John 8:48-57

Hello everyone. I’m going to go on and give a heads-up and say that there won’t be a new blog tomorrow night so you’d better either enjoy this one for two days or by all means, go back and look over the archives. There are over 800 posts to look at so if you want to keep reading here, there’s more than enough to keep you busy.

We’re going through the New Testament now and we’re looking for clues to the doctrine of the Trinity. For those who do know about my regular Saturday adventures, I did have the Jehovah’s Witnesses up and it was a fun day getting to talk to them about the topic of Jesus being God’s wisdom and how that means that he is eternal. 

Tonight, we’re still in John’s gospel and we’re going to be looking at John 8:48-57. Some of you familiar with Trinitarianism in the Scriptures are aware that I am saving one of the main Trinitarian verses for later. Let’s look at the text for now:

48The 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 and you dishonor me. 50I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. 51I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”

 52At 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. 53Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”

 54Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word.56Your 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!”

I find it noteworthy that when the people ask if Jesus is a Samaritan, he pays no attention to that charge. Jesus did break the racial barriers of his time and the barriers of sex and the barriers of age. He spoke with Samaritans, women, and children. He did answer the charge of demon possession.

In thinking about that, I was listening to the Unbelievable radio broadcast today from Premier Christian Radio over Jesus being the Jewish messiah with a Messianic Jew who affirmed that and a Reformed Jew who denied it and kept being amazed by the Jew saying that if that’s your way, that’s fine. We see Jesus as a great teacher and there are many ways to God.

I think the Jews of Jesus’s time would have found that shameful and I think they’re right. The Jews of Jesus’s time at least took his words seriously. How can it be that some Jews today see Jesus as a great teacher while the ones back then saw him as demon-possessed? My stance is that the Jews today who have such a light stance as the one on the program aren’t really paying attention to what Jesus said and have a relativistic notion of religion.

Jesus’s answer is that he honors the Father and they dishonor him, which is a powerful point. If Jesus is truly honoring the Father, then to make the charges that they made to him is to dishonor the Father as well. 

Jesus also says he does not seek his own glory, but the glory of the one who sent him. Jesus always pointed back to the Father. He did accept worship from men, of course, but did not go out seeking it as it were. It was given to him spontaneously.

However, Jesus says there is one who seeks the glory. We should really consider what he’s saying here. Jesus is saying that God seeks the glory of Jesus. If any of us stood up and made that claim, we’d be seen as egotistical or as a blasphemer. Again, I keep thinking the Jew on the program does not take Jesus’s words seriously.

The one who seeks the glory of Christ is the judge and all who keep the word of Christ will never see death. Christ cannot be talking about physical death here as so far even for Christians, the death rate has been one for one. He means spiritual death. The one who keeps his word does not need to fear the judge on the last day.

The Jews do not see this and rather see it as confirmation of what they believe. After all, Abraham and all the prophets saw death. (No mention made of Elijah. I take him as an understood exception.) They ask if Jesus thinks he is greater than Abraham. Who exactly does he think he is?

Jesus tells them that if he glorifies himself, it means nothing. However, he states that God glorifies him, which as pointed out earlier is an astounding claim. He also says that the Father is the one they claim as their God. In this, he spells out clearly who the Father is. Second, he strikes at his opponents by saying that they claim that the Father is their God. In reality, he is not. 

Jesus then tells them that he does know him and they do not. If he said he did not know him, he would be a liar like them. Yes. Jesus did say that and Jesus did speak strongly to his opponents. He did not hesitate to say that his opponents were liars or what exactly the content of their heart was. Let us get rid of the idea of gentle Jesus, meek and mild, and the Jesus who would never condemn anyone. He certainly did.

He then tells them that Abraham looked forward to his day and rejoiced. It was a belief at the time that Abraham got to see in a vision the messianic age of the future. The Jews will have nothing of this and point to his age and say “How could you know Abraham? You’re nowhere near old enough!”

The straight forward answer will be posted later.

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