Saturday 14 December 2013

John 8:1-20 - Light of the world

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John 7:53-8:11 is not included in the earliest manuscripts of John. This section may have been recorded or remembered from a real event, but added later. It is certainly a powerful expression of forgiveness and a great example of the action of grace as opposed to law.

In John 8:12-19 we see that as usual, the Pharisees are not happy when they hear Jesus' teaching [Tweet it!]. He uses the phrase 'I am' which in Hebrew sounds very much like the Holy Name that must never be uttered except once each year by the Chief Priest when he entered the holiest place in the heart of the Temple.

Jesus is either saying that Yahweh is the light of the world (using the forbidden Name), or he is saying that he, himself, is. That would also have seemed an outrage to them. Either way they would have been utterly horrified by the statement. Yet both forms of the sentence are true! The Father and the Son are one as also is the Holy Spirit. Together they create light and illuminate the hearts of all who have eyes to see and will follow. Anyone who follows Jesus will have this 'light of life'.

This is not the first time Jesus used the words 'I am' in this way, nor is it the last.

But the Pharisees wanted to challenge the fact that he was witnessing on his own behalf. If a person claims they are 'the light of the world' they had better have some good credentials. Jesus argues that his testimony is valid and is supported by the testimony of his Father. It's pretty clear that they don't understand that he's referring to the Almighty as his Father because they ask him, 'Where is your father?'

As so often, Jesus is speaking spiritual truth when the Pharisees are trying to understand things in a worldly way. They are concerned that he seems to be undermining their authority and so they miss in every sense the evidence that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

We need to be tuned in to the spiritual meaning in everything Jesus does and says.

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