Thu, Aug 17, 2017

John 8

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JOHN

            Please turn in your Bibles this evening to John chapter 8 as we continue our study through the Word of God. Let me give you a summary of this chapter. We are told,

            When the adulterous woman was brought before Jesus, He provoked her accusers by saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Those who condemned her melted away. The Pharisees continued to question Him and asked, “Who are you?” When He proclaimed that He was “the light of the world,” many believed in His name. Becoming angrier, some called Him a Samaritan and accused Him of being possessed with a demon! Jesus again proclaimed His deity, and quoting Exodus 3:15, He said, “Before Abraham was born, I am.” Realizing Jesus had made Himself equal to God, the Jews picked up stones to kill Him!

- Elmer Towns, The Gospel of John, p. 77

 

            Before we get to our text this evening, someone brought up a good question that I think I need to deal with. The question is this, “How come some Bibles say that John 7:53 to John 8:11 are not part of the original manuscripts, they were added by a scribe at a later time?”

            I lean to this being part of the Scriptures, these verses. One writer, who does not seem to think it is part of the Scriptures, said this,

            The Textus Receptus includes John 7:53 – 8:11, and the majority of Greek texts do. That is the reason the King James Version of the New Testament (based on the Textus Receptus) includes the section as an original part of the Gospel of John. However, more modern translations, such as the NIV and the ESV, include the section but bracket it as not original. This is because the earliest (and many would say the most reliable) Greek manuscripts do not include the story of the woman taken in adultery.

- https://www.gotquestions.org/John-7-53-8-11.html

 

            The internal argument for these verses being in the Scriptures is that it is consistent in what we know of Jesus. I realize that is not a solid argument, but if it was inconsistent I think we could toss it aside.

            It was considered as authentic by church fathers, such as Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine. In fact, Augustine said that some texts omitted the story was that the transcribers were “weak in the faith,” they were fearing that their wives would use it to justify immorality!

            And then we do have the majority of Greek texts that have these verses in the Gospel of John.

            Now what if you feel it is not part of the Gospel of John? It does not change anything because by removing these verses does not change any doctrine that the Bible speaks of.

            But what about inerrancy? Keep in mind that we don’t have any original manuscripts, but what we do have are very accurate copies of the Scriptures handed down over the years and with all the manuscripts we do have, with all the writings of the church fathers, we can see how accurate they are.

            So don’t let that confuse you, and, like I have said, I do think there is good evidence that these verses are part of the Scripture and that is how we will approach them.

            So, we have a lot of information to cover tonight, many lessons that the Lord has for us. But before we dig into our study, let me set the stage for where John chapter 8 picks up.

            As you may remember from our last study, Jesus came to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and on the last day of the feast, on the eighth day Jesus said to the crowds of people, 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.John 7:37-38.

            This upset some in the crowds and it infuriated the religious leaders, they wanted Him dead. And thus, as this feast ends we read in verse 53, And everyone went to his own house. 

            That is where we will pick up our study this evening, beginning in John chapter 8 starting in verse 1 and let’s see what the Lord has for us as we study through His Word.

 

JOHN 8

VERSES 1-2

            Remember that at the close of John chapter 7 everyone went to their own home to sleep. But not Jesus. He had no place to go and thus, He went up to the Mount of Olives to spend the night.

            It is as Jesus said in Luke 9:58, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. 

            Interestingly enough, in about 6 months’ time this is the place where Jesus will be arrested as Judas leads the Roman soldiers to Him. This place on the Mount of Olives was a place Jesus used frequently to spend time alone with the Father, which is why Judas knew where to take the Roman soldiers so they could find Jesus.

            And then, early in the morning we see Jesus get up, passing through the Kidron Valley and up to the Temple so He may teach the people. It says that He sat down to teach, which was the position a rabbi would take as he taught and the people stood. When he wanted to proclaim something, he would stand. 

 

VERSES 3-5

            Picture what is going on here. Jesus is teaching in the Temple and here come these Scribes and Pharisees and with them is this woman who was caught in the act of adultery! They not only brought her with them but then they placed her in the middle of the crowd for all to see.

            Morris picks up on this and tells us, “All the indications are that her accusers had some special vindictiveness against her. This is shown also in the fact that they brought the woman along publicly . . . There was no need for this. She might have been kept in custody while the case was referred to Jesus.”

            And then the lay out the question for Jesus. Moses said that if someone was caught in the act of adultery then they should be stoned to death. Which was true. And their question before Jesus is, But what do you say?

            Why would they ask Jesus such a question? Because they knew Jesus had a heart of compassion towards people and if He let this woman go, He would break the Law of Moses and the people would see He was a false prophet. If He said that she should be stoned to death, Rome would be upset for they took away the Jews right for capital punishment.

            And please understand that these Jewish religious leaders were not doing what was right, they were trying to catch Jesus and put away this woman who, for some reason bothered them. In fact, the Jewish historian Josephus tells us adultery would be punished on the average of only once every seven years. So not a common practice and yet, here was an opportunity to catch Jesus and discredit Him amongst His followers!

            Now, as we read this story many don’t think about all that is taking place here. You see, I have a couple of questions for these supposedly holy men of God.

            First, if they caught her in the very act of adultery that means they must have been watching! Why? Why didn’t they try to stop her? 

            Secondly, obviously she didn’t commit this act alone, so where’s the man? You see, this is all a set-up, the guilty man was probably involved in this set-up! 

            How easy it is to point out the sin of others and be totally blind to our own sin and God is not going to let them get away with it. He is going to shine some light upon their own lives just as He does with us!

 

VERSES 6-9

            So, we are told the reason that these religious leaders brought this woman before Jesus was so they could test Him, so that they could catch Him breaking the Law and discredit Him!

            And, interestingly enough, Jesus does not say anything but He just stooped down and began to write on the ground.

            We don’t know what Jesus wrote on the ground at this point, but I don’t think the religious leaders were even paying attention to what He was writing. So, they continue asking Jesus what they should do with this woman and finally, He said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first. 

            Now this is interesting to me. You see, in the Jewish Law those who witnessed a capital offense would be the ones who began the stoning. And here is the interesting part. One writer gives to us this insight. J. Allen Blair translates this verse like this: “Let he who is without the same sin cast the first stone.”

            In other words, these religious leaders who were coming against this woman for adultery committed the same sin and thus, they were also guilty and thus deserved death. That makes sense when you look at what Jesus said.

            And then Jesus began to write down on the ground again. It is as Jeremiah 17:13 says, 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.’ 

            The Greek word for wrote is CATAGRAPHANE which can be broken down into CATA which means “against” and GRAPHO which means “to write.”

            Thus, whatever Jesus wrote on the ground was against these men and the things they did.  I personally believe Jesus began to write the sin of these men next to their names, maybe the names of the women they slept with, and as each one saw this, they left the scene, ashamed, as Jeremiah said would happen!

            One by one they were leaving because they were guilty and Jesus exposed their sin! And how true are these words of Darby as he wrote, “It comforts and quiets the depraved heart of man if he can only find a person worse than himself: he thinks the greater sin of another excuses himself; and while accusing and vehemently blaming another, he forgets his own evil. He thus rejoices in iniquity.”

            May we learn the lesson and examine our own heart before we start to look down upon people. And I think we can see that we are not to look down upon others, but to mourn and weep over their sinful condition and pray for them to be raised up out of the sin that they are in and come to the Savior, come to Jesus.

            As all these religious leaders left the scene, there is Jesus and this woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Look at what happens next.

 

VERSES 10-11

            All the religious leaders who were accusing this woman are gone. And what is interesting is that in Deuteronomy 19:15 it says that you needed two witnesses to condemn a person. Guess what? Now there is none! 

            Therefore, Jesus sets her free. This woman who probably came in being dragged, kicking and screaming for her life, is now at peace, no more condemnation because she has been touched by Jesus. 

            Paul put it this way in Romans 8:1, 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.” 

            You see, the Law condemns us, but as John tells us, For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17.

            Thank God for His unmerited favor towards us, we don’t deserve it but He extends it to us through Jesus!

            And please understand that Jesus does not want her to continue in sin. Therefore, He tells her, Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more. A changed life. In fact, Morris picks up on this and tells us, “The form of the command implies a ceasing to commit an action already started: ‘Stop your sinful habit’. And the ‘no more’ points to the thought of no return.”

            God desires us to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Not for salvation, but identification with Him. And a result of that is the blessings of God for sin has its own consequences in our lives!

 

VERSE 12

            First of all, remember that Jesus is in the Court of the Women, in the Temple, teaching. And as He is teaching these religious leaders bring this woman who was caught in the act of adultery. Now that Jesus has dealt with that, He goes back to teaching.

            Also, keep in mind that the Feast of Tabernacles is over and during this feast they would light many lamps in the Court of the Women. These lamps illuminated the Temple area and it reminded them of the Shekinah glory that was present in the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) and in the Temple (II Chronicles 7:1). 

            The Shekinah glory was the glory of God, His presence and as the children of Israel rebelled against God, as they were going into captivity, the Shekinah glory departed as Ezekiel 10:18 and 11:23 tell us, Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. . . . And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is on the east side of the city. 

            But now, after several hundred years, the glory has returned in the person of Jesus Christ! Thus, if we follow after Him we will not walk in darkness for there is no darkness in Him at all, only light! 

            It is as John said in I John 1:5-7, This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 

            Now how will they receive these words of Jesus? Let’s read on and see!

 

VERSES 13-16

            Jesus claimed to be the light of the world and now these religious leaders could not accept that. They knew exactly what He was saying and they refused to see the light because they were blind, a self-inflicted blindness!

            And if you think about it, does a seeing man need to prove the light? Of course not, he just sees it. But for these Jewish religious leaders, according to their rabbinical tradition, they rejected self-testimony. Therefore, they rejected what Jesus was saying and they remained in the dark because they refused to see!

            And please keep in mind that they have encountered Jesus many times and rejected what He was saying. Back in John chapter 5 we saw the four-fold witness that Jesus gave them and rejected by them. We saw the witness of John the Baptist, the witness of His works, the witness of the Father, and the witness of the Word of God. When you refuse to see it doesn’t matter how much light is before you, you still reject it, just as they did.

            And we see Jesus speak up and He says that He can testify of Himself because He knows where He came from, He has an eternal perspective. 

            Jesus can testify of Himself because He judges righteously.

            And lastly, Jesus can testify of Himself because the Father is in perfect agreement with Him.

            The Pharisees, on the other hand, could not say “Yes” to any of these. And in the end, it is not only Jesus who testifies of Himself, but the Father also testifies of Him, as we shall see. 

            It is as Jesus said in John 5:23, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” 

 

VERSES 17-18

            The testimony of Jesus should have been enough, His life was a witness that He was the One. But they rejected that and to accommodate these religious leaders, Jesus gave them another witness that testifies who He is, the Father!

            As Tasker wrote, “If the Jews then demand two witnesses in order to satisfy the Jewish law of evidence, those two witnesses exist; they are Jesus and His Father.”

            And this witness of the Father is seen at the baptism of Jesus in John 3:17 when the Father spoke and said, This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.

            There are the two witnesses pointing to the fact that Jesus is the Messiah. How will these religious leaders respond now? Look at what we are told.

 

VERSES 19-20

            These words by the Jewish religious leaders were meant as an insult. They were telling Jesus to show them His father, believing He was born out of fornication, out of wedlock, and doesn’t even know who His father really is!

            And, according to Tenney, “In the East, to question a man’s paternity is definite slur on his legitimacy.”

            And I am sure at this point the religious leaders thought they had Jesus on this one but Jesus responds by saying they had no clue about Him or His Father. Keep in mind that they prided themselves in regard to their knowledge of God. And what Jesus is doing is telling them that they know nothing, they have no knowledge of the Father because they have rejected Him!

            You see, it is as we read in John 14:8-9, Philip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, “Show us the Father”?’

            And for these Jewish religious leaders, they didn’t know the Father because they didn’t know, they rejected Jesus!

            Now in verse 20 we are told where Jesus was teaching and where these religious leaders where coming after Jesus, it was in the Court of the Women, where the treasury was located. This is the place where the 13 trumpet-shaped brass offering containers were kept and this was located in the Court of the Women, as I have said, in the Temple.

            And you can tell that things where heating up because John tells us that no one laid a hand on Jesus because His time had not yet come. That tells me that these Jewish religious leaders wanted to lay hands on Jesus but they were restrained at this time!

 

VERSES 21-22

            Jesus point is sharp. He is telling these Jewish religious leaders that He knew where He was going, to heaven. On the other end of the spectrum were these Jewish religious leaders who rejected Him and thus, Jesus is telling these accusers that they were not going to follow Him, they were not going to heaven! Ouch, that had to hurt.

            Now why do I think that their rejection of Him was sending them to Hell? Because the word sin is singular and not plural. The idea is that if they reject Jesus, that sin will condemn them to spiritual death apart from Christ. They will not enter into heaven, that eternal life with Him but into Hell! 

            And then we see their response to what Jesus said to them. They said that in their estimation of what Jesus was saying is that He was going to commit suicide. Now we might not think much about that, not a big deal those words. But in the Jewish culture that would condemn you to the lowest levels of Hades; they were damming Jesus to Hell because of what He said.

            As you can see, this was not a very civil conversation they were having with Jesus!

 

VERSES 23-24

            These Jewish religious leaders thought they were going to heaven and Jesus to Hell, but Jesus corrects them on this one. Because of their unbelief, because of their sins that have separated them from God, they will spend an eternity apart from God.

            And what is interesting here is that in verse 21 the word sin is singular and now, here in verse 24 Jesus speaks of sins plural. Why is that?

            First of all, you are condemned for rejecting Jesus, that is the sin that condemns you. And the judgment that you will face in Hell is according to the sins you committed in this life. You see, your sins separated you from God and your sin of rejecting the atoning work of the Savior, of Jesus condemns you to Hell!

            And for those who say that Jesus never claimed to be Almighty God, I am sorry but you need to open your eyes. John speaks of this often. Here in John 8:24 it should be translated, Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. 

            You see, the He was added for clarity by the translators but it actually takes away from what is being said. 

            Jesus is once again speaking of His deity, that He is the great I AM, the EGO EIMI! He is the voice from the burning bush from Exodus chapter 3!

            Thus, if they want to be saved they must believe that Jesus is the Son of God, they must acknowledge His deity! And Jesus is very clear on this, if you don’t, then you will die in your sins!  

 

VERSES 25-27

            Do you see how they shut their ears to what Jesus was saying? He told them over and over again who He is but they refused to listen! In fact, the words Jesus spoke came from the Father so if they can’t accept what Jesus is saying then they are also rejecting the Words of the Father.

            It is so sad when people hear the truth, know the truth and yet reject the truth. Let me show you what I mean. We are told,

            Several years ago Dr. Gordon A. Alles, a noted chemist and the man who pioneered the development of insulin for the treatment of diabetes, died of that very disease. His friends who were closest to him came to one of two conclusions. Either he did not know he had the disease or he purposely neglected to use the remedy. What irony – the man who knew more about the cure for diabetes than anyone else in the whole world died of the disease. I do not know what the truth of the matter was, but if Alles knew his condition, the situation was even more tragic. In the same way a person can know that Christ is the I AM, he can give all of his mind to that, but unless there comes a belief that involves receiving the cure, he will die in his sins. The Jews lacked that belief.

- R. Kent Hughes, John, p. 240

 

            And sadly, people continue to do that today, they reject the cure for their sins, they reject Jesus!

 

VERSES 28-30

            Here we see that Jesus is speaking of the cross and that when He is lifted up many will be drawn to Him. It is as Jesus in John 3:14-15, And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 

            You see, as Jesus is lifted up they will see His perfect obedience to the Father. I think that is our hearts desire, to always do those things that please Him. But we do come up short.  Lord, help us to do those things that please you!

            Once again we see that here in verse 28 the word He was added for clarity, but it takes away from what Jesus is saying, that He is Almighty God. It should read, then you will know that I AM.

            So, the cross is at the center for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin and it is our sins that separate us from God. Now, in saying that, let me share this with you because it will put things into perspective for us. We are told,

            I have heard that the geographical center of the city of London is Charing Cross. You can find your way anywhere in London if you are at Charing Cross. The story is told of a little boy who was lost. A bobby came along and wiped away his tears. When he had gotten him settled, he said, “Can I take you home, son?” The boy replied, “Oh, no, sir, take me to the cross, and I’ll find my way home.”

            When we orient ourselves to the cross, we begin to see the I AM, the eternity and magnificence of God. By virtue of that undertaking, we enter into this kingdom above by faith.

- R. Kent Hughes, John, p. 241

 

            Exactly! Now, when the Pharisees heard Jesus speak they became more opposed to Him. Yet there were many who heard the same words and believed in Him.They believed in spite of the apparent opposition of the religious leaders.

            Why were the people drawn to Jesus? Because the words of Jesus matched His life, while the lifestyle of the Pharisees didn’t. The people saw the relationship Jesus had with the Father and they also saw how the Pharisees claimed this relationship but didn’t have one. 

 

VERSES 31-32

            These are refreshing words if you are willing to obey them. Jesus says we must abide in His Word, make it part of our life, because His Word is living and it is powerful and it sets us free from the Law of sin and death. It is a commitment of the heart! It is a love relationship with the Lord, not a Law relatiosnship!

            How many people claim to be Christian but negate the Words of God? That is tragic and only the Lord knows if they are saved or not. But here’s the thing, if you are not obeying God’s Word then you will be in bondage to sin!

            You see, “There is nothing like the freedom we can have in Jesus. No money can buy it, no status can obtain it, no works can earn it, and nothing can match it. It is tragic that not every Christian experiences this freedom, which can never be found except by abiding in God’s word and being Jesus’ disciple.” (David Guzik)

 

VERSES 33-36

            It would seem that these Jews were living in a fantasy world. They said that they were never in bondage and thus, they are not in bondage know. Now they may have felt that way, it may have been their reality, but it was not true. And I believe that it is the Jewish religious leaders who were saying this to Jesus.

            Keep in mind that they were in bondage in Egypt for 400 years, in bondage to the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and now the Romans, so to say they were never in bondage is ridiculous!

            You see, the only true freedom we have is found in Jesus but they refused to see the bondage they were in, not only to the Romans but to sin, they saw themselves as keepers of the Law! “The power of self-deception in the unconverted man is infinite.” (Ryle)

            Think about the alcoholic, “Me, an alcoholic? No way. I can stop any time I want!” No they can’t! And you can put any sin in there and the same is true. We refuse to see the bondage that sin has placed us in!

            And please understand that whatever controls your life outside of Christ you are in bondage to, it is only in Jesus that we are free; we are bond slaves to Christ, freely surrendering our lives to Him! 

            Paul said in Galatians 4:7, Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” 

            And notice that Jesus says, Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. It is as one writer wrote, “So the slave of sin cannot by himself change his status. He cannot convert himself, nor can he be converted by any fellow-sinner. . . . The liberator from our bondage must come from outside the ranks of enslaved humanity.” (Tasker)

            And the One who sets us free from the bondage of sin we are in is Jesus!

VERSES 37-41a

            Jesus acknowledges the fact that they are descendants of Abraham by physical birth but spiritually speaking they are not his children, in fact Jesus says that they follow their father, and He will expound on who their father is in a few verses. But the reason they are not of Abraham is because they have rejected Jesus and the Father who sent Him!

            Now the Jews felt that because they were the descendants of Abraham they had a get out of Hell free card, but that is not the case. You see, it is not important where your physical birth is from, but your spiritual birth, are you born again in Christ? 

            Paul, in Romans 9:6-8 says, But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called.’ That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” 

            Paul is speaking of the Jewish people and his point is this. Just because you are a descendant of Abraham, physical genealogy, doesn’t make you a child of God, you need that spiritual birth, that spiritual kinship and Jesus deals with that issue in these verses.

            And as we read these verses we see that Jesus is saying that our spiritual parentage determines not only our destiny but also our nature. Notice, they claimed to be descendants of Abraham and yet they disobeyed the works of Abraham.

            What were the works of Abraham that justified him before God? Abraham was justified by faith and not by works, and thus, they were not children of God and their nature reflected that as they wanted to kill Jesus.

            Paul again said in Romans 9:30-33, What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness.  Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’” 

            Now some may wonder, how do we know if we are children of God? We are told by John in I John 5:1-3, Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. It is that simple!

            Works don’t save us but they are the fruit that is born out of a relationship with Jesus. Good works should be seen in our lives or as James tells us, our faith is dead!

 

VERSES 41b-43

            I do believe it is the Jewish religious leaders coming after Jesus here and they come down hard upon Him. They are saying that they know their faith, Abraham and yet Jesus, born out of fornication in their mind, did not know who His father was.

            But Jesus corrects them on that. He tells them that He came from the Father and yet, they say that God is their father and their actions and words speak differently. Why? Because they rejected Jesus, the One the Father sent. Here is a very important point; your love for Jesus will determine who your Father is!

            Now these words of Jesus had to sting, it had to cut to their heart, but I believe they blocked the sting and hardened their hearts so that the conviction of God could not cause them to turn back to God and repent. 

            The problem for them is they refused to listen to the words that Jesus spoke! One writer put it like this, “The impossibility was spiritual. Prejudices, jealousies, and antagonisms made the real Christ inaudible to them though His every syllable fell upon the ear.” (Morrison)

            How many people today, because of traditions, the way that they were brought up, what this person has said or that book has said, refuse or negate what God’s Word has to say. We are no different today, these things get in the way of our listening to the words of Jesus!

            It is as Paul said in II Corinthians 4:3-4, But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 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.” 

            I truly believe that once we open the door of our hearts to Christ, His light will expel the darkness of Satan and we will see, we will come to the truth. The problem is many refuse to open their hearts to Him and come!

 

VERSES 44-47

            Remember back in John 8:41, we saw the religious leaders bring up the issue of parentage by insulting Jesus, saying He was born out of fornication.

            Here we see the reply of Jesus as He explained their spiritual parentage – they were the spiritual children of the devil. This was evident in that their desires matched the devil’s desires: the desire to kill and deceive.

            So, Jesus hits them hard by saying God is not their spiritual Father, but the Devil is! And the same is true today. What flows from the heart of the Devil flows into the heart of man. We see murder, lies’, in fact lying becomes their second language, and it flows naturally from their lives. Thus, darkness flows from their lives and they try to justify their behavior, but when the righteousness of God, who is truth, shines upon their lives, there is only sin that is seen, darkness!

            And I like how Jesus tries to get them to show some sin in His life, and they can’t. He says, Which of you convicts Me of sin? We have plenty of sin in our lives and thus, that is why we need a Savior, we need Jesus, to cleanse us from our sins. But no one can convict Jesus of sin because He was sinless!

            Paul said in Hebrews 4:15 regarding this issue, For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

            And Peter tells us in I Peter 1:18-19, knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 

            Now let me deal with this issue of lying because we tend to make some lies okay. For instance, “It was just a white lie!” I guess that makes it okay, right? Wrong! Why do I say that? Because it says that the Devil is the father of lies and that goes for all lies. Jesus does not limit it to certain lies, a lie is a lie and the Devil is behind them. It is what his natural language is and yet, so many listen to him and are in bondage to his lies. While Jesus wants to set them free from this because He is truth and there is no darkness in Him at all!

            Therefore, the way we act shows who we are born of, God or the Devil! Notice the contrasting behavior in Galatians 5:19-26, Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.The works of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit, born of the Devil or born of God? Who are you listening to?

 

VERSES 48-50

            Think about when you are tried, mad, frustrated and the things that come out of your mouth. You are just trying to get back at the person and you say, “Your mama wears army boots!” or whatever! Here, you are putting down the other person by attacking their mother.

            I think these Jewish religious leaders here are tired, mad, frustrated and they call Jesus a Samaritan. Now that was not true but keep in mind that for the Jews, that was a huge put down. Not only was Jesus a Samaritan in their minds, but also, He was demon possessed! That is how frustrated they are at this point and it is not going to get better for them.

            And Jesus counters their accusations of Him being demon possessed by telling them that He honors God and someone who was demon possessed would not do that. Satan wants all the glory, all the attention, all the power, the very things these religious leaders were after! Also, Jesus was not a Samaritan, He was born in Bethlehem! So, their accusation against Him holds no water, just empty words because they refused to listen to the words of Jesus and believe!

 

VERSES 51-53

            Keep in mind that here in John 8:51 Jesus is speaking of spiritual death. These physical bodies will go back to the dust of the earth but for those who are in Christ, their soul and spirit will be present before the Lord. Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:8, We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” 

            You see, the sting of death has been taken away by Jesus and now in death we don’t die, we move from these old tents to new mansions, new bodies that Jesus is preparing for us! He is speaking of eternal life for all who come to Him. But this did not sit well with the religious leaders.

            Once again we see that they were not listening; Jesus claimed to be God, the God of the living and not the dead! And their question Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead?expected a negative response, Jesus was not greater in their minds, but He is! 

            Remember when Jesus was dealing with the Sadducees regarding the resurrection, the afterlife, and He said in Matthew chapter 22, You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matthew 22:29-32. 

            You see, they negated the power of God. Abraham was not dead, he was awaiting the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah, so that he could enter into that eternal life with Him, with all the rest who died in faith before the Messiah came. When we die, if we are believers, we go to be with the Lord immediately!

            Notice how Jesus answers their question, Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself out to be? John 8:53. Again, they were not listening to what Jesus was saying, He is Almighty God. Let’s read on and see how Jesus continues to answer this question.

 

VERSES 54-55

            Before Jesus answered their question in John 8:53 He came back to the matter of spiritual parentage. Jesus was secure in knowing that God was His Father and it is My Father who honors Me.

            You see, the honor that Jesus received was not His own but comes from the Father who they do not know.

            Now there are two different Greek words that are used here for know. The first one is that Jesus knows the Father, and the Greek word is OIDA and it speaks of “to know inherently or intuitively.” The only way Jesus can know the Father like that is that He was with the Father and He was! 

            The other word we see here related to these religious leaders, as Jesus says, Yet you have not known Him and it is the Greek word GINOSKO which means “to come to know by experience or observation.” They had all the information, the words of God, they had their experiences to go along with the Word of God, but they refused to see, they refused to know the truth!   

            Now Jesus kind of answered the question, showing that He was with the Father, hinting that He is God, but I think He fully answers their question from John 8:53 as we read on.

 

VERSES 56-59

            Notice, Jesus claimed that not only was He greater than Abraham, but Abraham himself also acknowledged this.

            Not only that but we are told that Abraham saw His day! When did Abraham see Jesus? It could be in Genesis chapter 12 when God promised to bless the nations of the world through the seed of Abraham and in Galatians 3:16 Paul picked up on this when he said, Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ. 

            Or it could be from Genesis chapter 14 after Abraham rescued Lot and the King of Salem, Melchizedek went out to meet him and Abraham honored the King who was a type of Christ – Salem meaning peace and Melchizedek meaning righteousness, he was the King of Peace and Righteousness!

            Or it could be when Abraham went to offer Isaac on Mount Moriah as a sacrifice in Genesis chapter 22, playing out what God the Father would do some 1,000 years later, on that same spot, by sacrificing His only begotten Son to pay the penalty for the sins of the world! As Isaac was wondering where the lamb for the sacrifice was at, Abraham said, My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering. Genesis 22:8. In other words, God did provide Himself as the sacrifice for our sins, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world!

            We are not sure, it could be all of these or others, but whatever the case, Abraham saw this day and rejoiced!

            Now these Jewish religious leaders had a hard time with this and said, You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? We know that Jesus was in His thirties, so why did they say fifty? One writer put it like this, “Why fifty? That was the age at which the Levites retired from their service (Numbers 4:3). The Jews were saying to Jesus: ‘You are a young man, still in the prime of life, not even old enough to retire from service. How can you possibly have seen Abraham?’” (Barclay)

            And the response of Jesus just shows He knew who He was, Almighty God. He said to them, Most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM. John 8:58.

            There is that EGO EIMI statement again, the third time in this chapter. And once again we see that Jesus claimed to be that voice from the burning bush in Exodus chapter 3, the All-Becoming One! 

            Stauffer said, “The phrase harbours within itself the most authentic, the most audacious, and the most profound affirmation by Jesus of who He was.”  I totally agree!

            Another writer wrote, “Before Abraham came into existence I am, eternally existent. . . . No stronger affirmation of pre-existence occurs.” (Dods)

            And Bruce wrote, “If Jesus’ claim was not well founded, then his words were openly blasphemous: he was using language that only God could use.”

            Now some cults claim that Jesus never claimed to be God. In this chapter alone Jesus claimed to be the Great I AM some three times!  

            How do we know that is what He meant? I think the response of those who heard this statement by Jesus should put their accusations, their statements to silence!

            Look at John 8:59 once again, 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.

            You see, they wanted to kill Him! Why? Because they knew exactly what Jesus was saying and the penalty for claiming to be God was stoning! But He was not lying, He is God! 

            Tragically, the light, the SHEKINAH glory that had been absent from the Temple for some several hundred years had returned in Jesus but now He departs once again from the Temple leaving them in spiritual darkness because they refused to come to the light, come to Jesus! They refused to listen and believe! What about you?

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