John 8:12-30, The Light of the World (6/30/14)
Always remember that the chapter and verse numbers in our Bible are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, study with our friends would be difficult if we had to locate scripture passages by saying, “You remember that part where Moses struck the rock? Like maybe out in the desert? Well, the part I’m thinking about is right after that, you
On the other hand, sometimes one story gets broken up into two or more chapters. We tend to read to the end of the chapter and quit for the day, and we don’t always realize that the point of the story isn’t where – or what – we think it is. One commentary that I read points out that this whole episode about Jesus and Light occurred during the Feast of Dedication – also known as the Festival of Lights – which we don’t learn until the end of the story around John 10:22! (We usually call this feast Hanukah.)
So anyway, Jesus is back in Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. Naturally, he relates the traditional festival to his own mission and purpose in the world, saying, “I am the Light of the world.”
John 8:31-59, The Light of the World, continued (7/1/14)
Yesterday we saw that many Jews “believed in” Jesus as a result of his preaching that he was the Light of the World. Even so, many others – or maybe even many of the believers – were having some difficulty understanding much of what he was saying. One thing they clearly understood. One of the most sacred names of God is “I AM”
). When Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am,” he was making a claim to divinity. This is why they wanted to stone him.
John 9:1-41, Light to the Blind (7/2/14, 3/08)
John usually connects Jesus’ teaching with a miracle or with the liturgical calendar, and for this particular miracle he does both. How do you know someone is the true Light of the World? Well, giving sight to a man born blind is a good clue. The Pharisees remain clueless, however.
The purpose of John's gospel is clearly stated in 20:30-31: "Jesus worked many other miracles for his disciples, and not all of them are written in this book. But these are written so that you will put your faith in Jesus as the Messiah and the Son of God. If you have faith in him, you will have true life." Throughout the book, we see a continual contrast between people who come to faith in Jesus and people who don't. Everybody has to make a choice. Today we read about a beggar who believes, and Pharisees who don't.
This is one of my favorite Bible stories. I like
the beggar. He and I have a lot in common – among other things, we both know some scripture, and we are both impertinent toward authority when it is acting silly. The beggar at first sticks to what he knows: he was blind; Jesus did something to him; now he sees. The Pharisees argue that Jesus can't be from God because he breaks God's Law. Eventually the Pharisees force the beggar to speculate about Jesus, and he replies that Jesus is a prophet. When the Pharisees haul him back in and ask him for the whole story over again, he starts teasing them. "Do you want to become his disciples, too? Not!" And then he really lays it on the line: "I am just amazed at how silly you are being! Nobody in the world has ever cured a man blind from birth. This man cured me. And you don't know where he came from!
" The Pharisees hated to be bested in this kind of an argument – which they were very, very good at – so they threw him out of the synagogue. When you're not right, use might. This is why Jesus said they are blind – if you deliberately close your eyes, you are blind.
John 9:35 – 10:21, Light to the Blind, continued (7/3/14)
After the man who received his sight was thrown out of the synagogue, Jesus revealed himself to the man and then got into yet another discussion with the Pharisees. I will give the Pharisees this: they were certainly interested in what Jesus had to say. Most of them didn’t believe
anything he had to say, but they were certainly interested.
They fall to arguing among themselves. Some say that Jesus is obviously crazy (“has a demon”
), which is all too often what we say about people who we don’t agree with. Others say, wait a minute – this guy restored sight to a blind man, which he couldn’t do if he had a demon, so probably he’s not
John 10:22-39, The Festival of Lights (7/4/14)
Right in the middle of a discussion on sheep, and immediately following the statement by some that Jesus couldn’t be a demoniac because he had been able to open the eyes of a blind man, John tells us that this happened right before the Festival of Dedication. Dedication is also known as the Festival of Lights, or Hanukkah. (Hanukkah is in the winter now, and it always has been, so the miracle of restoring the man’s sight is well-dated.) So Jesus is saying, “If you don’t believe me
when I say I’m the Light of the World, believe this miracle.
” Some believed, and some didn’t.
An important point for us as Bible students is that this story covers most of three chapters of John. It starts back in John 8:12 and ends at John 10:39. Any time that you are interested in a particular verse, be sure to read far enough before and after that you are getting the whole story.
More of The Chronological Gospel
Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and TeachingsTo Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1,
Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2,
Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1,
Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2,
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost
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