February 23 – Chronological Life of Jesus Day 38
Most of John’s gospel records events and Jesus’ teaching near the end of his ministry on earth, so we’re going to see a lot more from John in the next month. This is a good opportunity to re-visit John’s general theme for his gospel, which is Jesus=God=love, providing foundational truths for our Christian faith. Tons of good stuff awaits you in today’s reading!
READ: John 7-8
My Bible notes that the earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have the verses from John 7:53-8:11; also the other gospels do not mention this story. Researching this a bit, I found that this story appears to have been passed through the first generations of the western church in oral tradition, but there’s no evidence to show that John wrote it as part of his gospel. Though, the level of detail indicates that an apostle wrote/told it, and what it teaches does not contradict or add new Biblical principles. I’m only clarifying this because I wondered what was behind this note in my Bible and thought you might too. But this story is such a good one, and I think that’s why it’s stayed in many versions of the Bible. I’ve heard pastors preach on it too. These silly Pharisees were trying to trap Jesus again; they would have a legitimate reason to arrest him if they caught him breaking the law. So, they drag him into this life or death situation to test him. But Jesus is amazing, and through his incredible response of love and grace, he chooses life, and he crushes their schemes and disperses the crowd, thwarting their attempt to catch him breaking the law. Jesus saw through their trap before it even started. He is God, you know (more on that later in this chapter)! You see, the Pharisees cite the Law of Moses in this situation but are incorrectly applying the law themselves by only punishing the woman. Deuteronomy 22:22 states that the punishment for adultery is that both the man and woman must die. Jesus doesn’t point this out specifically, but the conviction is there when Jesus states in verse 8:7, “’If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’” Then, only Jesus remains with the woman. Jesus even managed to turn the situation into an object lesson! He’s so awesome! His words to the woman reach out and touch my heart. He meets her where she is—he meets me where I am—and says, “’Then neither do I condemn you.’” (vs. 11), echoing John 3:17. Oh what love!
Lauren Daigle’s song “How Can It Be” was inspired by this story in John 8, and Lauren said in an interview that as she sings it, she envisions Jesus standing between the woman and the crowd protecting her from worldly judgment. Check out the song and a lyrical video at: https://screen.yahoo.com/lyric-video-223835713.html
We are following Jesus as we do this study, letting his truths and teachings rock us to the very core and transform us. As disciples, did you see what Jesus promises us in verse 12? I’m slowly learning what this light of life is (Thank you, Dyea, for helping me a lot with this one!). It’s the light of life, as in eternal life. From my perspective, it’s something I can recognize, and others can see it though they may not know or acknowledge its source, but it’s not a light I can turn on and off. No, God definitely has control of it, like dimming it when I’m not following Jesus. The crazy thing is that it can and has affected how people respond to me, both negatively and positively. For instance, I think the light of life is the reason some random kid in the grocery store smiles so big at me though he doesn’t know me. But also the reason some who once were friends won’t talk to me any more. So it’s good to know it’s there and acknowledge it as from God because it’s lighting up the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t like that, whether the darkness is hidden in my heart or in someone with whom I interact. Have you experienced the light of life? Maybe sharing in the comments about it will help us all better understand this promise from Jesus.
The rest of Chapter 8 especially hits on John’s theme Jesus=God.
- From 8:19: “…’If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’”
- From 8:23-24: “…’You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I 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.’”
- From 8:28-29: “…’When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The One who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.’”
- From 8:42: “…’If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me.’”
- And the kicker from 8:58: “’I tell you the truth,…before Abraham was born , I AM!’”
The I AM statements here and elsewhere in John point directly to God. The Jews to whom he was talking knew Exodus 3:14 from the Old Testament: “God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” They knew the claim Jesus was making. John blows away this whole idea of Jesus just being a good man, or a prophet, or another Moses, and clarifies for us all that Jesus is so much more than merely man; he is God covered in flesh (John 1:14) living among us.
You are the source of the light of life in my life, and through it You point others in Your way.
I believe in the great and mighty I AM as God and as Your Son in flesh, and thank You for giving me the light of life! I pray that it does not dim in my life but shines brightly the Way to You. Thank You also that You do not condemn but offer Your grace to all sinners, regardless of the sin. Thank You for Your grace and love!