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John 8:47-59, NIV
47 "He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God." 48 The Jews answered him, "Aren't we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?" 49 "I am not possessed by a demon," said Jesus, "but I honor my Father . . . .
51 "I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." 52 At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?" 54 Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. . . .
56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." 57 "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" 58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
August 8, 2011Life. What did Jesus mean by that? Does it simply mean feeling alive? Or is there something more?
Jesus gave us the keys to life. And it's up to us to use them. Or maybe I should say Jesus gave us clues to finding life. Such as--in the Lord's prayer we are to think, "Our Father". Our as in being part of a universal family where we are all brothers and sisters. Father in the sense of being God's dearly loved child, forever belonging to God and forever restless and unfulfilled until we are at home with God. Another key or clue--the beatitudes turn all our earthly values upside-down. It is the poor in spirit, the mourners, those hungry and thirsty for righteousness, the meek, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted who are blessed/happy because they are the ones who experience God's kingdom.
John often puts life and eternal side by side, and that adds an additional dimension. Toward the end of this gospel, Jesus will show us another very important truth about Life. It is in dying that we live. Dying to our own wants and desires, denying ourselves so that someone else will be enriched, dying in order to save as demonstrated by Jesus on the cross..
If we hang out with Jesus enough and learn from him, we will not die even though our bodies rot in a grave. Because the life we have in and through Jesus is eternal.
More journal entries
October 17, 1983Jesus faced a lot of questions and accusations. What was the most deplorable thing a person could say about Jesus? How about these charges--that he came from an inferior race; that he belonged to, and was controlled by, the devil. They called him crazy because he spoke words that no normal person would utter.
How could they know the truth? There was no physical evidence that justified Jesus' belief that he was sent by his Father to reflect God's glory and honor, and give light and life to the world. The things we believe about Jesus lack physical evidence also. We "know" him only by faith.
God is speaking to them, but they can not hear. God is revealing the pathway to life, but they do not see it. Instead of accepting Jesus with glad hearts, they rejected him totally.
October 19, 1993Were those the most derogatory names they could call Jesus! It's easy to dismiss someone as irrational, off their rocker, and say they have a chemical imbalance. Why is it that attempts at faithfulness to one's religion often make a person appear "crazy in the head" to the observer? Is it because of the mystical nature of religion--invisible, intangible, not provable! I guess humanly speaking, it is crazy. So Jesus said he wasn't concerned about what people thought of him. He didn't need to get a positive reaction. His concern was to honor his Father, again a subjective experience.
October 21, 1983God is the true judge. Jesus wasn't distraught by their opinion of him. God's judgment was all that mattered. If we live with that attitude--people might call us crazy! It has to do with living on the physical level or on the spiritual level--because that shows what concerns a person ultimately.
Jesus could see, hear, experience things no one else could because he lived on a spiritual level. Is this a desirable way to live or not? To Jesus it was of such value that he died to live on that level. Most of us don't want to be that crazy. So we take the middle course and try to walk in both worlds at the same time, depending on what is to our advantage at the moment. Practical some would call it. Lukewarm according to the book of Revelation. Double-minded was how James described it, like waves coming in and going out.
October 22, 1983Abraham has envisioned Jesus and is overjoyed. Alive though having died. Dead though being alive. One spiritual; one physical. Death, according to the Old Testament prophets, comes as a result of sin. Those who obeyed lived free from the sword, famine, pestilence. Jesus said anyone who accepts my words will never see death. Death as punishment or as a natural consequence, of sin. Death as non-life. When I feel depressed, I experience non-life. Life that is lacking some very important ingredients. Sometimes I call what's missing significance, joy, enthusiasm, vitality, motivation to do something.
Again Jesus used an absolute word "never" just like in talking to the woman at the well about springs of water welling up inside that never go dry. God, what does it mean to have life? It means to walk in your ways. But what is it in concrete terms? Jesus, I accept your words, don't I? You raise expectations too high when you speak in absolutes. In reality I can't reach that level. Abide in me and you will bear fruit, naturally. Live with Jesus and you will reflect his character. I don't think the life Jesus spoke about is something I have to strive for. It is gift, a byproduct that comes as I accept, believe, obey, and as I love God.
Kathleen, be faithful in structuring your life so you can know God. Concentrate on love--His and mine. Be faithful to Jesus. Take his yoke and learn of him. Obey, submit, surrender. Be faithful to living with an awareness of God's daily presence. Open, sensitive, receptive.
Do these things and you will have life. It's an old story, stated many times in my journal. Today I write it again. Please forgive me for idling away my time. Forgive my lack of self-control, my excuses, the "I can'ts". Forgive me for feeling bound by earthly circumstances. Forgive me for withholding love, forgive my sins of omission. "To love abundantly is to live abundantly."--I read these words of Henry Drummond last evening. Thank you for the times I was generous with my love, the times I followed your example and was faithful.
October 24, 1983Devil, you are a loser. You are going to lose this one because Jesus is with me, is in me, and he has already won the victory!
October 26, 1983Before Abraham was, I am. Jesus was professing to be greater/older than Abraham. Alleging to be eternal. This incident created great anger, intense enough to make them literally pick up stones to throw at him.
These were God's people, but they did not know God. As far as Jesus was concerned, they possessed the opposite of God's character.
October 28, 1093His listeners were relying on their minds and these words of Jesus didn't make sense. Jesus used the word "truth" frequently. God's wisdom is truth. They couldn't understand; they had no foundation upon which to build. It was all foolishness, insanity, heresy and threatening to them because some people were believing Jesus. Belief in Jesus comes through the heart and the spirit, not the mind. Some people will not go that route.
"Before Abraham was born, I am!" What else could those words mean, but that Jesus was God? Eternal, supernatural, not bound by human limitations of time and place. What did the people think? Here is someone not claiming to be a prophet, but God himself. You have to be willing to be deceived in order to believe, because there are no guarantees that what you believe is true! Like the theology proposed in Hind's Feet--even if it's not true I want to devote my life to believing in Jesus! The mind rejects this as nonsense, the heart dares to believe because his spirit speaks to my spirit. Thank you Jesus.
November 4, 1983They picked up stones to throw at Jesus. Imagine sheep throwing stones at their shepherd and running him off! These sheep are so stupid and the shepherd got away unharmed. The only way for sheep to kill the shepherd is if the shepherd voluntary gives his life. In death they might realize their wrong and his righteousness and then turn from their evil and believe. Jesus' words were life and truth, but victory was in his final act.
August 10, 2011At the end of this section the gospel writer concludes his thoughts about Jesus with the same all-encompassing approach he used to begin his gospel. "Before Abraham was born, I am." sounds a lot like the prologue, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."
This is John's answer to the recurring question asked of Jesus, "Who do you think you are?" His adversaries thought he came from inferior stock and that he was mentally deranged and possessed by a demon.
These are two extreme opinions. I don't think they could possibly be farther apart. Neither could their deeds have been farther apart. One side wanted to kill Jesus and eventfully was successful. The other served the cause of Jesus as a witness and faithful apostle all of his days and wrote this gospel so that all the world would know the truth and believe.