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, 2011
Life. 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, 1983
Jesus 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, 1993
Were 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, 1983
God 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, 1983
Abraham 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, 1983
Devil, 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, 1983
Before 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, 1093
His 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, 1983
They 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, 2011
At 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.

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