home speaking schedule bookstore contact

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Jesus Continues Teaching in the Temple Area -- John 8:20-23


        Last week, we learned about witnesses. To continue in John 8:20, Jesus is teaching in the temple area near the place of the treasury where the offerings were received. He is speaking to the Pharisees who are a Jewish sect who commonly held feelings of superior sanctity. They were teachers of the Law who added an enormous amount of tradition that was passed down from one generation to the next. They practiced external righteousness being more concerned with the outward appearance than the inward feeling. (Taken from the Blue Letter Bible) Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees for this in Matthew 15:2-6. In other places in Matthew, Jesus called them a “brood of vipers.” (see Matthew 12:34; Matthew 23:33) 


Treasury
        The treasury was where charitable donations were deposited. It was between the Court of Women and the Court of Israel, so both male and female worshippers would be walking through this court. There were 13 trumpet-shaped vessels into which worshippers would put the various offerings used for the sacrifices and upkeep of the Temple. The first and second trumpet were for the ½ shekel of silver required of every male of age. It was considered a “ransom for their souls.” (Eldersheim in his book “The Temple” -- pg 47) (see Exodus 3:12) Jesus was God’s Sent One who would ransom many souls. (see Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6) Sin can only be atoned for by the shed, sinless blood of Jesus. He is the One who bridges the deep divide between heaven and earth.


The Sanhedrin
        The hall of the Sanhedrin Council was also between the court of women and the court of Israel (men), so it was in earshot of those to whom Jesus is directing His teachings.
         In the Older Testament, God commanded Moses to “bring me seventy of Israel's elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the Tent of Meeting that they may stand there with you" (Numbers 11:16).  This eventually became the Great Sanhedrin in ancient Israel. The Sanhedrin Council was basically the supreme court of ancient Israel. It was made up of 70 men and the high priest. In the Second Temple period, the Great Sanhedrin met in the Temple in Jerusalem. The court convened every day except festivals and on the Sabbath. The Sanhedrin as a body claimed powers that lesser Jewish courts did not have. As such, they were the only ones who could try the king or extend the boundaries of the Temple and Jerusalem, and were the ones to whom all questions of law were finally put. 
        The Sanhedrin had assembled this day to counsel against Jesus. Jesus had no fear of those who were opposing Him or the council. He spoke the Truth boldly. His Divine origin and Divine destination gave Him the right to say what He said about Himself and His Heavenly Father. His opponents were ignorant of this knowledge because they refused His words and didn’t believe that He is who He says He is.
           “Yet no one seized Him, because His time had not yet come.” John 8:20 Jesus had no fear of His opponents because He knew that they could not touch Him until the Father’s timing. While walking on earth in His flesh body, Jesus was in complete submission to His Heavenly Father’s will. Jesus lived and died to the pleasure of God -- not men. The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are undivided. It is the full Godhead that works to bring people to Christ and transform them into the image and likeness of God. The Godhead never contradicts one another but are always in agreement. God is not more powerful than Jesus and Jesus is not more powerful than the Holy Spirit. They are equal in power and might. This, my friends, is true unity. One part of the Godhead is not exalted or separated from the other. They are One and they act as One. Jesus and the Holy Spirit work together as One to do the Father’s will on earth as it is in heaven. They also work together in heaven as One with the Father. At the end of Revelation, the river of life (Holy Spirit) flows from the Father and the Lamb (Son). It was as the Lamb that Jesus was seated upon the throne in holy heaven, not as the Lion. Why? Heaven is the place of holiness and peace.


“Where I Go, You Cannot Come.”
        Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” John 8:22  Because the Pharisees wouldn’t believe in Christ and His Word, they would die in their sin. They are in bondage to their self-righteousness, their unbelief, their hatred toward Jesus and their bondage to their human, intellectual knowledge of the truth. With His grace and truth, Jesus is trying to warn these Pharisees of this as God told the prophet Ezekiel to do with Israel in Ezekiel 3:16-19. God’s ways don’t change! The Pharisees opposing Jesus cannot ascend to heaven with Jesus because they have rejected their only Savior. Being “in sin” will be the cause of their spiritual death. They will die unpardoned and unforgiven because their sins will not be atoned for by the shed, sinless blood of Jesus. There is no eternal life without Jesus. Those who do not believe in the Son of God – Jesus – can’t enter into the higher (spiritual) life with God. Sin separates us from God. The shed blood of Jesus removes our sin from the Father’s sight and declares us righteous restoring us to the Father and eternal life.
            God sent Jesus to earth to die for the sin of the whole world. In His comment about where He was going, Jesus was speaking of His death, resurrection and ascension to the Father. Jesus, who is all-knowing, was aware that the cross was before Him.
            Jesus was speaking to these same Pharisees in John 7:33-34 when He said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the One who sent Me. You will seek Me, but you will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come.” Jesus’ closing hours on earth are coming. The seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles is almost over. The Jews will be leaving Jerusalem for their homes. Jesus spiritually will also soon be returning to His eternal home with the Father. After Jesus is crucified, resurrected and ascended, these unbelievers will realize His words were true.
            Jesus didn’t leave this earth without assuring that a time will come when humanity will seek Him and find Him. (see John 8:22; John 13: 33-36; John 14:4) Jesus said this after His death on the cross. Jesus had to shed His sinless blood first, then be resurrected and ascend to the Father. These were the most important events in human history. His chosen apostles witnessed all of this. They heard Him speak of these things and saw the infallible proofs of the empty tomb and His resurrection, ascension and post-resurrection appearances. They also experienced the coming of God’s Holy Spirit at Pentecost. These chosen ones “heard” Jesus’ word and “saw” these events. (see Acts 10:39-43) The result is many people have received eternal salvation because Christ’s chosen ones witnessed of these things and boldly spoke of them.

“Will He Kill Himself?” John 8:22
        Again these Pharisees were looking through their fleshly eyes. They thought that this death was the only way He could go out of their reach. Since they had murder of Jesus in their hearts, perhaps they were hoping that Jesus would do the job for them! The Jews condemned suicide considering it a heinous sin worthy of descent into the darkest pit of hell. No doubt the anger and hatred in their hearts toward Jesus made them think that He may be worthy of such a descent.

“You Are From Below; I Am From Above.” John 8:23
        Jesus is showing these Pharisees the difference between their lower nature (earthly/fleshly) versus His higher (Divine/holy) nature. He is telling these religious leaders that He is the cure for their sin and separation from God. Unfortunately, they did not believe that they were sinful or separated from God because they had served God and Israel as religious leaders and teachers of the Law.
        Jesus’ finished work on the cross is the only bridge that connects what is above (heaven) and with what is below (earth). 
            Jesus continues, “You are of this world; I am not of this world. 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.”  Although Jesus is “in” the world, He is not “of” the world. He came from heaven and remained holy because He had no worldly sin. These religious leaders did not understand His words and His Divine holiness even in His earthly body. All of humanity by origin and nature of our flesh through the sin of the first holy man – Adam—are of the sensual, corrupt passions of the earthly.  Not Jesus! He is the Seed of God not man. He remained Divine (holy) even in His time on earth in the flesh. No other person can make this claim. Jesus by origin has the nature of heaven – pure and holy. In Him, the Divine and human meet. Jesus, by the power of His Word and Holy Spirit, will do the work of transforming sinful humanity back to their original holy nature in the first Adam before sin began.  God said in Leviticus 11:44-45, “Be holy, for I am holy.” The Apostle Peter repeated this in 1 Peter 1:16. Those who believe in Jesus and His finished work on the cross are to be citizens of heaven above by growing in holiness.

No comments:

Post a Comment