Saturday 18 July 2020

Bible Book:

So Jesus said, ‘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 Saturday 18 July 2020

Psalm: Psalm 78:1-7


This is the second part of a debate that began at verse 12. Up to verse 20 the Pharisees were Jesus’s debating partners; now it becomes “the Jews” (v. 22). From verse 31 it will become “the Jews who believed in him”.  Today’s passage like the previous one ends with a comment from John as the narrator, this time that “many believed in him” after hearing what Jesus had to say.

The question of Jesus’s identify is at the heart of this passage, not just because of his questioners’, “Who are you?” (v. 25) but  in view of the two absolute “I am” statements (verse 24 and 28), usually rendered in English as “I am he” although the Greek simply says with emphasis on the pronoun, “I am”. Before making this assertion Jesus talks about going away, by which he means returning to heaven, but the Jewish leaders do not comprehend because they do not accept his divine status and heavenly origin.

The singular “sin” in the phrase “you will die in your sin” (v. 21) points to the primary sin of disbelief rather than particular wrongdoings; it becomes “sins” in the plural when Jesus repeats the thought in verse 24, because the basic sin leads to many others. To reject Jesus is to reject God, bringing about separation from God, the source of life, and resulting in  'death' in the most profound sense. This has been previously explained in this Gospel (John 3:3-16) where the idea of being “from above” in verse 23 of this passage was also first used. Compare John 3:31 with the whole sense of this verse.

The time that they (or some of them) will at last understand the intimate relationship Jesus claims with the Father, will be “when you have lifted up the Son of Man” (v. 27). “Son of Man” is his preferred role descriptor, and being “lifted up” is considered a deliberately double-meaning reference both to being hung on a cross and subsequently exalted to heaven; it is used also in 3:14 and 12:32-34.


To Ponder:

  • How would you define 'sin'? How does this compare with the understanding of the people around you?
  • If you are a believer in Jesus what was it that led you to believe in him? Why do you think many people do not?  Have you asked them about their reasons?
  • How does the death of Jesus point to who he truly is in a way that his life and teaching could not?
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