destruction. Israel learned this lesson the hard way many times.

All of this aside, people have their own opinions of what true freedom is. There is this joke that I heard from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque while listening to his message preparing for this post. He told his congregation…

“There was an Englishman who said true happiness is when you come home and find your slippers warmed by the fire. A Frenchman overheard him and said you English are so unromantic. True happiness is dinner out with your beautiful wife in a fine restaurant. A Russian was overhearing them speak and he said you’re both wrong. True happiness is when you are in bed at night and you get a knock on the door at 2 in the morning and it’s the Secret Police and they say Ivan Ivanovich? You’re under arrest. And you say to them oh sorry, Ivan Ivanovich lives next door!”

Funny joke but it’s a matter of perspective. Even though we live in a nation that enjoys political freedoms, for the moment anyway, there are millions in our country that do not live in spiritual freedom. They do not believe in Jesus Christ and will not accept Him into their lives. Living in Christ is true freedom and is, by far, the best way to live whereas not believing Him not accepting Him is living in spiritual slavery and, by far, is the worst way to live which we will see in this passage that we are going to look at in this post. A lot of ground to cover so let’s get started! As always the text link for the entire chapter and audio are included so you can follow along. Before we get started, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for the glorious blessings that You bestow on our lives. Thank You also for the trials and tribulations that we go through as well because they make us stronger and we learn from them. Give us stronger backs Lord to help those burdens when we have to carry them. You are great  O Lord our God for there is none like You nor is there any other god besides You! Your Word is true and You have promised us goodness, truth, and knowledge through it. Bless this time in Your Word that we are about to partake it in again and make it fruitful for Your servants. We put away all distractions and are ready to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 8

Let’s look at the passage for this post, a short one only five verses…

(31) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. (32) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (33) They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” (34) Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (35) And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. (36) Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. … John 8:31-36 NKJV

In this short passage, Jesus tells the crowd, and us, the best way and the worst way to live life. He focuses on the best way first. The best way to live life is in freedom that is, the freedom of authentic discipleship that comes in the belief of Jesus Christ as we look at verses 31 and 32. …

vv 31-32 – (31) Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. (32) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

This group that Jesus is addressing here, is different than the group that John talks about in verse 30. In verse 30, John says…

(30) As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. … John 8:30 NKJV

In the last post, I erroneously put a comment about not knowing if John was talking about true believers here. Turns out though, he probably was because there is a distinct difference in the wording of this verse versus the wording of verse 31. In verse 30, John says many believed in Him but in verse 31, John says who believed Him. The word in is missing. Not all belief is saving faith and these two verses show proof of that. The first group described in verse 30 are the people who were convicted by Christ’s words and turned to Him and trusted fully in Him. However the people in the second group just believed, or liked is more like it, some of the things that Jesus said and the things that He did. This group describes many Christians here in this country…just there for the show. They want to see miracles and are looking for the blessings on their lives and that’s all. Their faith has no root or foundation. Did you know that Satan and his followers believe in God? In the letter that James writes, he says…

(19) You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! … James 2:19 NKJV

Another description of this group in verse 31 is also described back in Chapter 2 of John’s Gospel. Turning back there, John says…

(23) Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. (24) But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, (25) and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. … John 2:23-25 NKJV

Jesus also describes this group in the parable of the farmer sowing seed, the seed that falls in stony places. In Matthew, Jesus tells His disciples…

(20) But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; (21) yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. … Matthew 13:20-21 NKJV

This describes these people in verse 31 to a “t” because these people will be the ones yelling, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” to Pilate later on.

So how can you tell that you have a saving faith? Jesus tells us as we continue in verse 31. He continues on saying If you abide in My word. you are My disciples indeed. Notice the word abide. It is one of John’s favorite words. The word abide appears 34 times in The New Testament and John hijacks it 31 times! LOL! That’s because Jesus uses it 11 times in John’s Gospel. In the King Jimmie version, the word is continue, the Greek word menō  which means just that…to continue on or to abide. One of the ways to know if you are a true disciple of Jesus Christ is whether or not you are continuing on in His Word. In other words, are you continuing to grow and learn as a Christian or are you like so many Christians in this country that never crack open a Bible, never see what God’s Word says about issues facing us in life and in our nation, and are “dalmatian” Christians that get their Bible sources from just Sunday sermons and daily devotional e-mails? Real disciples are committed to continuing in His truth. They are constantly learning and growing spiritually. That’s actually the definition of a disciple, a learner, the Greek word mathetes. If we continue on, or abide, in His Word then the truth will set us free. Look at verse 32 again…

v 32 – (32) And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

In this verse, Jesus is talking about knowledge about Himself. Jesus makes the promise that if we are true disciples that you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. In our nation, tolerance is the guiding principle now. Tolerance that is unless of course you are a true Christian. As far as I’m concerned, God’s Word was thrown out of our nation years ago. It is the main reason why our nation is in such turmoil and divided. We are looking for a person to solve America’s problems instead of turning to the one who can…Jesus Christ. It’s not just unbelievers that we’re talking about here by the way. According to Newsweek, 85% of Christians in America believe there are other paths to heaven even though Jesus emphatically denies this in John 14:6. Believers look for other ways, people, and other outlets to help them through life instead of looking for the answers in God’s Word. In many ways, the Christians of today are just like the Jews that Jesus is addressing here in this passage. They are blinded by ignorance and political correctness in bondage of sin and this is the worst way to live as we move on to verse 33. …

v 33 – (33) They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”

When Jesus uttered those words the truth shall make you free, the Jews took offense to it almost immediately and what follows is probably one of the most ignorant and non factual statements in The Bible. The Jews quickly tell Jesus, We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been in bondage to anyone. This was a case of forgetting one’s history. For the most part, the Jews had always been in bondage. They suffered 400 years of bondage at the hands of the Egyptians. Then during the time of the Judges (The Book of Judges in The Bible), various countries and kings held them captive with their rule. They suffered under the Philistines and also endured 70 years of captivity in Babylon and Assyria.The Medo-Persians were next, Greece would conquer them and to top it all off at the very time that they were making this statement, they were under the rule of Rome! The statement, we are Abraham’s descendants, was the belief that they were highly favored by God and had an automatic ticket to heaven. Again, nothing could have been further from the truth because God punished the Jews several times for their disobedience and now because they were denying their Messiah, they would suffer God’s punishment again after Jesus was crucified. The statement of the Jews being God’s people is true but it means that they are the example of how God will judge the rest of the world and its people by how He deals with the Jews and Israel…reward for obedience and punishment for disobedience. This statement that the Jews make here though shows that they were totally in the dark that Jesus was talking about spiritual freedom. The worst form of slavery is sin that has a hold of your life moving on to verse 34 and finishing out the passage…

vv 34-36 – (34) Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (35) And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. (36) Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

The analogy that Jesus uses here is like a relationship between a slave and his master. A slave is not the master of his life. He can’t do what he wants to do. He can only do what his master tells him to do. Sin can be just like that…a master. It can can control our lives and dictate our actions. The worst way to live is being a prisoner of something that you can’t get out of. If you are living your life this way, a prisoner of sin, only Jesus can help you out of it and make you the person that God intended you to be.

Slaves did not remain in the master’s house forever. The only way a slave could do that was if he decided that he wanted to become more of a son to the master rather than just a slave. In that case, the slave had his ear pierced with an awl against a door post. The ceremony is described in Exodus 21. …

(5) But if the servant plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ (6) then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever. … Exodus 21:5-6 NKJV

This was a future picture of Christ being nailed to the cross. When we turn to Jesus and accept Him and the work of the cross, we are no longer slaves of sin and we become sons (and daughters) of God!

If we turn to Jesus, He will make us free. Those are His words and His promise you shall be free indeed. What does that exactly mean though when Jesus says that He will make us free? One thing this doesn’t mean though is He doesn’t make us free to do what we want like so many Christians seem to believe. Many of us come to Christ then unhitch the wagon and do what we want and come back to Him only when it’s convenient for us. That’s not continuing on in His Word or discipleship. What He means is that He gives us the freedom to follow God. Another thing though is coming to Jesus doesn’t necessarily give us freedom of the consequences of sin the minute we turn to Him. There is a price to pay many times for a sinful lifestyle. For example if you commit adultery and your wife divorces you because of it and then you turn to Christ and repent, it doesn’t mean your wife is going to come back to you. If you murder someone and you’re tried and convicted and sent to prison for life but while you’re in there, you decide to turn to Christ, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be set free. When a son or daughter turns from their parents and then decides to come back to them, the parent welcomes them back with love but there is still going to be some type of punishment for disobeying them. It’s the same way when we turn our lives over to Christ. He welcomes us back with love but sometimes He will leave us in certain situations or certain people as punishment for straying in the first place. He will do this sometimes to show His power and glory through us. Here’s a perfect example. In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about a “thorn” he prayed for the Lord to remove. Many people joke and say it was his wife! LOL! Most commentators tend to believe though it had something to do with his eyesight. Whatever this “thorn” was though, it bothered Paul tremendously. He writes in 2 Corinthians…

(7) And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. (8) Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. (9) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. … 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV

Another freedom that you enjoy when you turn your life over to Christ is freedom from fear. Have you ever met someone who is afraid and worried about EVERYTHING!? Worried about the air, worried about the water, worried about climate change, worried about the food they eat, worried about their health, worried about the government, worried about world unrest etcetera etcetera etcetera. It’s probably a safe bet that they do not have a relationship with our Lord. When you place your life and trust in the hands of Jesus, a relaxing calm comes over you and the things that happen in the world around you don’t bother you as much. You don’t go around believing you are invincible and tempting fate but you’re not afraid of everything either because you know who is ultimately in control and where you’re ultimate destiny lies. Again Paul says in 2 Corinthians…

(17) For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, (18) while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. … 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV

In closing, this is the best takeaway of what it means to abide with the Lord and have true freedom when we come to him. It’s Psalm 112. Psalm 112 says, and I’ll close with this…

Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who delights greatly in His commandments. (2) His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. (3) Wealth and riches will be in his house, And his righteousness endures forever. (4) Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. (5) A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion. (6) Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. (7) He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. (8) His heart is established; He will not be afraid, Until he sees his desire upon his enemies. (9) He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His righteousness endures forever; His horn will be exalted with honor. (10) The wicked will see it and be grieved; He will gnash his teeth and melt away; The desire of the wicked shall perish. … Psalms 112:1-10 NKJV

If you are ready to enjoy this kind of confidence and inner peace in your life, then you can do so today by turning to Jesus. Just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

One of the hardest subjects that people have to confront, is the subject of death. I had to recently confront that last year when my mom died on March 13th. It was probably for the best though. She had had a stroke back in 2009 and had been suffering for ten years or so. I knew she couldn’t have been happy in that condition. I’m sure she’s ecstatic though now because she is truly back home now! That said, her death was very difficult, and still continues to be sometimes, for me because I had to wrestle with a lot of feelings because we didn’t have the greatest of relationships.

Prior to her death though, I had confronted death a few times. Actually, 5 or 6 times! Before you get the wrong idea and call “America’s Most Wanted”, let me explain! LOL! The first time was when my roommate in the Army died in a car accident in Germany. Then there was the time my best friend committed suicide which was very troubling for me. Then perhaps one of the most strangest was when my roommate died in his sleep when I was staying at a homeless shelter in California. Woke up the next morning and found him dead apparently, they say, from an overdose. Then I ran across my co-worker dead in the back office after drinking himself to death. I have accidentally stumbled upon two other dead bodies as well. One had apparently been shot and the other was dead in his car probably from a heart attack. I was beginning to think I was the Grim Reaper! LOL!

Seriously though, people die differently. They not only die differently physically but also mentally, that is with different attitudes, and a lot of it depends on whether someone is a believer or not. Voltaire, one of history’s best known atheists, often stated that “by the time I’m buried, the Bible will be non-existent.” His last words were: “I am abandoned by God and man; I shall die and go to hell alone.” Contrast this with Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a believer and beloved preacher and author, on his deathbed: “I can hear them coming!” He sat straight up in bed and asked: “Don’t you hear them? This is my coronation day. I can see the chariots, I’m ready to board.” Thomas Paine, one of America’s great patriots, in his book: “The Age Of Reason” ridiculed the Christian religion. He slowly lost his friends. He left America and while in England came to a premature death. On his deathbed he said to a friend “I would give worlds if I had them, if the ‘Age of Reason’ had never been published. Oh Lord help me. Christ help me. You stay with me. It is hell to be left alone. If ever the devil had an agent, I have been that one”. George Washington, a believer, said before he died, “Doctor I am dying but I am not afraid to die” and then added, “It is well”. Michelangelo said, “I die in the faith of Jesus Christ and in the firm hope of a better life”. Contrast this with Sir Francis Newport, Newport cigarettes are named after him, an obvious unbeliever who said when he died, “Oh eternity! Oh eternity! Oh the insufferable pains of hell forever, forever!”. Get the picture? People with a relationship with Jesus Christ are generally not afraid to die and sometimes even welcome it whereas unbelievers tend to die bitter, full of regrets, and fear of what lies in store for them.

There are best ways to die and worst ways to die and in this passage that we are going to look at as we continue in Chapter 8 of John’s Gospel, Jesus spells this out clearly to the people in the crowd that He is addressing and to us as well. A lot of ground to cover and this time, we will be looking at the passage verse by verse instead of just looking at one or two and generalizing the rest like in the last post so let’s get started! As always the text link for the chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for this time in Your Word again. Bless this time and make it fruitful. We put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening in Jesus’ name…Amen!

John 8

Let’s look at the passage for this post…

(21) Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.” (22) So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?” (23) And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. (24) Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (25) Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. (26) I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” (27) They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father. (28) Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. (29) And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” (30) As He spoke these words, many believed in Him. … John 8:21-30 NKJV

So far in John’s Gospel if you have been paying attention, John has been telling us that we fall into an “either/or” category. You’re either this way or that way. You’re either born again and entering the kingdom of heaven or you’re not born again and not entering the kingdom of heaven. You’re either going to be in the resurrection of life or the resurrection of damnation. You’re thirst is quenched with living water or you’re dying of thirst and here in Chapter 8, you’re either in the light or you’re in darkness. This passage continues Jesus’ “I am the light of the world” discourse, the beginning of which we looked at in the previous post. Jesus is addressing a group of Pharisees and a crowd of people going back and forth in the temple area paying their temple tax. Jesus had just saved a woman from being stoned to death and now He is addressing a group of “holdovers” telling them, in a cryptic way, the worst ways to die and the best ways to die. We’ll look at the worst ways to die first. The first one is in sin looking at verses 21 & 24…

vv 21 & 24 – (21) Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.” (24) Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

Notice that Jesus uses the word sin in its singular form in verse 21 and then in verse 24, He uses it in its plural form sins. In verse 21, Jesus is talking about our nature. We are sinners by birth. We are born in sin. In verse 24, Jesus is talking about the expression of that nature. A dog barks and pants because that’s its nature. That’s what they do. It’s an expression of that nature. I can do the same thing, and trust me, I have a lot of fun with this on my job with dogs sometimes at the airport, but it doesn’t make me a dog! LOL! Same thing with people. We commit sins because we are sinners. It’s an expression of our nature. How did we become that way? Thank Adam and Eve for that. When Eve took that fruit off the forbidden tree and took a bite out of it and then gave it to Adam and he took a bite out of it as well, we became “dead on arrival”. They doomed all of mankind from then on. We are their descendants. Paul gives a great explanation in Romans Chapter 5. He says…

(12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— … Romans 5:12 NKJV

Here’s a practical explanation and I have done this many times. Picture yourself on the shores of a beautiful lake or pond. There is no wind and the water is completely still almost looks like a giant mirror. Who hasn’t been seized with the temptation of picking up a rock and skipping it across the water?! LOL! Someone has to do it! Might as well be you! LOL! Anyway, so you pick up that rock and skip it across the water. Now what was once a beautiful, serene, mirror-like image becomes marred as tiny waves form and spread out. It was the same way when Adam and Eve sinned against God. They marred God’s image within mankind.

So what is the solution to spiritual death? A spiritual birth! To be born again! Jesus says that unless we are born again, we will not see God’s kingdom. The way we become born again, is to accept God’s solution to the sin problem…Jesus Christ. In fact that is what The Bible is truly all about…the fall of mankind and God’s plan to fix it and Satan’s attempts to thwart that plan! So that’s one of the worst ways to die…dying of sins unrepented and unatoned for. The second worst way to die is in self righteousness. Look at verse 22…

v 22 – (22) So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

When Jesus said to them in verse 21 I am going away and where I am you can not come, He was speaking of going back to the Father in heaven. However, the Jews thought that Jesus meant that He would literally kill Himself. In Jewish culture back then, those that committed suicide would be condemned to hell. In fact according to Josephus in his writings claimed that the darkest places in Hades (hell) was reserved for those that took their own lives. They thought Jesus meant that He would kill Himself and therefore, would go to hell and of course, they wouldn’t be following Him there. Get the picture? Jesus was going to hell and they were not. They were being self righteous. Mind you, these are religious people that are saying this. They were scribes and Pharisees, the religious elite. Self righteousness is goodness that substitutes itself for the new birth. Many of us Christians fall into this trap. It’s the thought of, “We’re Christians! We’re going to heaven and everyone else is going to hell because they’re not!”. If you want to know how far away someone is from God, listen how they talk about how good they are versus everyone else! In Proverbs 30, Solomon says…

(12) There is a generation that is pure in its own eyes, Yet is not washed from its filthiness. … Proverbs 30:12 NKJV

I thought this proverb was about judgemental unbelievers but it turns out Solomon meant self righteousness and hypocrisy in religious people in this proverb. Jesus also condemned self righteousness and hypocrisy in religious people as well…

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.  Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. … Matthew 23:27-28 NKJV

The bottom line is everyone needs forgiveness both believers and unbelievers and we don’t become suddenly perfect when we become believers. We think we do though because we start comparing ourselves to others and we work really hard to be good. In other words we work to appear righteous before God. The fact is though that God doesn’t accept our righteousness but the righteousness given to us through His Son Jesus Christ. This is not what I think but what Jesus said…

(20) For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. … Matthew 5:20 NKJV

When Jesus said this, it sent shock waves through the crowd because the scribes and Pharisees were to believed to have been the religious elite and if they couldn’t enter the kingdom of heaven, who could? What Jesus is saying here though is external righteousness will not gain access to heaven without internal reality. The only righteousness that God will accept is the perfection He gives us through the acceptance His Son Jesus Christ. …

(21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. … 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

The last of the worst ways to die is in worldliness and for that we go back and look at verse 23…

v 23 – (23) And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

The word for world is the Greek word kosmos. From it, we get the word cosmos. John uses it 77 times in his writings. It doesn’t mean the earth or the people in it. It means the world’s system. It means an ordered system of values, ideas, activities, and people opposed to God, under the control of Satan. Right now, God is not in control of our world. In 2 Corinthians, Paul says…

(3) But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, (4) whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. … 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 NKJV

When Paul says the god of this age, he means Satan. Satan, right now, is the god of our world. In the Book of Job though, we find that God limits Satan on what he can and can not do in our world. However, my belief is that the more the nations of the world and its people, as a whole, oppose God and turn away from His Son Jesus Christ, the more and more that leash that God has on Satan gets longer and longer. When mass shootings, incredible disasters and other seemingly unbelievable evil things happen in our world, our first response is to question God. How could a God of love allow this to happen? That’s the question we ask. The question we should be asking though is how do we continue to allow things like that to happen? We live in a nation with, as a whole, mostly worldly Christians. Christians who care more about their comfort and their entertainment than they do about matters of the kingdom of heaven. Here are some good examples. Have you noticed that church services on Sundays are mostly scheduled around football games? How many churches hold Sunday afternoon or evening services for those who can’t make Saturday evening services? Have you noticed that Halloween is treated with more importance and celebrated more than Christmas and Easter in our country now? How we continue to allow idolaters to pour into our country from Third World nations just because we hold more reverence to what it says in the US Constitution than what The Bible says? A right by the way totally misinterpreted from the way the founding fathers meant the freedom of religion to be. These are just some of the examples of worldliness in the church. Jesus warns about worldliness. In Luke, Jesus says…

(33) Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. (34) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … Luke 12:33-34 NKJV

Jesus is mainly talking about material possessions here but the fact of the matter is treasure can be anything that you put ahead of God and His Word. When you care more about worldly things such as material possessions, entertainment, sports or other things than matters of the kingdom, that my friends is your treasure and where your heart is and not with God. It’s worldliness and even John warns about worldliness  in in his writings…

(15) Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. (17) And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. … 1 John 2:15-17 NKJV

There is a fine line here. Yes as Christians we are to keep from getting caught up in the world but we don’t sit on the sidelines and allow a government or it’s leaders who are opposed to God remain in power. As Dante said, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a time of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”

We’ve looked at the worst ways to die and now let’s look at the best ways and for this, we need to go back and look at verse 24 to start with…

v 24 – Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

There’s three words you need to pay close attention to. The first word is the word if. It is a transitional word telling us don’t want to wind up this way, then do this. It tells us there are other options. The next word of importance is believe. The first and foremost best option and best way to die is belief in Jesus Christ…to believe in Him. So what does that mean? To believe in Jesus Christ? Christians say they believe in Jesus but do they really? To find out if someone truly believes in Jesus, ask them who Jesus is. If the answer is anything other than God in human flesh, then you don’t believe! That’s not my words. Those are Jesus’ words! Take a look at verse 24 carefully again…”for if you don’t believe that I am He, you will die in your sins”. The other word you need to pay attention to is the word He. If you notice in the text, the word is italicized. Why? Because it wasn’t in the original text. It was added by the translators later on. It originally read “if you do not believe that I am, you will die in your sins”. See those two words, I am? They are the Greek words ego eimi. Loosely translated they mean “that’s it” and “no other”. They are very emphatic words. This is important because if you look at the Septuagint, which is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, you will see that the phrase or the words ego eimi appear in Exodus Chapter 3 when God is speaking to Moses. …

(13) Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” (14) And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” … Exodus 3:13-14 NKJV

They also appear further on in Deuteronomy 32 verse 39. Look what it says…

(39) ‘Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand. … Deuteronomy 32:39 NKJV

Again in the Septuagint, those words, ego eimi, appear again. Let’s move on now to the next few verses. …

vv 25-27 – (25) Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. (26) I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” (27) They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

The Pharisees then ask Jesus, Who are you?. It wasn’t an informational question. It was a statement that they were asking. When Jesus told the Pharisees if you do not believe that I am, ego eimi, the text in Exodus 3 and Deuteronomy 32 is what came to their mind and they knew exactly what Jesus was saying…that He was God! This is why they ask Who are you?. The translation is really “How dare you!”. This is something that continues to infuriate the Pharisees the more Jesus presses the issue as we will see as we continue further along in the chapter.

Verse 26 is a bit of a mystery to the Pharisees especially how Jesus ends it. Jesus is telling them that He has a lot of things to say about them and judge them with but that is not the reason that He had come into the world. He didn’t come into the world to judge people at least not yet. Jesus will do that when He comes the second time. The Pharisees get a bit confused when Jesus tells them but He who sent Me is true and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him. Their minds were getting more and more clouded as Jesus spoke to them. They were saying to themselves, “First he is telling us that he is God and now he is telling us that someone else sent him? Who is he?”. This is why John adds in the text that they did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

So one of the best ways to die is in the firm belief in Jesus Christ and one of the ways to know you have that firm belief in Him is the second best way to die…to have confidence in His work. Look at verse 28…

v 28 – (28) Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

When Jesus says when you lift up the Son of Man, it didn’t mean lifting Him up in praise and worship. He meant His crucifixion. Jesus always knew what His ultimate mission would be…to die on the cross. Remember back in John Chapter 3 what He said? …

(14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, (15) that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. … John 3:14-15 NKJV

Which is why the many occasions we read in the Gospels where Jesus is about to be stoned or thrown off a cliff, Jesus was probably saying to Himself, “Ain’t nothing but a thing!” because He knew that He would ultimately die on the cross. So when we talk about “lifting up” Jesus in our worship, we’re literally saying, “Let’s crucify Him!”.

So Jesus was telling the Pharisees and those in the crowd, “When you put Me on that cross and raise Me up, then you will know who I am!”. Notice that those words I am, ego eimi, appear again. Notice again that the word He is italicized because, once again, it was not in the original text. Looking now at verse 29…

v 29 – (29) And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

All these statements that Jesus made showed the close relationship that He had with the Father. He was never alone because the Father was always with Him. The only time that the Father may have abandoned Him was briefly on the cross when Jesus cried out, “My God My God why have you forsaken Me?”. Jesus was taking the punishment for the sins of mankind and, as many scholars believe, experiencing the pains of hell and separation from God so for those who believe in Him wouldn’t have to.

The reason why the Father never left Jesus alone because He always did those things that please Him. It was proof of Jesus’ sinless nature. No human being could possibly make that claim! Human nature has been and always will be to do those things that please us not God! The last best way to die is to be fixed on Jesus’ word as we look at verse 30 and finish out the passage and this post. ….

v 30 – (30) As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

It would seem that some people that were listening to Jesus’ words in the crowd believed in Him. We don’t know if this was a true, firm belief or just people paying lip service to Jesus because John doesn’t really say. Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He had thousands of followers but only eleven true disciples. I say eleven because Judas later turns on Jesus so he can’t be considered a true disciple. This verse come to real fulfillment when Jesus is crucified. One person that comes to mind is one of the criminals who is hanging on a cross next to Him who tells Jesus, “Lord remember me when you come into Your kingdom” and Jesus tells him, “Today you will be with Me in paradise”. Another one is the Roman centurion witnessing how Jesus dies and says, “Truly this was the Son of God!”. Then later on in Acts Chapter 2 during Pentecost when Peter is addressing the crowd and tells them, “you, by your wicked hands, have taken Jesus and crucified Him and slain Him along with the Gentiles. But God raised Him from the dead because death could not hold Him”, The Bible says that they were “cut to the heart” and they ask, “What must we do?” and Peter tells them, “You must repent”. The Bible then says that thousands believed that day.

The point is that Jesus is speaking God’s words to this crowd and Jesus’ words to them pointed His world to them and us. When we become Christians, we are no longer part of this world. We have a new position. In John 17, Jesus says…

(14) I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (15) I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. … John 17:14-15 NKJV

If you are a true believer in Christ then the world hates you because you are not one of them and they despise you for it. They hate the words of Jesus and everything about The Bible because deep down, they know it’s true. It’s called conviction!

So to quickly wrap this up because I’ve gone longer than I wanted to, the best ways to die is to believe in Jesus, have confidence in His work, and be fixed on His word. Jesus died on the cross to take the punishment for your sins so you wouldn’t have to. There are just two options that you have. You can either die in your sins or accept Jesus into your heart and your life and have Him take your sins away from you. One last point, go back to verse 29. See where Jesus says to the crowd, The Father has not left Me alone? The same is true for those of us who are in Christ. As we go through the many trials we face in life, God is with us too and the best way to get through these trials we face in life is to have God on your side and you can only do that through His Son Jesus Christ. Let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for the many blessings that You bestow on us. We not only thank You for the blessings but also the trials which give us strength. We pray that You would keep us from falsehoods and lies and give us neither poverty or riches but give us just what we need in our daily lives. Father we thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ and His words that give us strength and hope in these troubled times that we are facing. We have the comfort in knowing that with You in our hearts and by our side Lord, there is nothing that we can’t face and that these troubling times will be the closest that we get to hell. We pray Lord that others would come to know that peace and comfort as well in Jesus’s name we pray…Amen!

It’s the Christmas season again, a season full of bright lights, so it’s very fitting that we’ve come upon this passage in John’s Gospel. Besides summer, Christmas is one of the brightest times of the year. There are all sorts of bright lights…Christmas tree lights, city holiday lights, home decoration lights, candles…but none of them shine brighter than the light of Jesus Christ! In fact, the light of Jesus Christ is so intimidating to people at Christmas time, that they want to shut it out completely and prevent others from enjoying His light as well!

In the Gospel of John, Jesus makes seven very profound and emphatic “I am” statements. We already looked at one of these back in Chapter 6…”I am the bread of life”. Now here in Chapter 8, we come to another one of these statements…”I am the light of the world”. Everything on earth needs light to survive. Nothing would grow and everything would die without it including us. The same can be said about light spiritually. Without the spiritual light of Jesus Christ, we can not grow spiritually and we will spiritually die as well!

Light can be very intimidating though. Have you ever walked into a brightly lit room after being in the dark, or have someone shine a flashlight in your eyes? It hurts a bit doesn’t it? Your eyes need time to adjust to the sudden brightness because they got used to being in the dark and your first reaction is, “Get that light out of my eyes!”. This is the way many live their lives…in spiritual darkness…and when that spiritual darkness is threatened by the light of the Gospel, there is immediate rejection to that light and here in Chapter 8, we see this. In prior posts, I have gone verse by verse looking at the passages but for this post, I will be generalizing the whole passage and focusing on key verses in it. A lot of ground to cover so let’s get started! As always, the text link for the chapter and audio are included so you can follow along but before we get started, let’s pray…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and this time that we are about to spend in it. Bless this time and make it fruitful. I have a very special prayer today for my Brothers and Sisters in Christ for this Christmas season and going into the new year. I pray You bless them financially with stable jobs; I pray You protect and improve their health; I pray You protect their families from all harm. Build a wall about them and protect them. Help them to feel Your presence, love and forgiveness daily in their lives so they can serve You! Father thank You for bringing the Lord Jesus Christ into our lives and lastly Lord, if there is anyone who is not saved or needs to re-examine their life and put the focus more back on You, we pray that they come to You today! Now as we look at Your Word, we put away all distractions. Our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 8

Now let’s look at the passage for this post. …

(12) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (13) The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.” (14) Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. (15) You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. (16) And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. (17) It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. (18) I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” (19) Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.” (20) These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come. … John 8:12-20 NKJV

This takes place in the treasury of the temple as John notes in verse 20. We don’t exactly know if this takes place immediately after the woman who was caught in adultery is saved by Jesus or if this takes place sometime afterwards. From the way verse 9 reads, we are led to believe that everybody had left leaving Jesus alone with the woman. However, this would seem to take place on the same day since John makes no mention of another day. The way this passage reads, it would seem there were some people, Pharisees, still around after Jesus’ encounter with the woman. It is highly likely that the woman was still there as well when Jesus encounters these remaining Pharisees. Jesus wastes no time getting in their face with this discourse looking at verse 12 which is the verse that I will pay the most attention to in this post. …

v 12 – (12) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

The Feast of Tabernacles is over but there are still a lot of people in the temple area because there is something else taking place. Remember back during the Tabernacles feast when the priests were pouring water from their pitchers and Jesus cried out “Whoever thirsts let him come to Me and drink!”? Well there is some background going on here as well. The Feast of Tabernacles is over but on the very first night of it, there is a celebration called The Illumination of the Temple. It took place in the court of women where they would light up four huge candelabras which were as high as the temple walls. The cups on those candelabras held 65 gallons of oil apiece. Huge wicks came out of them so when they were lit up, it lit up everything not just the temple but pretty near all of Jerusalem as well! There is a picture of what it probably looked like below.

This took place in the court of the women, where Jesus was teaching at the start of Chapter 8. The court of the women is also where the treasury for the temple was. It had collection boxes in the shape of trumpets where the people would pay the required one half shekel of temple tax so when Jesus was teaching there that day, there was a lot of foot traffic, people walking in and out of there paying their tax. The Pharisees had just accused a woman of adultery whom Jesus cleverly saves by exposing their own sins. When Jesus tells the people, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life, there is an immediate reaction. There are three groups in this story or rather one person and two groups. There is Jesus Christ, Himself. Then there is the Christ followers that Jesus mentions in this verse…those that follow Him and then there are the Christ haters who pipe up immediately after this claim that Jesus makes. The Illumination of the Temple represented God’s representation as a pillar of fire when the Hebrews were in the wilderness…

(21) And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. (22) He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. … Exodus 13:21-22 NKJV

The term light, was specifically referred to describe God so the Pharisees and the other people knew that Christ was making the claim that He was God and this of course, enraged them. They thought that Jesus was committing blasphemy, the crime that Jesus would eventually be wrongly convicted of and that He would be crucified for. The Jewish rabbis knew that the Messiah would be described as light. In Daniel Chapter 2, Daniel, praying, says…

(22) He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him. … Daniel 2:22 NKJV

There are several other passages throughout The Old Testament referring to God as light. Too many to list here but these are some of the notables…

The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? … Psalms 27:1 NKJV

(19)”The sun shall no longer be your light by day, Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the LORD will be to you an everlasting light, And your God your glory. … Isaiah 60:19 NKJV

(3) When His lamp shone upon my head, And when by His light I walked through darkness; … Job 29:3 NKJV

(8) Do not rejoice over me, my enemy; When I fall, I will arise; When I sit in darkness, The LORD will be a light to me. … Micah 7:8 NKJV

God is light and Christ is the image of the invisible God. I believe that the very first prophecy in The Bible of Christ is not found in Genesis 3:15 but in Genesis 1:3…

(3) Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. … Genesis 1:3 NKJV

Notice that Jesus says that He is the light of the world not just to the Jewish people. He was sent to be a light to the non-Jewish peoples (Gentiles) as well. Jesus by calling Himself the light, conveyed two things. First, describing Himself…His excellence and His true glory. The second thing is what He would be to all mankind for those who wish to receive and accept Him. This did not sit well with the Pharisees who believed that the Messiah would come strictly for the benefit of the Jewish people.

Jesus then continues His discourse, He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. There is a catch for Jesus to be a true light in our world…we have to follow Him. Following Jesus means to trust, obey, and accept Him and submit to His guidance in our lives. It is not good enough to just gaze upon the light of Christ with our eyes. He must be a light for our feet also. Going back to that pillar of fire that the Hebrews were following in the wilderness. God appeared that way for them so they wouldn’t have to stumble their way through the dark. This is true if we are following the light of Jesus Christ. We aren’t stumbling our way through the darkness of life. The way is lit up for us. We face life with confidence and purpose. This is not true for people who do not have Christ in their lives though. They stumble through life and they are prone to following many things, anything, that will help them navigate through life. They also have an underlying fear of what lies ahead after this life. It’s hard to live your life blindfolded and yet so many people do because they don’t have the light of Jesus Christ to guide them through life.

The sad truth though is that people love to live in darkness. Jesus knew this as well. Going back to John Chapter 3, Jesus says…

(19) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. … John 3:19-20 NKJV

Those of us who do come to Christ, however, experience a total behavior reversal. We’re not self centered. It isn’t all about us anymore which is totally against what today’s culture teaches us. Today’s culture teaches us to get what we can out of life and step on anyone who gets in our way. Look out for number one in other words. Schools teach kids and the mental health profession teaches people to do whatever they feel or be whatever they feel. Advertising slogans in ad campaigns are the same way most notably, Nike with their “Just Do It”. Yep…just do it! Doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong or who it hurts. This was the sentiment echoed by Obama during his eight years of destroying the United States and continues today as well with his Socialist Democrat co-horts!

Moving on though, we’ve looked at two of the groups represented in this passage. We’ve looked at Christ through Himself and the Christ followers now we come to the third group in this passage…the Christ haters. Not going to go into great detail with the remainder of this passage because this will be covered in future posts as we go through the rest of the chapter so I am just going to summarize the rest of this passage. These are the supposed “lovers of God”. As Jesus is telling the people that He is the light of the world, the Pharisees are flashing back to the passages of their scriptures and the Illumination of the Temple ceremony and what it represented and realized that this guy, who they only saw Jesus as…a man, was claiming to be their God! That of course did not sit well with them and they pipe up immediately. You bear witness of Yourself and Your witness is not true, verse 13, the Pharisees argue back. The Pharisees now bring up a legal point by reminding Him that He is testifying about Himself. According to their scriptures and their law, it was required to have two or more witnesses before something could be considered to be true. A person’s own testimony without witnesses was considered to be biased.

In verse 14, The Lord recognized that usually it was necessary to have two or three witnesses. But in His case, His witness was absolutely true because He is God. The miracles that He had performed up to that point; turning water into wine, the healing of the man at the pool, feeding of the 5,000; all of that and more, proved that. Jesus then tells them that He knows where He came from, that would be heaven, and where He was going, that would also be heaven. Jesus never doubted what His mission was on earth. He knew why He was there, what would happen to Him, and what would happen afterwards.

To finish out the passage, Jesus tells them that they judge according to the flesh meaning that they judged by outward appearances but also that He judges no one…at least not yet. The purpose of His mission the first time was not to judge men but to save them. When He returns, He will be our judge and that judgement will be true because He is God. Jesus does not judge by human standards. He will judge by what is in our hearts and our motives. A look at one more verse…verse 19. …

v 19 – (19) Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

When the Pharisees asked Jesus, Where is your Father, it wasn’t for informational purposes. It was asked to taunt Him. By this time, rumors had been flying that the birth of Jesus was an illegitimate birth. There’s a good chance that when they asked Jesus this question they were looking around the crowd scornfully. The fact is that the Pharisees did not know Him or His Father. No one can know God the Father except through Jesus Christ. Thus, their rejection of the Savior made it impossible for them to honestly claim that they knew and loved God. I will go into further detail of what all of this means in future posts on this chapter because this discourse continues throughout the chapter.

I want to close this post with two points. The first one is that we, as believers in Christ, are the light of the world as well! Follow me here for a second before you get bent out of shape. While Jesus was here on earth, He was the light of the world and He said so, quite a few times. Look at what He says though as we flip back to Matthew and chapter 5 down to verse 14. Jesus says…

(14) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. … Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV

Jesus is telling us now that He is gone, we are to be the light to this world. How do we do this? Number one by our actions. It has been said that people who do not believe in Jesus either have never met a Christian or they have met a Christian. Do you get this? Either we don’t tell or show others the love of Christ or they are repulsed by our behavior and our actions because they know we are Christians. In other words, actions speak louder than words. Want people to become Christians? Then we need to start acting like one! We can’t just gaze upon the light of Christ, we must show that light to others!

The second point is when Jesus is loved and accepted, He becomes light to you but when He is spurned and rejected, He becomes darkness to you. Going back to the pillar of fire that guided the Hebrews in the wilderness that was celebrated at the temple every year, on the Hebrews side, that pillar of fire lit up the way for them. They didn’t have to stumble around in the darkness. In Exodus 14, it points out though that same pillar of fire became a buffer between them and the Egyptians who were chasing them and trying to hunt them down. Look at what the text says…

(19) And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. (20) So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. … Exodus 14:19-20 NKJV

By the way, guess who the Angel of God is. None other than Jesus Christ! Same cloud but different effect depending on the point of view. Light to those who follow, darkness for those who don’t. The question you need to ask is what side of that cloud do you want to be on? If you don’t know Jesus Christ, if you’re on that dark side of the cloud, you can change that today and what a better time to do it than the season celebrating His birth! Just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

If you prayed that prayer with your heart, then you are saved and are assured eternity in heaven and if you did, I would love to hear from you! Just a simple, “I prayed the prayer!” is all you have to say and I will know what you mean! Just e-mail me at admin@gettingintogodsword.com. I truly hope you prayed that prayer!

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for the light of Your Son Jesus Christ, the true and only Light of the world. We pray Father that during this Christmas season and into the new year, that Light would shine and open up hearts that do not know Him. Father we also pray that for those of us who are in Christ, that we would learn to walk more in that Light and not just gaze upon it.  In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

What do you suppose is the most interesting, fascinating, and perhaps, the most important thing ever written? If you’re from England, you might say the Magna Carta. If you’re from Israel, you might say the Torah. Those of us from America will probably say the Declaration of Independence and/or the U.S. Constitution. Christians would probably say The Bible while Muslims would say the Koran. All of these have a valid argument depending on your point of view but besides The Bible, I also believe perhaps the most interesting, fascinating, and perhaps, the most important thing ever written was some scribblings in the dirt on some temple stones 2000 years ago by Jesus Christ. It is the only time the Gospels ever record Jesus writing anything down and it disappeared probably almost as quickly as He wrote them down but it has puzzled commentators, pastors, and all of us who know this account in John’s Gospel that we are about to look at, for centuries. What did Jesus write in the dirt on those stones thousands of years ago? Whatever it was, it helped save the life of a woman both physically and spiritually which is why this could have been the most important thing or things ever written. We are going to take a look at some possibilities but the important thing is that this is not the focus of this passage that we are about to look at in John’s Gospel. The focus is how Jesus deals with hypocrisy and the love and forgiveness that Jesus shows this woman and all of us who come to Him in true faith. Let’s get started and as always, the text link and the audio for the entire chapter are included so you can follow along but before we do, let’s go to the Lord in prayer…

Father,

Thank You for the word of God that does the work of God in the hearts of the people of God. We come, Lord, and we bring ourselves. We bring our attention, our minds, to engage in the words that we hear, the words that we read, the thoughts your Holy Spirit is going to give us, the questions we’re going to be wrestling with– some hopefully that will be answered. And as we bring ourselves, we do so, Lord, because that’s our reasonable service. That’s the smartest thing to do. It’s the wisest thing to do. Because we remember Paul wrote, in view of God’s mercies, present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable which is your spiritual act of worship or reasonable service. Lord, we put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear Your Word. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen!

John 8

Let’s look at the passage that we will be focusing on for this post. …

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. (2) Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them. (3) Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, (4) they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. (5) Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?” (6) This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. (7) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (8) And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. (9) Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (10) When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” … John 8:1-11 NKJV

This passage continues a pattern that we find in John’s Gospel…an incident and then a message. Back in Chapter 5, there is an incident, the healing of a man at the pool of Bethesda, followed by a message from Jesus regarding it. The same in Chapter 7. There is an incident and then a message and the same here in Chapter 8. There is an incident and Jesus delivers another message regarding it. This passage, commonly called “The Woman Caught In Adultery”, is one of the most misinterpreted, misapplied, and mishandled in The Bible. This account does not appear in any of the other Gospels except in John and some say it never happened and these are Bible commentators mind you! This passage also has raised a lot of questions as well. The questions raised are…

1) Who was the woman?

2) Where is the man?

3) What did Jesus write on the ground?

4) Was Jesus too lenient with the woman?

We will look at each of these and provide answers to some of them. Let’s look at the passage in more detail. …

v 1 – But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

Here we have an unusual beginning to this chapter because proper grammar does not start a sentence with the word but and it shouldn’t start a chapter either. Proper grammar places this sentence at the end of Chapter 7 and verse 53. The verse should read “And everyone went to his own house but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.” So why the chapter break here? First, you have to ask the question “How did the Bible get divided into chapters?”. Here’s a short synopsis of that because I don’t want to dwell on this. When the books of the Bible were originally written, they did not contain verses or chapters. The reason why it was done was to find Scripture much easier. The chapter divisions of the Bible were developed by Stephen Langton, an Archbishop of Canterbury around 1227. The Wycliffe Bible of 1382 was the first Bible to use the chapter divisions. From then on nearly all of the translations use these chapter divisions and for the most part, they are properly placed and flow together quite nicely with a few exceptions and this chapter in John would seem to be one of them. However, I think Mr. Langton might have had a reason for the odd placement of this chapter division. Verse 53 of Chapter 7 ends with John saying, “And everyone went to his own house.” The Feast of Tabernacles was over so everyone went back home. So you’re probably thinking, “Yeah so what’s the big deal? Everyone goes back home when the day is over.” Look how John emphasizes the beginning of Chapter 8 though…But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. I think this is done for two reasons. The first one was that John was pointing out that Jesus was basically homeless! I’m sure you’re saying to yourselves, “How do you know that?!” From Jesus’s own words! If you flip back to Matthew and Chapter 8, we read…

(19) Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” (20) And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” … Matthew 8:19-20 NKJV

Luke records this in his Gospel as well. Jesus was pointing out to the scribe, “You sure you want to do this? I have nowhere to go! Are you sure you want to follow Me and live like that?”. The idea is that it is a metaphor showing there is a cost to follow Jesus a cost that many people don’t want to pay.

The second reason why John emphasizes about Jesus going to the Mount of Olives is that while everyone else went back home to enjoy themselves or to rest after the feast, Jesus went back to the Mount of Olives probably to pray. Throughout the Gospels, we notice that Jesus was constantly in prayer and this is where He mainly did it. Again back in Matthew, it says…

(23) And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. … Matthew 14:23 NKJV

We also have this example from Luke…

(12) Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. … Luke 6:12 NKJV

What we learn from these passages is that Jesus had one heck of a prayer life! The Mount of Olives, again, was probably His favorite place to pray. I remember when I first came to the Lord, I had a certain place where I liked to pray. It was on a train platform far away from the other commuters with a great view of the open sky between the trees in the heavily wooded area. I would always pray there in the mornings before going to work. Let’s move on now. …

v 2 – (2) Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.

Besides praying, Jesus also loved to teach. He also must have liked to hike a lot too! LOL! The temple wasn’t far from the Mount of Olives but He had to walk down the side of the mountain and across the Kidron Valley and then back up to the city where the temple was located. The text says and all the people came to Him. This probably doesn’t mean everyone in the city was there. These were the people that were there hoping that Jesus would show up and preach another sermon again. These people were probably not true followers though but what I like to call “lookie-loos” sort of like people who drive by accidents just to look at what’s going on. These people were curious to see Jesus and hear what He was talking about though John doesn’t tell us what that was. Notice the text says that He sat down and taught them. It is interesting to know that in those days, teachers, rabbi’s, would sit down and preach while the people stood. When they sat down to teach, it showed that they had authority and that they also intended to be there for quite some time doing it. So Jesus is sitting there teaching and now we come to another incident. …

vv 3-4 – (3) Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, (4) they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act.

As Jesus is sitting there and teaching, there is a major commotion as the “religious” people drag probably a screaming woman and place her in the area where Jesus is teaching. They made her stand, set her in the midst, in the middle of the crowd probably facing Jesus. I tend to believe that she wasn’t standing though but rather thrown into the middle of the crowd. First question, who was the woman? John doesn’t say but the woman could have been Mary Magdalene. To settle that debate, Pope Gregory I announced in 591 AD that the woman caught in adultery, the woman with the sinful past who washes the feet of Jesus in Luke 7, and the sister of Martha and Lazarus were all Mary Magdalene. We do know from Scripture that Mary Magdalene had seven demons cast out of her, Mark 16:9 & Luke 8:2, and demon possession is believed to be the root cause of why this woman committed adultery by some commentators. She was at the foot of the cross, and she was the first person to see the resurrected Jesus. She is one of the most mentioned women in the Gospels so it stands to reason that yes this woman could have been Mary Magdalene. Either way, it’s not important who she was.

The second question that is important is where is the man? The Pharisees and the scribes tell Jesus that she was caught in the very act. To be caught in the very act though, you need two people. They had the woman but where was the man? The “Law of Moses”, as they put it, was very specific that both the adulteress and the adulterer were to be put to death. In Leviticus 20, it states that. ….

(10) ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. … Leviticus 20:10 NKJV

Not only that, no one could be convicted of a crime without a witness so again, where’s the man? Another far fetched idea is that there was no man and the woman was part of the plan to trap Jesus but I doubt this scenario. This was probably a case of the woman getting the blame and the man getting off scot free. Moving on to verse 5…

v 5 – (5) Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

Adultery was one of the biggest crimes that demanded death the others being murder and idolatry and other forms of serious sexual immorality. I have an issue with what these “religious” people say to Jesus though. They tell Him, Now Moses, in the law, commanded us. Stop right there! First of all it was God’s Law and God commanded not Moses! The Law was passed from God to Moses who then gave it to the people. God was the law giver not Moses. He was God’s spokesperson and, as I recall, not an adequate one at first. However, the Jews, even to this day, hold Moses in such high esteem like he’s God. Throughout the Gospels it’s “Moses said this”, “Moses said that”, “Moses commanded this”, and “Moses commanded that”. Perhaps maybe that was one of the things that Jesus was writing on the ground…”I commanded you not Moses!”.

Getting back to the verse though, the “religious” people tell Jesus that the penalty for someone caught in adultery is death by being stoned. Then comes the trap question…But what do You say?. They were right. Deliberate participation in serious crimes like adultery required death. However, nothing said that the participants in adultery had to be stoned. In fact I found out listening to a message preparing for this study that there was another preferred way to put a person to death. According to the Mishna, a written commentary of the Torah, most would actually receive death by strangulation. The condemned man or woman would be placed in about three feet of manure (punishment enough I think! LOL!) and a soft cloth would be tied around their neck followed by a harsh cloth and then rope. The reason for the soft cloth was to symbolize divine punishment. They didn’t want to leave any human evidence that it was done that way. Soft cloth, harsh cloth, rope tied around the neck, two people at each end, and they would pull as hard as they could until the person died. Apparently the Mishna describes how to do this in great detail. Just a bit of trivia for you. The question they put to Jesus though is a question to trap Him. If He said, “No don’t stone her”, Jesus would be accused of going against the Law of Moses which would be considered blasphemy and therefore would require Him to be put to death. However if Jesus said, “Yes I agree! Stone her!”, it would go against His teachings of love and forgiveness and discredit Him as a friend to sinners. Not only that, the people were under Roman occupation and they had been stripped of their right to execute capital punishment so if Jesus had said, “Yes! Stone her!”, He would have been going against Roman law and therefore, be arrested and convicted by the Romans for breaking Roman law. Jesus knew this was a trap though and He had a unique way to respond to this trap as we move on. ….

vv 6-8 – (6) This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. (7) So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (8) And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Jesus knew that their question was a trap. He also knew the thoughts and actions of these religious hypocrites. Instead of saying anything at first, Jesus stoops down and begins writing on the ground with His finger. Now comes the question…what was Jesus writing on the ground? John doesn’t say and no one really knows except possibly for the people who were there and as I said in the opening, what Jesus wrote probably disappeared almost as quickly as He wrote it. It is believed though that what Jesus could have been writing on the ground the first time, because we know by the text that He did it twice, was the 6th, 7th, and 10th commandments…thou shalt not murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, and thou shalt not covet. In fact in the Talmud, it expands the 10th commandment of coveting specifically to include your neighbor’s wife further emphasizing the commandment regarding adultery. He could have also been starting to list the sins of the people pressing this issue. After continuing to badger Him, Jesus stands up, and makes this statement…He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. Jesus then stoops back down and resumes writing on the ground. Now this time, it is highly believed by many commentators that Jesus is listing the people who were accusing this woman of adultery of committing it themselves. He was probably writing the names, the times, and the dates of when they occurred. Here’s the reason why. As I mentioned, the Romans stripped the rights of the Jews to execute capital punishment so believe it or not, many of the Jews used this to commit adultery especially the Pharisees and the scribes…the very same people who were accusing this woman of it! When Jesus bends down and begins writing on the ground again, many commentators believe that He is now listing the people who had committed this very sin that they were accusing the woman of. There is a very interesting prophecy in Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 17:13, it says…

(13) O LORD, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You shall be ashamed. “Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, Because they have forsaken the LORD, The fountain of living waters.” … Jeremiah 17:13 NKJV

The translation in the International Standard Version of the same verse, it says Those who turn aside from you will be written in the dust.

So here’s the scene. You have these so-called religious people and others in the crowd, probably with stones ready to throw in their hands, waiting from a response from Jesus so they can stone this poor, terrified woman to death! Jesus, however, doesn’t say yes. He doesn’t say no either. What He does say probably shocked everyone there. Jesus says He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. Jesus turns this legal issue into a spiritual issue now. The Greek word for sin is anamartētos. It means to be faultless or without error. Another Greek word that describes what Jesus means here is the word hamartanō. It means to “miss the mark”. So what Jesus is saying to the people and her accusers is “Those of you who are anamartētos, faultless and without error in thought and deed, throw a stone at her!” Jesus wasn’t saying the woman shouldn’t be stoned but what He is doing here is appealing to the consciences of her accusers and the people whether they were fit to carry it out. Moving on to verse 9 now…

v 9 – (9) Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

One by one, convicted by their conscience and perhaps what Jesus was writing on the ground, the people began to leave some of them dropping the rocks they probably had in their hands. John mentions that it started with the oldest one of them there down to the youngest. Why the oldest? The older ones had probably more to remember and feel guilty about than the younger ones did. They were much wiser as well. In one of Hollywood’s biblical epics of Jesus’s life, I can’t remember which one off the top of my head “King of Kings” I think, where this part is portrayed after Jesus says “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone”, it shows a younger guy raising his arm up to throw a rock and much older man who stops him and shakes his head at him! LOL! Let’s finish out the rest of the passage now…

vv 10-11 – (10) When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” (11) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

With Jesus and the woman alone now, Jesus points out to the woman that everyone had left and that no had dared to pass sentence on her something which probably shocked this woman figuring she was going to be stoned to death! When Jesus asks the woman if anyone had condemned her, she answers, No one Lord. The word Lord used here, probably means Sir. A few translations actually use this word rather than Lord. When Jesus addresses her, He uses the term woman. It is a term of respect and He was trying to restore some dignity back into this woman who had been humiliated by this whole ordeal. Jesus extends further grace to this woman by telling her, Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. Jesus was the only one who had any right to throw a stone at her and He didn’t! What love and forgiveness our Lord shows here! Jesus doesn’t exactly let her off the hook though. He gives her a warning…go and sin no more. Jesus gives this woman a second chance to turn her life around. It is called repentance. He doesn’t tell the woman, “Go and sin as little as possible”. God can not tolerate sin in any form. We are not perfect as human beings but to go out and deliberately sin is not the sign of a truly saved person. In Romans, Paul says…

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? (2) Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? … Romans 6:1-2 NKJV

Notice also Jesus tells the woman not to “sin”. He didn’t call it a “disease” or a “hang-up” or an “alternative lifestyle” or a “mistake” or any of the other euphemisms that so many people use these days to make excuses for their or others sinful actions. Basically what Jesus was saying to this woman was, “Stop the lifestyle that is destroying you!”. He is giving this woman a second chance and don’t you think that we all need that? A second chance? A do over?

In closing, here are the takeaways from this passage. First of all, we see how tough sinners are on other sinners. Many of us carry the belief that our sins are not as bad as others. The fact is sin is sin in any form and God condemns it. Second, we see how the Law treats sinners. The Law sets the standards but doesn’t cleanse the soul. The Law identifies sin and what is required but there is no absolution in the Law. Which brings us to the final takeaway…we see how Jesus treats sinners. Jesus doesn’t pass any kind of judgement on the woman. He doesn’t claim her to be innocent but He doesn’t condemn her either. The righteousness and mercy meet with Christ with these words that He tells her…Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. Those who ask the question, “Was Jesus too lenient with the woman?”, do not know or understand the love and forgiveness that can be acquired by a relationship with Jesus! In Romans, Paul says…

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. … Romans 8:1 NKJV

What this woman did not know is that in a few short months, Jesus would be taking away her sin and everyone else’s by going to the cross. That is where righteousness and mercy really meet in Christ is at the cross. Jesus was perfect and sinless and a perfect substitutionary atonement. He died and took the punishment that the woman that all of us should have taken. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul says…

(21) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. … 2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

If you have come to that point in your life, where you know that something is missing in your life, and you need and want forgiveness and you don’t know Christ, you can change that right now! Just pray this simple short prayer. Remember it really doesn’t matter what you say. What matters is that what you say comes from your heart!…

“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I have done many things that don’t please you. I have lived my life for myself. I am sorry and I repent. I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. You did what I could not do for myself. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life, I give it to you. Help me to live every day in a way that pleases you. I love you, Lord, and I thank you that I will spend all eternity with you. Amen.”

If you have prayed this prayer and you have truly meant it in your heart, then you too have found the righteousness and mercy that can only be found with a relationship with Jesus Christ!

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross and do what we in our flesh can not do…live up to Your perfect standards. We love you Lord and we pray that others will come to know You today. As we live out these end days Lord that we are in, I pray for us, Your people, that we would grow stronger in Christ and growing up in Him and not just growing older. Father, we pray that no one would resist Your Holy Spirit. Bless our lives and our country and we pray this in the saving name of Jesus…Amen!

One of the definitions for the word “excuse”, when it’s used as a noun, is “a reason put forward to conceal the real reason for an action; a pretext”. Billy Sunday, an evangelist during the early 1900’s, put it this way. He said, “An excuse is a skin of a reason stuffed with a lie”. That being said poses this question…why do so many people refuse to turn to Jesus when given the opportunity or opportunities to do so? People give a variety of excuses for not turning to Christ. They are worried what their friends or family might think or say. Fear and persecution are driving factors given the climate in America today and its fear and persecution of Christians. After all, who wants to be a part of that?! One of the biggest excuses though is hypocrisy. Again you can’t argue with that one either. There is a lot of hypocrisy in Christianity today. In fact, it’s been said that Christians are the worst enemies of Christ. Hypocrisy was one of my main excuses for not coming to Christ when I was younger. All of these… fear, persecution, hypocrisy, or whatever the reason, is all just a cover-up though to protect the real reason about why people don’t turn to Jesus…He contradicts people’s lifestyles! You’ve heard people say over and over again how there are so many contradictions in The Bible. In fact people will go out of their way to find them! Here’s a newsflash for you though…there are no contradictions! What it does though is contradict people’s lifestyles and this is the real reason why people turn away from Christ! “What? I’ve got to do what? I’ve got to give up what? Uh-uh! No thank you!”. Jesus is well aware of this motive for turning away from Him as well. Back in Chapter 3 in John’s Gospel, Jesus says to Nicodemus…

(19) And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. … John 3:19-20 NKJV

To finish out Chapter 7 of this study, we turn our attention to the people’s response to the altar call that Jesus has just made to the people. Some people respond positively but most of them respond negatively coming up with some pretty lame excuses! Let’s get started and as always, the text link for the entire chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along. Before we get started though, let’s go to the Lord in prayer…

Father,

Thank You for Your Word and this time that we are about to spend in it. Bless this time Lord and make it fruitful. Lord we pray that this particular study in John’s Gospel will open eyes and hearts of those who don’t know You. Lord, we put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to hear Your Word. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the saving name of Jesus we pray…Amen! 

John 7

Let’s look at the passage for this post which is considerably larger than the last passage we looked at. For context purposes, we start back up in verse 37 again…

(37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. (38) He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (39) But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (40) Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” (41) Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? (42) Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (43) So there was a division among the people because of Him. (44) Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. (45) Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” (46) The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (47) Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? (48) Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? (49) But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” (50) Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, (51) “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (52) They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” (53) And everyone went to his own house. … John 7:37-53 NKJV

The final part of Chapter 7 takes place on the final day of The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths on the day that a big feast is held called the Shemini Atzeret. We looked at the rituals that take place during this feast in my last post so I’m not going to go into any detail about it here but as the priest is pouring the water out of the pitcher, Jesus cries out to the crowd, “If anyone thirsts…” etc etc, and the crowd is stunned by His words because in essence, Jesus is claiming to be God! We looked at verses 37 to 39 in the last post and I just included them here for context purposes and you’ll see why in just a second. Now let’s look at verses 40 through 53 in greater detail. …

v 40 – (40) Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”

The reason why I included verses 37-39 in this post is because of the first word that we read here. It is the word therefore. Whenever you read the word therefore in The Bible, you have to see what it’s there for! What it’s there for, is because of what Jesus says in verses 37 and 38. He says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”  When Jesus said this, it caused a major commotion because this man that was standing before them and crying out was claiming to be God! It was not only this saying by Christ that was causing a commotion but everything else that He had said during the time that He was there at the feast which is what the phrase when they heard this saying really means. Now begins the opinions from the crowd. The first one we read which many in the crowd said is truly this is the Prophet. Notice the word prophet is capitalized. The crowd was flashing back to what Moses had said and what we read in Deuteronomy 18…

(15) “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, … Deuteronomy 18:15 NKJV

During the time of Jesus, the hope of the arrival of the Messiah had reached a fever pitch. Remember back in the first chapter of John which introduces John the Baptist? The Pharisees ask him, “Are you the Prophet?” which John the Baptist replies, “No I am not”. The people were looking for the Messiah’s arrival and now Jesus is here at this feast saying all of these marvelous, glorious, and mysterious things and they begin to wonder, “Is this the Messiah?”. Some of the crowd have already come to this conclusion as we look at the next verse. …

vv 41 – 43 – (41) Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? (42) Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (43) So there was a division among the people because of Him.

There was some in the crowd that said, “Yep this is the Christ no doubt about it!”. Let’s clear up a misconception before we move on. The term Christ was not Jesus’s last name! Jesus did not come from the Christ family living on such and such street in Nazareth! A lot of people seem to believe this though when they put the letter “H” between the words Jesus and Christ! That is blasphemy! The term Christ is a title not a name. The term Christ is the Greek word Christos which means anointed one or the Messiah.

Some of the crowd though disagreed saying, Will the Christ come out of Galilee?. They knew Jesus lived in Nazareth and there was nothing in the Old Testament prophecies that said that the Messiah would come from Galilee. They even say amongst themselves, Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?. They were right though. The Christ would come from Bethlehem and from the seed of David. If they had taken the time to search Jesus’s background further though, they would have discovered that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and He was from the seed of David on Mary’s side of the family. This was God’s way of getting around the curse that is announced in Jeremiah 22…

(28) “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol— A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? (29) O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD! (30) Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’ ” … Jeremiah 22:28-30 NKJV

Ever wonder why there are two genealogies of Jesus? This is the reason why. The genealogy that we read in Matthew shows the lineage of Jesus through Joseph giving Him the legal right to the throne of David through David’s son Solomon, thereby proving Jesus to be the Messiah. As legal Son of Joseph, the Lord fulfilled that part of God’s covenant with David which promised him that his throne would continue forever. But Jesus could not have been the real son of Joseph without coming under God’s curse on Jeconiah, which decreed that no descendant of that wicked king would prosper. The genealogy in Luke traces the bloodline of Jesus through Mary and another one of David’s sons, Nathan. As the real Son of Mary, Jesus fulfilled that part of the covenant of God with David which promised him that his seed would sit upon his throne forever. And by being descended from David through Nathan, He did not come under the curse which was pronounced on Jeconiah. This genealogy proves Jesus to be the Son of God.

Back to this passage in John’s Gospel so now we have a back and forth ensuing among those that believe that Jesus is the Messiah and those that didn’t. Moving on now…

v 44 – (44) Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

Some of the people were angry at Jesus for what He had been saying. Why? Nothing that He had been saying was threatening or insulting. He had said sweet and gracious things. One reason was for blasphemy. Here was the man Jesus claiming to be God and that was blasphemy in their eyes. I think the real reason though might have been conviction. The things that Jesus had been saying was sinking in and as the saying goes “cutting them to the heart”. Most people confronted with something that causes conviction in them will fight back either verbally or physically. In the Book of Acts, the apostle Stephen is lecturing or rather making a statement to the Jewish rulers defending himself from a charge of blasphemy. It is a rather lengthy statement but he ends it with one of my favorite passages in the book. Turning to Acts and Chapter 7, Stephen says to them…

(51) “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. (52) Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, (53) who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.” … Acts 7:51-53 NKJV

What was the response from the Jewish rulers and anybody else who was in earshot of this statement? Did they stand and clap and whistle and yell, “Attaboy! You tell us!”? No we read that they stoned him! Why? Because they were convicted by his words which is also probably happening here to the crowd and Jesus. The one thing though is that even though some of the people in the crowd acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah, John makes no mention of any of these people becoming followers and disciples. It was a statement of fact not faith. Many Christians are that way as well. They acknowledge that Jesus is the Son of God but they don’t surrender their lives to Him.

Some people wanted to take Him, literally grab a hold of Jesus. This actually happens several times in The Gospels. In Luke, Chapter 4, Jesus is grabbed and led to the brow of a hill where they wanted to literally throw Him off a cliff. He evades them though just as He does here as we read but no one laid hands on Him. Why? Because Jesus’s time had not yet come which was His crucifixion. Jesus was on His own timetable not man’s. Moving on now to verse 45 and looking at the next few verses…

vv 45-49 – (45) Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” (46) The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (47) Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? (48) Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? (49) But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

The Pharisees and the chief priests had heard enough and they wanted Jesus silenced! It would seem, if you read between the lines, that the Pharisees and the chief priests were not even at the feast but in their council chambers. Going back to John 7:32, we read…

(32) The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. … John 7:32 NKJV

The fact that the Pharisees and the chief priests may not have even been at the feast was rather odd considering this was a holy mandatory feast. Wherever their location, the officers that the Pharisees and the chief priests had sent to arrest Jesus, come back empty handed which doesn’t sit to well with them! They begin to wonder if they too have been taken in by what Jesus had been saying. They ask the officers why they didn’t bring Jesus to them. Their words are probably the most memorable coming from the mouths of what is presumed to be unbelievers…No one ever spoke like this Man. These officers had probably heard a lot of men speak and teach and captivate an audience but there was something about what was coming out of the mouth of Jesus that made them prevent them from what they were sent out to do. Which brings to mind about what Peter says in 1 Peter about the conduct of Christians out in the world. He says…

(11) Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, (12) having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. … 1 Peter 2:11-12 NKJV

and also in 1 Peter…

(15) But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; (16) having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. … 1 Peter 3:15-16 NKJV

Because Jesus was speaking with such grace, authority, and wisdom, the officers actually were convicted and ashamed to arrest Him. Again, John makes no mention though of any of these officers being converted.

The Pharisees are furious because the officers do not have Jesus with them and accuse them of being deceived as the crowd had been. Their argument was have any of  the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him. This was a terrible argument. It was not only a tragedy that the ruling class and the priests failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah and believe on Him but it was clear that they also wanted to keep others from believing on Him as well. This is going on in the world today and especially in America. Those who do not want to come to Jesus and be saved try to prevent others from doing so. I was reading an article the other day where it has been determined that The Bible has been deemed, and I quote, “incompatible with humanity”! Really? It would seem that we, for the most part, have become incompatible with the teachings of The Bible something that everyone is going to have to find out the hard way! Moving on though, the Pharisees then say that anyone who believes in Jesus is accursed because they do not know the law meaning the teachings of the Scriptures. The same thing is happening today in America where we have these Democratic Socialist politicians quoting passages from The Bible and taking everything they quote way out of context. They accuse Christians of being cruel and heartless when it comes to illegal immigrants by quoting a passage out of Matthew 25. The passage that I am referring to is Matthew 25:31-46. They have absolutely no clue to what this passage really means! Most recently, Cory Booker quoted Micah 6:8 at an LGTBQ townhall hosted by the Communist News Network, CNN, which had absolutely nothing to do with the question he was asked! Incidentally, Cory Booker claims he is a Christian and yet supports gay marriage! Many Christians today are just like this. It’s called “dalmatian theology”. They pick and choose which part or parts of God’s Word suits them or their lifestyle. They’ll say, “Yep I love this, the way Jesus talks about love and forgiveness but let’s not talk about this, the judgement for those that don’t accept Jesus and let’s definitely throw out the Old Testament that shows what happens to a nation and its people who accept idolatry!”.

It was the Pharisees and not the people who were out of touch with the Scriptures. You can almost detect the Pharisees disdain for these people, these “deplorables” if you will, that believed Jesus to be the Messiah. In the King Jimmie Version, this crowd is translated as this people or in Greek houtos ochlos which loosely translated means “this rabble”. A good translation for this verse would be, “How dare these deplorables say this man Jesus is the Messiah when we know He is not!”. Not all of them feel that way as we move on to verse 50 and finish out this passage and Chapter 7. …

vv 50-53 – (53) Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, (51) “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” (52) They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” (53) And everyone went to his own house.

One of the Pharisees, Nicodemus, speaks up now. We were introduced to Nicodemus back in Chapter 3. He came to talk to Jesus at night and Jesus gives him the “born again” discourse. After this meeting with Jesus, it would appear from what we read in this verse that he had accepted Jesus and was saved and now Nicodemus comes to His defense. If you love the Lord, you defend that love! You don’t hide it from others because it might to be too inconvenient or uncomfortable at the time! Nicodemus uses a simple argument and one backed up by the law that they spoke so highly about knowing. I think there was a bit of sarcasm in Nicodemus when he says this to his colleagues, sort of calling them out…Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?. Under Jewish law, it was forbidden to condemn someone before hearing their side. No civilized nation should condemn anyone before hearing them. Even though it was forbidden under their law, this is exactly what the Jewish rulers and religious leaders were trying to do to Jesus.

Now in verse 52, the Pharisees turn on one of their own. They accuse Nicodemus of being deceived by Jesus as well. They chide back to Nicodemus, Are you also from Galilee?. They assumed, wrongly of course, that Jesus was from Galilee. Being from Galilee in those days was not exactly a badge of honor and being from Nazareth which is in the Galilee region, and where Jesus lived at the time, was even worse. Back in John Chapter One, when Philip invites Nathanael to check out Jesus, his response was, when Philip tells him that Jesus is from Nazareth, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”. If you lived in the Galilee region during that time, you were considered kind of like a hick! The Pharisees then tell Nicodemus probably one of the stupidest misinformed statements possibly in The Bible…Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee. Really? Let’s see there was Jonah and Nahum. They were from Galilee. Elijah, definitely one of the heavy hitters of the prophets, he was from Galilee. So was Hosea and Elisha, five total all from Galilee. This is a prime example of not knowing what we’re talking about! This statement ranks right up there with another statement that the Pharisees will make in the next chapter that we will look at where they say, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been in bondage to anyone.” Really? I guess the 400 years of slavery in Egypt doesn’t count? Or the 70 years captivity in Babylon? That doesn’t count as being in bondage? It was clear that the Pharisees did not know the Scriptures or their own history! We come to the end of Chapter 7 with the Feast of Tabernacles coming to an end as everyone went to his own house.

So this brings a close to a very long and detailed look at Chapter 7 of John’s Gospel and I have a question for you if you still haven’t accepted or trusted in Christ…what’s your excuse? What fallacy is preventing you from coming to Jesus? Many people say, “I have to clean up my act and then I’ll come to Jesus”. No! You come today! Psalm 95 says…

(6) Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. (7) For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand. Today, if you will hear His voice: (8) “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, … Psalms 95:6-8 NKJV

The fact is that the excuse that people use not to come to Christ is to cover up the real reason…rebellion. That is what is going on in America today. People view Christianity as a serious threat to their freedoms and lifestyles that must be crushed whatever it takes! This is why the Democratic Party is so popular because they promise to drive God out of America! In closing, on the lighter side, I love the show “Young Sheldon” on CBS. It’s a great show with a great cast and even though I’m not exactly thrilled with the atheistic attitude that Sheldon has, I heard the best explanation for coming to Christ on one of the episodes and it doesn’t come from The Bible. It comes from a scientist named Blaise Pascal. Sheldon was quoting something that Blaise Pascal had said. The full quote of Pascal’s is…

“Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.”

In other words, believing in Jesus will cost you nothing. Not believing in Him though could cost you everything! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

As we bring this chapter of John’s Gospel to a close, we pray for all the lost souls in our country that haven’t accepted Your Son Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Lord we believe in You and we know that belief is not false and we thank You for Your grace and mercy that You show to anyone that comes to You in faith. Lord we love You! Thank You for all the blessings, and even the hardships, that we have in our lives. Help us to become stronger more convicted believers in You and help lead others to You that do not know You and we pray this Lord in Your Name…Amen!