This is the Wednesday night sermon for Wednesday, August 6th, 2008. This is will the last sermon in the book of John for a while. I’m going to be starting a new series on Wednesday nights from the book of Proverbs.

John part 39
Jesus, the great I AM
John 8:48-59.

INTRODUCTION

Last time we looked at how Jesus was showing these Jews who had claimed some belief in Him that they were really not following after Him, because they were not really receiving the message of who Jesus really is. They are the children of the father of lies – Satan.

Some people deal with personal attacks real well. I don’t quite frankly. The reason is my personality. I’m what people call a Sanguine/Melancholy. The Sanguine side of me wants people to like me. It is easy to try and be a people pleaser because of this personality trait. The Melancholy side of me gets real down and depressed because some people do not like me or accept me. It can really mess with me if I don’t crucify it daily. I am learning as a Pastor people will not always like me. I am also learning that with the position I’m in, there are times that personal attacks will come.

How are you at dealing with personal attacks? Do you attack back, get depressed or just let it wash over you and don’t worry about it?

In tonight’s teaching we are going to see How Jesus dealt with personal attacks.

Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to open up our eyes tonight as well dig into His Holy Word.

1. The personal attack of these Jews.

John 8:48-50 ISV – The Jews replied to him, “Surely we are right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon, aren’t we?” (49) Jesus answered, “I don’t have a demon. On the contrary, I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. (50) I don’t seek my own glory. There is one who seeks it, and he is the Judge.

A. With nothing else to help their position, the Jews go to a personal attack: Jesus is not really a Jew, but a Samaritan, plus, He as a demon.

B. The personal attack of Jesus being a Samaritan.

Why would this be a personal attack? By calling Jesus a Samaritan, they are using a racist, ethnic slur. They are saying that Jesus isn’t a pure Jew, so He is really an enemy of Israel. You see, the Jews hated the Samaritans, so if they could accuse Jesus of being one, then it would justify their hatred and anger toward Him and thereby also their refusal to accept His teachings.

C. The personal attack of Jesus having a demon.

They could not deny the power of Jesus teachings and the works He did, so they accused Him of being possessed. This is not the first time this accusation has occurred. Earlier in His ministry, the Pharisee’s accused Him of being possessed as well.

Matthew 12:24 HCSB – When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “The man drives out demons only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”

D. How did Jesus handle the personal attack?

First off He denied it (v. 49a). Next He spoke the truth concerning Himself and them (v. 49b). Everything He did and said was to bring honor to the Father, while everything they were saying at this point was bringing dishonor to Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to seek His own glory and fame, and God the Father will be His judge (v. 50). God will judge all those who refuse to give Him glory. These Jews refused to give the Father glory by dishonoring the Son.

E. One thing we can learn here, when facing personal attacks because of our faith, remember that Jesus faced it and did not lose heart.

Call on Him for strength to face it.

Hebrews 12:3 HCSB – For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart.

F. Not only were these Jews here satisfied with just personal attacks, they will amp up their attacks against Christ shown in the next point.

2. The misstating of Jesus own words.

John 8:51-53 ISV – Truly, truly I tell you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death at all.” (52) Then the Jews said to him, “Now we really know that you have a demon. Abraham died, and so did the prophets, but you say, ‘If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death at all.’ (53) You aren’t greater than our father Abraham, who died, are you? The prophets also died. Who are you making yourself out to be?”

A. Now at first glance this misstating of Jesus words is not that noticeable.

In v. 51 Jesus says that if they keep His word, they will never see death at all. In v. 52 the Jews say, “never taste death at all.” There are two different meanings of these words here.

Never see death – The Greek word for “see” here means, “To behold, to perceive, to consider, to look upon to view.” Let me quote from the NET translation notes concerning this: “Those who keep Jesus words will not see death because they have already passed from death to life. In Johannine theology eternal life begins in the present, rather than the world to come.” In other words, Jesus is saying that those who keep His word will not see eternal death, or eternal separation from God. Vincent word studies says it this way, “ This does not mean that the keeper of the word will not die forever, but will live eternally. The believer enters into eternal life the moment of His union with Christ.”

Never taste death – In Greek “taste” means, “To taste, to try the flavor of, to partake of, to experience something.” The word defines only physical death, not spiritual death and eternal life like the word, “see” does earlier.

B. All people die, even the godly ones like Abraham.

What does Jesus mean by this statement and who is He making Himself out to be is the question running through their minds.

C. Of course Jesus will answer their personal attacks and the twisting of His words, but not in the same fashion. His answer will bring further frustration amongst the Jews.

3. The true revelation of Christ.

John 8:54-58 ISV – Jesus answered, “If I were trying to glorify myself, my glory would mean nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ (55) You don’t know him, but I know him. If I were to say that I don’t know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him and keep his word. (56) Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day, and he saw it and was glad.” (57) Then the Jews said to him, “You are not even fifty years old, yet you have seen Abraham?” (58) Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly I tell you, before there was an Abraham, I am!”

A. Jesus isn’t speaking to glorify Himself, the glory He receives is from the Father (v. 54).

Jesus was not in the business of attracting attention to Himself. He didn’t care or need people’s adulation. All He said and did was to bring glory and adulation to the Father. And because of this, the Father was bringing glory to Him. The word, glory in Greek means, “To bring glory, to bring honor, to lift up, to exalt, to magnify, to draw attention too.”

In ministry it is sometimes a great temptation to draw attention to ones-self. We need to avoid this temptation. Our goal should be the same as Christ Jesus – we should draw attention and magnify the Father, and not worry about if we are in the spotlight or not. Our ministries should be for His glory, not for ours.

B. Jesus knows the Father because He keeps His word – These Jews who claim to be children of God are liars (v. 55).

Why are they liars? Because they don’t truly keep God’s word. If they did, then they would accept Jesus as more than just a prophet or good man, but they would accept Him as the Messiah who takes away the sins of the world.

C. Abraham saw Jesus day and rejoiced (vv. 56-57).

How could Abraham see Christ’s day, He is not even 50 years old? Well the Greek word for “see” here means, “To be made aware of, to be revealed, to come to understand.” Abraham had some type of revelation that the Messiah would come to take away the sins of the world, including His and He rejoiced in that day, while these Jews are angry about His coming.

D. The revelation of Jesus as God (v. 58).

Before there ever was an Abraham, before there ever was time itself, Jesus is I AM! He is using the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew covenant name of God. This would be blasphemy, in fact, they went to stone Him for this apparent blasphemy.

John 8:59 ISV – At this, they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

The problem is, if it is true, then it wouldn’t be blasphemy at all, but the truth declared! And Jesus is the great I AM of the Old Covenant, that is what He is declaring here.

Jesus faced the personal attacks against Him by declaring the truth.

When facing personal attacks, it is best to proclaim the truth of God’s Word. Stand on it. It isn’t really about answering the attacks against you, it is about the truth of God’s Word.

We are taking a break for a little bit from the book of John. Next Wednesday, we are going to begin a study into the book of Proverbs. We will come back to John, Lord willing, when our study in Proverbs is over.

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