Letters to the Prison - Week 80

Hello, everyone.  We miss our time in fellowship and worship with you.  We pray that you are finding ways to worship God together as you are able.  Worship in community is so important to us… and so pleasing to God.  We hope we can return to worship with you soon!  
Last week, we caught sight of a terrible warning from Jesus:  A warning of death and judgement… all in a conversation during which Jesus is unambiguously claiming to be God.  As we continue our examination of John 8:14-29, we’ll see that Jesus has something even more shocking and dire to say:
•“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. 29 And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”-John 8:28-29
That Jesus refers to himself as the “Son of Man” shouldn’t surprise us.  That’s his favorite way of simultaneously claiming to be both the fulfillment of all the Old Testament predictions about the coming Messiah and a flesh-and-blood human.  That he here predicts his own death by referring to being “lifted up” isn’t new, either (John 6:51 is one example of a previous allusion to Jesus’ coming sacrifice on the cross).
But the idea that he predicts what people will think about him after they’ve murdered him on the cross is stunning.  Jesus is basically saying, “you’ll recognize that everything I’m saying right now is true once you’ve crucified me on the cross.”  This is a shocking and bold display of Jesus’ comprehensive knowledge of all people at all times.  Despite the crowd’s repeated denial of their intent to murder him (“you have a demon!  Who is seeking to kill you?” -John 7:20), Jesus nevertheless predicts that many will repent and “know” that Jesus is who he says he is after they’ve “lifted him up” on the cross.  So, he’s claiming knowledge of their hidden motives…  he’s predicting their failure to resist the “crowd mentality” that will eventually lead to Jesus’ murder… and he’s predicting what they will think of him once it’s done.  
AND, Jesus is claiming to speak these things “just as the Father taught him.”  So, he knows all these things because God has shown them to him… AND these things Jesus speaks must be true and therefore are going to happen according to God’s authority.  AND…  Jesus claims that God is with him… right then and there, at that moment.  AND… Jesus claims that God is with him because everything he does –including what he says at that very moment about the people he’s talking to-- pleases God.
These are bold claims (understatement)…  shocking claims (understatement)…
And yet, “As he was saying these things, many believed in him.”    -John 8:30
So, here Jesus is claiming to be God and predicting his own death by murder on the cross and the people he’s predicting will participate in his murder believe him.
And Jesus has something even more stunning to say to those people who believe in him…  we’ll see next week!  We love you!

Dean A.

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