Wondering About Judgment?

John 8:12,15-18,23-27,42-47

 

He is the Great I Am

John 8

 

Tom J. Nettles

 

I.                    A Historical Event in the wrong place 7:53-8:11 –

A. There is overwhelming external textual evidence, as well as internal elements of style and vocabulary that this passage is not Johannine.  One version places it after 7:36 and another after 7:44.  A large number of early and diverse manuscripts types omit it entirely.  No Greek Father prior to the twelfth century comments on it.  Many place it at the end of the gospel, marked with symbols.  Also it interrupts a very natural sequence of events from 7:52-8:12. [Author of the Law and Author of the New People-John 4]

 

B.  It does, however, bear all the marks of authenticity as an event in the life of Jesus. Who recorded it and where it was kept before inserted is hidden from us. Jesus already had dealt with a woman of similar character among the Samaritans and he opened to her the power of the fulfillment of the Messianic promises in himself. Would he do any less now? The civil and ceremonial aspects of the Law were coming to a close, so the command to stone her would not be operative. The moral function of the Law, however, still was in force, so Jesus died for its fulfillment and establishes it as a goal for the pursuit of sanctification. On that account he tells this woman “Neither do I condemn you, and from now on sin no more.” We see both the pivotal nature of the ministry of Christ as well as the greatness of his mercy. The era brought in by his appearance and his having abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel  transcends the ceremonial Law and meets al the eternal moral demands of the moral Law. Jesus committed himself to this outcast woman to be the propitiation for her sins.

 

II.                 “I am the Light of the world.” [sixth discourse] Reiterated 9:5; expanded 12:35, 36 [second “I am” cf. 6:35 “bread”; 10: (7,9), (11, 14) [door, good shepherd], 36 [Son of God] ; 11:25 [resurrection and life]; 14:6 [way the truth and the Life]; 15:1 [vine]] 12-20 - As light of the world, His words should bear intrinsic witness that his teaching is the same as the Father’s; cf. John 1:1-9; 1 John 1:5-10

 

A.     Unity of Testimony

1.      Jesus’ self-understanding as absolute truth and thus as intuitively credible: 12-14; He bears witness to himself for he knows perfectly who he is. He has been giving and will continue to give observable evidence that this testimony is true, but his own consciousness of it is a vital aspect of this entire episode, and indeed the entire witness of the Gospel of John.

2.       The disciples have not imagined or invented their witness to Christ’s eternality but take it from his own words. Their observations are in perfect accord with his claims. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us.” (1 John1:1, 2)

 

3.      His utter harmony, therefore, with the Father’s testimony 17, 18

 

B.     Unity of Judgment

1.      Jesus does not make his judgments from merely personally biased human observation the way the Jews do [15]

2.      His judgment is true, and is not partial or biased or unjust, because it arises from his being intimately acquainted with and sent by the Father 16 [41 times John records that Jesus claims that the Father “Sent” him.; 5 times here in chapter 8. See verses 16, 18, 26, 29, 42 apesteilen, sent with a message, the word from which the office of “Apostle” is derived. The word also is used six times in John 17. See verses 3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25]

 

3.      Reminds them of the revealed law of witnesses [ref to 7:51]; he knew their proceedings and their tendency to judge against both evidence and the law.

 

C.     Not knowing Jesus means not knowing the Father -  This word from Jesus is so persistent throughout the gospel that it is one of the wonders of the world that an evangelical could ever consent that one may know God apart from knowledge of Christ. 19 [24; 9:41]

 

D.     They still could not seize him for his time had not yet come

 

III.               Jesus envisions the completion of His work 21-30

A.     He claims he will go away to a place they cannot come, that is in a glorified state to the Father. They cannot come here because he will raise to life only those given to him by the Father, and they are not among that graciously blessed group (John 10:25-30).

 

B.     They cannot go there, because only those who believe that “I am.” God, redeemer in the flesh

 

C.     His crucifixion at their hands will serve to demonstrate that the Father is with him and he has taught what the Father has said 28, 29 [He is the antitype of Moses in the redemption of Israel, but he does his own speaking from the Father and is himself the redeemer. [Ex 3:14]

 

D.     Showing the incongruity of their being finally with Him


·        I go away (21)

·        Where I am going (21)

·        I am from above (23)

·        I am not of this world (23)

·        I Am He (28)

·        You will die in your sin (21)

·        You cannot come (21)

·        You are from below (23)

·        You are of this world (23)

·        Who are you? (25)


 

IV.              Shallow belief easily dislodged 31-59 – Note that this speech is made to “those who had believed in him.” (31) There is a belief that is mere mental assent to certain ideas about Christ, and is manifest for a time for reasons that are perceived as advantageous in some way for the promotion of the welfare of the so-called believer.

 

A.     What distinguishes the true from the false disciple [“truly my disciples”]

 

1. True disciples abide in his word. That is in their study, in their mental outlook, in their deportment, in their confidence for eternal life. The words that Jesus speaks are, to them spirit and life. (John 6:63)

 

2. Conformity of mind and heart to the truth that Jesus speaks and does sets one free. They are free from the condemnation of the Law and free from the absolute dominance of the flesh that exerts itself with ferocity in its opposition to the Law of God (Romans 8:6-10)

 

B.     False disciples continue to be slaves of Sin 33-37

1.      Those whose lifestyle is sin are its slaves.

·        All of us are slaves to sin until set free by Christ

·        The slave does not stay in the house forever. So these Jews, till now considered as privileged children of the covenant, will be excluded from the household if they are not set free by the Son. (36)

·        Because they could not abide in his word, and his word found no place I them, they sought to kill him. (37)

2.      Only the Son sets these slaves free and makes them sons.

·        He does this by his word

·        He does according to an eternal plan executed in heaven in the presence of his Father (38)

 

C.     Because they are not the spiritual children of Abraham 37-41

1.  They do not share the faith of Abraham (37)

2.  They do not do the deeds of Abraham (39, 40)

 

D.     Because they are children of Satan 42-47

1.      Their lifestyle of resistance to truth and murderous hatred is native to Satan. He is the father of lies, hates the truth, and hates it so much that he is willing to murder in order to perpetuate his lie.

2.      Jesus Speaks the truth and has no sin, yet they do not believe him and want to kill him

3.      Therefore, they are not from God but from Satan 47 [but Jesus is ek tou theou, that is, both in his mission and in his nature he is of the Father. The one is to accomplish redemption for those that the Father has given him and the other ]

 

E.      They dishonor Jesus who honors the Father 48-59

1.      Jesus not demonic but truly honors the Father

2.      Those that believe the word of Jesus will not see death; that is, they will not pass into the state of eternal death but will pass immediately into eternal life. (51, 52)

3.      Jesus is glorified by the Father, ultimately in the resurrection

4.      Jesus is identified with I Am (verse 58) Now they show their utter hostility to the truth and their consequent murderous intent (cf. 24, 28, 18:6