About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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The Validity Of  Jesus’ Testimony (ch. 8:12-30)


In verse 12 Jesus says that He 'is the light of the world."  He goes on to say that if we follow Him we won’t "walk in darkness."  This is yet another way of saying what Jesus has already said.  He said that if we drink from Him we won’t ever be thirsty again.  He said that if we eat from Him we will never be hungry again.  Now, if we follow Him, the light, will never walk in darkness.


Jesus is implying that if we don’t follow Him we will walk in darkness.  The general population doesn't realize it, but they are walking in darkness because they’ve never seen the spiritual light of day to know any different.  They think that the darkness they are in is actually light.  If they ever see the light, they'd certainly know the difference between light and dark.  They'd know that what they think is light if really pretty black.


The Greek sentence structure suggests that Jesus is "the one and only light."  He is not one of many lights.  This goes to the importance of what Jesus says about Himself.  We all need to seriously consider what Jesus says about Himself because no sane man in history has made such claims that has any impact on society.


It seems strange to me that so many Christians who claim to have the light walk in darkness. The same is that they claim to have the water and bread of life but still hunger and thirst after the things the world offers them.    


Why did Jesus use the figure of light?  During the Feast of Tabernacles, every night, (some say only one night) the Jews lit very large candles mounted on candle holders.  These were so big that one needed a ladder to climb up to light the candle.  The candle light would light up a large area.  With this in mind, Jesus was stating that He was the real light of the world, not these huge candles.


What does light mean?  We have said earlier that when Jesus and John the Baptist spoke of light they meant the light of understanding.  The old phrase says, "That has shed light on the subject" means something has caused us to understand a particular subject.  Once we understand we can think and then live out what we understand.  We’re not walking in a darkened understanding.  This is what I believe Jesus is saying here.


In verse 13 the Pharisees tell Jesus that He has no witnesses to His claim.  Therefore, they don't believe a word He is saying, yet, Jesus has already addressed this issue.  He has said that John the Baptist was a witness and most of all, God His Father was a witness.  Jesus has clearly stated that what He says is not His own words.  Of course, God being a witness is not acceptable to the Pharisees. 


In verse 14 Jesus answers their question by saying that even if He did testify on His own behalf He believed His testimony was true because He knew exactly where He came from, and that was His Father God.  He further states that the Pharisees had no idea where He came from and therefore they had no business judging Him on this matter. Again, Jesus was stating His divinity, something the Pharisees could not accept.  As we've seen throughout John's account, the Deity of Christ is predominant in his account. John emphasizes this point because at the turn of the first century, when I believe John wrote this account, the doctrine of the Deity of Christ was under attack.       


In verse 15 Jesus tells
 the Pharisees that they are judging Him according to human standards.  These human standards were mentioned in the last chapter.  They were judging by appearance and with the wrong motivation.  They did not have all the facts to make a right judgement.   Christians today need to know that Jesus was not against us making a judgment.  He simply taught that we must judge according to the facts of any matter, and, judgment must be fair, not based on wrong motivations. 


Jesus then tells the Pharisees that He doesn’t judge at all, and even if He did, His judgement would be correct because He judges along with His Father. 


Is there a contradiction here?  In one phrase Jesus says He doesn’t judge, then the next phrase He says, "But if He does judge, His judgement is right."  What does this mean?  I think Jesus means that He has not come into the world to judge or condemn people.  He has come into the world to save the world.   Jesus did judge situations and commented on them.  When he threw the money changer tables over in the temple, I think that is a judgment call. When He met the woman at the well, He judged the situation, not necessarily the woman, and told her that she had five previous husbands, and, the man she was with was not her husband. 


When He tells the Pharisees that they are hypocrites, that is in one sense of the word a judgment call.  He’s not condemning them at this point. They condemn themselves by their unbelief.   He is analyzing these men and coming up with the conclusion that they are hypocrites.  In one sense this is judging, yet it is not a judgment with consequences, meaning, a reward or a penalty attached to it. Jesus does make these kinds of judgements, and when He does, He is right.


In verse 17 Jesus reminds the Pharisees that the Law of Moses stated that they needed two or three witnesses to make a proper judgment concerning people.  This law of Judaism is part of the backbone of western world law and justice.  Once again in verse 18 He is clear that His Father also testifies on His behalf.  Jesus has the supreme witness.


In verse 19 the Pharisees specifically ask, "Where is your father?"


Jesus replied by saying that they did not really know Him or His Father.  He had told them over and over again who His Father was.  Why should He tell them again?  The Jewish leadership simply refuses to listen to Him. 


In verse 20 we see once again the phrase, "His time had not yet come."  This time this phrase is used in reference to Jesus being seized and taken away.  They did not, nor could they, take Him at this particular time because His time had not yet come.  Again, because of the use of this statement we know that God has a timetable for everything.   


In verse 21 we see further repetition on Jesus’ part.  He says that He is going away somewhere and they will look for Him but will not find Him, "but will die in their sin."  Jesus is saying that this generation of Jews will die in their sins, die without finding the truth of the gospel.  They will receive their eternal reward in hell.  For the most part, that generation of Jews was lost.  Within the next few decades many of these Jews were killed when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem .   


Jesus said, "You will seek me but not find me. "  What does that mean”?   In other places He says that He will be found for those who seek Him.  The most probable explanation can be found in Amos 8:11 where God says that He will send a famine, not a famine of bread, but a famine of the Word of God.  Jesus might be saying that since you have rejected me, God will not send you any more Words from Him.  You will be lost without the true bread of life.  You’ll never find it, and you’ll die in your sin.


The last time Jesus said this the Jews thought that Jesus was going to go and live with the Gentiles.  This time, in verse 22, they’re wondering if He was going to kill Himself.  They seem to be straining at understanding Jesus.    


In verse 23 Jesus doesn’t answer their question with a direct answer.  He told them that they were of this world and He wasn’t.  They could never understand what He was saying unless they gave themselves to Him.  You can see that Jesus places a major distinction between "the world" and the place where He came from.   Since the fall of man in Genesis 3 the world represents the depraved nature of human existence.  Mankind is separated from the things of God and the only way for us to begin to understand the heavenly nature is through the Holy Spirit.  The world just does not understand Christians, and you can't expect them to understand you as a Christian.  


Our problem, even as Christians, is that we have given ourselves to the pursuit of earthly and worldly things.  Much of our time and energy is directed towards things on earth, not things in Heaven.  We reap the consequences of our earthly desires.  We store treasures on earth, not in Heaven, and we reap the sad consequences.


In verse25 the Jews ask, "Who are you?"  This must have been very irritating for Jesus.  He has told them over and over again who He claims to be and they have the nerve to ask Him again.  They just don't get it.


In verse 25 Jesus answers.  He says, "Just who I have claimed to be all along."  This is nothing knew to the ears of these Jews.  They had no need to ask Jesus who He was.


Jesus then goes on to say in verse 26 that He has much to say in judgement against these people.  What does He mean by this in light that He has just told us that He hasn’t come to judge?  Jesus is not going to stand in judgement against the Jews at this time.  He will do that at the end of the age, but, the words He speaks when rejected by the Jews bring judgement on those listening.  Their rejection of these words caused God’s judgment to fall on them.   God would be the one to judge them at the present time.   There is a difference between Jesus directly judging these people and His rejected words causing God’s judgement to fall on them.


Then Jesus goes on to tell them once again that He has a Father in Heaven that tells Him what He needs to pass on to the world.  In verse 27 we see that these Jews simply did not understand anything Jesus had to say about His Father.  At this point, they didn't really want to understand anyway.  


This section ends in verse 27 and following somewhat prophetically.  Jesus says that "When they lift Him up," meaning, "Lift Him up on the cross," then they will understand who He really is.  You can see this as Jesus dies on the cross. The guards and many around the cross beat their breasts out of great sorrow for they knew at that point that they had murdered their Messiah. 


Even though many could not understand, or did not want to understand, John tells us that some did believe what Jesus was saying.  In every crowd of people, some will accept the gospel we preach, and some will reject it.  Be assured, God will have His remnant of people in every group. 


Note in verse 29 Jesus says that His Father will never leave Him alone.  Could this be prophetic as well?  While on the cross, Jesus cried out, "Why have you forsaken me?"  God had not forsaken Jesus.  He simply, for a short period of earthly time, turned His back on Jesus while on the cross.  This was part of the judgment that Jesus had to go through.  Jesus died in our place.  He was judged in our place.  God had to turn His back on Jesus.  That was part of the plan, but, there is a big difference between turning your back and walking away.  God did not walk away from Jesus. 


Again, verse 30 ends with the point that some in the crowd did believe in Jesus.  Again, God has His remnant in ay crowd.       


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