Friday, December 30, 2011

John 8 21 to 31

21 Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come.
22 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.
23 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.
24 I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
25 Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
26 I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.
27 They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.
28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
29 And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Key Observation:
You shall die in your sins unless you believe in Christ.


Many believed on Him. Again John gives us the idea of many. But, again, it is not clear if the belief was effectual or not; that is, did the people go on and believe in the resurrected Christ, or was their belief more of a passing fancy? I cannot be sure from the passage. It is evident to me that besides the ones who believed, there were also many who did not. I think that Jesus was highly controversial and everyone had an opinion of Him, some saying He is the Messiah, while others were saying He needed to be silenced.

Today I hear many opinions about this same Jesus. One solitary man has changed all of history. Millions of people claim to know Him and the power of His resurrection. Over hundreds of years many lives have been radically altered by their finding Jesus. From Isaac Watts to Chuck Colson, the world has seen dramatic transformation of men and women who have witnessed of the power of Jesus.

Not long ago, I sat eating lunch next to a woman and I had opportunity to discuss some of the things of the Bible with her. I was presenting the claims of Christ to her and not long into the discussion, she raised her objection. She said, ‘That may be what the Bible says, but how do we know it is true?’ She objected, I think, to the passage where Christ says, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me. Overtly, at least, she objected to the truth of the Bible, questioning whether what we had today was really what was originally written.

It is beyond the scope of this short page to deal completely with her objection, but this is one fact “you can take to the bank”. Never have more men poured over manuscripts with fact-checking and comparisons, in checking the original words of Scripture. This is a field called ‘textual criticism’ and perhaps all you might need to know from this devotion is that there are thousands of extant manuscripts, and there is little variation in any of them. One of the few passages that are challenged is found in the first portion of the chapter I am now writing about. When I reach a passage like that, I always mention that it is of questionable authority. I am surprised that there are so few passages that are questioned. There are literally thousands of portions of early manuscripts that have been discovered, and Bible scholars are in agreement most of the time: the Bible is a reliable impartation of what actually took place during the early church.

What is the modern man to do with Jesus? I think I find three different, but common responses when I am talking to people about Christ. First, there are people who say He is a great teacher. But that option is not really open as a valid logical choice. In the passage just above, He claimed to be from above, and there are many other passages, including the verses at the end of this chapter, where Jesus takes the “I am” name or “Jehovah”, and the Jewish leaders sought to kill Him for what they thought was blasphemy.

Second, and logically, a person may think Jesus to be a lunatic. After all, He claimed to be God, to exist from eternity past, and He told men everywhere that all they had to do was believe in Him, and their souls would be saved from Hell. Isn’t that the message of a mad man? I would submit that an examination of what Jesus said and thought, and the reaction of the crowds around Him to His many miracles show that calling him a lunatic is not a logical option.

If, then, I do not find Jesus as a great teacher, and I do not find Jesus as a lunatic, what is the third option? The third and only viable option is that Jesus was exactly who He said He was. He is the Son of God, the Word made flesh, the Light of the world, the Lamb of God, and the great “I am”. He died on the cross, just as He planned, and just as He said, He is coming back one day both to collect His believers and to rule the earth from Jerusalem. Maybe that is an option that you might consider as we go into another uncertain year.

Ask Ye What Great Thing I Know

1. Ask ye what great thing I know,
That delights and stirs me so?
What the high reward I win?
Whose the Name I glory in?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

2. What is faith's foundation strong?
What awakes my heart to song?
He Who bore my sinful load,
Purchased for me peace with God,
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

3. Who is He that makes me wise
To discern where duty lies?
Who is He that makes me true
Duty, when discerned to do,
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

4. Who defeats my fiercest foes?
Who consoles my saddest woes?
Who revives my fainting heart,
Healing all its hidden smart?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

5. Who is life in life to me?
Who the death of death will be?
Who will place me on His right,
With the countless hosts of light?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

6. This is that great thing I know;
This delights and stirs me so;
Faith in Him Who died to save,
Him Who triumphed over the grave:
Jesus Christ, the Crucified.

Lyrics: Johann Christoph Schwedler

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