No Faith, No Life

Posted: May 3, 2015 in John

John 8:12-30, “No Faith, No Life”

“If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times!”  How many of us have said that to our children, or heard it from our parents?  Sometimes we need to be told something more than once in order for us to understand the point.  Sometimes we need to be told twice, three times, ten times, etc., and it still doesn’t sink in.

That was the case with the Jews in Jerusalem as Jesus continued to teach them about Himself.  There’s not much new in this section of Chapter 8 that hasn’t been taught elsewhere in the gospel of John.  So why does John include it all again?  Because it needed to be repeated.  No matter how many times Jesus both taught and demonstrated the truth about who He is, the Pharisees and other Jews just didn’t get it.  Their hearts were hardened due to their unbelief.  Their lack in Jesus demonstrated their lack of faith in God, despite their claims to the contrary.  All their lives they had studied the Scriptures, and yet they would still die in their sins.

The writer of Hebrews stated that “without faith it is impossible to please [God] for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hb 11:6)  The Jews had much, but they didn’t have faith.  And ultimately, without faith, they didn’t have anything.  Neither does anyone else.

Remember that Jesus had come down to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.  He arrived in secret (much to the disappointment of His brothers), but He didn’t remain secret for long.  As was His custom, Jesus caught at the temple, astounding the people with His knowledge.  Jesus taught the doctrine of God, which the people hadn’t yet grasped.  They were still trying to judge Jesus according to their own standards, rather than by the true standard of God.  Throughout the feast, the people were divided about Him.  Some questioned His origin – some questioned His calling – some questioned His purpose.  Some could barely contain themselves, and tried to have Jesus killed (or at least arrested, but they couldn’t touch Him as His hour had not yet come.

The feast had come to an end with Jesus offering to give living water (eternal life and the Holy Spirit) to all who would come to Him in faith.  To this point, Jesus was still rejected by the Pharisees and majority of people, even though some (like Nicodemus) believed.  All in all, it was a fairly tumultuous time in Jerusalem, just six months prior to Jesus’ destined appointment with the cross.

The narrative of John’s gospel was interrupted here, with an account of Jesus showing mercy to a woman caught in the very act of adultery.  Although we don’t know the exact timeframe of the story, we can see the truth and grace of Jesus on display as He quietly (yet boldly) exposes the hypocritical sin of the Pharisees, and lovingly calls the woman to repentance.  Jesus had not come to condemn her, but to invite her to receive of the grace of God.

That brings us to verse 12.  John’s gospel picks up in the narrative again, and it seems that Jesus is still in Jerusalem.  The timeframe is unlikely to have changed, so this seems to have taken place during the days immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles.

It begins with Jesus making a monumental statement about Himself, and it will eventually end with an even bigger one: that Jesus is the I AM seen by Abraham (8:58).  It’s going to take a while to progress to that point, though Jesus is going to strongly hint at the general idea early on (if not state it outright).  But the problem was that no matter what Jesus said, the Pharisees and other Jews already had hardened hearts.  They did not question Jesus to discover truth; they questioned Him as a stalling tactic.  They had no real faith as a foundation & without it, nothing else they said or did mattered.  Those who had the faith to truly seek God would end up with faith in Jesus.  If they sought one, they would find the other.  Why?  Because faith in Jesus isn’t merely one of many religious options; faith in Jesus is faith in the truth.

John 8:12–30
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

  1. It is the second of the major “I am” statements of Christ found in the gospel of John.  He used the phrase several other times alluding to His deity, but John highlights a few specific instances as Jesus teaches different aspects of His character and ministry.  The first statement was in Galilee after Jesus multiplied the bread and fish for 5000 men (plus women and children).  At that time, Jesus said that He was the bread of life.  He was the true manna of God that came down from heaven, and He is the One in whom we find eternal life and sustenance.  He is God’s provision for us during our earthly wandering and for our heavenly home.
  2. Now Jesus says that He is “the light of the world.”  John’s prologue declared that in Jesus (the λογος) was the light of men (1:4).  Here, Jesus does not merely have the light; He is the light.  Jesus is the One to give light to every man and woman of God in that He gives the light of life.  He gives salvation.  He gives to us everything we need to dwell as children of God.  Jesus is the “light” – He is the brightness of the glory of God (Hb 1:3), the very expression of God’s radiant shekinah glory.  Man cannot approach God in His perfect glory (even Moses had to be shielded from it – Exo 33-34), but God’s glory approached us in the Incarnate Son of God.
    1. Can our minds even begin to wrap around this?  This is beyond us!  The infinite shining pure glory of God approached us to bring us into the place we could never go on our own: the pure presence of the Almighty.  The glorious Jesus perfects and glorifies us so that we will spend eternity with the glorious Father.  Amazing!
  3. Remember that this statement likely followed the Feast of Tabernacles.  During the feast, there were several very large candlesticks set within one of the outer courts of the temple (the court of the women).  They were lit in a special ceremony during the feast, and the Mishnah talks about the light being so bright that all of Jerusalem was illuminated (Sukkah 5, 3).  The Feast of Tabernacles was a joyous memorial of God’s provision for Israel during the wilderness, and the light of God played an important role in all of this.  The presence of God had led Israel through the wilderness, how?  A pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  During the day, Israel saw the cloud (the chabod) – the weighty glory of God.  During the night they saw the fire (the shekinah) – the brightness of God’s radiant glory.  God’s glorious presence led them through the desert, and it is to this that Jesus directly tied Himself.  When He said “I am the light of the world,” He was saying “I am the glorious presence of God.”
  4. As the light of the world, what is it that Jesus does?  He gives the “light of life.”  Those who follow Jesus walk in light; not “darkness.”  Part of this is behavior…it’s holiness.  As John goes on to write in his 1st epistle, those who believe in Jesus ought to continually walk as He Himself walked (1 Jn 2:6).  Jesus walked in holiness & not sinful darkness, so His followers ought to do likewise.  (This makes sense when we think of the analogy.  If we’re following Jesus, then we walk where Jesus walked – we’re placing our feet in His footsteps…)  Beyond behavior, another part of not walking in darkness is simply a reference to light.  Those who have faith in Jesus will live forever in the glorious radiance of God.  Those who don’t will be forever cast into outer darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.
  5. BTW – Jesus did not only teach that He was the light of the world; He taught the same thing about those who have faith in Him.  “You are the light of the world…” (Mt 5:14a)  The difference?  Jesus is our source of light; Jesus is His own source of light.  Just like the moon has no light of its own, but simply reflects the light of the sun, so does the Christian reflect the light of Christ, the Son of God.  Our actions and testimonies ought to point to Him and His glory.
  6. So this is a BIG statement from Jesus!  Not surprisingly, it comes under a lot of criticism from the Pharisees.  It really sets up the rest of the interaction that takes place through the rest of Chapter 8, which culminates in the most direct “I am” statement in the whole gospel of John.

13 The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”

  1. On the surface, the skepticism of the Pharisees may seem understandable.  After all, if Jesus is going to tie Himself to the direct radiant presence of God (basically saying that He IS God), then that’s a big claim that requires big backup.  If anyone else made that claim, we’d be expecting a van full of men in white coats to come haul the person off.  But this isn’t any ordinary man; this is Jesus.  What He said was absolutely true, even if no one believed it.
  2. But the Pharisees aren’t skeptical because of an honest question; their skepticism was rooted in bitterness and opposition to Jesus.  They weren’t looking for truth; they were looking for a loophole.  They wanted a reason to deny Jesus’ claims, so tried to appeal to the law as a way around what Jesus said.  Even here they fall flat.  Jesus later acknowledges what the law of Moses said about two witnesses, but the law never once said that a single witness was invalid.  A single witness was insufficient to put someone to death (Dt 17:6), but just because a single person testified of something didn’t mean it was “not true.”  Just like the other times the legalists appealed to the law, they twisted it to their own purposes and missed the point entirely.
  3. But take it a step further.  Even if we grant the point of the Pharisees that a single witness was invalid (which it wasn’t), Jesus had already addressed this point before.  During an earlier visit to Jerusalem (a different feast), after coming under criticism for healing a man on the Sabbath day, Jesus spoke of four other witnesses besides Himself (5:31-40).  It wasn’t just Jesus, but it was John the Baptist, Jesus’ works of signs and doctrine, God the Father, and the Scriptures.  All of them testified strongly of Jesus that He is indeed the Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus hadn’t come with His own résumé, trying to build Himself up.   He came with the full credentials of God!

14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.

  1. Jesus doesn’t agree with their accusation that He testified of Himself, because He didn’t, and He’ll address it in a minute.  But for now, He grants them the possibility.  “Even if” He did as they said, His testimony would still be “true.”  Why?  Because facts are facts, no matter how much someone may dislike them.  The law of gravity will always be in effect on planet Earth, and someone who jumps off a bridge will fall, no matter how much they disagree with the idea.  The truth is simply the truth, no matter who tells it or how few people acknowledge it.  Facts are not established by popular vote.  They simply are, or they aren’t.  The fact about Jesus is that He is the Son of God…period.  That’s just the truth, whether or not the Pharisees (or anyone else) believe it.
  2. Jesus knew the facts.  He knew from whence He came & where He was headed.  The Pharisees were not present in eternity past when the Father, Son, and Spirit dwelt in infinite glory.  They weren’t there when God the Father created the entire universe through the λογος.  They weren’t there when the pre-incarnate Jesus walked in the Garden of Eden with Adam, or appeared to Abraham or Moses or anyone else.  The Pharisees weren’t present for anything that had taken place in the past, and they weren’t privy to the plan of God yet to be unveiled in the future.  Despite their history as the Jewish people, the Pharisees did not know the glories of heaven & would not be headed there (something Jesus explicitly tells them). They knew nothing of Jesus’ eternal past, and they would not participate in His eternal future.  But Jesus knew it, and it was (and is) the truth.
  3. Again, truth is truth, despite the popularity of the idea.  Praise God we live in a democratic republic, but sometimes we think democracy applies to everything else, such as truth and basic morality.  The holiness of God does not change based upon the whims of popular culture.  No matter how Congress votes or what the Supreme Court decides on any moral issue, the holiness of God is unchanging.  Likewise with truth itself.  Jesus is the not the Son of God based upon popular vote; He simply IS God.  That truth may be less & less popular these days in our culture, but it’s still the truth & it’s still something that every single man and woman will have to reckon with one day.  When a person stands before God for judgment, he won’t be able to say, “But it just wasn’t cool to be a Christian!”  The excuse doesn’t change the facts.

15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me.

  1. Not only is Jesus’ testimony true; so is His “judgment.”  The judgment of the Pharisees was false because they judged “according to the flesh.”  They looked at Jesus and judged Him according to their own false standards.  They judged Him according to their own twisted perversion of the perfect law of God.  They judged Him according to their traditions rather than by the truth.  Jesus basically told them the same thing earlier in the week when He pointed out how the Jews wanted Him dead because He healed a man on the Sabbath day. (7:24)  They judged according to appearance, rather than righteous judgment.  It’s the same thing here.  They judged according to the flesh, the standard of the world, the things that appeared right to their own eyes rather than the truth.
  2. Jesus contrasts His judgment with that of the Pharisees.  In vs. 15, He says that He judges no one; in vs. 16 He refers to His true judgment.  Contradiction?  No.  Simply a contrast.  Jesus did not judge as the Pharisees judged; Jesus’ judgment was right and true.  Jesus didn’t judge according to the standards of men; Jesus judges according to the standards of God.  At this point in His ministry, Jesus wasn’t judging anyone…but He would.  At the Great White Throne, there will be multitudes of people who are cast into hell, but not a single one will be able to claim that they received an unfair punishment.  The judgment of God is a righteous judgment.

17 It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”

  1. Jesus gets back to their accusation, ensuring that He corrects their misinterpretation of the Scriptures.  The testimony of one man didn’t invalidate a fact, but it couldn’t be used in a Jewish criminal court to establish a crime.  It took a minimum of two witnesses to put someone to death (Dt 17:6), and it took a minimum of two witnesses to establish any crime (Dt 19:15).  Even when it comes to sin within a church body, the Bible still mandates a minimum of two objective witnesses (Mt 18:16, 1 Tim 5:19).
  2. Of course, Jesus had two witnesses: Himself and His Father.  (Actually, He had four other witnesses besides Himself as He said in Ch. 5; but He only mentions the two here.)  Jesus could testify, and His Father testified.  Even if the Pharisees ignored the vast amount of other evidence (Jesus’ works, Jesus’ teachings, the testimony of John the Baptist, the fulfilled prophecies in the Scripture), then they ought to at least acknowledge that the bare minimum burden of proof had been met.  Jesus and His Father gave them all the testimony that they needed to believe that He is the Christ.
  3. When did the Father “bear witness” of Jesus?  If nowhere else, at Jesus’ baptism.  Matthew 3:16–17, "(16) When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (17) And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”"  That was just one of several instances when the Father verbally testified of Jesus.  That was the example given to John the Baptist that he might know the identity of Jesus (1:32-34).  And contextually, the fact that Jesus was able to do the works the Father had given Him to do was evidence of God’s testimony of Jesus.  As the Pharisee Nicodemus noted, no one could do the signs that Jesus did unless God was with him (3:2).
    1. The testimony concerning Christ is abundant!  There is ample evidence that Jesus is exactly who He claims to be: the Son of God.  And the strongest testimony of God concerning His Son is found in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Rom 1:4).  Be not unbelieving, but believing!  For those who are waiting for an excuse, there is none.  The Father testifies of His Son, and there is no greater witness than that of the Creator God.

19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”

  1. It’s a bit uncertain here if the Pharisee’s question was one of ignorance or an insult.  Jesus had repeatedly referenced His Father, and how the Father sent Him (and would do so many more times), and so the Pharisees ask about His Father.  They’re unwilling to admit even the possibility that Jesus’ Father is Almighty God, so they ask about the location of His earthly father.  The idea of insult comes in with the rumors of Jesus’ illegitimate birth.  The Pharisees (like everyone else) knew that Jesus had come from Nazareth in Galilee, and it wouldn’t exactly have taken a crack research team to find out what the townspeople likely said about Joseph and Mary regarding Jesus.  The Pharisees seem to imply here that Jesus didn’t know where His dad was, and this illegitimate child couldn’t really be trusted on too much.
  2. Jesus gets to the main issue that was behind the veiled insult: the Pharisees didn’t know Jesus’ Father.  Jesus’ true Father is God the Father, and the Pharisees didn’t have a clue who He was.  Keep in mind that the Pharisees were Jews.  They had received the law of Moses and been recipients of the covenants that was passed down from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David.  How could anyone claim that they did not know God?  If any people on earth knew God, surely it was the Jews who had the Holy Scriptures!  Ultimately it didn’t matter what they had, because they didn’t have faith.  Whatever Scriptures they memorized served them no good because they didn’t know the God who gave the Scriptures.  They took their pride in being children of Abraham (which will be made plain later in Ch. 8), but they demonstrate easily that they don’t know the God of Abraham, and they do not have the faith of Abraham.  How so?  They don’t know Jesus.  Their willful ignorance of Jesus proved their lack of faith in God.
  3. If that seems rather black & white, that’s because it is.  If someone truly knows God as God, then they will know Jesus as His Son.  If they don’t, they won’t.  That idea runs so counterculture to how people like to think, but again – facts are facts.  There are many people who say that they’ve got a great relationship with God & that they are truly spiritual; they just don’t believe in Jesus & don’t want anything to do with church.  If they don’t believe in Jesus, then they don’t know God.  As Jesus told the Pharisees, if they knew Him, they would have known His Father.  One simply goes with the other.  All the religions of the world (including Judaism) that claim to worship the One True God while rejecting the Biblical Jesus don’t know God at all.  It doesn’t matter what they claim, because they’ve rejected the truth. 
    1. Objection: “Come on, that’s so narrow-minded!  Surely people can know God without bowing to your version of it.”  (1) It’s not my statement; it’s Jesus’.  (2) The truth is narrow, by definition.  If something is true, it automatically excludes all other possibilities.  If atheism were true, it would exclude every possibility of any other religion.  If Islam were true, then every other view of God would be false, etc.  Biblical Christianity isn’t any more narrow minded than any other religion; it just happens to be the truth. 

20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.

  1. John gives a quick note about the setting.  Jesus taught these things near the temple “treasury.”  It didn’t have anything to do with money, but location.  The temple treasury was in the court of the women…the same location as where the large lamps were placed for the Feast of Tabernacles as Jesus claimed to be the light of the world.
  2. Once more, the people were upset at His teaching, but no one could touch Him.  As John noted several times in Chapter 7, “His hour had not yet come.”  It was coming, but it hadn’t yet arrived.  Jesus would not be taken to the cross before the perfect timing of God, and at that point the prophecies concerning Him would be perfectly fulfilled.

21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.” 22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”

  1. For all the times that the Jews tried to take Jesus, it’s only natural that Jesus would talk about “going away,” though the Jews didn’t really understand what Jesus meant by it all.  He told them something similar during the feast, that He would be going to the One who sent Him, and thought the Jews would look for Him they wouldn’t find Him. (7:33)  They didn’t understand Him at that time either, thinking that perhaps Jesus referred to taking His teaching to the Gentiles. (7:35)  Here, they get a little bit closer to the truth in that they wonder if Jesus is referring to His death, but they still don’t understand.  They think Jesus is referring to suicide; not execution.
  2. Obviously Jesus would die when He went to the cross, and He would lay down His own life.  Yet that is a far cry from suicide!  Jesus did not kill Himself; He gave Himself…and there’s a big difference.  Suicide is an act of supreme selfishness; Jesus’ sacrifice is an act of supreme love.
  3. In the confusion over Jesus’ death, the Jews missed the main point of what Jesus actually said.  He would die, but He would go somewhere the Jews would not be able to follow.  The Jews would die, and they would die in their sin.  That’s a BIG problem!  Jesus doesn’t want them to miss the point, so He repeats it…

23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

  1. The Jews were of the earth, just like all men are of the earth.  If humans want to live in heaven, we have to have a new birth – a spiritual birth.  That’s the birth that only comes through the Holy Spirit, and without it no man or woman can even enter heaven.  Jesus made this point when talking to Nicodemus.  John 3:5–6, "(5) Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."  Earthly flesh cannot enter eternity; it has to be reborn and remade (which will physically take place in the future resurrection – 1 Cor 15:35-53).  Likewise our spirits have to be reborn, because when we are first born, we have an earthly spirit…which means we are spiritually dead.  We have to have a new birth, one in which our spirit receives life.  That’s what Jesus promises, and that’s what Jesus gives to those who believe in Him. 
  2. Praise God for that promise!  But what happens to those who don’t believe? “You will die in your sins.”  They will die without the forgiveness of God, and they will be doomed for all eternity.  Again, Jesus gives a stark message – we might even call it “turn or burn.”  It’s an either/or situation.  People either believe upon Jesus and receive the life and light and grace He gives, or they reject Jesus and walk in darkness and die in their sins.  There’s no middle-ground.  There’s no purgatory for a second chance to work off sins.  There’s no universal forgiveness as the Great White Throne of God.  There is either death or life…and Jesus offers life!
  3. How do we receive life?  By believing (in Jesus’ words) “that I am.”  The “He” is supplied by the translators & is not originally in the text.  Contextually, the translation is accurate, but it seems obvious that Jesus is hinting at something huge here.  He’s not just saying that people need to believe that “He” is the One who came from the Father.  He is saying that He is the “I AM” – the very Person of God Himself.  That was the name God said of Himself to Moses, and Jesus is going to overtly use it later in Chapter 8.  He’s not quite as direct here, but He’s certainly priming the pump.  Unless people believe that Jesus is the I AM, then they will die in their sins.
    1. Do you believe?  Do you know Jesus not just as a Prophet sent by God, but as God Himself?  Without faith in Jesus, then you are in the same position as the Jews of Jerusalem: you will die in your sins.  There is no forgiveness for those who turn away from the forgiveness offered by Jesus.  We are left to deal with every single sin on our own.  Every lie told, every prideful thought, every lust-filled gaze, every hateful idea – all of it will have to be answered for on the day of judgment.  Without Jesus, we have no sacrifice for our sin.  His death on the cross is the only thing sufficient to pay the price.  Any why is He sufficient?  Because He is the I AM!  If Jesus was just any other man, we’d all be lost.  How could Jesus pay the price for the sin of the world, if Jesus was just a human like everyone else?  Jesus is human, but He is far more than human!  He is the infinite God Himself – He is the great I AM.

25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning.

  1. The people are still confused – either legitimately or through willful blindness, but the end result is the same.  Those who don’t believe are doomed.  Earlier in the Feast of Tabernacles they went through a whole list of possibilities of who Jesus might be: the Prophet, the Christ, some deceiver.  This time, instead of talking about Jesus, they ask Him directly.  And although Jesus never directly uses the words “Messiah,” or “God,” He doesn’t hide the issue either.  Jesus had been clear that He had been sent by God to do the will of God in the power of God.  He was the expression of the glory of God, the One sent to give light and salvation to all who would believe.

26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” 27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.

  1. No matter how many times Jesus told them, they still didn’t understand.  Again, He had been sent by God to do the work and will of God.  It’s not as if Jesus kept this a secret.  John records Jesus’ teaching about being sent from God in 3:16-17, 4:34, 5:23-24, 5:36-38, 6:29,40,44,57, 7:16-18, 7:29,33.  He could hardly have been more open about His claims!  And yet they still didn’t understand.  Why?  Because they had no faith.  They chose not to believe, and their hearts were left hardened.  They chose not to believe, and their eyes remained blinded.  Without faith it’s impossible to please God, and it’s impossible to understand the truth of God no matter how many times we are told.

28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.

  1. When might they believe?  When Jesus was lifted up.  When He went to the cross and rose from the dead, the Jews (and all the world) would be left with unmistakable proof that every single claim made by Jesus is true.  They would know that Jesus is the I AM (same wording used), and that everything Jesus did was done in the will of God.  The cross would make Christ clear to all the world.
  2. Even then, a choice has to be made.  Jesus said that when the Son of Man was lifted up that the people would “know,” yet most of the Jews in Jerusalem still did not believe upon Jesus that day.  As He hung on the cross, He was continually reviled and mocked.  Even after rising from the dead, many Jews remained in their sin (though over 3000 came to faith on Pentecost).  The proof was there.  People could look to the cross and empty tomb and know that Jesus is the I AM.  But the choice still has to be made to believe.  Without the decision to have faith, we remain unchanged.

29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.”

  1. Jesus’ coming death on the cross wasn’t a sign of God’s disapproval; it was the fulfillment of the work that the Father had sent Him to do.  To that point, the Father would always be with Him, the Father would always approve of Him, the Father would always be glorified in Him.  And that doesn’t change after the cross!  The Father is still glorified in Jesus, and the Father is still pleased with Jesus.  He is so pleased with Jesus that He has given Him the name that is above every name, that one day every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God!

30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

  1. Some made the choice.  How many would maintain that choice is unsaid.  As Chapter 8 goes on, their faith seems to be a bit shaky and uncertain.  But at least some made the choice to believe.  Have you?

So where does that leave you?  Perhaps like the Pharisees and other Jews of Jerusalem, you find yourself hearing the truth of Jesus repeated to you yet again.  It’s one more church service, one more gospel preacher, one more _____.  What you might not realize it that all the repetition is a gift from God.  The Almighty Creator of the Universe has looked upon you and given you one more show of mercy because what this is, is one more opportunity to be saved.  The Jews had opportunities repeatedly handed to them.  They had Jesus right in front of them & they could ask any question of Him they desired.  And Jesus freely answered.  But He never forced anyone to come to faith and believe.  Ultimately, that was a choice they had to make for themselves.  He told them the truth – He gave all the evidence and testimony that was needed – He offered them light & life & forgiveness…but they had to believe, or else they would still die in their sins.

Jesus is making that same offer to you today.  He is (and will always be) the light of the world – the very expression of the glory of God – the I AM Himself.  When He went to the cross and rose from the grave, we received all the testimony we ever needed to place our faith in Him.  But at some point, we have to make the choice to actually do it.  Today might be your day.  Make that choice.  Believe & receive life.  Know Jesus, and know the Father.

For the rest of us, we have believed – and we rejoice!  Our faith is in Jesus, the light of the world.  We have the guarantee of eternal life, and we have the promise of going where Jesus is (the presence of God in heaven). So now what?  Continue believing.  Keep your eyes upon Christ, the light of the world – our light & life.  Every hope we have is in Him.  Every grace we experience is because of Him.  Every gift from God we receive is through Him.  He is our all in all.  Never lose sight of that! 

It’s so easy to turn faith in Jesus into a one-time thing.  As if we believe in Him to be saved from hell, but that’s it.  No, when we come to faith in Jesus, He becomes our everything.  May we live as if He is!

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