Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meditations in John Chapter 8 – X

“Truly, truly I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’…Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word.” [From John Chapter 8.]

The Jews reiterate the charge that Jesus has a demon (vv. 48 and 52). His claims are too much for them, and since they cannot convict Him of sin, they charge Him with having a demon. Does this make sense? They can find nothing actually wrong with Jesus; in verse 46 Jesus asks, “Which of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe me?” They’ve been watching Him for three years, scrutinizing Him, having Him under surveillance; yet they can find no fault in Him so they turn to groundless accusation, name-calling – when there is nothing substantive to accuse a person of name-calling is the fallback position. Surely if Jesus had a demon they would have a ground of accusation.

The first 11 verses of the chapter fit nicely into the trajectory of verses 12 – 59, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her,” (verse 7). In the first 11 verses the woman’s accusers admit by their refusal to stone her that they have sin, and then we have the Sinless One setting her free to sin no more. In verses 12 – 59 those around Jesus, and specially those who had unconsummated belief in Him, when confronted with their own sin adamantly refused to admit they were in slavery to sin, and in rejecting their need for deliverance from sin attacked the One they were believing in; first attacked Him with accusation and then sought to attack Him with stones. The first 11 verses provide the first bracket of an inclusio in that the woman’s accusers sought to stone her (v. 5) just as the accusers of Jesus sought to stone Him (v. 59). The chapter begins with one in sin threatened with stoning by others in sin; the chapter ends with sinful accusers attempting to stone the One without sin. Fallen humanity stones one another and it stones God. God’s offense? He is holy. We accuse God of being a devil because He is holy and righteous and pure and we can’t stand Him; we treat the devil like God because the wicked one gives us what we want and feeds our self-righteousness. We would rather be in slavery and self-righteous than be free and live by the righteousness of Another.

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