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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Who Are You? -- John 8:25-32


      Jesus has been revealing to the Jewish Pharisees that He is the One God sent to show them the Father and to save them from the bondage of sin. Still they question Him because they are looking with “natural” eyes while Jesus is speaking in the “spiritual.” Jesus came from the spiritual realm and that is where He is returning. Believers in Christ must also be “born” from above – spiritual birth through Christ -- and continue to mature spiritually from being a babe in Christ to a mature Christian. As children of God, our goal is higher. God has high standards. It is the pure truth anointed by the Holy Spirit that helps us reach God’s higher goal.

Who Are You? – John 8:25

        The Pharisees ask Jesus this question. Jesus responds, “Just what I have been claiming all along.” In other words, “I am what I am telling you.” He is not lying to them. He only speaks Truth. Jesus is the truth personified. However, in His flesh body, He relied upon the Father to instruct Him, just as we are to rely upon the Godhead to instruct us. Jesus taught:

·         The pure Truth

·         About Himself

·         About His Heavenly Father

·         About the Holy Spirit

·         Plainly

·         In Parables

You may recall that God told Moses in Exodus 3:14, “I am who I am.” Then God told Moses to tell the Israelites that “I am has sent me to you.” God did send Moses to lead and deliver the Israelites from earthly bondage in Egypt and to lead them to the earthly Promised Land of God. This foreshadowed the ultimate and perfect One whom God would send to the Israelites and the whole world to deliver all from spiritual bondage to sin and lead all to the Heavenly Promised Land. Jesus is that Great “I am.” These religious Jewish leaders refused to believe Jesus. God wants it to be known that He is eternal, present and active. His faithful love and care and his desire to redeem His people will be with them. “I am” will be His name forever. So God sent Jesus who is also eternal to deliver His people from spiritual, eternal bondage to sin and to teach us the ways of the Father. Moses couldn’t do this.

Judgment

        Jesus also tells these Jewish Pharisees, “I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent Me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him, I tell the world.” 8:26 Jesus could have judged these leaders, but He didn’t come the first time to judge. He came to seek and find, save, teach, heal and multiply. At the end of the age, He will judge in righteous judgment.

Son of Man lifted up – John 8:27-29

        The Pharisees didn’t understand that Jesus was speaking of His Heavenly Father. 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 shown Me. The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:28-29 Jesus is speaking of a time soon when He will be lifted up on the cross as a criminal to die for all sin by these very men He is speaking with. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of the suffering and glory of the Servant in 52:13. Keep in mind that the Pharisees knew and taught the Older Testament scriptures. They should have recognized that Jesus is showing them that He is the Servant who would suffer and then be lifted up in glory. Through Jesus’ suffering many would be forgiven, justified, redeemed and set free from sin. His suffering also led to His exaltation and glory. Jesus did God’s will perfectly and was highly exalted as a result. Either these Pharisees will see the truth of Jesus in the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension as their Savior and Redeemer or they will see Him in the judgment when they see Him as Judge.

Those who believe in Jesus and His finished work of the cross are to be citizens of heaven above. We are to live “in” the Lord. This means we are to live like Him. The worldly cannot receive the Spirit of Truth because they are spiritually blinded to the Truth through their rejection of Jesus. The opening of our eyes to the truth is the work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Without Him, we are blinded.

Jesus said that God is always with Him because He always does what pleases Him. In other words, Jesus was obedient to the Father continuously, perfectly and completely. No one else can make this claim! Sin separates a person from Holy God. Jesus has the very mind of God because He is sinless (holy). Jesus who is sinless has been the nature of God throughout all eternity from beginning to end. He is full of grace and truth. (see John 1:14)

            “Even as He spoke, many put their faith in Him.” V30 Jesus’ words and wisdom are powerful. There is no wisdom greater or more powerful than the Word of God. His words brought many to salvation through their faith in Him.

True Discipleship – John 8:31-32

Then Jesus spoke to “the Jews who believed in Him” and His words, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 Jesus is telling these new converts that true discipleship requires not just knowing the Truth, but believing and walking in it. When we gain knowledge of His Word and obey it, we grow and mature spiritually. Then the Word will "abide" (live) in us. The truth will liberate us from false truth, ignorance, sin and Satan’s dominion. When Jesus spoke on earth, He was speaking pure truth. Real liberty comes from pure truth. Our “natural” man is in bondage to sin and the devil. Jesus gave the characteristics of one who is a genuine disciple of His – he who continues in His word. These will know the truth and the truth will set them free.This implies that those who don’t know the Truth are in bondage. Unfortunately, the “natural man” without Christ is destitute of righteousness and God’s spiritual life. (see Isaiah 64:6-7)  Our “natural man” is also without spiritual wisdom and spiritual power and therefore, unable to do any spiritual good for God and man. And, our “natural man” is destitute of freedom because of our bondage to sin and the devil. Man is a fallen creature who is totally depraved because he is under the dominion of sin and cannot cease from sin. (see 2 Peter 2:14) Jesus said in John 8:34, “Everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” Jesus gives His audience the remedy. Nothing but the Truth of Jesus Christ can deliver them.

At the endtime, for those who refuse “to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:10), God will send “a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11) Truth is redemptive; a lie is destructive. We are told to love the truth that sets us free. The father of Truth is God; the father of lies is Satan. Jesus is telling these Pharisees who have it in their hearts to kill Him that there is no exception to this truth. In His grace and truth, Jesus is warning even those who want to kill him that He is the only way out of spiritual bondage and into eternal life. Their lineage to Abraham can’t save them.




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