This is the sermon for Wednesday night, May 28th, 2008.
JOHN PART 33
Christ’s light; Man’s darkness
Throughout mankind’s history there have always been two opposing forces: God’s truth which is Christ’s light; and man’s lies which is found in his darkness. There is only one hope for Man’s darkness – it must be replaced by God’s light.
Here we see further debate between Christ and the Pharisee’s. They are refusing to see His light, His truth. Why? Because their hearts are evil, they are dark.
The great hindrance that the gospel faces is not false religion. Neither is it atheism. It is much more than just wicked people doing wicked things. The great hindrance that the gospel faces is the depraved, dark heart of mankind. We were born wicked, depraved, and full of sin.
And while this may seem like a great hindrance, it actually isn’t. There is only one force that can break through this hindrance so that the Gospel might be heard and understood. And this force is a person – Almighty God, our Father, Himself. Only He by His love and pure act of His will can open the hearts of people through the Holy Spirit so that they might hear, understand, and believe the Gospel.
These hindrances aren’t broken by us being more seeker, or sinner friendly. They aren’t broken by the music we play and the programs we have. They are broken by the Father’s drawing. This has been a theme within the Gospel of John.
Let’s look at our Scripture text tonight and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts.
1. Jesus claim about being the light and the Pharisee’s refusal to believe.
John 8:12-13 ESV – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (13) So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.”
A. For the Author of this Gospel, John, one of his favorite descriptions he likes to use about Jesus is, “light.”
He uses this term several times referring to Jesus in this Gospel, in 1 John, and in the book of Revelation. Later in the passage we will see that Jesus is talking with the Pharisees in the treasury area of the temple. This was the court of women. In this court was four golden bowls with wicks and filled with oil. These wicks would be lighted so everyone could see. After they would leave this time of discussion, if it was dark, they would have their own clay candle bowls that they’d light so that they could see their way safely home.
B. It is here that Jesus makes this statement about being the light of the world.
If they follow Him, let Him light their way, they will not stumble in the darkness. The truth of the matter is, there may be many false lights, but they cannot truly light up the person’s path so that they may steer clear of the darkness. Only Jesus is the true light. He is the only light in this dark sin-sick world that can show the true path and avoid the dangers of sin.
C. The Pharisees do not accept His claims as light of the world on a religious technicality (v. 13).
In the times of Jesus, the Rabbis taught that if you made claims about yourself, you had to be accompanied by at least another witness. Notice that they aren’t denying his claims with evidence they have, but with the fact that Jesus is stating who He is with no human witness present.
D. Many times non-believers will not accept the Gospel.
Not for good reasons, but reasons that sometimes don’t even make sense. They cannot debate the truth of the Gospel, so they have to look for some other way to escape its reality. Don’t argue their excuses, always go back to the truth.
2. Jesus testimony concerning Himself can stand alone – because His testimony is true.
John 8:14-15 ESV – Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. (15) You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
A. Jesus as a human did not need the testimony of other humans to verify His claims.
His testimony was true, whether these men accepted it or not. In fact, here in v. 14 Jesus gives to evidences to back up His claims: origin and destiny.
B. Origin – These men think that Jesus is just a person from Galilee, from Nazareth, the son of Mary and Joseph.
They have no clue at all His true origin. You see, His origin didn’t begin at the manger, at His birth. In fact, that may have been His human beginning – but Jesus never had a beginning – He always was. Before the beginning of time Jesus was with God, He was God, and He actively participated in the creation, as well as the Old Testament appearances of God. Let’s just look at a few Scriptures to bear this out. We are going to look at some Old Testament appearances of God and the New Testament passages that show that it was Jesus Himself.
Genesis 1:1a & 26a ESV – 1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
John 1:1-3 ESV – 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
Genesis 17:1a ESV – When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram…
John 8:56-58 ESV – 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.”
C. Jesus origin was that He was always with the Father, His destiny is that He must fulfill the plan of the Father.
He was to become the perfect Substitutionary sacrifice for sin. He was to resurrect from the grave on the third day. He was to return to the glory that He had before He came to earth. Paul really expresses this in Philippians so well.
Philippians 2:6-11 ESV – 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
D. The Pharisees judge by outward human standards – Christ does not (v. 15).
This verse may not mean that Christ does not necessarily judge, but that He doesn’t just by human standards. Jesus was fully God, but also fully man. So any judgment that Jesus made wasn’t a human, subjective form of judgment like the Pharisees did. Meaning, Jesus didn’t judge by human standards and emotions.
3. Jesus isn’t alone in His judgment about men or His witness about Himself.
John 8:16-18 ESV – Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. (17) In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. (18) I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”
A. If Jesus judges, He is not alone in His judgment, it is He and the Father who judges.
Like I said earlier, Jesus did not judge according the inaccurate fleshly human judgment. His was a righteous, perfect judgment. How can I say that? Because if Christ Judged, He judged according to the will, purposes, and plan of God, not human reasoning. You see, since Jesus is the second person in the Trinity, and has always been with Father God, He knew completely the mind of God and was able to make sound judgments based on this one fact. There was not any question in Jesus mind concerning what would be godly, righteous judgment. He knew it because He knew the mind of God.
B. Jesus appeals to the law concerning testimony (v. 17).
The Pharisees would not accept Jesus claims based on Deuteronomy 17:6. But Jesus is about to put this excuse away. He does this by going to the Law to prove His point. Many times people will avoid the truth of God’s word by pointing out Scriptures that are supposed proof texts for their points. Let me state off the bat, I don’t believe in proof texting. That is what cults do, and false teachers of the Gospel. Instead of proof texting, I believe in contexting. This means letting the context interpret the passage and basing your beliefs on the context of the passage. When someone proof texts, instead of going to other passages of Scripture, it is sometimes wise to do what Jesus did here. Go to the very passage itself to discover what the meaning of the text really is. You may have to read more than that one verse to really get in the meaning of the one passage, because that meaning of the one passage will not go against the context of the passage. A good rule of thumb that I’ve found is read 15 verses before that passage and 15 verses after that passage. Read it more than once, read it several times, and sometimes in several translations. You may be running into differing contexts, or just one context, but by doing this, you are going to the heart of the passage and are more able to get to the truths of the passage in question.
Someone may ask: But what about the Holy Spirit’s interpretation? Well, for me, the answer is quite simple. The Holy Spirit’s original interpretation of the passage will always be the correct interpretation of the passage. He doesn’t spiritualize it to change the meaning. He may bring application into it to speak to you about a particular situation, but never to change the meaning. And the Holy Spirit’s original interpretation always follows context.
Why can I say this with confidence? Because He had it written in context.
C. Jesus did have two witnesses concerning Himself (v. 18) thereby fulfilling that law.
It is Jesus Himself and His Father who sent Him.
4. The reality of the situation.
John 8:19-20 ESV – They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” (20) These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
A. They want to know where Jesus Father was.
Jesus has spoken several times in John now about His Father. They I believe are being sarcastic in this question. The Greek suggests are sarcastic tone here. They want Jesus to produce that “Father” that He has been talking about. They want to see for themselves.
B. Jesus explains why they don’t know the Father.
It is their refusal to know the reality of who Jesus is, and accepting Him. Since they don’t accept Him, they would not accept the Father, even if He appeared to them. This reality is a sad truth of life. We’ve all heard people say, “If I see, then I believe.” But the truth of the matter is that seeing will not make believers out of anyone. Again, it is the Father’s drawing and the Spirit’s enabling that produces believers, not something subjective like seeing or some other senses. We see from Scripture some examples of this. While I won’t quote the Scriptures for sake of time, I will explain them. The Children of Israel saw the hand of God, and heard the voice of God, yet the continued to refuse to believe.
In the Gospels, people would see Jesus performing some sort of sign, and for a short while may believe, but then when Jesus would begin teaching, they’d refuse to accept His teaching and then walk away.
In the epistles, primarily 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus it talks about people in the last days that will appear to be godly, but have been disqualified and shipwrecked in the faith. They are deceived and are being deceived.
People’s hearts are full of sin. They are dark. They can’t clean their hearts up themselves. They can’t give themselves some heart transplant. Only the true light of the world – Jesus Christ, can do that. He can take the filthy heart that will repent and surrender to Him and give them a new heart and begin to light their way and give them a hope and a future.