Religion, self-salvation strategies, kill.
The gospel, the GREAT I AM, gives life.
This week is a golden chapter in John.
Jesus does not mince words with the religious Pharisees.
it is because we are forgetting who Jesus is and what He is like.
The chapter begins when a couple is caught in the act of adultery.
Jesus saw the injustice of the Pharisees bringing the woman alone,
as Hosea 4:14 prophesied He would.
If He didn’t have her stoned, they thought, He would be disobeying the law of Moses.
If He had her stoned, they thought, it would seem lacking in compassion.
They thought they had Him. Our own Mary E. found this from Michael Card:
What the Pharisees didn’t know, didn’t accept, didn’t embrace is that
HE IS THE GREAT I AM:
THE BREAD OF LIFE,
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD,
THE GOOD SHEPHERD,
THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP,
THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE,
THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE,
AND THE ONE WHO BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS
And so we must ask our hearts:
Do I know this?
Do I believe this?
Do I embrace this moment by moment?
For if I do, I can be set free of my chains!.
Now that I understand heart idols, I’m sure the Pharisees were fearful of losing their power, what they saw as their security. But if they had known who Jesus was, they could have trusted Him to be that.
Two weeks ago our own Elizabeth shared an incident with her strong-willed child: her fears, yet faith’s victory.
One of my children has a very strong willed, stubborn nature. The Lord will use it for good one day, I am trusting that! But in the strain of it today, the old Prodigal Son story breaks me again. True love, real love, does not have one ounce of performance attached to it. Because my child so stubbornly challenges our authority—I have the chance, the privilege even (!) , to give love before there is repentance. I used to think I would be the welcoming father once this child “returned”—but it is the now that matters. And so I told her this, just now. I told her how I fail to show it but that it is true, she is loved, just as she is. I pray for obedience because He commands it, because it is best for her, for all of us, but I told her she must know, she must never doubt, that she is fully loved whether she obeys or not.
So stepping out as I did just now, though she is young—required that faith. Faith that if she uses my confession against me someday, if she continues to do her own thing at school—He will carry me. And He did. She wrapped her arms tight around me. As I said how I had failed to model His love, her squeeze got tighter, and the enemy tempted me to feel judged and pull back, but I couldn’t…He’d taken me too far. I will stumble again, but to keep going back to repentance, and then trusting Him to catch me, is the only way. Otherwise my pride, my fear, will keep me from ever moving forward. I thank Him for this trial. …I thank Him for how He is using this to mold me. To learn in micro-steps, how to love like He does. She smiled big and skipped away and I knew that she felt His love, through me, in that moment.
Note: Next week Lent begins and I’m counting on you who have been with us in Part I. to welcome and encourage and mentor newcomers! We will need to begin with a review lesson, and I hope I’m not tiring you with repeats, but I am SO grateful for your input. Next week is similar to what I have just submitted as the overview chapter for this guide to a publisher. Appreciate prayers and always, input.
1. What stands out to you from the above?
2. Where are you afraid to trust Jesus with your idols? Which of the above truths about Him could help you?
Monday-Wednesday Bible Study
3. Watch the video below, verbatim from John, and comment on anything that strikes you.
It was during the Feast of the Tabernacles, and the four huge candelabras, as tall as the Temple walls, were lit. The Temple itself was built on the highest point in Jerusalem, so these flaming torches could be seen right across the city. Jesus stood right in front of the candelabra that represented the light of the Messiah and said:
I AM THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Let your heart worship Him with this:
Whenever Jesus makes an I AM claim it is a claim to Deity, for it is the same words God the Father spoke to Moses when Moses asked His name. Whenever He makes such a claim, His friends are in awe and His enemies want to stone Him.
3. Read John 8:12-20.
A. What is Jesus’ promise in verse 12 and how is this relevant to your walk today?
B. What is the objection to this claim from the Pharisees and how does Jesus refute it?
4. Read John 8:31-38
A. According to the words of Jesus here, what does sin do to a person, and what can the truth of the gospel do?
B. Do you believe this and how is this relevant to your walk today?
Prepare your heart by listening to Michael Card:
5. Read John 8:39-47
They claim Abraham is their father, but Jesus says they have another father. What is His supporting evidence? Find everything you can.
6. What do they accuse Him of in John 8:48-52?
7. What sarcastic question do they have for Him in John 8:53?
8. Describe the dialogue and actions in John 8:56-59.
9. I want to go back to the ice-breaker question. Where are you struggling with idolatry and how can the truth of this chapter set you free?
Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon
This is not free, but too wonderful not to share. If you can listen, share your notes.