Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 19

The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 8:12-30

John 8:12-16 NASB

“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” So the Pharisees said to Him, “You are testifying about Yourself; Your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I testify about Myself, My testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone. But even if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone in it, but I and the Father who sent Me.”

Jesus makes a bold statement when He says “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

As we read through the Gospel of John I don’t think that anyone can deny that the words that Jesus spoke and the position that He took, concerning Himself, were radically different from what any ordinary human being would make or take, even if that person had an idea or vision that he wanted others to consider. Notice that Jesus always speaks with authority, and that authority is none other than God the Father. Every word that Jesus speaks comes with Jesus telling us repeatedly, that it is with the continual agreement of God the Father.

With that interaction between God the Father and Jesus the Son in mind, I can’t help but be mindful of what stage actors call being in “character”. In other words, we see Jesus acting and speaking out, on behalf of God the Father. The difference being, in the case of Jesus, He wasn’t being in character, He literally was the character, or the representation of the Father, in that He is the Son of God. This is so much so that Jesus could actually say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father’ (John 14:9). With Jesus, there is the continual reference to His divine origin, His divine oneness with the Father and always, always, Jesus saying and doing exactly what the will of God the Father was.

And one might logically say, “well, could not anyone be in “character” like that”? And the answer to that question could be yes, even though that would be extremely difficult, considering the Jewish cultural background involved, in and of itself. But then, the following noted “accompaniments” that were also applicable, in the case of Jesus, would also have to be taken into consideration:

1. Jesus’ whole ministry continually pointed to Him being “lifted up” on the cross, which from a normal humanistic perspective, would appear to be counter productive.
2. Jesus also performed miracles like the changing of the water into wine and the feeding of multitudes on a couple of occasions.
3. Jesus also healed multitudes of people with different
diseases and ailments.
4. Jesus exhibited
authority and control over evil spirits.
5. Jesus also appeared to be able to command and control various elements of natural laws such as walking on water, calming storms at sea and transporting Himself and others immediately to a
particular destination across water.
6. Jesus was transfigured into a blinding white garbed person in front of witnesses.
7. The words that Jesus spoke agreed with the “spirit of the Law”
expressed throughout the Old Testament and all of His verbal teachings were authoritative and knowledgeable in delivery.
8. Numerous events such as His birth, His entrance into Jerusalem and other aspects of His ministry fulfilled Old Testament
prophecies.
9. Jesus never actually wrote down any of His teachings, which from a humanistic perspective, leaves an awful lot of room for possible “loose ends” and failed objectives.
10. Jesus foretold of His death and resurrection, a feat that no mortal human could have any control over.
11. Jesus actually did rise from the dead, thereby proving that He was the Son of God, which irrespective of other religious claims, is unique within world history and the consequential casual rationale for the rise of Christianity throughout the world.
12. The promise of the coming of God’s Holy Spirit to dwell within our spirits has been witnessed to by countless numbers of Christian believers throughout history, up to this very day.

The bottom line is that either Jesus is who He said He is or He isn’t and when you put the aforementioned partial list all together, in concert with the eye witness testimony of His disciples and recorded history, it paints a most compelling, convincing and authoritative reality that cannot be attributed to a normal human being.

So when Jesus says that He is the light of the world and that whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness but have the Light of life, these are not the words of just a random individual. This is Jesus, the Christ, the promised Messiah spoken of throughout the Old Testament, who appears and now declares to Israel and the Gentile world, that which God the Father would have us know, of His will and intent.

John 3:16-18 NASB

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The Pharisees question the authority or legality of what Jesus says, under the Law, because Jesus is a singular voice.

Deuteronomy 19:15 NASB
“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin
 which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.

And Jesus responds:

John 8:17-30 NASB
“Even in
 your law it has been written that the testimony of two men is true.  I am He who testifies about Myself, and the Father who sent Me testifies about Me.” So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.

Then He said again to them, “I go away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin; where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews were saying, “Surely He will not kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” And He was saying to them, You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” So they were saying to Him, “Who are You?” Jesus said to them, “What have I been saying to you from the beginning? I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and the things which I heard from Him, these I speak to the world. They did not realize that He had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said, When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me. And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.

When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He …”

In Jesus’ day, crucifixion was considered to be so vile and shameful that people rarely spoke of it directly. Instead, they would use various metaphors, such as being “lifted up.”

The term “Son of Man” was one Jewish listeners would also have immediately recognized. In Daniel, the Messianic figure is described as “one like a son of man” (Daniel 7:13-14). When Jesus used this phrase, His audience knew precisely who He was referring to.

And in verse 24, Jesus had used the expression “I am He” in reference to His role as the one source of salvation (John 3:16-18). This echoes the words of God, who identified Himself to Moses by stating in Exodus 3:14 NASB:

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

This was God’s designation of Himself and thus, Jesus was claiming to be God. Later in John 8:58 Jesus claims to be the “I AM” and because of this the Jewish leaders seek His life (John 8:59).

It’s also interesting to note, in the last verse of this portion of Scripture, that it states:

“As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.” So while there was much opposition, there were also many who believed in Jesus, at this point in time.

More to follow:

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

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