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John 8

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

FRIDAY, JUNE 23

SCRIPTURE: John 8

As with most chapters in the Bible there is much that happens in this chapter.  It appears that the entire chapter happens within the Temple complex, particularly in the Court of the Women which is where the Temple Treasury was located (see verse 20).  As I was thinking about this chapter, I decided to pick up the story in the middle and see how far we can go. 

Obviously after Jesus “saved” the woman caught in adultery in the early part of the chapter, the rest of the chapter is filled with conflict.  The pattern is simply Jesus teaching truth and the Jewish religious leaders wanting to argue with that truth because it didn’t fit their paradigm.

When you get to verse 31, Jesus makes the amazing promise that the Truth will set us free.  The religious leaders make an incredible statement in response to Jesus’ offer to set them free.  They said, “We have never been enslaved to anyone.”  

In a nice way, let me that just wasn’t true.  The Book of Judges is a story of reoccurring enslavements as different nations would conquer Israel and enslave them until God raised us a judge to deliver them.  Later on the nation of Israel would be enslaved by Babylon and then Assyria.  And, actually, at the very moment those religious leaders made that statement, the nation of Israel was being occupied by the Roman army.

Interestingly Jesus didn’t respond to that.  He just kept speaking truth.  Maybe that means we don’t have to correct the mistakes of others if we just keep speaking truth.  If you skip down to verse 39, the religious leaders’ response was “Abraham is our father”.  Then in verse 41, they said their only Father was God.  Jesus didn’t argue about that one either.  But He did explain to them what it would be like if God really was their Father.

As you might imagine, that didn’t set well.  So, in verse 48, the Jewish religious leaders resort to name calling.  They said Jesus was a Samaritan which was like one of the worst things a Jewish person could be called.  It was not only a racial slur but it was also an accusation of heresy since the Jews didn’t think Samaritans were true to God’s Word.  Then to top it off, they said Jesus was demon possessed.  

Religion, of any sort, can be one of the meanest, cruelest, most divisive things in the human experience.  And religious people will go to great lengths to stamp out anything and anyone that presents a challenge to their religious system.  In our story these religious people were even willing to destroy the only Son of the One, True God to protect their system and their place in it.

I want to wrap up this chapter by calling your attention to verse 58.  Jesus made a very important statement here.  He described Himself with the phrase “I am”.  That is a direct, unmistakable claim to be God.   It is the very way God identified Himself in the wilderness when Moses asked what His name was.  

This statement of “I am” defines God and, therefore, Jesus as self-existent.  In other words, they are not the progeny of anyone.  They exist apart from anyone including any ancestor.  Secondly, it defines God and, therefore, Jesus as eternal.  There is no mention of “I was” or “I will be”.  God has always existed and will always be.  

That is difficult for us to comprehend because we are so bound by time, space, and even our ancestors.  But God exists above and beyond that.  And yet, He chooses to enter our time and space to make an eternal difference in our lives.  He didn’t do that because He needed to.  He did that because we desperately needed Him to.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 7

DAILY DEVOTION

FOR

THURSDAY, JUNE 22

SCRIPTURE: John 7

As this chapter opens we are told it was the time of the Feast of the Booths or the Feast of the Tabernacles.  This particular feast was a real party in many ways for the Jewish people.  They actually moved out of their homes for a week and lived under shelters made of branches. (Think a small brush arbor). In some ways this was like camping out for the folks who lived in Jerusalem.  

The purpose behind this particular religious festival was an annual reminder of the time the nation of Israel was in the wilderness living under God’s care.  The Temple area would have been filled with large candles that were to remind people of the guiding pillar of light God provided in the wilderness.  And each day the priest would carry water from the Pool of Siloam and pour it out in the Temple as a reminder of the water that miraculously came from the rock in the wilderness.

If you will skip over to verse 37, we are on the seventh and last day of this feast.  It was called the great day because a lot of special things happened.  One of those things is the priests would march seven times around the altar chanting Psalm 118:25.  On the seventh trip around the altar they would pour out the water.

No doubt it was at that very moment that Jesus stood and shouted this incredible invitation.  He invited all those who were thirsty to come to Him and drink.  So what was going on here?

1 Corinthians 10:4 says that the rock in the Old Testament from which the water miraculously poured was Jesus.  He was that rock.  Now we learn that the water that poured from that rock was the Holy Spirit. 

So, when we believe in Jesus, His Holy Spirit is given freely or poured into us.  That’s the reason the water was “living”.  Those who are Christ followers possess the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit possesses them.  But no one can contain the Holy Spirit.  That’s why verse 38 speaks of living water flowing like rivers from the hearts of believers.

Verse 39 makes an interesting statement.  The Bible says the Holy Spirit had not been given yet because Jesus was not yet glorified.  What does that mean?

First, remember the Holy Spirit is omnipresent.  That means He is everywhere at once.  He has always been omnipresent and always will be.  Second, up until the time of the Gospels, the Holy Spirit came upon certain people for certain tasks for certain amounts of time.  Before the Gospels, the Holy Spirit came upon people but never took up forever residence in people.  

The miracle of God’s Holy Spirit living inside of us is a New Testament phenomenon.  But this amazing thing would not be happen until after Jesus ascended back to heaven.  In John 16:7, Jesus actually said it is better that He go away because He would send the Holy Spirit to us.  

How could it be better for us for Jesus to go away?  When He walked on this earth, His presence was limited to where He actually was.  Only those in His physical presence could experience Him.  But now the Holy Spirit literally dwells in believers all over this world.  The presence of Jesus is made known wherever the Holy Spirit dwells.  So all believers everywhere now have the daily benefit of living in and with the amazing presence of Jesus.  And that’s just pretty cool!

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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