Journey with Christ

Jesus is the Light of the World (Journey 37)

We are seeing the conclusion of Jesus’ Ministry in the following stories about Him. It is sincerely held that these are many of the events that are most important in understanding the deep-seated emotions Jesus held toward people, and understand the things that shape the path to the Cross. We are beginning in Luke 9:51-56; John 7:10, where Jesus is journeying from Capernaum through Samaria to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus sets out to go to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. He sends messengers to prepare the way for Him. His journey takes Him through Samaria. When the Samaritans do not receive him, the Disciples James and John suggest to Him to call down fire from Heaven and consume the Samaritans. Jesus rebukes James and John, and then declares that He came “not to destroy” men’s lives, but to save them.

What can we learn here: Don’t make it a big deal to appreciate popularity or try to create popularity, because people will not always be kind and friendly to you. If you continue to dwell on popularity, you may miss the chance to love people, because your preconception is popularity. Just because someone does not like you, does not give you a reason to withhold love from them. It does not matter who likes you, it matters who Jesus is and that He loves everyone, even if they are rebellious. That should not stop us from loving others.

We are now reading in John 7:11-53. The coming of Jesus to the Feast of Tabernacles creates intense excitement concerning the Messiahship. The Sanhedrin attempted to arrest Him (The Sanhedrin included both the Sadducees (Chief Priests) and the Pharisees). Now both parties in the Sanhedrin were united against Jesus. The purpose was to bring Jesus before the Sanhedrin for trial. There was a division of sentiment in the Galilean multitude at the Feast.

His Presence created intense excitement everywhere. After the excitement of the first couple of days had slowed, Jesus taught in the Temple. His Teachings impressed people, even though He taught not to gain honor for Himself but to bring Glory to God who had sent Him. If people loved God and wanted to do His Will, they would see that what Jesus taught was the actual truth of God!

Soon, the Jews accused Jesus of breaking the Law, because He had healed someone previously on the Sabbath. Jesus replied that they themselves did not hesitate on circumcising a child on the Sabbath. Soon, people were amazed at Jesus’ boldness in speaking, and increasingly amazed that He was not arrested or killed yet. It is possible that some of the leaders were convinced that He was the Messiah.

However, they soon changed their minds when they remembered that Jesus was from Galilee, for they had always believed that no one would know where the Messiah originally came from. Jesus remarked to them that His real place of origin was from Heaven, not somewhere on Earth, for God sent him! The words of Jesus caused division among the Jews, with some opposing Him and others being convinced that He was the Messiah.

The Sanhedrin leaders were concerned that people were believing in Jesus, so they sent Temple guards, but they were powerless to do anything. No one could arrest or kill Him until the time came appointed by the Father. Once that time arrived, He would die, rise to life, and ascend to Heaven. Opponents of His Work would not be able to find Him, because He would be in a place unreachable to man. Such unbelief excluded people from Heaven eternally.

Once again, however, the Jews misunderstood Jesus’ Words, to which, they thought when He said he was going away, and He planned actually to preach among the Gentiles. Jesus brought the feast to a climax by offering to satisfying all of those, who have come for help in their spiritual needs. He would work change within them, and therefore, after returning to His Father, He would send the Holy Ghost to dwell within all who have believed in Him!

The people reacted to His Teachings in mixed ways, for some believed, others confused, and some opposed. However, still no one had arrested Him. The Sanhedrin leaders were furious when the Temple guards returned without Jesus, because they said that they could not arrest someone who had just given a powerful teaching. The rulers had replied angrily that perhaps some of the uneducated people believed in Jesus, but definitely not the teachers, leaders, or well-taught Jews.

When Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, suggested that they should give Jesus a fair hearing at the very least, he was quickly silenced. The Sanhedrin was uninterested in the “truth,” but rather, they were only interested in ridding the world of Jesus. They wanted Jesus before a trial promptly!

What can we learn here? Many times, people will despise what or whom God has chosen, but we must complete the assignment and do as we are called to do, so that His Work can be done. We may encounter troubles, trials, persecutions, etc.; however, He is our helper and shall guide us in all situations.

Soon, He deals with the adulterous woman

Next, we see Jesus dealing with the adulterous woman, as we are reading in John 8:1-11. When Jesus returned to the Temple the next day, the Scribes and Pharisees had brought to Him a woman that was caught in adultery, and asked Him to give her judgment.

They were not trying to get Him to do a miracle, but that they wanted to trap Jesus in an accusation to bring against Him. If He did not condemn this woman to death, they could accuse Him to the Sanhedrin of defying the Law. If he did condemn her to death, they could accuse Him to the government for commandeering Roman authority.

Jesus saw their cunningly devised duplicity, and refused to give a legal judgment. Instead of giving a sentence or answering it at all, He instead asks the woman’s accusers to exercise moral judgment upon themselves with the result that none had the courage to take this matter further. Therefore, it was not Jesus’ duty to condemn the woman, for He was neither a witness nor a judge; rather, He was the Savior of sinners, having given the woman a practical lesson in truth and purity. He urged her to separate from her sinful past. He urged her to sin no more.

The lesson here: Christ is willing to forgive us of any past sins and current sins, therefore, we must submit to Him and accept His Forgiveness! Therefore, we should not sin anymore.

The Light of the World

As we have all determined, Jesus is the Light of the World, not just from the Bible alone. But the Bible account is important, and we can see marvelous revelatory truth here. After the Feast of Tabernacles in the Temple, Jesus angers the Pharisees by claiming to be the “Light of the World,” as we are reading in John 8:12-20.

In response to the statement of Jesus saying that He is the Light of the World, the Pharisees argued that He had no right to say such things or testify of His Own Behalf. In their view, He had no witnesses to support Him. Jesus replied that He did have the right to bear witness to Himself, because He came from God and was united with Him. God was His Supporting Witness, and that should have been sufficient!

The Jews were in the wrong in their judgments against Him, because they were judging on human things (not spiritual things). The time for Jesus to act as the world’s judge had not yet come; however, even if He carried out such work right away, His Judgment would be true, because of being unified with the Father!

If the Jews insisted on two witnesses as the Law required, they had them in the Father and the Son, as the two of them agreed; therefore, the Jews had to accept their testimony. The reason for Jesus’ opponents’ failure to grasp the concepts is that they did not know God.

What can we say? Jesus is the Light of the world…lighting every dark place. Those who follow Christ hereupon should not be found in darkness any longer, because we no longer need to desire to be in sin or darkness. Christ brought us out of darkness and into His Marvelous Light!

Then they want to stone Jesus…

We see that they are not happy with Jesus’ statement of being the Light of the World… We are reading now in John 8:21-59. While in the Temple, Jesus exposes the sinfulness of the Pharisees. They accuse Jesus of having a devil. Jesus’ answer to them: “I have not a devil; but I honor my Father, and ye dishonor me.” “I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.” With this statement, the Pharisees attempt to stone Him. He escapes.

In rejecting Christ, people lost all chance of having their sins forgiven. They would die in their sins and be excluded from Heaven. Jesus promised that He would return to Heaven after His death and Resurrection. The Jews would have to get their minds above Earthly things to embrace what Jesus was trying to say, because they did not understand how He could be the Son of God. However, one day in the near future, they would have a clear proof, for they would see Him die on the cross—to which, by the Power of God, He would also raise from the dead. This would be the unmistakable demonstration of the Father and Son’s unity as One. Some who heard these things did not wait for such events, but put their faith in Him immediately.

Jesus illustrated based on slavery to show the people how He could help them. They knew that slaves could not free themselves, because the only one who could free them was the owner of the house they worked, or the owner’s son, who acted on his father’s authority. The Jews, then, were slaved in bondage to sin and unable to free themselves—therefore, they would find the only one who could free them was God, who worked through His Son, Jesus Christ. They would find their true freedom in Jesus Christ by faith and continual obedience to His Teachings.

Again, the Jews misunderstood, and argued that they have never been slaves of any nation, because they had the freedom of sons—Abraham’s sons that is. Explaining further, then, Jesus told the Jewish people that spiritually they were not sons of Abraham actually, but that they were sons of the devil. Therefore, they only sought to kill Him, to which, murder is the characteristic inherited from their spiritual father called the devil, and not from their Earthly father, Abraham.

The Jews only argued further, assuring Him that they were sons of Abraham, but were not part of any perversion as the Samaritans are who are of mixed race and religion. Jesus responded to their arguments with the fact that if God were truly their Father, then they would welcome His Son as their Messiah, instead of trying to kill Him. Instead of disputing His Teachings, they would fully believe it and embrace it. Therefore, their father was not God, but instead the devil.

The Jews continued to argue, which proved that God was not their Father, as they insulted His Son. This would only serve up judgment upon them. The Son was not concerned anyway of gaining honor, but rather, to give honor to the Father and life to believers. The Jews objected that Jesus was boasting to be greater than Abraham, to which, Jesus replied and said He was not boasting, but only telling the truth of His Unification with God.

As far as Abraham is concerned, he himself acknowledged Jesus greater by rejoicing when he foresaw the coming of the Messiah. The Jews argued that Jesus could not know Abraham’s thoughts, because he died hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Jesus angered them more by saying He existed even before Abraham, for Jesus is the Eternal God. The Jews considered this blasphemy, and immediately, though unsuccessfully, tried to kill Him.

What can we learn here? Those who reject Christ condemn only themselves, because He is part of the Eternal God, and also existed before Abraham. He is our True Savior and deliverer; therefore, we must not object to Him, but rather acknowledge Him in all our ways of worship!

Jesus is the Good Shepherd

We are now reading in John 9:1-10:21, where Jesus is still in Jerusalem after the Feast of Tabernacles. First, Jesus heals a man born blind by anointing his eyes with clay that He made by spitting upon the ground. Jesus told the man to go and wash in the pool of Siloam. The man came back seeing and was questioned by the Pharisees. A division is then seen among the Jews. Some claimed Jesus not to be from God. Others said, “How can a man that is a sinner do such signs?” The parents of the man born blind testify that he is their son, and the man born blind believes on Jesus and is converted.

Then we experience the Good Shepherd parable. In the Parable (Allegory) of the Good Shepherd, Jesus draws the picture of the hostile Pharisees and intimates that He is going to die for His flock and come to life again. A division is then seen again among the Jews.

In the story of the Good Shepherd, Jesus was teaching the same as when He was after healing the blind man. Among His hearers were the Pharisees, who could not see that He was comparing their treatment of the blind man with His. They acted as thieves or robbers would; however, Jesus acted like a Good Shepherd. Because of this, the man rejected the leadership of the Pharisees, but recognized Jesus as the Shepherd-Savior and gladly follow Him.

Explaining further, Jesus compared Himself alike to a door, by which people could come to God and find life, freedom, protection, provision, and more. However, the Jewish leaders would, instead of leading people to God, exploit and oppress them. Jesus was indeed the true Shepherd and spiritual leader of the people; however, the Scribes and Pharisees just fought Him saying they are the leaders.

In teaching the traditions of man instead of the Commandments of God, they had enslaved the Jewish people and only strengthened their own power just as thieves who robbed the flock; wolves that destroyed it; and hired laborers that worked for their own profit instead of being concerned for the flock. Jesus, on the other hand, sacrificed everything for His Flock, even being prepared to die for it so that the flock might be Saved!

In case people didn’t understand, the flock He was speaking of was not just the Jews, but people of all nations and all languages. They are all drawn together by One Shepherd, Jesus. The basis of a relationship between Jesus and His Flock is His death and Resurrection. He has the complete authority over life and death, and His enemies are powerless to take His Life from Him. However, He willingly lays down that Life to Save His People! This is The Good Shepherd!

Those who heard Jesus responded in many different ways. Some noted Him mad; others knew He was teaching consistent with His Work in healing the blind man. Whoever determined an opposite way than Jesus had opposite destinies of those who followed Jesus. Instead of following Jesus and obtaining Life, many people will follow their own destiny and obtain for themselves death.

What can we learn from all of this?

How we respond to Jesus is evidence of our spiritual condition too. We need to respond to Him with humble belief and trust in Who He Is, What He Does, and What He is planning to Do! He is truly the Son of God, who has come to die for our sins and be Resurrected so that He can redeem us of our sins and give us Eternal Life, and will be coming again to bring His Eternal Kingdom that He will rule over Eternally with His People!

We are of the Flock of God, we who believe in Him and upon the fact that He died and Resurrected so that we might have Eternal Life. We obtain for ourselves Life when we choose to follow Jesus and acknowledge Him in all of our ways!

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