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Sunday, September 30,2018

posted Oct 1, 2018, 6:41 AM by Site Administrator

9

 

WHEN YOU HAVE LIFTED UP THE SON OF MAN,…

 

John 8:13-30

Key Verse 8:28

 

So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.

 

First, “My testimony is valid” (13-20). In the previous passage, we saw Jesus proclaiming that he is the light of the world. He set the condemned woman free and gave her a new life. Jesus promised her that if she followed him, she would never walk in darkness but have the light of life. It was only by the marvelous grace of Jesus that she who had lived an adulterous life, received such a promise from the Son of God. At this, the woman must have shed a lot of tears in repentance and thanksBut when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”But Jesus said to them, "Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going." It’s true that a person standing in a trialcannot be his own witness. Yet, Jesus said that even if he testified on his own behalf, his testimony was still valid because he knew where he came from and where he was going. Jesuswas the only person who knew the truth and thereby qualified to tell the truth. If he kept silent, the truth would be hidden and no one would know where they came from and where they were going. If Jesus kept silent, then, still today, people would say, “We came from cockroaches,” or some people would say, “A big explosion created us.” Or some people would say, “An alien created the earth.” If Jesus kept silent, the whole world would be in darkness. But when he opens his mouth and speaks the truth, suddenly, bright heavenly light shines into this dark world and people can see who they are, where they came from and why they are in the world; Jesus brings the light into the world; indeed, he is the light of the world. Jesus must testify to the truth and all people must pay attention to his words and accept themso that they too can know the truth. Even if a person's own testimony is not valid in the court, Jesus’ own testimony is still valid because his testimony is truth. The Pharisees judged Jesus according to human standards, but they didn't know that Jesus was beyond human standard because he was the only one who knew the truth. They didn't know Jesus at all - where he came from, why he was there, and where he was going - they had no idea about him.

 

In verses 16 through 18, Jesus backs up his own testimony as the light of the world by establishing two witnesses.According to the law, the testimony of two people is valid. Jesus himself became his own testimony speaker, and he brought one more testimony speaker who spoke for him - God the Father.Then, the Pharisees wanted to investigate the other testimony speaker, so they asked Jesus where he was. Jesus said to them, “You do not know me or my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father.” The Pharisees thought that they knew Jesus, because they knew that he was from Galilee and his parents were Joseph and Mary; they heard many of his messages, had conversations with him and argued with him. But they did not know who Jesus truly was because they did not have any personal relationship with himThe Pharisees also thought that they knew God Almighty because they had studied the Bible, and had organized the temple worship service each week, keeping all the regulations and laws written in the Bible.But Jesus told them that they did not know God.

 

There was a man named, “Saul,” a Pharisee. He had kept all the laws and regulations, and never missed worship service. He thought that he knew God and loved him. Then, one day, while he was going to Damascus to arrest believers there, God appeared to him in the light, and said to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Who should this person be, who spoke to him in bright heavenly light? This person should be God! God called this person by his name, "Saul," showing that he knew him. But this man said to God, “Who are you?” He didn’t know God at all, but just had a lot of knowledge, and even mastering all kinds worship rituals did not make him know God either. This man, there broke down and found himself as an enemy of God, a terrible sinner. There, on the way to Damascus, he met his God, and the name of his God was Jesus. This event of meeting God personally changed his life completely. Since then, he lived for Jesus, because to him, Jesus was his God, the true worthy object of his life devotion. 

 

We are humans, God's creatures; God is our Owner; He is the Cause of our existence; we came from him, and because of his purpose, we breathe, and eventually, we go back to him; indeed, He is the Beginning and the End of our existence; He is the Alpha and the Omega of our life; He is everything of our existence. So, it is really important for us to know Him, because, otherwise, we miss the real essence of our existence, and without knowing Him, we know nothing. In the ancient times, God revealed Himself to the Israel people; He saved them from Egypt, spoke to them, gave them His laws and regulations, and helped them in their life's journey; He lived in a small man-made tent among them - marvelous grace; incomprehensible humility of God was revealed there - indeed, it was thedemonstration of his perfect beauty. But sadly, despite God's efforts, the Israel people failed to know God! Even after having been through so many trials and challenges and battles together with God, they still failed to know their God; instead of knowing God's love, gentleness, childlike-character and compassion, they thought of God too restrictive, too stern and judgmental; instead of loving God, they were scared of him. They missed the whole point. And later, they all mistrusted God and thereby, didn't follow Him wholeheartedly. It was great tragedy. 

 

Originally, we were not so privileged like the Israel people; we were not chosen people. But God's grace has overflowed to even us, sinners in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. Before, we were the objects of God's wrath due to our sins, but now we have become children of God, calling Him Abba Father. And now we are given this chance to know our Creator. Jesus says, "If you knew me, you would know my Father." How can we know God, Jehovah Elohim? By knowing Jesus Christ! When we experience Jesus' compassionate heart, there our eyes are opened to see how our Father is - we can understand how He sees people - with such perfect compassion for them; He sees you and me with such compassion and understands our agonies and pains caused by our weaknesses. When we experience Jesus' unfailing love, there our eyes are opened to see how much God loves us. Despite our shortcomings and faults and mistakes, He loves us in the same way; his love does not change; there we are so comforted and satisfied with his unfailing love. When we really know Jesus' humility, there, we can understand how humble God has been in dealing with us. How blindly have we insisted our own ways only to delay God's will upon our life, and only to bring harm to ourselves? But see how God has dealt with us - so humbly, never violating our own sovereignty, ever respecting our own choice even if it hurts him, but just quietly waiting for us to open our hearts and accept him on our own choice. The Almighty God has honored us that much until now. Our God is indeed beautiful - He is perfect in humility. When you know Jesus, you know God the Father, and at his beauty, you will be blinded and all things in the world will lose their value in your eyes. You will fall in love with God and pursue Him like a crazy lover. We must know Jesus - He is the answer to all the questions we have, and He is the solution to all the problems we have. How can we know Jesus? We must seek him with all our heart. God says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." (Jer 29:13) Pursue Jesus with all your heart, and you will find Him, and you will know the Father. Jesus delivered this message in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.

 

Second, “If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be,…” (21-24). Look at verse 2121Once more Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come." We remember Jesus saying the same thing to the Jews in the previous chapter. During the Feast of Tabernacles, he said to them, I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come." (Jn 7:33,34) And now in this passage, after the Feast, Jesus told them the same thing again. Later, in John 13, during his last supper, he told the apostles similar things, saying, "My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.” When Peter asked, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” (Jn 13:33-36) Jesus said the same thing to the Jews and to the Apostles repeatedly, showing the importance of this teaching. Also, we see that the same principle was applied to both the Jews and the Apostles – there is no favoritism. 

 

By the way, how come after Jesus was gone, after killing him, the Jews would look for Jesus? Through his death on the cross, their eyes would be opened to see that Jesus was the Promised Messiah, the Son of God and they would know that through Jesus, they would come to heaven. So they would look for Jesus, because they too wanted to go to heaven. Yet, Jesus told them that they would not find him, and where he was, the kingdom of heaven, they would not be able to come. How come, despite their understanding of Jesus as the Promised Messiah and despite their efforts to come to the kingdom of heaven through Jesus, still, they would not be able to come to heaven? Jesus was going to his Father's house, the kingdom of heaventhrough his death on the cross in obedience to God’s will for him. People can go to the place where Jesus was going through Jesus' way, that is, the way of the cross. Jesus explained this, saying, “Whoever wants to come after me must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Lk 9:23) But the Jews were not willing to deny themselves, and they were not willing to let go of all their desires for success and praise. So, they could not follow Jesus, and thereby, could not come where he was, despite their understanding of him as the Promised Messiah and their efforts to come to heaven even through him. The apostles at that time, were not different from them. They were worldly and power-hungry, competing among themselves to be the Prime Minister in Jesus’ kingdom. At that time, they could not follow Jesus, when he was going to heaven through the cross. But later, after his resurrection, everything became clear to them and they were really determined to live for Jesus and die for Jesus. At that time, they followed Jesus’ way freely, the way of the cross, dedicating themselves to God’s kingdom work and willing to let go of everything in this world, even their life, for God. Since they worked on the same path Jesus worked, eventually, they would come to the same destination, the kingdom of heaven. 

 

People think it easy to find Jesus. They think that they can meet him by simply saying, “I believe in Jesus,” or “I love Jesus.” But Jesus says, “You will look for me, and you will die in your sin." We must think about becoming Christians very seriously. Believing in Jesus and being a Christian is an “all or nothing” deal. How can we follow him? Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow him. When you walk on the same path, certainly, you will find him in the same destination.  

 

Look at verses 23 and 24. Let’s read these verses together: 

 

But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above.You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.”

 

This is Jesus’ further explanation of why they would die in their sins, despite their understanding of Jesus as the Promised Messiah and their efforts to go to heaven, even through him. Jesus was from above – he was from heaven, God-origin, but the Jews were from below, from the dust of the ground. Jesus was not of the world, but they were of the world. In short, Jesus was God, but they were humans. There was this fundamental gap between Jesus and the Jews. They were in the third dimension, while Jesus was, maybe, in the twentieth dimension. What they did would be so mundane, at best, some self-righteous thingssuch as going to church, doing some good activities, having some Bible knowledge, or even calling him, "Lord, Lord." But with that kind of human struggles or knowledge or own righteousness, they would never be able to cross the gap that was between Jesus and themselves. With that kind of human struggles, or Bible knowledge or some religious life, no one can find him. No matter how hard they might struggle to look for him, they would die in their own sins. 

 

How can we overcome this fundamental gap and thereby, find him so that we can go to the place where he is? Jesus says, "if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." The secret way for us to overcome this gap that lies between Jesus and humans is to believe him as the one he claims to be. He claims to be the Son of God: He is our God, so we worship Him, dedicating ourselves to Him completely; he is the cause and purpose of our existence; he is everything to us. So, we wholeheartedly pursue him. When you look for him this way, accepting him as your God, surely you will find him. He claims to be the Savior: Many people understand salvation very theologically or conceptually, saying that when they die, they will go to heaven. But salvation is very real and practical that occurs in our real life; it is actually, very personal. Jesus is our Savior who saves us from all our misery, sin and sorrows; only in him, we find happiness and zoe, that truly fulfilling life – that is salvation. So, we seek him with anundivided heart; we pursue him wholeheartedly, because he is the answer to all our problems. When you look for him this way, accepting him as your Savior, you will find him. In this way, when we believe him as the one he claims to be, our attitude toward him changes; he becomes the Alpha and the Omega to us, everything to us, and we look for him with all our heart and strength. When you look for him that way, surely, you will find him. By faith in him, you find him. But when you do not believe him as the one he claims to be, then, your attitude toward him is not so good. At best, you consider him as the one who can give you a free ticket to heaven; in all things you do for him or in all your struggles to look for him, he is not the end, but the means; you just want to utilize him to get what you want. At that time, no matter how hard you try, you will not find him; instead, you will die in your sin.

 

Third, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man,…” (25-30). Look at verses 25 and 26. Let’s read these verses together:

 

25"Who are you?" they asked. "Just what I have been claiming all along," Jesus replied. 26"I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world."

 

Since Jesus said that they would die in their sin unless they believed him as the one he claimed to be, they asked him, “Who are you?” But Jesus did not give them the answer there, because, actually, he had been telling them who he was – the Son of God – all the time, but they had not accepted him. Jesus said to them, “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” When they did not accept him as the Son of God, Jesus could have pointed out their problems one by one proving their wickedness, pride, rebellion and love of darkness.He could have proved that they rejected him not because they could not understand him but because they loved darkness more than light. But he did not argue with them. He did not fight with them. Instead, he entrusted the judgment in the hand of God saying, “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable.” And he resolutely told them"and what I have heard from him I tell the world." Jesus was determined to tell the world what he had heard from the Father whether they accepted it or not. It seemed that all the Jews were against him, but he did not care. What he wanted was to teach the world the word of God whether they believed it or not. Even in such an offensive environment, Jesus held onto God’s mission and taught them the word of God.

 

In serving God’s mission, in many cases, we have much to say in judgment of those who make excuses or even those who attack us. But the one who sent us is reliable, and what we ought to do is not to prove their wrongness, but to preach the gospel message to the ends of the earth. Jesus’ words sound in our ears like the refrain of the old soldiers’ song: “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.

 

Look at verses 27 and 28. The Jews did not know that Jesus was talking about the Father. They were too blind, and had no ears to hear. Instead of accepting his words, they kept talking back, asking him question after question. It seemed that Jesus could not help but give them up and leave them alone to die in their sin. But Jesus did not give them up. Instead, he had confidence that even these blind and terribly rebellious people would come to understand who he truly was through his death on the cross. Let’s read verse 28 together:

 

So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”

 

“When you have lifted up the Son of Man…” Jesus did not see his death on the cross as a failure. Instead, he saw that through it, he would really win that people would see who he really was, the Promised Messiah, the Son of God. His death on the cross would reveal everything clearly to everyone. So, even though the Jews kept rejecting him, he was not bothered. No matter what they said and responded, he kept doing God’s work and proceeded. Jesus’ cross reveals everything to everyone. At the cross, we see who we are - nothing but terrible sinners who have crucified the holy Son of God to the cross by our sins.Before the cross, we human beings become utterly sinful because we have crucified the Son of God, and God becomes utterly beautiful because He sacrificed his one and only Son for his enemies. This is the cross now we carry by serving God’s work, by participating in the suffering for God’s redemption work. Sometimes, we shed tears for the pains and sorrows in doing God’s work; sometimes, we are sad because sheep are rebellious; it seems that they will never change despite our efforts. But eventually, the cross will reveal everything clearly. The cross we carry will bring to us complete victory. On that day, our suffering in taking up the cross will turn out to be our glory – something to share in our testimony sharing before Jesus, our valiant story to share with him, saying, “Lord, it was hard, but I did not waiver. I kept pressing on.” To those who were not so responsive, Jesus shouted, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then, you will know that I am the one I claim to be.” Jesus indeed fought valiantly.

 

Look at verse 29. Let's read this verse together:

 

“The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”

 

It seemed that the whole world was against him. But Jesus had no problem, because he was confident that God the Father was with him. How could he have this complete confidence in God’s presence with him? Jesus says, “for I always do what pleases him.” Amazingly, Jesus didn’t say, “for I am the Son of God.” Instead, he said, “for I always do what pleases him.”This shows Jesus’ desire and struggle to please God very well. We all want God’s presence with us. If God is with us, then, who can stand against us? If God is with us, we have nothing to worry about. If the whole world is against us, then, we say boldly, “Then, I am against the whole world.” We are confident of what we do and how we live our life. If God is with us, then, we already live a heavenly life wherever and whatever situation we may be in. How can we have life together with God? Jesus shows us the secret, saying, “for I always do what pleases him.” In a selective situation, we choose to do what pleases God. This struggle of choosing to do what pleases God may come with challenges and even pains. Maybe, we have to let go of our own dreams; sometimes, we may be misunderstood by our family members; sometimes, we have to go through persecution. But still we go this way, because what we want is to please God. As our struggle to do what pleases God accumulates, as it becomes our day to day choice, we come to develop that complete confidence in what we do and how we have lived our life. As we live our life this way, God is pleased with us and He watches over us and pays attention to every step of our life. As his presence is with us, we come to experience him in our daily life – He speaks to us, He intervenes into our situation, changing things in our favor. Having life together with him is indeed glorious, wonderful, and exciting. What a glorious moment it will be when we are able to say, “for I always to what pleases God.” Such people are true victors of this life! They are really great. Let’s pray that we all may be able to say, for I always to what pleases God.” As Jesus spoke this message, many people sensed Jesus’ heart’s burning passion for God; they opened their hearts toward him and put their faith in him (30).

 

One Word: For I Always Do What Pleases God

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