Before Abraham Was, I Am

The Gospel of John

John 8:48–59

Before Abraham Was, I Am

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. The confrontation with religious authorities continues in the temple, likely still in the court of women.
  2. Jesus’ opponents, after hearing Him say that they are of their father the devil, accuse Jesus of being a hated, religiously errant, Samaritan and also of having a demon Himself.
  3. Jesus immediately denies such a possibility and restates that He in fact honors the Father. Plus, that He seeks the glory of His Father and not His own.
  4. Then most shockingly, Jesus states that if anyone keeps His word they will not experience death. And by death, He is referring to eternal and conscience separation from God. (see Luke 16:19–31)
  5. Jesus’ hearers do not understand and retaliate with the fact that Abraham is already dead, which to them confirms their notion that Jesus has a demon.
  6. Once again Jesus states He does not seek His own glory.
  7. If Jesus were to deny His relationship with God the Father He would be a liar like His listeners were.
  8. Jesus even states that Abraham rejoiced that he would see the day when He would be incarnated.
  9. To those hearing Jesus’ words, they cannot possibly grasp the meaning of His words.
  10. Now comes the 3rd of the “I Am” sayings: “before Abraham was, I am.” Here is the ego eimi based on Exodus 3:14. Jesus states He is in fact God.
  11. The reaction, which His opponents thought quite proper in the face of what they considered blasphemy, would be to kill Jesus by stoning.

The Truth Will Set You Free & You are of Your Father the Devil

The Gospel of John

John 8:31–47

The Truth Will Set You free &

You are of Your father the devil

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. Some of Jesus’ hearers believed in Him. Is this saving faith? Likely not, but a step in the right direction. Some of these may have been converted on the Day of Pentecost. The sign of genuine conversion is a continued abiding or remaining in the words of Jesus.
  2. The hearers protest they had never been enslaved. Of course, this is not politically true what with the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Syrian, and Roman occupations, but they likely mean religious bondage.
  3. Sin enslaves and this is not restricted to individual sinning, but rejection of Jesus Himself. Only the Son makes free. They are not free because they mean to kill Him.
  4. Jesus reveals something so very frightening: they have a father, who is not Abraham, but is the devil. For indeed if they were in fact Abraham’s children, they would believe in and accept Jesus as the son of the Father, the Messiah.
  5. In fact, these people’s intent is to kill Jesus, the very son of the Father.
  6. Jesus explains that if they were Abrahams children, they would love Him.
  7. The reality is these opposers cannot even stand to hear what Jesus is saying.
  8. Now He tells them that their father is the devil, that means, they are under the influence and power of Satan. And their opposition to Jesus is inspired by the devil.
  9. Jesus now, in my opinion, reaches out in love to those who are opposing Him. There is love in the wording.

The 2nd of Jesus’ “I Am” statements

The Gospel of John

John 8:12–30

I Am the Light of the World

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. The focus of this passage is the stark difference between darkness and light. And this has nothing to do with color, but about has to do with the absence of light.
  2. In Genesis chapter 1 we find that darkness was universal and complete, then God created light. “And God saw that the light was good” (Genesis 1:3).
  3. Jesus, very likely, while still in the Temple and surrounded by the crowds, said, “I am the light of the world.” We note that like His statement, “I am the bread of life” the “I am” actually, “ I, I am” takes us once again to Exodus 3:14, the very name of God. And the name has to do with Who He is.
  4. The Pharisees complain that Jesus is merely bearing witness about Himself and thus His testimony is not to be accepted.
  5. Essentially Jesus replies that the judgment rendered by His opposers is based on ignorance. The fact is, they do not know where He comes from and who He is.
  6. Jesus points out that He is speaking truth because he has two witnesses, His own and His Fathers.
  7. The core of the issue is that the religious leaders do not know the Father though they represent the God of Israel.
  8. Then, Jesus speaks truth to them, a truth of utmost importance: by rejecting Him they are consigning themselves to eternal death.
  9. Indeed, Jesus goes on, if they continue to reject Him, they will die in their sins. And this truth is the Father’s truth.
  10. His opposers did not understand, and Jesus speaks of His being “lifted up” or His crucifixion, and then they will know.
  11. Again Jesus declares that He does nothing except those things that please the Father.
  12. The result of His preaching is that many believed in Him.

 

A most incredible story: Jesus and an adulterous woman

The Gospel of John

The Woman Caught in Adultery

John 7:53–8-11

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. Though it is not known where exactly this story originated, it fits in this place in John’s Gospel as Jesus has been teaching in the temple without His disciples.
  2. The religious authorities have been trying to discredit Jesus due to the great crowds that have been listening to Him. Their motivations would be many: envy, jealousy, and fear.
  3. Highly irregular that a woman, especially one who had just been caught in a sinful act, would be brought into the Temple.
  4. Some commentators suspect the entire event had been staged in the first place given that someone could have been caught in the very act.
  5. Does this event highlight the desperate need of the religious authorities to discredit and attack Jesus?
  6. The Law did specify that adulterers were to be stoned. We must ask about the man. Why only is the woman brought forward? Many unanswered questions are evident. One suspects a setup.
  7. Jesus, in the midst of what must have been a super-charged challenge, begins to write upon the ground. (He is sitting down to teach.) There is no hint at all at what He wrote. Some suggest the Ten Commandments or portions thereof.
  8. As the authorities continue to question Jesus, He says, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once again He writes on the ground.
  9. Those who heard Jesus’ statement, starting with the oldest among them, walk away from the confrontation. Eventually only Jesus and the woman remain.
  10. It is probably that those who left the scene would be the religious authorities; a large crowd may have remained.
  11. Now the conversation with the woman. Jesus asks if no one has condemned her. Her answer is, “No one Lord.” Is the “Lord” part of her answer revealing?
  12. Jesus most gracious response is that He does not condemn her either. Then He admonishes here to sin no more.
  13. We can almost hear Jesus saying this to us.

Rivers of Living Water

The Gospel of John

Officers sent to Arrest Jesus, Rivers of Living Water, Division Among the People

John 7:32–52

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. The religious authorities feel threatened by all the attention Jesus is receiving. They send the temple guard to arrest Him and He tells them He is leaving and they will not be able to find Him.
  2. The officers surmise He means He will be going to those Jews who live outside of Palestine, in the broad Roman world. Jesus states again that they (the Jewish leaders) will seek Him but will not be able to find Him.
  3. On the last day of the Feast of Booths, at the time of the final pouring out of water taken from the Pool of Siloam in a golden pitcher, Jesus cries out to the crowd “If anyone thirsts let him come to me and drink.” And once this occurs, “out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
  4. John explains, in verse 39, that Jesus is referring to the Spirit which believers would receive at a time after the glorification of Jesus. This points ahead to the resurrection following Jesus’ crucifixion.
  5. Those who heard Jesus speak of the working of the Holy Spirit, were divided among themselves. Some thought He must certainly be the prophet, likely referring to Deuteronomy 18:15–18, where Moses speaks of a “prophet” who is to come. Others said Jesus must be the Christ.
  6. The “prophet” and the “Christ” are really one in the same, Jesus being that prophet Moses spoke of and also the Messiah or Christ. John the Baptist was not this prophet, he was the announcer of the coming of the Messiah. (see Malachi 3:1–4)
  7. Many knew that the Christ was to come from Bethlehem of Judea, but the general understanding was that Jesus was from Galilee and so could not be the Christ. It is interesting that Jesus never attempted an explanation.
  8. Though some wanted Jesus to be arrested, in some mysterious way, they were not able to. Fact is, it was not Jesus’ time to be arrested. That time would come later.
  9. Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin, pointed out to them that Jesus was being condemned improperly. He was not even given a hearing.
  10. Members of the council of Israel belittled Nicodemus and rejected his advise.
  11. Nothing has changed from that day to this. Unless the Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the blind, Jesus will remain hidden and rejected.

Jesus at the Feast of Booths part 2 & Can This Be the Christ?

The Gospel of John

Jesus at the Feast of Booths, part 2 &

Can This Be the Christ?

John 7:14–31

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. During the middle of the Feast of Booths, Jesus, alone, arrives in Jerusalem, enters the temple and begins to teach. There is no mention of the Twelve being with Him.
  2. The religious leaders are shocked at the wisdom of this person who has not studied in a rabbinical school.
  3. Jesus’ quickly states that which they are hearing is from the Father, and those who honor the Father would know this.
  4. Jesus states that the leaders do not keep the law of Moses, which law they boost to obey. And why, because they seek to murder Him, which is a violation of Moses’ law.
  5. The leaders are so enraged they accuse Him of being demon possessed. Jesus responds that He did one thing, healed a man on the Sabbath, which the leaders considered a violation of the law. At the same time they themselves work on the Sabbath by circumcising males on the 8th day after their birth.
  6. This exchange is overheard by the crowd, which cause some of them to wonder if indeed Jesus is the Messiah. After all, Jesus is even teaching in the temple, and during the feast of Booths, and the leaders allow this.
  7. These people claim to know where Jesus comes from, and of course, nothing good comes from Nazareth. Yet, at the time of Jesus’ birth, it was known that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Did this generation not know this?
  8. As is usually the case, some of those who were at the temple rejected Him, but some believed.

 

The Feast of Booths, John 7:1–13

The Gospel of John

Jesus at the Feast of Booths

John 7:1–13

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

 

  1. Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles, one of the three Great Feasts of Israel, like Passover and Pentecost, when all men that were capable were to come to Jerusalem for eighth days. It would have been in late September or early October. It celebrated God’s care for His people while in the wilderness following their escape from Egypt. People constructed little houses of brush or tree limbs. Many Jews do so today.
  2. Already, at this point, and we do not know at what point in Jesus’ public ministry this took place, but He knew about His opposition.
  3. Jesus’ own family members wished, but for reasons that are not clear, wanted their half-brother as they were but likely did not know about the “half” of it, wanted Jesus to show off His miracles in Jerusalem.
  4. Jesus knew that the Kairos, or the timing of God, was not yet.
  5. The “hate” Jesus refers to is generated by fear, the fears associated with guilt, shame, exposure, judgment, and everlasting death, And reasonably so. We have all experienced this to some degree. Here it is now from Jesus and is, when understood properly, the fundamental of all terrors.
  6. Jesus urges His brothers to go up to the Feast, like they had no doubt done many times before; Jesus will not go up with them at that time. It is thought that Jesus considered that such an entrance into the temple to be dangerous.
  7. After His brothers had departed for Jerusalem, Jesus privately made the journey. And indeed, the Jewish leadership was looking for, expecting even, Jesus’ arrival. This indicates that some considerable time had passed in Jesus’ ministry, which is otherwise recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.
  8. There was then, as there is now, much confusion about Jesus. “Much muttering” John the Apostle tells us, was evident in Jerusalem. And this among the citizens and visitors gathered for the Feast of Booths.
  9. “A good man” some said, others that “he is leading the people astray.”
  10. For fear of the religious authorities, no one spoke publicly about Him. We must ask: Is the same true today? Or will such come to be?

A Hard Saying & The Words of Eternal Life

The Gospel of John

The Words of Eternal Life

John 6:60-71

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. After hearing Jesus speak of His body and blood as food and drink, which are necessary to ingest in order to receive eternal life, the disciples protest the words were a “hard saying.” And indeed they were correct.
  2. Jesus urges them not to be offended however. And there would be more. They would witness His ascension, and this after His death on a cross.
  3. Then Jesus explains that is the Spirit that gives life, perhaps meaning bringing understanding of what they are seeing since without such revelations, the disciples would not comprehend.
  4. He knows there are those whom are crowding around Him that did not believe in Him to be the one sent by the Father.
  5. John the author of the Gospel then explains that Jesus not only knew those who did not believe in Him but that one of them would end up betraying Him. Such a betrayal would be made to those who rejected Jesus claim to be the Messiah.
  6. He reminds His listeners that He had already told them that no one could come to Him, believe in Him, unless it had been made possible by the Father. Here then is a strong reiteration of the sure calling and election brought about only by divine intervention.
  7. Of course then, many of the followers were offended, even those who had witnessed the miracles, and walked away. But no one of the Twelve left Him.
  8. Peter, speaking for the called apostles, states that they will not leave as they have seen and understood who Jesus is, He is the one who has the words of eternal life.
  9. Jesus goes on to state that one of the Twelve “is a devil” even though He had chosen them all. This remains a mystery to us as it has for Christians down through the ages.
  10. John then explains that Jesus was referring to Judas Iscariot.

I Am the Bread of Life, part 3

The Gospel of John

“I Am the Bread of Life”

John 6:52–59

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

  1. Jesus’ “I am the bread of life” (vs. 35) resulted in a dispute among His Jewish listeners. After all, they knew of Jesus’ father and mother. They did not know of the virgin birth and thus thought Jesus was simply common, and braggadocios.
  2. Jesus’ next words, likely lost on those present, nevertheless explains how extraordinary it is to know who Jesus is.
  3. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” The word “draws” actually means “compel,” which becomes clear in Acts 21:30 when the same word is used to describe a mob forcing Paul out of the Temple.
  4. The reason for not understanding Jesus is that the Father has not “taught” them. A powerful spiritual awakening must take place before anyone will grasp who Jesus really is.
  5. He then proclaims, and this is the heart of the Christian Gospel, “whoever believes has eternal life.” Eternal life has as its very opposite eternal death, which is implied in Jesus’ statement.
  6. Jesus reasserts that He is the bread of life. As in the days of Moses, God gave the people manna, so now God gives the living bread in the very person of Jesus Himself. A scandalous claim if it were not absolutely true.
  7. Jesus came from heaven, the incarnation, so that people could eat of the bread of life and not die.
  8. Living in and for eternity is dependent entirely upon believing that Jesus is the bread of life from the Father.
  9. Jesus now says, the bread is His flesh, or body. Here Jesus is looking to His death on the cross.

 

I Am the Bread of Life, part 2

GOSPEL MEDITATION

The Gospel of John

John 6:35-51

“I Am the Bread of Life”, part 2

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passages of Scripture. Reread them. From memory, determine the central points.

 

  1. Jesus’ hearers state they want the bread that comes down from heaven, whereupon, Jesus proceeds to state that He is the Bread of Life.
  2. The first of seven “I am” sayings is here now–“I am the Bread of Life.” The “I am” in the Greek. EGO EIMI, exactly matches the Greek translation of Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”
  3. Jesus now clearly states that He is God. Yes, once again we encounter the mystery of the Trinity, and Jesus’ hearers were, of course, dumbfounded.
  4. In their state of consternation, the hearers refer to Jesus’ earthly parents meaning that this is just an ordinary man.
  5. The most difficult part of the passages comes when Jesus makes it clear that it is impossible to have eternal life unless the Father makes this possible. The whole idea of earning salvation by doing good is rendered error. And there is more: those who do come to Jesus can never lose their salvation.
  6. Countering the idea that Moses gave manna (bread-like substance) Jesus says that God gave the people bread not Moses. And here again, God once again gives the very bread of life, Jesus Himself.

Jesus makes it abundantly clear, to those present at that time, and for all people throughout the ages, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.”