Hello everyone. Welcome back to Deeper Waters. Tonight, we’re going to be continuing our look through the New Testament in coming to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. John 8 is a huge chapter and this portion of it is one that N.T. Wright considers integral to the whole of the gospel. We are going to be in John 8 and looking at verses 21-24.
21Once 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.”
22This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”
23But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24I 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.”
Jesus tells of his departure and that the Jews will look for him and die in their sin. What does he mean by looking for him? It could mean that they find out who he is too late, but that does not seem to follow. If they find out who he is, then the message of Christianity was spreading and they would surely know to repent and believe the gospel.
It could instead mean that when he disappears, they will look for him not to repent but just because he has mysteriously vanished and they are searching for him on Earth when he is not to be found there and when they have died without finding him, they will die in their sins.
The people wonder where he will go and ask “Will he kill himself?” Some people think that they might have been joking as if “Well if he does that, he’s definitely right. We’re sure not going to follow him into death!”
Jesus again points to his identity. The people are of their sins being from below. It’s not just that they’re on Earth. We’re all there after all. It’s that their focus is on the things of the Earth and it’s not focused on the things of Heaven.
It is at this point that Jesus makes a startling claim. He tells them that unless they believe he is who he claims to be, they will die in their sins. This is one verse that I like to take Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons to if I can.
Jesus makes the question of his identity central. Consider this on the lips of anyone else. Jesus has it that eternity comes down to one question. It is the question that he asked the disciples. “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus’s mission was teaching the Kingdom of God, but he had entry to it based on his identity as his identity was what showed the coming of the kingdom.
The Jesus who is not the Jesus of the Bible is a false Jesus. It is a Jesus who cannot save. He may be called Jesus and some may claim that he is found in the Bible, but the Jesus that we see in Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other such cults cannot save.
Who do you say that he is?