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“Soar on Wings” The gospel of John #11 – I  Am The Light of the World John 8:12-30

30 Mar


It’s been several years since I first began to notice a word that keeps popping up these days. This word can have several meanings, I guess, but it seems to be used primarily to end discussions.

At first, I thought it was used only by teen-agers, but I have since heard it on the lips of people of all generations. Increasingly, it is used to say, “It doesn’t matter enough to talk about any further.” The word is “whatever.”

A parent says to a child, “You should do this!” and the child replies, “Whatever.”

A teenage girl encourages her friend to “do the right thing” in a situation, and the answer is “Whatever.”

Two adults argue over politics until one of them has had enough, so he shrugs his shoulders and says, “Whatever.”

On a more significant level, “whatever” can mean that truth does not matter to people It can communicate that you are entitled to your view of truth, I am entitled to my view of truth, and we can assume that we are both equally right.

In the United States, “whatever” is more than a cultural fad; it is a one word indicator of the way a nation is thinking.

What do you think about my evaluation of this interesting word? Did I hear you say, “Whatever?”

      John 8:12f (NIV) When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

18  I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” 19  Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

23  But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24  I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.”

28  So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [the one I claim to be] and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29  The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30  Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.

In our text, Jesus challenged the spirit of “whatever.” His message is bold, and His claims cannot be ignored. In the end, you may respond to Him with a joyous “Yes!” or a defiant “No!”–but He will not allow you to answer, “Whatever.”

Light has to bear witness to itself! The only people who cannot see the light are blind people.

Light bears witness to itself; it tells you it is here. 

Can you imagine this? The Jews think they are the authorities, the ones in charge. Yet here stands Jesus, the One they are determined to silence by killing Him. He is there in the temple, teaching the people. And He is doing so literally outside the door of the room where the Sanhedrin meets.

This is indeed ironic, especially in the light of the story of the woman caught in adultery at the beginning of this chapter. The scribes and Pharisees insisted that this woman be stoned, in order to fulfill the Law of Moses. Jesus did not disagree about her guilt or even her punishment under the law. What He did (which caught His adversaries completely off guard) was to appeal to the Law of Moses as to how they should proceed with the stoning. Under the law, there must be two eye witnesses. When Jesus required that the two witnesses be innocent and that they “cast the first stone,” no one was willing to do so, and the case was dropped for lack of any witnesses who would testify against this woman.

The most important thing about any witness is that he or she is, in fact, a witness.

THE “I AM” PHRASE

In this passage Jesus talks of “following” himself. We often speak of following Jesus; we often urge men to do so. What do we mean? It has at least five different but closely meanings:

– It is often used of a soldier following his captain.   

On the long route marches, into battle, in campaigns in strange lands, the soldier follows wherever the captain may lead. The Christian is the soldier whose commander is Christ.

– It is often used of a slave accompanying his master.

Wherever the master goes the slave is in attendance upon him, always ready to spring to his service and to carry out the tasks he gives him to do. He is literally at his master’s beck and call. The Christian is the slave whose joy it is always to serve Christ.

– It is often used of accepting a wise counselor’s opinion.

When a man is in doubt he goes to the expert, and if he is wise he accepts the judgment he receives. The Christian is the man who guides his life and conduct by the counsel of Christ.

– It is often used of giving obedience to the laws of a city or a state.

If a man is to be a useful member of any society or citizen of any community, he must agree to abide by its laws. The Christian, being a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, accepts the law of the kingdom and of Christ as the law which governs his life.

– It is often used of following a teacher’s line of argument, or of following the gist of someone’s speech.

The Christian is the man who has understood the meaning of the teaching of Christ. He has not listened in dull incomprehension or with slack inattention. He takes the message into his mind and understands, receives the words into his memory and remembers, and hides them in his heart and obeys.

How does God hear witness to the supreme authority of Jesus?

– The witness of God is in Jesus’ words.

No man could speak with such wisdom unless God had given him knowledge.

– The witness of God in Jesus’ deeds.

No man could do such things unless God was acting through him.

– The witness of God in the effect God had upon men.

He works changes in men which are obviously beyond human power to work. The very fact that Jesus can make bad men good is proof that his power is not simply a man’s power, but God’s.

Jesus never really answered their question, “Where is your Father?” The word father is used 21 times in this chapter, so Jesus did not avoid the issue but faced it honestly. He knew that “their father” was not God–but the devil!

Why would John mention the fact that Jesus was near the Treasury when He said these words? Because the temple treasury was very near the council chambers of the Sanhedrin. (8:22)  “This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?””

This verse implies several things:

– There are certain opportunities which come and do not return. To every man is given the opportunity  to accept Christ; but that opportunity can be refused and lost.

– Truth and life are limited. The time to make a decision is limited–and none of us knows what his limit is. There is every reason for making that time now.

– There is judgment. The greater the opportunity, the more clearly it beckons, the oftener it comes, the greater the judgment if it is refused or missed.

Luke 12:47-48:  “”That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. {48} But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

Jesus claimed to possess all authority in heaven and on earth. (Matt. 28:18)  “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”

Jesus asserted authority for Himself above the authority of the Scriptures  (Matt. 5:27-28)  “”You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ {28} But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

– Jesus claimed identity with God (John 10:30) and to be a manifestation of God (John 14:9)      

(John 10:30)  “I and the Father are one.””

(John 14:9)  “Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

– Jesus professed that no one has access to God except through Him (John 14:6) “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

– Jesus claimed to have been existent with the Father from all eternity (John 17:5)  “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

– Jesus claimed that His words were the means of obtainaing everlasting life (John 5:24)  “”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

– Jesus contended that His word would be the basis of judgment of the world (John 12:48)  “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.”

JESUS’ CLAIMS TODAY

What are we to think about Jesus today? Most people are willing to accept that Jesus lived and that He was a good man, but many are not willing to accept that He is, indeed, the Son of God.

Jesus made such a view absurd. He did not claim to be just a good man; He claimed to be “I am.” He did not present Himself as a great philosopher; He presented Himself as the only way to the Father. He did not teach that He had special insight into God; He claimed that He was one with the Father.

His bold claims force us to make a choice to believe or reject His true identity. When it comes to Jesus, “whatever” is not an option. In this matter, the furious Jewish leaders with stones in their hands understood what Jesus was saying better than do unbelievers today who talk about how Jesus was “a good man.”

Concerning this, Josh McDowell wrote: “To Jesus, who men and women believed him to be was of fundamental importance. To say what Jesus said and to claim what he claimed about himself, one couldn’t conclude he was just a good moral man or prophet. That alternative isn’t open to an individual, and Jesus never intended it to be.’

Years earlier, C. S. Lewis came to a similar conclusion: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a manand said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic  on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

CONCLUSION

What does all of this mean for us today? First, for those who have grown up in the Christian faith, it forces us to move beyond the “Jesus was a nice man” phase of our own spiritual development. As our children grow up, I want them to be impressed at an early age by Jesus’ kindness and gentleness toward children and people who are hurting. Having such a picture of Jesus is good.

However, if my children never grow beyond that picture of Jesus, if they never realize that Jesus was not only gentle but also bold and demanding, then their faith will fail to mature. Jesus claimed to be “I am.” The old saying is true: “Either Jesus is Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all!”

The encounter with Jesus in John 8 hits sleepy, apathetic Christians like a cold slap in the face. Is He who He says He is? If He is not, then why are we still “playing church”? If He is, then why are we not living and working as if nothing else in life matters as much as the Lord Jesus?

To the man or woman who still attends worship services but is not living as a Christian Monday through Saturday, this meeting with Jesus is a call to make a decision. Each of us must stand on the side of faith or on the side of disbelief.

What do you think about Jesus? Was He a blasphemer? Was He a liar? Was He a lunatic? Is He Lord? You must decide!

“Whatever” is not an option!

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in Gospel of John

 

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