Friday

“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realise that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me.” (v. 28)

John 8:21-30 Friday 11 April 2014


Background

Jesus continues his dialogue in the temple courtyards inJerusalem, although now he is described as speaking to the Jews(verse 22) as opposed to the Pharisees (John8:13). It is possible that this may be the same group ofpeople, although the fact that "many believed in him" (v. 30)suggests this was a more general group of people attending theFeast of the Tabernacles who were listening in to Jesus and hisearlier discussion with the Pharisees.

As often happens in John's Gospel, those listening to Jesusmisunderstand what he is saying. This time they think he intends tocommit suicide and then ask the most basic of questions "Who areyou?" (v. 25). Jesus appears frustrated by this repeatedmisunderstanding but nevertheless continues to explain things tothem, although he goes on to suggest that they won't reallyunderstand until the Son of Man has been "lifted up" (v. 28), aclear reference to his forthcoming crucifixion. They are also wordsthat echo those from Isaiah52:13, underlining the divine identity of Jesus.

Jesus criticises his listeners for their sin. In this instancethe word sin is singular and suggests that it is not individualmisdeeds that Jesus has in mind, but the fundamental sin ofunbelief. Failure to believe in Jesus, and that he reveals theglory of the Father, will lead to a spiritual death. The beliefthat "I am he" (v. 24) links to the words again found in Isaiah43:10, "my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know andbelieve in me and understand that I am he".


To Ponder

  • Imagine you were one of the people listening to Jesus. Talk ofhis own death does not appear to have disturbed those listening tohim. What would your reaction have been?
  • Would you have understood what Jesus was saying? To what extentwould you "believe in him" (v. 30)?
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