Monday, December 12, 2011

THROUGH THE MIDST

    Jesus was always challenging the Pharisees and Sadducees to get out of their little religious boxes and expand their minds to grasp His teachings. Often they were so stubbornly resistant that He ended up deeply offending them, to the point that anger would well up in them and they would want to kill Him. He challenged their authority. John 8:12-59 is a great example of this.

    Jesus made one of the I AM statements:

    John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world: he who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

    First the Pharisees accused Him of bearing false witness because He was testifying of Himself. (v. 13) Today He might hear, "You're very full of Yourself, aren't You Jesus!?" He reasoned with them, letting them know that they were in the flesh and not in the spirit, and therefore could not grasp this statement. (v. 14-16) Then He went on to say that the Father bore witness to Him (v. 18), reminding them that the law required two or three witnesses to establish a truth, so His witness was established as truth by the witness of the Father.

    At this point they said, "Go get Your Father, we want to have a word with Him." (v. 19) They were in the temple of the LORD, but so far out of the spirit that they couldn't receive from God. Jesus told them just that. They wanted to grab Him at that point, but the scripture says His time was not yet come. (v. 20) They were very angry and ready to start beating Him. Jesus gave further testimony to His prior statement by casting a light on the thoughts and intents of their hearts. He said, "I'm heading to heaven soon to be with My Father, and your murdering hearts will be seeking Me, but you won't find Me and you'll die in this sin." (v. 21) He already knew their future. They misunderstood His statement, wondering if He was talking about committing suicide. (v. 22) The reverse was true; they were committing spiritual suicide.

    Jesus got stern with them here. He let them know clearly that they were following Satan in their thought process. He warned them that unless they repented and believed on Him they were headed straight to hell. (v. 23-24) Their response? "Who are You to tell us anything?" He reiterated, "I'm only telling you what God says about you." (v. 25-26) He knew the point was lost on them forever. His next statement showed it, "You won't believe I am the Messiah until you have crucified Me on the cross." (v. 28-29) Very blunt. For many of them it finally penetrated the darkness of their hearts and they believed on Him. (v. 30-32) The rest continued to object as a group. (v. 33)

    Jesus told the converts, "Continue in My word and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free." He was both preaching and paving the way for another I AM statement, His later declaration, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." This group wasn't ready for that and they proved it. They insisted that they were Abraham's seed and not in bondage. (v. 33) He let them know regardless of their lineage that if they harbored sin in their hearts they were servants of sin and in bondage. (v. 34) Then He reminded them that He already knew their hearts and they sought to kill Him, the One Who was sent to deliver them from sin. (v. 40) He pulled out all the stops and said, "You are of your father the devil!" (v. 44)

    They turned it around in blindness of spirit. "Now we know You have a devil," they exclaimed! (v. 48) Jesus responded with His most emphatic assertion that He was in fact the God they claimed to serve when He said, "Verily, verily, Before Abraham was, I AM." (v. 58) They picked up stones to kill Him, just as He knew they would. I AM passed through the midst of them. They condemned themselves at this point: they blasphemed the Holy Spirit.

    They wanted an encounter with God in their souls. He revealed Himself to them in the Spirit and in the flesh. A religious spirit led them back into the darkness where they had lived for so long. They didn't want to part with their false power over the people of Israel, so they returned to the bondage of their own twisted belief system because it was familiar to them. They didn't want to come out of their boxes. Closed minds, and hearts, will be left behind as the Lord passes right through the midst. Then the Pharisees were the religious leaders of Israel. Now Pharisaical behavior is a mindset that Satan has exploited through the ages to destroy God's people. [Hos 4:6; Hos 13:9]

    Once more, for emphasis:

    John 8:12 Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the

    light of the world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness,

    but shall have the light of life.


 

Jesus Christ is Lord!

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