Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jesus' Judgement on the Jews (Jn. 8:21-30)

This is a personal summary of the preaching of Rev Dr Stephen Tong on 16 January 2011 in True Way Presbyterian Church. It was preached in Chinese with English translation.

Passage: John 8:21-30

Other than Nicodemus the gospels record no other Pharisees who seek the truth. Man is not what he thinks or what he eats, but man is what he reacts before God.

Jesus said three things to the Jews who rejected Him: He is going away, they will look for Him but they cannot find him, and they will die in their sins (Jn. 8:21). These are very stern statements of judgement.

They believed they were right because they had the law of Moses, they were the chosen race and they were the recipients of the tradition from the prophets who receive the revelation from God. If Jesus did not agree with them, it must be Jesus’ problem and not theirs. They had first assumed they were not at fault. Religions are most dangerous. An honest atheist is closer to God than a hypocritical religious leader.

The Jews could not understand Jesus’ words of judgement against them and thought they would seek Him and could not find Him because He would commit suicide. Jesus explained that they were from below but He is from above. They are from this world but He is not from this world (Jn. 8:23), and that they would die in their sin. What is of earth cannot understand heaven that is why they could not understand Him.

After Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, John said the one who comes from above is above all. The one who comes from heaven speaks from above. The one from below speak of the things on earth. This explains the qualitative difference between heaven and earth.

God create all things. He is above all things. All other people from the earth. But Christ is different. He came from above, full of grace and truth. From the beginning, John testified of Christ. The law was given through Moses. Salvation came from Jesus. The whole Old Testament is God’s covenant with Israel and it shows how sinful we are. The Old Testament judges our sin. The New Testament saves us from sin. Paul said in Rom. 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ. If you understand this, and understand the qualitative different between heavenly and earthly sources, you understand the general principle of the Bible.

Where is Jesus going? He is going to the Father. The Father is the Source of Life, the One who gives eternal life and salvation through Jesus Christ, and set us free from the curse of the law. Jesus came from the Father and was going back to the Father.

The Jews could not understand. Jesus said He had many things to say in judgement of them, and then added that the Father who sent Him is true (Jn. 8:26). The key point is that if they believe in the Father, they will believe He is the Christ, and immediately they will kneel in repentance in hearing the words of Christ. However the Jews did not believe and therefore could not accept Jesus’ words.

So Jesus said, “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 but speak just what the Father has taught me.” (Jn. 8:28)

This is the second time the phrase “lifted up the Son of Man” emerges in the gospel of John. The death of Jesus Christ is different from all other people’s death. We see a great man by how he dies. The moment of death is the the moment of great grief, and is a true introduction of his character.

But is that true when Jesus died the Jews knew He is the Christ. In Acts 2, Peter preached about Christ and Him crucified and the people were cut to the heart and asked what they should do to be saved. And Peter said to repent and be baptised and 3000 people believed in that day. The Jews recognised Him as Christ when He died.

The way Christ expressed Himself when he was dying is very different from a sinner. Compare the words He said when he was dying with all others and you will recognise Him as Christ. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in paradise.” “Mother behold your son.” “Behold your mother.” When Jesus died, He expressed the highest love, His divinity and humanity together. Hence Jesus said when you lifted up the Son of Man, you will know I am the Christ.

Then Jesus said: “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” Even as he spoke, many believed in him. (Jn. 8:29-30)

It is most blessed to lead people to Christ. John the Baptist did not perform a single miracle, people believe because whatever he testified of Christ is true. In John 8, Jesus said the Father is with Him because He always does what pleases the Father and because of that many people believed in Him.

People do not believe because we do not do things that please the Lord. If the things I do pleases God, people will believe. Many people preach one thing and live another way. If a preacher does what He preaches, what he does pleases the Lord and he will lead many to the Lord.


At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please keep it coming. It would be wonderful if you can continue to post the rest of the sermons.

I really need to read this.

Your summaries have been great blessings to me and many.

Thank you.


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