This is the Wednesday night sermon for Wednesday, June 18th, 2008. On Wednesday nights, I’m preaching through the book of John, verse by verse.
JOHN PART 35
Christ being lifted up
Last time we looked at the life and ministry of Jesus, and how He is different. While we are of this world, He did not originate with this world.
If people do not receive the revelation of Jesus Christ revealed in Scripture, they will all die in their sins. Jesus is more than just a good man and a good teacher. He is God manifested in the flesh.
Tonight we are going to look at Jesus being lifted up. What did He exactly mean by that phrase? Does it mean to lift Him up in our lives? Does it mean something deeper, more meaningful, more prophetic?
We are going to look into this plus man’s inability to understand the truths of God apart from the Spirit.
1. Mankind’s basic question; Jesus’ consistent answer.
John 8:25 ESV – So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning.
A. Here Jesus is in this discussion with some Jews.
It always seems that the Pharisees and some Jews were trying to trap Jesus, question Him, wanting some type of clarification. It is amazing to me that they continue to do this, because I feel that Jesus never hid who He was from them. He told them over and over, and not only that, the works that He did spoke the truth of who He is, but many Jews continued to disbelieve. And why did they continue to disbelieve? Because they didn’t want to believe. They were blinded by their sin as well as their own selfish ambition. They were looking for some political leader that would bring them in on His agenda and overthrow Rome so that they could rule and reign with Him. But Jesus came as the suffering servant. He never asked their permission on what to teach, whom He should teach, or when or how He should do signs. The only permission He had and was concerned with was His Fathers. This angered and frustrated the Scribes and Pharisees and some of the Jewish people greatly. Now remember, the ones that Jesus is talking to here in this portion of Scripture is mainly Jews who are residents of Jerusalem. The point I’m trying to make by bringing this up is that it wasn’t just the Scribes and Pharisee’s that were questioning Jesus, but some of the Jewish people within the general population as well.
B. So after all this time, they still are blinded to who Jesus is.
So they ask Him the question, “Who are you?” Let’s be honest for just a moment. This question is still being asked. Not only in the world, but our churches and faith institutions as well.
Look at all the evidences we have about Jesus. We have His word, the witness of the Holy Spirit, the witness of changed lives, the witness of miracles and healings that are done in Christ’s name today, but there still are debates in religious circles concerning who Jesus is. This is a sad mess that we have gotten ourselves into. We have not learned the lesson that was taught by Jesus two thousand years ago. But the answer to today’s questions, is the answer that Jesus gave to these Jews. Jesus Christ has never changed concerning who He is. The book of Hebrews bears this out.
Hebrews 13:8 ESV – Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
C. Jesus has always been consistent about who He is.
He is who He always said He is. His teachings prove it. His signs prove it. The Old Testament prophets proved it. Yet the Jews were still blinded to this fact.
In fact, some scholars suggest that Jesus is not just talking about the beginning of His ministry, but He is using a word-play – meaning, He is the beginning, the one who spoke the worlds into existence in Genesis one and John one. One translation that I looked at actually translated it this way. If this is true, then Jesus has been consistent about who He is before time even began.
John 8:25 LITV – Then they said to Him, Who are You? And Jesus said to them, The Beginning, what I also say to you.
D. What should be our answer to the modern religious debates on who Jesus is?
It should be the gospel passages. The Old Testament Prophecies. Your own personal testimony of the power of a life saved through Christ Jesus.
2. Mankind’s lack of understanding without the Father’s drawing.
John 8:26-27 ESV – I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” (27) They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father.
A. Jesus could have gone on and on in this discussion with the Jews.
He could clearly declare and show and judge the conditions of their hearts. The fact is their hearts are full of an appearance of righteousness. The problem is, it is not a righteousness that comes from the Father, but it is a self-righteousness that stinks like filthy rags in the nostrils of the Father. Jesus could have easily been justified in ongoing and showing the error of their ways. You see, His judgment wasn’t alone, but the Father was the judge as well.
John 8:16 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.
But the fact of the matter is this: God has not sent Jesus to judge them at this time. Truth is: their own sins are judging them. God sent Jesus to save those in the world, not to judge at this time.
John 3:16-19 ESV – 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
B. What Jesus shares with the world is only what the Father reveals for Him to say.
He does not speak under His own authority but under the direct authority of the Father.
C. And sadly, these Jews still do not understand that Jesus was speaking about the Father (v. 27).
3. Mankind does not understand that the cross proves that Christ Jesus is the “I AM”, the Son of God Himself.
John 8:28 GNB – So he said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, you will know that ‘I Am Who I Am’; then you will know that I do nothing on my own authority, but I say only what the Father has instructed me to say.
A. I used the GNB as opposed to the ESV in this verse because I feel it translates more accurately what Jesus was trying to convey.
I believe He was saying that when they crucify Jesus and hang Him on the cross, it will be the truest form of validation as to who He is. He is I AM WHO I AM. He is the very Word of God, who was always with God and Who was God, and came and appeared in human flesh. Let me quote this verse out of the Amplified Bible, for it adds the theological meaning into the text itself here.
John 8:28 AMP – So Jesus added, When you have lifted up the Son of Man [on the cross], you will realize (know, understand) that I am He [for Whom you look] and that I do nothing of Myself (of My own accord or on My own authority), but I say [exactly] what My Father has taught Me.
B. What is the greatest proof of the validity of the claims of Jesus Christ?
I personally believe that it is the cross of Jesus Christ itself. This passage says that those who look at the cross will realize that Jesus is Who He said He is. But this isn’t self realization, for many who looked upon Him while on the cross did not believe. What then leads them to believe? It is none other than the Father Himself who draws them to Christ Jesus and this truth of the revelation of Jesus at the cross.
John 6:44-45 ESV – 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.
4. Jesus reveals a little of his relationship with the Father, and many believe on Him.
John 8:29-30 ESV – And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” (30) As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
A. Not only is Jesus saying what the Father wants Him to say, and doing what the Father wants Him to do, but Father is with Him, right there in the midst of that discussion.
Jesus had a very intimate relationship with the Father, and here He reveals just a small portion about this relationship. He is not alone at all, but the Father has always been with Him. Everything about Jesus is about pleasing the Father.
B. Some listening believed in Jesus.
To them the evidence became crystal clear. Jesus was who He claimed to be. And they understood and believed.
C. What can we learn from this?
The claims of Jesus are true, the gospel message is the truest message ever delivered to mankind. Only the Father can open up our blinded eyes and teach us the truth of the claims of Jesus. And Oh, what sweet revelation it is when those blinders fall off, and we see Jesus for who He is – the Savior of sin-sick souls, like you and me.
What should we do with a message like this? Well, there is a world out there that does not know or understand the truth. We have the truth, and have tasted and experienced His goodness and grace. The cross still points the truth to the world. This world is lost, and only Jesus can save it. Become a vessel that He can use to share the good news with them.