Morning Devotions: John 8
I greet you in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today is Day 8 of lockdown today is chapter 8 of The Gospel of John. As we look at it one chapter at a time over this 21 day period, even as we come to Day 8, I guess I'm wondering how you doing? Are you with other people in lockdown? How are those relationships doing? Are you by yourself in lockdown? Are you lonely? Could I ask particularly, if you are from Crystal Park Baptist Church that you spend at least some time in your day contacting other people in the church, maybe somebody whom you do know and somebody whom you do not know in order to make sure that our Loving Fellowship extends even into this lockdown period?
What I'm going to do is I'm going to read chapter 8, explain the meaning of the text, apply it and then I'm going to pray with you.
Disclaimer: I'm only going to start a chapter 8:12 and in a separate video I'll explain why I have not read chapter 7:53 through to chapter 8:11. But chapter 8, beginning at verse 12, hear the Word of God.
John 8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
12 Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying about yourself. Your testimony is not valid.” 14 “Even if I testify about myself,” Jesus replied, “My testimony is true, because I know where I came from and where I’m going. But you don’t know where I come from or where I’m going. 15 You judge by human standards. I judge no one. 16 And if I do judge, my judgment is true, because it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. 18 I am the one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.” 19 Then they asked him, “Where is your Father?” “You know neither me nor my Father,” Jesus answered. “If you knew me, you would also know my Father.” 20 He spoke these words by the treasury, while teaching in the temple. But no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come. 21 Then he said to them again, “I’m going away; you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I’m going, you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said again, “He won’t kill himself, will he, since he says, ‘Where I’m going, you cannot come’?” 23 “You are from below,” he told them, “I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I told 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 “Who are you?” they questioned. “Exactly what I’ve been telling you from the very beginning,” Jesus told them. 26 “I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the one who sent me is true, and what I have heard from him—these things I tell the world.” 27 They did not know he was speaking to them about the Father. 28 So 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 on my own. But just as the Father taught me, I say these things. 29 The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what pleases him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. 31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples. 32 You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 “We are descendants of Abraham,” they answered him, “and we have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34 Jesus responded, “Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. 37 I know you are descendants of Abraham, but you are trying to kill me because my word has no place among you. 38 I speak what I have seen in the presence of the Father; so then, you do what you have heard from your father.” 39 “Our father is Abraham,” they replied. “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. 40 But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You’re doing what your father does.” “We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.” 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on my own, but he sent me. 43 Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Who among you can convict me of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 The one who is from God listens to God’s words. This is why you don’t listen, because you are not from God.” 48 The Jews responded to him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you’re a Samaritan and have a demon?” 49 “I do not have a demon,” Jesus answered. “On the contrary, I honor my Father and you dishonor me. 50 I do not seek my own glory; there is one who seeks it and judges. 51 Truly I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” 52 Then the Jews said, “Now we know you have a demon. Abraham died and so did the prophets. You say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.’ 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham who died? And the prophets died. Who do you claim to be?” 54 “If I glorify myself,” Jesus answered, “my glory is nothing. My Father—about whom you say, ‘He is our God’—he is the one who glorifies me. 55 You do not know him, but I know him. If I were to say I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 The Jews replied, “You aren’t fifty years old yet, and you’ve seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him. But Jesus was hidden and went out of the temple.” Just so far in the reading of God's Word.
Chapter 8 is all about conflict. It starts with Jesus Christ entering into the temple complex and there close to the treasury as part of the ceremony of Festival of shelters. He stands and cries out and says “I am the light of the world.” What happens is an immediate dialogue begins between Jesus Christ and the Jewish leaders. In each phase of the dialogue, the tension builds between the two. It's almost like a thrust and a parry, a sword fight that's happening and you can just see the anger building in Christ’s Jewish audience.
Rising Tension: Christ is the Light of the World
They immediately respond in verse 13 by saying, “You are testifying about yourself. Your testimony is not valid.” In response, Jesus Christ says “Even in your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I'm the One who testifies about myself and the Father who sent He testifies about me.
After this discussion of Jesus being the light of the world, the dialogue enters into a new phase as Christ talks about his return to heaven and the fact that he came from Heaven. As this is happening, the Jews begin to ask this question. Is he planning on killing himself? Because Jesus had said that he's going to a place where they cannot go. In response to this, Jesus Christ says “I told you that you will die in your sins.” The bottom line is, for not believing that Jesus is the Christ, they will die in their sins.
Christ will Ascend to Heaven
Well the conflict just carries on building and enters into a new phase as the dialogue shifts from Christ's Ascension to the subject of truth and freedom that Jesus Christ gives. In verse 41, we read a slur by the Pharisees regarding birth. Jesus has been about the fact that they are born from below, their father is the devil. This is where this is all going. And so they slur him and they say in verse 41. “You weren't born of sexual immorality,” and Christ in response in verse 44 says that “You are of your father the devil and you want to carry out your father's desires.” Well the dialogue reaches its apex around the conversation about Abraham. Jesus really wants them to understand that just because they are children of Abraham doesn't mean that they are saved and that they were right with God. As this conversation enters into its final stage, the Pharisees asked the question, “Are you greater than our Father Abraham who died? And the prophets who died. Who do you claim to be?”
Christ is Greater than Abraham
At this point Jesus Christ answers by saying that he is God. He says in verse 58 of chapter 8, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” That phrase “I am” is related to the Old Testament phrase “I am”, the Covenant name of God, Yahweh. In the New Testament, Jesus uses it in a series of statements in John's gospel. “I am the bread of life” in the previous chapter. “I am the light of the world.” in this chapter. And now, “before Abraham was, I am.”
Well the Pharisees knew exactly what Jesus was claiming. If Jesus wasn't God, this would be utter heresy in their books. And so true to form in verse 59, “they picked up stones to throw at him.” Their desire was to kill the heretic. At that point, and that is the the Pinnacle of the climax of this story. We ask the question, will Jesus survive? Will he die before his hour has come? And yet in a miraculous way in verse 59, we read that “…Jesus was hidden.” And as the action falls, we come to a resolution at the end of the chapter that he went out of the temple and this narrative will continue into chapter 9, because Christ hour has not yet come. The Passover is still six months away. Jesus Christ will be lifted up at the precise time that God intended.
Well, that's the outline of the chapter. How do we go about applying this chapter into our lives?
Let's start off with an unbeliever. If you're listening to this, watching or reading this today, and you are not in the faith, you've not put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Saviour, hear the words in John chapter 8 verse 12. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world and anyone who follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Friends, Jesus Christ invites you, he invites you to follow him. He invites you to follow him because his desires to redeem you from darkness and to bring you into his glorious light. You need a heart change. You need a stone-cold heart to be turned into living flesh. You need a location change. You need to be taken out of the domain of darkness and hell and be brought into the domain of light and Heaven. You need Jesus Christ.
Secondly. If you are a seeker, then you need a see in this text that Jesus Christ himself is God. Remember the words at the end of the chapter, where they asked, “are you greater than our Father Abraham who died? And the prophets who died. Who do you claim to be?” The answer Jesus gives them is, “Truly I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus Christ is the Great I Am. If you are seeking God, you must find him in the person of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ’s hands that threw stars into space. It is by Jesus Christ’s word, that the entire galaxies came into being. It is Jesus Christ who is the Creator of all things and the sustainer of all things. And it is the Jesus Christ who stood in that temple on the Festival of shelters and said, “I am the light of the world.” And he's shining even today. The call on your life is to repent from your sins and put your faith in your trust in Jesus Christ that you might live.
If you're a backslider and you are reading this passage, I want you to take a look at the Pharisees. The Pharisees looked perfectly religious on the outside. But in reality, they were whitewashed tombs and only had decay and death on their insides. It says in John chapter 8 verse 44, “you are of your father the devil.” The reality is, religion isn't what's going to save you. So often, when we think of backsliders, we think of people who maybe have fallen into gross sin. But there’s a possibility that you could have fallen into gross religion. You go to church, maybe you've been baptized. Maybe you give tithes and offerings. Maybe you do a whole lot of things and yet Jesus Christ hasn't ignited your heart. And you feel you're backslidden spiritual estate, even now the call on your life is the call on those Pharisees lives, like the Pharisee Nicodemus in the Sanhedrin, to repent of your sins and to put your faith and your trust in Jesus Christ that you might live.
If you're a brand new convert and you are reading chapter 8 of The Gospel of John, you need to hear that you have freedom from sin. Chapter 8 verse 34 reads as follows, “Truly I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin. A slave does not remain in the household forever, but a son does remain forever. So if the son sets you free, you really will be free. Friends, in the book of Galatians chapter 5 verse 1 Paul says, “For freedom you have been set free.” The reality is as believers we have freedom from sin. Not only have we got freedom from sin, but because of the Holy Spirit within us, we have power over sin and the call on us as believers, is to live God honouring, righteous lives, walking in the good works which were prepared for us before the foundation of the world.
If you're a believer and you are reading John chapter 8, let me remind you something about Lordship Salvation. Jesus says in verse 51, “Truly I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” That concept is repeated through the entire chapter. If anyone keeps my word. Keeps my word, continued steadfastly in. Brothers and sisters, we are called to a life of holy living. We are called to bear fruit.
When we were found, we were rotten to the core. We were bad trees! Yet, God has tended and nurtured us. He has given us a brand-new heart so that we might be a good tree which produces good fruit. And that is the call on our lives, to abide in Christ that we might be much fruit to his praise and glory, both now and then into eternity to come.
That’s chapter 8 of John's gospel. And I trust even as we are under lockdown, that you are growing in your faith and your love for Jesus Christ.
Let’s close in a word of prayer.
Father God in heaven, indeed you are the light of the world. We know that that symbol of light is about purity, that that symbol of light is about truth. LORD Go, I pray that you would bring both Purity and Truth into our lives as we reflect upon Jesus Christ Our Lord and our Saviour. This I pray in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ himself, Amen.
May the Lord richly bless you.