Jesus’ relationship to God the Father

Jesus continues to speak to those who would listen, even if it was difficult to be clear. He says he is not of this world and three times he reminds them “you will indeed die in your sins.” Though there is confusion, it’s encouraging to read that “many believed in him.” Tomorrow we’ll read more about that group.
John 8:21-30

The cross-reference to Ezekiel is quite interesting.
Ezekiel 3:17-18

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One Reply to “Jesus’ relationship to God the Father”

  1. As I read these paragraphs in John 7 and 8, I keep envisioning the crowds of people moving in and out of the temple courts, the surrounding areas, the general festival atmosphere. I imagine there are family reunions, cousins some have only heard about, food prepared by their favorite vendors, souvenirs to bring back to loved ones who couldn’t make the journey. Overall, it’s a fun time. The people who made the journey are filled with excitement. God put these festivals in place for many reasons, this I believe is one of them: to have some fun away from work! Sure there are serious things to tend to, but this is a special time and place.

    With the ever-changing crowds, Jesus has an opportunity to speak to a wide array of people coming from all over the Jewish population. This paragraph begins with two statements, one of which gets their attention: 1) he’s going some place they can’t go and 2) you will die in your sin — If you do not believe.

    Some Place You Can’t Go

    Jesus explains, “you are from below; I am from above” and “you are of this world; I am not of this world.” In our sound-bite culture, that’s probably all we would hear on the news report. In my imagination, I see a reporter covering the event, these are the few words they would replay on video over and over again, but those in attendance heard the full story and they were captivated by what Jesus was telling them. Where are you from? Are you going to kill yourself? I certainly don’t want to go there. Who are you? Lots of questions.

    Jesus keeps referring to his father “and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” This confuses the crowd and I think it’s a difficult thing to understand, especially for non-believers, those outside the Christian worldview. At the very least, we must appreciate how Jesus is modeling behavior that we should emulate: look to God for advice, listen to his words carefully, do what he says. We are incredibly fortunate to have the Bible to carefully read and study — they did not have such access to the word of God.

    Die In Your Sin

    When I first started reading this passage, the phrase “you will die in your sin” jumped out at me. Looking at the cross-reference to Ezekiel was really interesting. Ezekiel prophesied just after Habakkuk, at the beginning of the southern kingdom’s 70 years of captivity. This was an extremely dark time in Jewish history. God made Ezekiel the watchman for Israel and laid on him a great responsibility.

    When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. Ezekiel 3:18

    This is the source of Ezekiel’s conviction and I pray it will be something that we take seriously. We know without doubt that Jesus is the Messiah — we must not keep that knowledge to ourselves. Jesus is proclaiming he is the way, the light, the living water, without him, we will surely die. Lord help us to proclaim this news in ways that would authentically draw people to you!

    If You Do Not Believe

    There is a price of unbelief. We don’t like to have this conversation, but the penalty for not believing in Christ is eternal separation from God, the creator, the giver of life. We’ve conjured up ways to depict this, especially the Southern Baptists who have traditionally focused on eternal fires of hell. The metaphorical words that try to describe hell to unbelievers is difficult to grasp. Timothy Keller addresses this in chapter 5 of his book, The Reason for God,

    Hell then, is the trajectory of a soul, living a self-absorbed, self-centered life, going on and on forever. Timothy Keller, The Reason for God, pp 76-77

    The perspective is very insightful. Hell is an eternal separation from one that you truly love. The supreme tragedy is that there is no rational reason why anyone should have to live this way. The truth about Christ is simple, even if it’s hard to believe. Why anyone would opt to believe God does not exist is so hard for me to understand. At the very least, just to avoid Pascal’s Wager. (one day I’ll look at that reference more closely).

    Jesus does the will of the Father. We should as well. More than that, we should tell others with our words, actions and deeds.

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