I bumped into John chapter 8 the other night when chasing up references from the book I'm reading over these holidays, 'The Pursuit Of Holiness' by Jerry Bridges (which, I will be summarising and noting bits which challenge me soon in this blog, chapter by chapter).
Though, it was a bit of a combination of not wanting to go to sleep till a more student-like hour (does anyone else get that? I mean, staying up for abcolutly no reason..? I do hope so!) and the fact I've noticed how good it can be to keep on reading large chunks of scripture. So often in the gospels, with Paul and I'm sure the rest of the bible, things continue on from one another, and you most often find insight into the niext passage from reading the previous one. Its a pretty obvious thing to do, but when you read whole chapters at a go, you get a great big picture of what is going on, and are able to so much more clearly capture what Jesus/Paul is on about.
So, in the light of that, I, in my state of wanting to stay up longer, decided to read the whole of chapter 8, where JB (Jerry Bridges) points you to some great verses on Jesus' holiness (more cracking stuff on that in the reviews! See if you can spot them before I write up chaper 4/5).
Having said that, I blitzed through 1-11 through thinking I knew that quite well already (but will re read with the rest of the chapter now in mind) and focused on 12-59.
Now, there is so much to dig out of this chapter, but there are a few minor (probably irrelevant things that surprised me and excited me. Check out verses 23&24. Jesus says in answer to a question:
"23. You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins."
1. Now that's cool! Jesus says it straight out -he is the one who will take our sin upon himself! That is the gospel according to Jesus: that we will die because of our sins, our rebellion and rejection of God unless we accept and believe that Jesus has died in our place, specifically: "in your sins", and he has done just that! 2. As I've just pointed out, he uses 'in' instead of what we as a student talking to mates might use, something like 'for', but 'in' gets it 'dead on' just as much. We are now 'in christ' (Col 3:3, Rom 6:11, Rom 8:1&2). It reminds me of the analogy of how Christ takes and wears our filthy rags and we get his pure unspoiled white robes instead. He swaps shirts with us, like at the end of a football game -we get his winner's shirt and he gets our worthless one.
One other minor one is v28: "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me." -I wonder if he is refering to the cross when he says "lifted up"...maybe that tells us something about Mark 15:39, but I'm not sure just yet.
Ok, so skip over more good stuff from the big man, to verse 58. But...pause to look at v51 first! This got me to think for a second...
"51. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."
Never see death huh? But we all die don't we? So how is it that we, as followers of Christ, avoid death? Well, as it was pointed out to me over the summer, 'death' means/meant seperation from God, not 'ceasing to exist' (which helps think out the Trinity/Jesus-God 'dying' if you've ever come across that attack on the trinty doctrine). And so, now we are trusting in Jesus for salvation, we are Romans 8:37 -more than conquerers. Thats because death no longer means separation from God, but we now join God in heaven, we receive the inheritance we have been hoping for. Look at 1 Cor 15:55: "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" What a triumphant shout we all can join in! The sting of death, separation from death has been taken away! So, when Jesus says that we shall never see death, we join in being conquerors of death and will never see the effects of it. But then we are more than that, because it takes us to be with our saviour.
Now, finally, v58. Here is the full little section, to clearly see whats going on:
54. 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.' 55. But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. 56. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad." 57. So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" 58. Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
Now, that seems to me to have 'Trinity' all over it...anyone else see that? Jesus says about himself, "I AM" which shows 1) his eternal nature and 2) his 'oneness' with the Father. That just about says it all really. How great is that! Oh, and as Jesus will not/does not/etc lie (most people will accept he's pretty 'good', then he can't possibly be lying when he says "truly, truly". He has to be telling the truth. Nice!
Phew. Well, there we go. Serious blog post number one done. Hopefully I haven't said anything heretical, though probably at least one thing wrong. Do correct me if you think so!
Chapter by chapter summaries of Jerry Bridge's 'The Pursuit of Holiness' coming soon.
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