Turn in your Bibles please to the eighth chapter of John, John chapter 8. We come to just an exciting passage that gives us some glimpses again into the marvelous wisdom of Jesus Christ and the fact that He had such command of every situation. Just a couple of review sentences because I don't want to take a lot of time to review. We are studying John's gospel. We study it verse by verse, taking a series of verses and then following the next week with the next verses in line. In John's gospel we have seen one single basic recurring theme, that theme is Jesus is God. John is presenting Jesus is God in a human body, that's his theme.
Along with that theme there are several subthemes. One of the subthemes that we see again and again is John's treatment of how men responded to the claims of Christ. So his major theme is Christ claiming to be God, Christ presenting Himself as God, and then very often he weaves in this subtheme of how men responded.
Now we've seen it many times. We've preached many times already in John's gospel on the reaction of men to Jesus. He makes a claim, He says He's God, He claims to be Messiah and men react ninety-nine percent of the time violently. And we come again to this passage and again see the very same thing, only it's a fresh new beautiful look at Jesus Christ. And in this one Christ makes the same claims using a different metaphor and then we see the reaction again and how Christ meets that. So we come again to a direct confrontation between the claims of Christ and the reaction of men who heard those claims. This particular claim of Jesus is no different than His others, but He couches it in the phrase "I am the light of the world." That's really the theme of these verses.
There's no question about the fact that we live in a dark world. No question at all. And I'm not talking about physical darkness, I'm talking about the darkness that settles on the soul of men, I'm talking about a moral darkness. And men are aware of their darkness and they cry out against their darkness. There is the darkness of the strange miscarriage of justice that we see around the world. There is that dark compulsion to sin put on us by the pressure of unceasing failure and deprivation. There is the black bitterness of constant separation, lost love and death. There is the impenetrable darkness of the future which is foreboding and holds no realities. And then there is the incomprehensible dimness of the search for the greatest truths. Some people spend their whole life searching for one truth they never discover...sometimes it's in science, sometimes it's in philosophy, but always man is reflected in the blackness of a stark moral darkness. And the strange thing about his darkness is that it's a passionate kind of darkness. Man is by his own appetites and his own passions pushing himself further and further into that darkness for man's passions and appetites tell him to seek the good life where the good life isn't found. And the darkness seems even darker today, although it isn't because dark is dark and black is black. But I think the darkness seems darker today and people seem to be fleeing the darkness and they run right into a deeper darkness, from the darkness of sorrow and the darkness of sin and the darkness of hopelessness and the darkness of purposelessness and the darkness of loneliness and the darkness of separation and all of these things, they plunge into the darker darkness of sex, drugs, alcohol, spirit worship, demon worship, devil worship and the ultimate darkness of suicide, the final escape, which is an escape into eternal darkness.
We look at our world and we say our world is dark, very dark, black. And somebody comes along and says, "Yeah, it's a black world, do you know where there's any light? Is there any light for the world?" And the answer is yes there's light. "Well why don't you tell people about it?" Well we have for years, for centuries, Jesus came and said "I am the light." You say, "Well, if the light is there and men know about the light, do they run to the light?" They know about the light, 1 John, pardon me, John chapter 1 verse 9 says, "Jesus Christ is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Men know about the light. If they don't know about it by hearing some preacher talk about it or by reading it in the Bible, they know it because God has written it on their hearts.
You say, "Well, if they know the light do they come to the light?" No, they don't come to the light. Why don't they come to the light? Jesus put it very simple, "Men love darkness rather than light because...what?...their deeds are evil." What do you mean by that? Jesus meant this, people don't come to the light because the light exposes them, it shows them the truth about what they are. The hardest thing for a man to do in the world is to face himself in reality. And men see a flicker of light and like bugs under a rock, they dart back into the blackness lest the light expose their true person. And isn't it a funny thing, paradoxically strange, that the people who hate darkness at the same time love it? Man hates his blackness, he hates his inability to understand and to see and to reason his existence. He hates his lostness, and his groping. He hates his moral lowliness. And yet instead of going to the light he plunges deeper and deeper into blackness. It's a strange thing. It's the story of a sick dying man who cherishes his deadly disease. Men actually love the darkness they hate. It's unbelievable, it's a paradox.
But there is light. Jesus said there is light. He said I am that light. We have proclaimed that light, it's in the Word of God. God's written it in the hearts of men, there's light. Jesus is that light. And that's the message of this passage, that Jesus is the light of the world. For those who are willing to come to Him, He's there, but it's going to demand that you be exposed. You see, before you can ever come to Jesus Christ to find the light, to receive Jesus Christ as Savior, the light's going to turn on bright and show you what you are. That's why repentance comes before salvation, at the very beginning. First we repent and then God redeems us supernaturally. You've got to be aware of what you are. That's why Jesus said earlier, "If any man thirst, let him come and drink." If you don't thirst, you don't come and drink. Jesus is the light.
Now as we look at our passage we're going to see one of the greatest sermons that Jesus ever preached in this whole context of chapter 8, the whole thing is just classic. Of course every sermon He preached was classic, it was pure divine revelation, every word out of the mouth of God. And so you can't say one sermon was better than the other. You can have your personal preferences to which one you particularly enjoy. Personally, I like them all. And especially I like the one I'm preaching on every week. It kind of weaves its way into my life, you know, and I can't get rid of it.
But the Holy Spirit records for us this tremendous sermon by Jesus in which He claims to be the light of the world. And that's an astounding claim, you know, just astounding for a human being to claim that. Now just to set your mind at ease a little bit and where we are in Scripture so you're not kind of baffled by just jumping into chapter 8 verse 12, Christ has been attacked and attacked and attacked by the Pharisees and the scribes. The Pharisees were the legalistic sect of Judaism. They prided themselves on keeping the law and doing all the rituals. The scribes were the ones who copied, taught and interpreted the law so they made great great friends. And they were at odds with Jesus from the very start because He went contrary to them so many times, He exposed them, He showed their complete incompetency, He embarrassed them, He just made a mockery out of them in front of the people so many times, showing their hypocrisy and their ignorance that they just detested Him. And so there's a running conflict going in the life of Christ at this point in His ministry, about six months or less before His crucifixion, and this running conflict is between these Pharisees and scribes and Christ. And everywhere He is they pop up with their little controversy.
And I really have to believe that there must be different groups of them because there's no way the same guys could keep coming back and getting more and more of what He gave them. They've got to be segments that are different. Either that or they were horrible gluttons for punishment. Because every time they confronted Jesus Christ they got devastated. Now the last time we met them in the first eleven verses of chapter 8 and they decided they'd trap Jesus on the ultimate question of how do justice and mercy relate. In other words, if God has to be just and punish sin, how can He forgive it, see. So they brought this woman, they caught her in the very act of sexual immorality, dragged her out of that situation, threw her in front of Jesus and said, they had rocks in their hands and they said, "Moses said stone her, what do You say?" They thought they had Him because if He said stone her, they'd fire those rocks away and the Romans would arrest Him and put Him in jail for killing, for being responsible for the death of the woman. Not only that, if He said stone her the people would write Him off because He claimed to be giving love and forgiveness.
On the other hand, if He said don't stone her the people would have turned Him off because they would have said...Wait a minute, You can't say that, Moses said this is the law, You've got to go along with Moses, contradict Moses and You can't be the Messiah. So they thought they had Him trapped.
But He turned the trap around and said, "Go ahead stone her, the first one without sin throw a stone." And they slunk away, that was it. And He looked at the woman and said, "Where are your accusers? She said, They're not here. And He said, Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin and no more." You see, Jesus Christ was the one person in all the universe in whom justice and mercy kissed each other for by His coming death on the cross He bore God's justice and could give mercy, and even though He hadn't died yet, six months before His death on the basis of His unshed blood which would be shed, He could forgive that woman for He would bear her justice. Jesus Christ literally bore the punishment for her adultery when He died on the cross. That's personal. But do you know that Jesus bore every one of my sins? I'm not going to list them. But He bore every one of them and yours too, every one of them, every sin that you committed that deserved the punishment of God, Jesus bore it in His body, He bore the punishment for that sin. And so He says to that woman on the basis that I shall bear your sins, I give you forgiveness. And so they just crept away. They were devastated.
They had to figure another attack. They had tried arresting Him, it didn't work. The people they sent to arrest Him were flabbergasted when they heard Him talk and they came back and said, "Never had anybody spoke like this," they wouldn't even try to touch Him. So they decided if we can't arrest Him, we'll trap in His words. That failed too and they went away condemned.
Now they take a third attack to try to get Him, and that's what we see in the context of this particular passage from verse 12 on. Now I want you to see five parts to this narrative. Jesus claims to be the light of the world. In view of that claim they think they've got a way to attack Him and they try a third avenue. They've tried to arrest Him, they've tried to trap Him in His words, both have failed, here's a third possibility they bring up as a result of His claim. I want you to see five things, you have an outline in your bulletin, if you have one there, you might follow it noting the things of interest there. Five parts this narrative takes, and they're very obvious and you'll see them...the annotation, which is the historical data, where we are, what's happening, the scene, the assertion, the antagonism, the answer and the avenging...and we'll see these five unfold.
Number one, the annotation, where are we, what's the scene, verse 20, the verse part...well, jumping to the bottom cause that's where the scene is painted for us. Verse 20, "These words," that is all the words from verse 12 on, "these words spoke Jesus in the treasury as He taught in the temple." Now there's the annotation, the historical data about where He is. He's in the temple in the place where the treasury was. This is the scene. Now Jesus had just confronted the scribes and Pharisees some time before. They had kind of left, crept away and now He moves to the temple treasury, still in the temple. Now I want you to see what this place was because this is going to unfold for us to becoming the most significant thing in this whole passage.
Now the temple treasury was an interesting place. In the temple there were a whole lot of different courts. And they had, you know, open ceilings, of course, they were just colonnades in a courtyard. The outside one, the furthest one away from the Holy of Holies you know where only the high priest could go once a year, the furthest one away was the Court of the Gentiles. The reason it was called the Court of the Gentiles was because it was the only place the Gentiles could go. They couldn't go pass that place. It was just a Court of the Gentiles. They were included in the blessing of God but they couldn't move in to the ministry end of it. The second court in from the Court of the Gentiles was called the Court of the Women. That was because that's all the further the women could go...unless they were going into the Court of the Priests which was the next one so that they could put a sacrifice on the altar...specifically for that purpose, the only way a woman could get into that. Now there were men also in the Court of the Women but it was called the Court of the Women simply because that's as far as the women could go.
Now it was in this Court of the Women that the temple treasury existed. Now the Court of the Women was a great court, it had colonnades around it. And then on the walls all the way around it were giant trumpet-shaped treasure chests, and I use that word for lack of a better one. Since it was a treasury and that's where people brought their money, they had put up on the wall these great trumpet-shaped things, they were large funnel- type things at the top and then they came down to a little kind of a bell-shaped thing on the bottom. The point was you could put something in, you couldn't get anything out. And it's very difficult to lock up a temple. So they just had to leave it that way. So they had this thing you could drop the coin through and it would settle into the bottom. Now they must have had some way to get it out as far as their concerned, removing it or something, but for the people's sake that's the way it was set up so that it couldn't be robbed and so forth and so on. And there thirteen of those trumpets all the way around the wall.
Now the number one and two trumpet, we'll call them trumpets though they're really kind of a treasury test, trumpets number one and two were where you put your half-shekel tax that everybody paid, the alloted offering that you had to pay for the upkeep of the temple and so forth and so on. Everybody put something in one and two, they were designated for that. Trumpets number three and four were where you purchased pigeons. Now to buy pigeons you paid in those two so that they knew how much money came in for the sale of pigeons. You say, "Well so what's the sale of pigeons for?" Well poor people used pigeons for sacrifices, they couldn't afford the other animals, but beyond that it's a very interesting thing, and I'm not sure of all the significance. Women who had just born a child had to make an offering of two pigeons, it was called an offering of purification...to purify that mother ceremonially after child bearing. So the women would go into there, pay into the three and four trumpets and purchase their two pigeons to be given as a sacrifice, cleansing symbolically after their childbirth.
Trumpet number five was where you put the money if you wanted to buy wood to keep the altar burning. You could take your choice. Number six was where you put your incense contributions. Trumpet number seven was where you put the money if you wanted it to go to the upkeep of the vessels, the golden vessels and all of the things that were in the temple. Then trumpets eight through thirteen were surplus money which you just wanted to put, but you didn't care where it went.
So the temple treasury was right there. That's where Jesus is. He's in the middle of the Court of the Women where the temple treasury is. Now that's an important thing, keep that in your mind, you're going to see how that unfolds to be probably the critical thing in this whole passage. All right, we've seen the annotation.
Let's look at the assertion, secondly, what does Jesus say in the middle of this situation? Verse 12, "Then spoke Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world, he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life." Now you put that in the mouth of anybody but Jesus and it is pure idiocy. I mean, if I walked in and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am the light of the world," absolute asininity for any human to claim that. Jesus was either completely an idiot when He said this or He was the light of the world. That's the options. Sane people don't say that unless it's true. I am the light of the world.
Well when He said that He knew what He was saying in terms of how they would react. Now get this in mind. They're in the temple treasury, you know who goes to the temple treasury? The devout ones, right? The people who aren't interested in God don't hang around the temple treasury where everybody's giving their money to God, they don't need that kind of guilt. I mean, if you didn't care about God you're not going to hang around the temple treasury where everybody's pouring their money out and stand there sort of...hummm, you know. I mean, this is devout people who spent their time in there. And these people knew the Old Testament. They were scholars, the Pharisees and the scribes, and when Jesus said, "I am the light of the world," no doubt in my mind He just blew their minds. You say why? Because two times in the Old Testament, Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah 49:6 God said I'm going to send a light who will be a light to the nations, those are two Messianic prophecies.
You know what Jesus was saying when He said I'm the light of the world? He was saying, in effect, I am Israel's...what?...Messiah. They would have known that. The rabbis even said the name of Messiah is light, you can read that right in the rabbinic writings. They knew that God was going to send a light to the nations. Notice He was the light to the nations, not just to Israel. He says, in effect, I am that light. Malachi 4:2 put it this way, Malachi 4:2 says, "The sun of righteousness...and how do they spell sun? S-u-n...shall arise with healing in His beams." Some translate it wings, beams the same thing. They knew that the Messiah would be called light. They knew that God was the essence of light and the Messiah from God would also be light. And so when Jesus said I am the light, He is claiming to be Messiah. And John the author of the book made the same claim in the first chapter. In verse 5 he says, "And the light shines in darkness and the darkness overcame it not." Verse 9, "That was the true light," see. Christ came as that light that Messianic prophecy said God would send.
You say, "Why is He called light?" Huh, to the darkness of falsehood He is the light of truth. To the darkness of ignorance He is the light of wisdom. To the darkness of impurity He is the light of holiness. To the darkness of sorrow He is the light of joy. To the darkness of death He's the light of life. He is called light because the world is dark and the antithesis of darkness is what? Is light. He is everything the world isn't. And Jesus is saying nothing more and nothing less at this point than I am your Messiah.
But I can take it one step further than that. He was not only claiming to be Messiah, He was claiming to be God. You say, "How do you know?" The psalmist said this, "The Lord is my...what?...light." And when Jesus said I am the light He was saying I'm God. That's quite a claim. And isn't that what John said in 1 John 1:5, "This then is the message which we have heard of Him and declare unto you that God is...what?...light and in Him is no darkness at all." And when Jesus came along and said "I am light," He was claiming, number one, to be Messiah, number two, to be God.
So, you see, it's not a different claim, is it? Same claim, just different metaphor. He used so many different ways to say the same thing. And, of course, the reaction is predictable. They probably stood there tearing their hair out. And we'll see that in a minute.
But you say, "Why does Jesus particularly choose this metaphor? Why would He just walk in the temple treasury, why wouldn't He says...I am better than wealth...or...I am the true priceless one? Or why wouldn't He use something that would apply to the temple treasury?" He did. When He said "I am the light of the world" He said the most devastating dramatic thing, it's just unbelievable and I want to show you. And it took a long time to dig it out but it's there. Do you remember back in chapter 7...no you don't but I'll tell you...in chapter 7, I asked you that before and you never say anything, back in chapter 7 verse 37 Jesus said, "If any man thirsts let him come unto Me and drink." Remember that...please? Okay. Well, you know that He said that not just...He didn't just walk into a group of people sitting around and say, "If any man thirsts come unto Me and drink," they would have said...what? He said that at the very split second during the feast of the tabernacles when they had started the ceremony to commemorate, remember when Moses struck the rock and provided water? And the people in the feast of tabernacles were commemorating that by this ritual where the priest would pour water. And at the very moment that that was going on, that ritual was going on, and that priest was pouring that water, it was then that Jesus said, "If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink." See, strategic dynamic...dramatic. He grabbed that ritual of the water, turned it around and focused it on Himself.
Now here He's doing the very same thing and I want you to see it, it is really exciting. He is doing the very same thing. Now the feast of tabernacles had just concluded. Here come some important data. The feast of tabernacles had just concluded. It was seven days long. It was a yearly thing and it was to commemorate the wandering of Israel in the wilderness. Remember the 40 years they wandered? This was a commemoration feast of that to keep them to remember that God had blessed them during those 40 years.
At this feast there were several very important rituals. We already saw one, that was the pouring of the water when all of them had their bows and everything over the altar, and all that, we went through that before. And there Jesus said, "If any man thirst, come to Me." He grabbed that ritual and turned it to Himself. The second ritual, very important ritual during this week was called the illumination of the temple ritual. Now this is what's going on here in Jesus' mind, and I'll show you what I mean.
In the evening this ritual took place and the illumination of the temple ritual was to commemorate, mark it, the light in the wilderness that had led Israel. Now you remember that during the day they were led by a light that looked like a cloud. And at night they were led by...what?...a pillar of fire, flaming light in the sky. They had been led by light in the daytime, the light as like a cloud moving through the sky. They were led at night by a flaming light, the pillar of fire. And to commemorate the light that led them, they had this ceremony called the illumination of the temple which commemorated the light that led Israel in the Old Testament. Now you can see we're beginning to zero in on this light concept.
Now watch what happened. They had this ceremony, you'll never believe where they had it...they had it in the Court of the Women, see, that's why Jesus is there. That's why He went there to say, "I'm the light of the world." I'll show you. In the middle of the Court of the Women they erected giant candelabras, gigantic massive things with a multiplicity of lights that reflected up. And at night, in the evening, they would light all those candelabras and that light would just stream out of the top of that courtyard and flood the city of Jerusalem. In fact, the rabbis used to say that every courtyard in Jerusalem was lit all night, like a brilliant diamond flashing its light over the entire city of Jerusalem, the light just came pouring out of the top of that temple courtyard in the Court of the Women they did it. And they actually had places where people could sit around it. At the same time it was the noisiest celebration of the feast cause everybody sang and they sang certain Psalms and they had certain dancing that they did and all this noise went on all night long while this light kept burning. And that light was to commemorate the light in the wilderness.
Now just...now that you have it in your mind, has it become reasonable to see what Jesus was doing? He walks into the Court of the Women and the light is long out cause the feast ended the day before, but sitting in the middle of that place is this gigantic candelabra. Jesus steps into the middle of this courtyard where there's nothing on their minds perhaps any more significant than seeing this candelabra and remembering the great illumination of Jerusalem. And they walk in there and they see that candelabra and Jesus steps up beside that candelabra and undoubtedly with some gesture says, "I am the light of the world." What a dramatic statement. For in their minds they would be remembering a light in Jerusalem that commemorated a light that led Israel. But Jesus says, "Yes, you remember the light last night in the temple here which made you remember the light that led Israel...I am the light of the world." Now do you see the significance of that statement? Talk about dramatics, Jesus was the master. He took that scene and made it so dynamic and so dramatic, He must have stunned them. You saw a light that lit Jerusalem, you celebrate a light that lit the wilderness, I am the light of the world. What a statement.
Then He says an interesting thing, He says, "He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness but shall of the light of life."
You know, some lights don't go anywhere. Did you know that? They just hang there, most lights. You don't say...follow the light. Well, how do you follow the light, it's just there? There was one light that moved, it wasn't the light in the temple that commemorated it but it was the light in Israel, wasn't it, in the wilderness. Did it move? It moved every night and it moved every day, didn't it? And what did they do? They followed it, didn't they? Jesus says you're remembering that light that moved Israel around, follow Me...follow Me, I'm a light that's moving, too. You know, when you follow Jesus Christ you don't sit around. "I'm following You, Lord." See and sit there. You don't do that. This light moves. You better be ready to move. And you better be ready to go where that light takes you. And if you follow Him you'll never walk in darkness...never walk in darkness, just follow the light.
What does it mean to follow Him? When we say to follow something what are we talking about? What does it mean to follow Christ? We hear this..."Oh, we want to follow Christ.." What does it really mean? Well the word "follow" here in verse 12 is interesting, it's the word akoloutheoand it has many meanings but it basically translates to follow. Let me give you five meanings and if we can composite these five meanings you'll get an idea of what it is to follow Christ.
First of all, it's the word used for a soldier who follows his captain. It's a common word for battle. And you know, that's what a Christian is, somebody who follows the captain. The captain says, "Men, we're going over there." The soldier doesn't say, "No, I think I'll go over there." No. If the captain says you go over there, you go over there. Fall in. And so the Christian follows the captain.
It's also the word that is used beyond that of a slave who attends and follows his master. And it's the idea of attending to his master's needs. Jesus is our master and a wonderful master He is. And what does He want of us? But to follow Him, to do His will, to be at His beckon call and to do it with joy. We're to serve Him.
It's also the word that is used for someone who follows wise counsel, to get advice and to do what the wise counselor told you. And Christ is our counselor. Wonderful counselor, Isaiah said. And we are to follow His wise counselling. He knows. Isn't it amazing how often we think we know what's best? Oh, it's so tragic. You know, some people have the strangest ideas about God. It's just amazing to me. Talking to students, they think that God is just sort of a universal party-pooper, that God is sort of a cosmic killjoy, you know, that God just wants to destroy everybody's fun. And they don't understand that if you just do things God's way, Christ's way, it's always the best way because it's wise counsel.
And follow also means, fourthly, to obey the laws of a government or the standards that are set up. And isn't that what we as Christians are to do, conform to the image of Jesus Christ, become what He is by His standards?
And to follow also is the idea of following a teacher's argument. When a teacher is reasoning something out we are to follow it and come to his conclusions. And the Christian listens to Jesus Christ. In every way the word follow is used it fits us.
Let me summarize by saying this. A follower of Jesus Christ is one who gives his body and soul to Christ. Here we go again. Someone who gives his body and soul to Christ...totally, completely, with no loose ends. You know, when we follow Jesus Christ half heartedly, we don't really fulfill the obligation of a believer. Christ never said to us to follow Him half- heartedly. He said leave everything, come out from among them, touch not the unclean thing, be willing to leave father and mother and everything you have to follow Me. That's the kind of following Jesus wants. And the person who comes to Jesus Christ comes on His terms. You know, you hear this dichotomy all the time, "Well Christ is my Savior but not my Lord." That's not true. That is not true. Christ is your Savior and your Lord. The question is not the lordship of Christ, He is Lord. The question is obedience. And don't ever think it isn't. And some people say, "Well I've received Christ as Savior but not as Lord." Oh, don't kid yourself. If you received Him as Savior, He came as He was and He is Lord. The question is not the lordship of Christ, the question is the obedience of the believer. He is Lord. He doesn't come to you on your terms, He comes on His terms. The question is obedience.
And so, follow...follow. But you know, it's not burdensome to follow to Christ, is it? I mean, it's just like through green pastures, you know, beside still waters. That's how my Shepherd leads me. That's not burdensome. I tell you, once you get to following Jesus Christ, you don't look for any other leaders, do you? I don't want another shepherd.
Well, so Christ makes these claims. I'm God, I'm the Messiah. And naturally the predictable result...they just flip and they think, "Oh, we've got to get Him another way." Verse 13, the antagonism and this we'll see very quickly, just one verse. Verse 13, here's how they react, He's again claimed to be the Messiah, He's again claimed to be God and they're just really angry again. Verse 13, "The Pharisees therefore said unto Him," and I'm sure they said it with mockery and with kind of spite, they said, "Thou bearest witness of Thyself, Thy witness is not true." You stand there, single You, all alone, shooting out all these ridiculous claims and nobody to corroborate You, who do You think You are? That's not valid. You can't just stand up there and say...Well, I'm God...and have everybody believe You.
Of course, in their ignorance they had rejected every miracle, every word He had said, every deed He had done which corroborated His deity to the inth degree. And they're saying You can't just testify for Yourself, it's not right. And they had a point. This was a calculated attack, let me show you why. In Deuteronomy 19, Numbers 35, several places in the Old Testament, the Bible says this, "In any accusation there must be two or three witnesses to corroborate it." That's an Old Testament principle. No man was to be put to death, no great accusation to be held against anybody without the testimony of two or three witnesses. And what the Jews are saying is this, Your testimony is invalid legally because You speak by Yourself and nobody else is giving any evidence to go along with it. You see, they think they've got Him in another legal trap. They say, which is tantamount to saying, You're not telling the truth just because You said it by Yourself. Of course, they were so used to everybody lying all the time it was hard to believe that anybody told the truth. They say, "We can't take Your word alone, there's got to be two witnesses." Isn't it interesting, they had seen miracles and they couldn't believe them? Were they going to believe if some man walked up and said...I'll go along, I think He's who He said He was? That's so stupid because unbelief can never give...you never give enough evidence to unbelief. Unbelief never has enough evidence, never. There is no proof to convince unbelief. That's a divine miracle. That's why Jesus said in John 7:17, "If any man wills to do God's will, then he shall know of the doctrine whether I speak of God or I'm speaking of Myself."
In other words, if you have a desire to do God's will, the God will reveal the truth to you. But if all you want to do is mock and criticize and carp and find inconsistencies and shoot down Jesus Christ, you'll never know the truth...I don't care how much evidence there is. So they stood there, never heard His promise, didn't get the message about light, all they could see was...get Him, get Him, get Him...see. And I say that in love and yet I say it in truth. If you're here this morning and you've come to this place in order to mock Jesus, in order to trap Jesus, in order to criticize Christianity, in order to find some kind of inconsistency or some kind of error in the person of Christ, then you're going to leave in the same shape you came, except you're probably going to be more mad than when you got here. Praise the Lord.
But on the other hand, if you're willing to do God's will, you can know the truth. And so the antagonist pick their point of attack and say...it can't be true because You said it all by Yourself. Real bright.
Then we see fourthly the answer of Jesus. And this is really devastating. And He doesn't give them the simple answer like He did in the last confrontation, He gives them a long one and just completely dismembers them, as it were, in terms of mental attack. Verse 14a, "Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear witness of Myself, yet My witness is true." Startling fact. Do you actually realize that I spoke the truth. Well, to a bunch of people who were so used to lies, this was a hard thing to believe. You see, they assumed that anybody who said anything lied. He says, even though I speak for Myself it's the truth. Like is that some kind of a strange thing? Here's a guy who actually tells the truth.
He is saying, in effect, "My own intuitive knowledge, I speak the truth." And who are they to impugn Him? But they didn't believe anybody. They were such hypocrites themselves, you know, that's the way it is with a hypocrite, he doesn't trust anybody else either. And they knew they lied so much themselves that they weren't about to believe anybody else. You see, we tend to make everybody what we are. And so, He says My witness is true.
Then He gives them three reasons why His witness is true. Three reasons...number one is just beautiful, verse 14, He says, "My witness is true for I know from where I came and where I go, but ye cannot tell from where I came or come and where I go." He says, number one, My witness is true because I know Me. Kind of interesting. What do You mean You know Me? He says I give you true witness because I've been there, I know where I came from, I know where I'm going, I know Me. He's actually saying to them that He knows what He's talking about, which seems rather obvious to us. But then He qualifies the obviousness of it by saying at the end of verse 14, "And you don't know."
In other words, My witness is true because I know and you're ignorant. Jesus is saying just because of who I am, My own immediate intuitive self knowledge, My own divine omniscience renders My testimony true. I know everything. And He does. He said in chapter 2 He didn't need anybody to tell Him what was in the heart of a man cause He knew what was there. He said of the Father that I know what the Father knows and the Father knows what I know. He knows everything. And He's saying just because of who I am and where I came from, eternity past, and where I go, eternity future, I had the right to valid testimony. He says you guys don't even know where I came from or where I'm going.
See, here they were saying...Well, Your testimonies aren't true...and they didn't even know the basics. They didn't know the simplest thing...where He came from, where He was going. Real competent judges, weren't they? He says I speak from immediate knowledge and you speak from ignorance. You can't impugn My testimony, He says. You don't even know anything about Me. You don't even know where I came from. And they didn't. I mean, they didn't know anything.
Back in chapter 7, so unbelievable, in verse 27 they said, "Nevertheless we know this man from where He is." Oh, we know Him. "But when Christ comes, no man knows from where He is. Then cry Jesus in the temple, and He said this, You both know Me and you know from where I am, huh"...huh is not in the translated, I've added that...but that's the meaning of the statement. So you think you know where I'm from. It's sarcastic. You really know where I'm from, don't you? Yes, You're from Galilee. Wrong. Bethlehem...but He didn't tell them that. Why? Cause in their ignorant unbelief they didn't ask, they knew...He's from Galilee and Messiah doesn't come out of Galilee, look where He comes, verse 42, "Hasn't the Scripture said...of chapter 7...that Christ comes out of Bethlehem," can't be Him? They never even asked Him. He was born in Bethlehem. Not only did they not know His spiritual source, they didn't even bother to find out the town He was born in. So He says...There you are, judging Me, and you don't even know a-one about anything. Real competent judges. They're denial of the testimony of Christ was verbalized ignorance. And so Jesus establishes His own competency to give valid testimony and just shows their incompetency. Who are you? You don't even know anything. Not only do you not now spiritual origins, you don't even know the right situation about My physical birth.
So, He says I have My own evidence in My own person as God. You know nothing. I'll tell you something, before you attack Christ you better examine the facts. Ignorance is so cheap, you know, so common, so cheap. "Oh yeah, I heard about it, I don't believe all that stuff about Jesus." I've heard that so many times from people. You start to talk about Christ..."Oh I don't believe all that stuff." Well, you know, what stuff? "Well all that stuff about Jesus." Well what stuffs of the stuff don't you believe? "Well..." They don't even know anything. They're going to stand there like these people..."Well, You're not saying the truth because You don't have the right amount of witnesses." What do you know? You don't even know His claims. Oh, ignorance is so tragic and so cheap and so common.
And then Christ...and this is something...then Christ says, sort of...Well, Fellas, by the way, while I'm on your incompetency...verse 15...Ye judge after the flesh, I judge no man." He says, you know, as long as we're talking about your ineptness, let me add something to your ignorance...that is your lousy situation to stand as anybody's judge because you can only see the flesh and you know something, fellas, you don't even see that too well. All you know is physical and your physical knowledge is limited. You've got a little bit of knowledge of the external but you are hopeless judges of deity. See, they lack the necessary knowledge to judge anybody and they spent their time judging God. Can you imagine that? Here are a bunch of incompetent people who don't know anything, a couple of ignoramuses collectively and they don't know anything about anybody and they least of all know about Jesus Christ internally and who He really is and they're standing there judging Him. Jesus says you're one up on Me. I don't even judge a man. You're judging God, I don't even judge men.
You say, "Wait a minute, what do you mean He doesn't judge men? How could He say that when back in chapter 5 verse 22 it says, For the Father judgeth no man but hath committed all judgment unto the Son? Wait a minute, if all judgment is committed unto the Son, how come He judges no man?" Ah, those are two different statements, two different times. When Jesus was talking in chapter 5 He was talking about the resurrection. You remember He said some of you are going to marvel when the graves open and the dead come forth, some to the resurrection of damnation and some to the resurrection of life? He's talking about the future, mark it, some day Jesus will judge. Today He comes to this world not as a judge but as...what?...as a Savior. He says to them you're the big super judges, I don't even...I didn't even come to do that this time. Oh listen, if you're going to judge Jesus, you better get the facts.
Two lawyers by the name of Littleton and West who did not believe in Christ and were antagonistic and adamant about Christ decided to write a book. They combined on its authorship to write a book discrediting and disclaiming Jesus Christ and mocking Him. They finished their book. But the book didn't turn out like they started it. It turned out to be a treatise defending Jesus Christ and presenting Him as their Savior and the Son of God. Somewhere along the line they both received Christ as Savior. You can check Littleton and West's book out of most libraries today and you'll find that it presents Jesus Christ.
You see, before you start out to attack and judge, you better check the facts. And Jesus says you're standing around judging Me and I don't even do that now. He didn't come to judge.
Look at John 3:17, while I'm thinking of it maybe have you look at it for a minute, John 3:17, listen to this, just listen, "For God sent not His Son into the world to...what?...condemn," same word as judge. "God sent not His Son the first time to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be...what?...saved." Later on He comes as judge. We see it in Revelation, don't we? Now for 2,000 years He is lingered with His presence in this world as Savior. Peter said it's coming up though, "Your judgment slumbers not," for very long, Peter said, we're nearing the time of judgment, not yet. Jesus says, you incompetence.
And so, the first reason He says I have a right to My testimony is because I know, you don't. Second reason that My testimony is valid...and I love this...verse 16, is because of My intimate union with the Father. He says, "And if I judge...and He will, see, that's why He adds this...and yet if I judge, My judgment is true...watch this...for I'm not alone, I am not alone." Now watch. "But I and the Father that sent Me...I and the Father that sent Me what?...I and the Father that sent Me, period. You say why? He is making Himself equal with God. See. It's almost an incomplete sentence, isn't it? "But I and the Father that sent Me." I and the Father that sent Me what? Just plain I and the Father that sent Me, that's all.
What is He saying? He's saying you know why My testimony is true, because I and the Father that sent Me, period. What do You mean by that? Just this, I'm true because God's true and He and I...hmmm, that's it, we're together, we're one. And this is just...back in chapter 5 verse 17, oh I love this, they were really upset cause Jesus...they were just...they had been hassling Jesus because He healed on the sabbath, see, and they said, "You can't do this on the sabbath." He says no, no, verse 17, "Jesus answered and said, My Father works hitherto and I work." What a statement. He's saying if God can work on the sabbath, I can. And they just...they just flipped. Verse 18, "Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him because He not only had broken the sabbath, said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God," see. Jesus claimed to be equal with God. So here He does it again. It just incenses them, but it's true and He always proclaims the truth. So Jesus says, "I and the Father that sent Me." My testimony is true because God is true and I and God are one. Oh, He shows that oneness. Oh, fantastic.
Now the third proof. He says it's true because I am knowledgeable, I know, you don't, it's true because My union is with God the Father and He is truth and so I speak truth, third thing, listen, if you guys want witnesses, I'll give them to you, verse 17, "It is also written in your law, Deuteronomy, that the testimony of two men is true." All right, I'll go along with your rule. Now He gives the two witnesses, verse 18, "I am one that bear witness of Myself and the Father that sent Me beareth witness of Me."
In other words, He says...Listen, if you're looking for a couple of witnesses, I've got a couple of pretty respectable ones, Me and God. Whew...two witnesses, you want them? Eyewitness...God the Father. So He answers their mocking questions.
Then I want you to see this very quickly cause we're out of time. Verse 19, this doesn't satisfy them. They're still mad, just mad. Verse 19, "Then said they unto Him, Where is Thy Father?" Can't you hear that? Your Father, huh, where is He? Get Him out...let's hear Him. Where is Your Father? Get Him.
Oh, this answer of Christ, "Jesus answered...verse 19...You neither know Me or My Father, if you had known Me you should have known My Father also." You know what He says? You want My Father? If My Father walked up to you, stood right in front of you and said "Hello, I'm God," you wouldn't know Him. What an answer. Super spiritual, super religious, spent all their life studying the Bible, the Old Testament, thought they knew God, Jesus says if God walked right up to you and said "I'm His Father" you wouldn't know Him.
Now, folks, that is an indictment to end all indictments. They had spent their life...they prided themselves that they knew God. Jesus says you wouldn't know God if He came down here and held your hand. Why? Because said Jesus, elsewhere, "If you have seen Me, you've...what?...you've seen the Father and if you don't know Me, you couldn't know God." We have this mistaken idea in the world that there's a lot of people who know God but just haven't found out about Christ. Well that's ridiculous. You know, we think that religious people know God and you hear people say, "Well I talk to God when I get in problems...Oh I believe in prayer," prayer to what? Prayer to...you know, I have faith in faith, you know. And you hear all this about people who believe in God and all this about God. Nobody knows God apart from Christ. You say, "That's awful narrow?" Right, but it's true and I'm telling you because it's true not because it's narrow. I don't care what's narrow and what's not narrow, I just care what's true, and that's true.
So, Jesus answers them devastatingly. He says you wouldn't know God if He did come down here and showed Himself to you. That's sad. Boy, religious people who don't know God...boy, there's a lot of them, you know that? An awful lot of them. They just don't know God. Think they do, don't know it cause they don't know Christ is the only way, "No man comes unto the Father...what?...but by me." Matthew 11:27 Jesus said, "I reveal the Father," nobody else.
Quickly and lastly, we've seen the annotation, the assertion, the antagonism, the answer, lastly look at this avenging. Boy, Christ takes it out on belief. Judgment comes to unbelief. Verse 20, the end of the verse, "No man laid hands on Him for His hour was not yet come." They were so incensed they wanted to kill Him again but they couldn't touch Him...they couldn't touch Him. Why? He was in a divine timetable and He only responded to God and those people couldn't lay a hand on Him apart from God's divine allowance. I love that nineteenth chapter where Pilate says, "Jesus, You better start to talk, don't stand there silent, don't You know that I have the power to release You or to put You to death?" Jesus said, "Oh really, Pilate, you don't have the power to do anything to Me, except My Father allow it to be done." They couldn't touch Him.
And then Jesus gave them a message of avenging. To unbelief, watch the response of Christ, verse 21, "Then said Jesus again unto to them, I go My way...it's not your way...I go My way and ye shall seek Me and shall die in your sins, where I go ye cannot come." Jesus says I'm going to go away and you're going to fall on your face some time and you're going to say, "Where are You, God?" and you're not going to find Me and you're going to die in your sins.
Listen, do you know that there's no hope in this universe for unbelief? There is no hope for unbelief. I want to close with just a passage. Chapter 12, chapter 12 verse 35, listen to it, just listen, "Then Jesus said unto them...listen...Yet a little while is the light with you, walk while you have the light lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not where he goeth...verse 36...while you have light, believe in the light that you may be the children of light." I'm telling you, darkness is coming on this world in the form of the Great Tribulation and God's going to judge this world and I don't know how long the light is going to be on, but I say to you what Jesus said...while you have the light, come to the light, believe in the light and become children of light. And incidentally if you are already a believer, you are a child of light. You know what Paul said in Ephesians 5:8...5:18 he said this, "Now are ye light...now listen to this, Christian...walk as children of light." If you are a child of light, act like it...act like it.
Father, we thank You this morning for Your truth, Your Word, for what we've learned. God, I thank You for Jesus Christ the light of the world. May He become more real, more precious to us each moment. And, God, we pray that the light of Christ might shed upon some heart today, some heart in this place and we who are already children of light, God, may we walk as children of light. May we live the life. May we be what we are. We pray in Christ's name. Amen.
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