The Dividing Line Jesus Draws Between Belief and Rejection

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in verses thirty-one through fifty-nine. THE PARTNERSHIP OF THE FATHER AND SON! THE WORK OF THE FATHER MANIFESTED AND DISPLAYED THROUGH THE SON! When you come to this particular portion of the eighth chapter you will find the apostle John bringing the language contained therein to a close. Of course we know that when the gospels, epistles and books of the Bible they were not written with chapter and verses. It wouldn’t be until centuries later when scholars and students alike would implement chapter and verses within the text of scripture to make for easier study when reading the word of God. The words and language we find within the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John are quite unique and intriguing when you take the time to think about and consider them. In fact, if you read the words which are found within the eighth chapter you will find that it bears a strong semblance and a strong similarity to that which is found in previous chapters. When you read the eighth chapter of this New Testament gospel you will notice that it has many of the same characteristics and features the previous chapters have within them—particularly the fifth and sixth chapters. If you turn and direct your attention back to chapters five through seven you will find that chapters five and six begin with an event that sort of propels and catapults the entire course and narrative of the chapter. Beginning to read with and from the fifth chapter of this particular gospel you will notice that it begins with Jesus the Christ journeying down unto Jerusalem during a time of one of the Jewish feasts in order that He might observe the feast. As you read the words and language that is found in the opening verses of the fifth chapter you will find that in the city of Jerusalem there was a certain pool by the Sheep Gate called Bethesda. Surrounding this pool were five porches or five colonnades in which there were countless lame, halt, and other individuals who had various infirmities and diseases. These various porches were filled with countless individuals who found themselves either blind, lame or halt, and spending their days within them in order that they might be present for a very specific season. The apostle John emphatically writes that there would be a certain and specific season within and during the year when an angel would come down and trouble the waters. Whoever among all those who entered into the waters as and after they had been troubled would be made whole of whatever infirmity other disease they had within their physical bodies. The apostle John writes and records how Jesus came to this particular pool and spoke unto one single man asking him a very pointed and powerful question—the question of whether or not he would be whole.

As you continue reading the words which are found within the fifth chapter you will find the man whom Jesus met at the pool of Bethesda declaring unto Him that he had no one to help him down into the waters when they are troubled, for whenever he would make his way toward the waters another would enter the waters before him, thus being made whole of their infinity and disease. Oh I have often believed that this man not only lived in a place of hopelessness and despair, but this man also lived in a continual place of frustration—particularly and especially when we consider the fact that the apostle John writes concerning this man that he was with this condition for thirty eight years. Scripture doesn’t reveal how old this man was at the pool of Bethesda, but what we do know is that this man bore this condition and this infirmity for thirty eight years. It would be incredibly wise to pay close attention to the words which are found within this passage of scripture, for despite the fact that this man had this condition for thirty and eight years, and despite the fact that this man continually faced disappointment and frustration as others entered into the waters of the pool before him—on this particular occasion he would encounter the person of Jesus the Christ from Nazareth. It would be in this particular day when this man would find himself in the very presence of the Word made flesh who would offer him that which he had been desirous of for nearly forty years. On this day Jesus found this man lying in one of the porches there at the pool of Bethesda, and dyer asking if he would be whole, commanded and instructed him to rise from the place he was lying and take up his mat. The apostle John writes how immediately this man rose from the place where he had been lying for quite some time. On this particular day this man who had borne this infirmity for nearly forty years would hear the command to rise from the place he had been lying and take up his mat. What the apostle John goes on to write concerning this particular event was that it took place on the sabbath, and was viewed by the Jews as a clear and present violation of their laws and traditions. If you continue reading the words which are found within this passage you will find that as this man rose from his place, picked up his mat and carried it, the Jews reprimanded him because he was carrying his mat on the sabbath. Eventually the conversation would lead to the Jews asking this man who it was who healed him after he had told them the man who instructed him to rise also instructed him to take up his mat. Please don’t miss and please don’t miss the incredible significance of this, for once the Jews learned that it was Jesus who had healed this man, that sought to persecute, and ultimately kill Him.

Upon continuing to read the words which are found in the fifth chapter you will find that immediately following the conversation the Jews had with the man who had been healed, and learned that it was Jesus who had healed him, they sought to persecute and kill Jesus for breaking the sabbath. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the words found within this passage you will find that Jesus’ first words and response to their persecution and opposition was to emphatically declare that His Father works and He too must work. This statement must be carefully understood, for this statement set in motion what would take place in the remaining verses of this chapter and interaction Jesus had with the Jews. The fact that Jesus had healed this man on the sabbath, and now the fact that Jesus has called God His Father, thus making Himself equal to God absolutely infuriated and enraged the Jews, and they sought all the more to kill Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this reality, for the healing of this man on the sabbath, as well as the statement Jesus made concerning His Father working and Himself also working set in motion a great opposition and persecution of the Jews toward Jesus, and ultimately their seeking to kill Him. What we find in the remaining verses of the fifth chapter is a dialogue Jesus has with the Jews—not necessarily to defend Himself, nor to defend His actions, but to speak unto them concerning the Father. The entire latter portion of the fifth chapter of the gospel of John would contain a tremendous amount of words and language which Jesus the Christ would speak unto the Jews concerning His identity and His purpose within and upon the earth. How incredibly intriguing and interesting it is to think that Jesus didn’t seem to defend Himself when speaking before and speaking unto the Jews, but rather He spoke unto them concerning identity and purpose. As you read the words found and contained within this passage you will find the apostle John emphatically revealing and drawing a considerable amount of attention to the words which Jesus the Christ would speak unto those who sought to kill Him. The entire latter half of the fifth chapter would contain an incredible amount of words and language which Jesus would speak unto the Jews concerning His Father, concerning His purpose, and even concerning His identity. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this tremendous and incredible reality, for the entire dialogue which would take place between Jesus and the Jews would be set in motion because of one single event which took place at the pool of Bethesda. Everything we find and everything we read in the latter portion of the fifth chapter of this gospel would have and find its origin in the healing of a single man who had an infinity for thirty and eight years. Essentially the fifth chapter would begin with an act of Jesus Christ at the pool of Bethesda, and that single action would ignite a rage an fury within and among the Jews concerning Jesus the Christ.

That which we read and that which we find in the fifth chapter of the gospel which the apostle John wrote is quite similar to that which we find in the sixth chapter of the same gospel. If and as you read the sixth chapter of this very same gospel you will find the apostle John writing concerning the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand in the land and region of Galilee not far from Capernaum. At the very outset of the sixth chapter of this gospel we find Jesus the Christ removing His disciples to a mountain in order that they might find rest for their physical bodies and souls. Ultimately that period of rest would be interrupted by a great multitude of people which would come unto Jesus whole with His disciples. The apostle John would write how Jesus would teach the crowd which was before Him, and would ultimately end up feeding them with nothing more than five loaves of bread and a few fish. The sixth chapter of the New Testament which the apostle John wrote would begin with Jesus feeding five thousand men—not including women and children—with five loaves of bread, and a few fish after receiving the offering of one’s lunch, blessing it in the sight and presence of the Father, breaking it, and giving it unto the disciples in order that they might in turn distribute it unto and among the people. By the time you come to the thirteenth verse of the sixth chapter you will find that not only was the entire multitude and crowd satisfied and filled, but they also gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them which had eaten. The apostle John goes on to write how those men who had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said and declared among themselves that this was of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. The sixth chapter would continue with Jesus becoming aware of the fact that those present on this particular day would seek to take Him by force and make Him a king. In response to their intentions Jesus departed again into a mountain by Himself alone while His disciples went down into the sea, entered into a. Ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. Each of the four gospel authors and writers write within their gospel accounts concerning this particular event and how while it was true that Jesus wasn’t in the ship with the disciples when a storm arose upon the sea, He saw them laboring and toiling in the midst of the storm, and came unto them. Each of the New Testament authors write how Jesus came unto the disciples—not only walking in the midst of the storm, but also walking upon the water, and walking in the midst of the rain, the wind and the waves. Initially the disciples were afraid of what they were seeing in the midst of the ocean, for they perceived that what they were seeing was a ghost or spirit of some sort. Once Jesus confirmed that it was He who was appearing before and unto them, they gladly received Him into the ship, and immediately the wind and the waves died down and they were at their destination.

What takes place in the rest of the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John is quite unique and quite remarkable, for after the feeding of the five thousand, and after walking unto the disciples in the midst of the ship in the throw of the storm which arose upon the sea, the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save the one in which the disciples entered, and that Jesus went not with the disciples into the boat, they took to shipping and came unto Capernaum seeking for Jesus. The apostle John writes that when they had found Him on the other side of the sea, they inquired of Jesus how and when He would come unto the other side of the sea. What you read and what you find in the rest of the sixth chapter is actually quite astonishing and unique, for it bears a strong similarity to that which is recorded in the previous chapter. If you read the words which are found in the latter portion of the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote you will find a unique exchange between Jesus and the Jews. What’s more, is that upon reading the remaining portion of the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find that not only did Jesus speak directly unto the Jews, but He also spoke unto his disciples—those disciples who walked with and followed Him for three and a half years, and those other disciples who had believed on His name, and who had trusted that he was indeed and was in fact the Christ. The entire latter portion of the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John contains a unique dialogue which took place between Jesus the Christ and His disciples who believed on His name and who trusted in Him. The conversation which Jesus had with the disciples who had sought after Him in the midst of Capernaum would contain language concerning the work of God, as well as the bread which Moses gave their ancestors and forefathers in the wilderness. If you read that which is found in the latter portion of this chapter you will find Jesus not only speaking unto the disciples and Jews concerning the bread which the Father gave unto their ancestors in the wilderness, but also declared unto them that He Himself was the bread of life. What’s more, is that Jesus emphatically declared that those who would come unto Him would never hunger, and those which believe on Him would never thirst. The language which we find in the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote is similar in nature and language to what we find in the fourth chapter, for in the fourth chapter the woman whom Jesus met at Jacob’s well asked for the living water which He spoke of, while in the sixth chapter we find those whom Jesus spoke with asking to partake of the living bread which Jesus spoke of. Within the words which we find in the sixth chapter—as well as the words which we find in the fifth chapter of this gospel—we not only find Jesus speaking of Himself, but we also find Jesus speaking of His Father who had sent Him into and unto the earth with a very specific purpose and mission.

Ultimately as you read the words which are written and recorded within the sixth chapter you will find that Jesus transitions from speaking of the bread which His Father gave unto their forefathers and ancestors and the wilderness, and Himself as the living Bread which came down from heaven to speaking unto them concerning the fact that their forefathers ate manna in the wilderness and are dead, but the bread which He spoke unto them about came down from heaven and would lead to everlasting life. What’s more, is that as you continue reading within the sixth chapter you will find that Jesus would draw strong criticism and offense from the Jews unto whom He was speaking when He spoke unto them concerning the giving of His flesh to eat, and His blood to drink. The sixth chapter could conclude with the Jews murmuring together against Jesus because of the words which He spoke, and many of His disciples murmuring among themselves concerning the words which Jesus was speaking unto them. What’s more, is that as you continue reading the words found within this passage of Scripture you will notice that the apostle also wrote about many of the disciples who believed on Jesus and followed Him at that time. If you begin reading with and from the sixtieth verse of the sixth chapter you will find that many of the disciples felt that the words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto them was a hard saying, and wondering who could actually handle it. Jesus was very much aware of their murmuring among themselves and asked them point blank if the words which He spoke unto them did in fact offend them. What’s more, is that the apostle John would go on to write and describe how Jesus not only declared that there were some among them who believed not, but would also write how Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who believed not, and those who should betray Him. Ultimately the apostle John would go on to write and record how from that time many of the disciples of Jesus went back and walked no more with Him. Please don’t miss and lose sight of that which we find within this passage of Scripture, for towards the end of the chapter we find a tremendous walking away from Jesus the Christ, as many disciples would go back and no longer walk with Jesus the Christ. Though many of them might very well have partaken of the loaves of bread on the other side of the sea, and though many of them would partake of the few fish which were provided by Jesus the Christ, they would go back and walk no more with Jesus because of the words which He spoke. It’s actually quite interesting that men and women were willing to partake of the physical and natural bread which Jesus would provide unto them, yet when it came to the words which Jesus spoke unto them, they found His words to be a hard saying, and were unable to handle and bear it. The apostle John wrote concerning this particular time how not only did many of the disciples of Jesus go back—perhaps over and across the sea upon which they had crossed—but they also chose no longer to walk with Jesus. Imagine partaking of the miraculous provision of Jesus the Christ, and yet ultimately and eventually reaching the place where you were no longer willing to walk with Him—simply because of the words which He spoke unto you, which offended you within the very depths of your heart and soul. Consider how many of those who had chosen to go back and walk no more with Jesus not only partook of the miracle and provision of the feeding of the five thousand, but they had also crossed the sea in order that they might come unto Jesus in Capernaum.

The seventh chapter of this New Testament gospel is somewhat similar to that which we find in the previous two chapters, with the exception that there was no miracle or work which Jesus did within the seventh chapter. In fact, the entire seventh chapter surrounded the feast of Tabernacles which took place within the he city of Jerusalem, as countless individuals came from Judaea, and perhaps even Galilee, Samaria, and various other nations and lands in order that they might celebrate and observe the feast within the city of Jerusalem. What makes the seventh chapter similar in nature to that which we find in the previous two chapters is that it contains a tremendous dialogue which took place between Jesus and the Jews. Initially, the seventh chapter began with Jesus walking in Galilee and not walking in Jewry, for the Jews sought to kill Him after He had healed a man on the sabbath, and after He had declared God as His Father. Ultimately, however, Jesus would in fact make the journey down to Jerusalem, and as men and women would hear of His presence within the he city, they would seek Him out that they might find Him. What we must recognize and understand concerning the seventh chapter is that it is intrinsically linked and connected to the fifth chapter, for in the opening verses of the chapter we find that Jesus was no l on her willing to walk in Jewry because the Jews sought to kill Him. What’s more, is that as you read the words which are found in the seventh chapter you will find that Jesus Himself directly links this time in Jerusalem to His previous time in the city when the Jews sought to kill Him because of making a man whole not he sabbath, and declaring that God was indeed and was in fact His Father. The entire seventh chapter took place in the city of Jerusalem at the feast of Tabernacles, as undoubtedly countless hundreds—if not thousands—of men and women traveled and journeyed from all over to celebrate and honor the feast which was ordained by the living God when speaking unto Moses in the wilderness. The seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of John would continue with something truly unique concerning the Jews, as the apostle John wrote how there was a division among the Jews concerning Jesus, as there were some who believed on Him, and believed that He was the Messiah, while there were others who believed that He was that prophet. There were some who chose not to believe on Jesus the Christ, and who chose to reject Him as a fraud and as an imposter who sought to deceive the people. What we find in the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of John is a tremendous picture of how the words which Jesus spoke had the ability to divide Jewry, as there were those who believed that He was indeed and was in fact the Christ, and there were others who believed that He was a fraud and an imposter. It’s quite interesting and unique to think about and consider the fact that as you read the New Testament gospel of John you will find and discover that there was nothing more divisive within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ than His own words—words which some found to be extremely difficult to hear and to bear.

It is absolutely necessary that we understand the language and context that is found in chapters five, six, and seven, for when we come to the eighth chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote you will again find it bearing a strong similarity to that which is found in the fifth and sixth chapters. The fifth chapter opens up with a healing at the pool of Bethesda on the sabbath day, the sixth chapter begins and opens up with Jesus feeding the five thousand with loaves of barley bread and fish, and the eighth chapter begins and opens up with a woman caught and taken in the very act of adultery. The eighth chapter of this New Testament gospel begins much like chapters five and six did with a single event which would undoubtedly set in motion an intense exchange and dialogue between Jesus and the Jews. The first eleven verses of the eighth chapter describe a woman who was caught and taken in the very act of adultery, and how the scribes and Pharisees dragged this woman into the courts of the Temple, and ultimately into the presence of Jesus demanding what Jesus said concerning her. In all reality, what we find in the opening verses of the eighth chapter have nothing really to do with this woman’s sins and this woman’s immorality, but rather with the scribes and Pharisees looking for means whereby they might accuse Jesus the Christ and trap Him in His words. The scribes and Pharisees were willing to publicly expose and humiliate a single woman who was caught in the act of adultery in order that they might find grounds whereby they might accuse Jesus the Christ and trap Him in His words. Please don’t miss this, for everything we find in the opening verses of the eighth chapter center not necessarily upon this woman caught and taken in the act of adultery, but rather in the scribes and Pharisees tempting Jesus in order that they might have reason and cause to accuse Him. It’s interesting and worth noting that initially and originally Jesus stooped down, and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not. The scribes and Pharisees would continue pressing the issue with Jesus, and eventually He would lift Himself up from where He was and declare unto them the following words: “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7). After speaking these words unto the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus would again stoop down and resume writing on the ground. Those which heard the words which Jesus spoke unto them, being convicted in their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last until Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. Ultimately when Jesus would lift Himself from where He was and see that it was just Himself and the woman, He asked the woman two very important questions: “Woman, where are those thine accusers” and “Hath no man condemned thee?” This woman—realizing that there were no accusers left to condemn her—declared unto Jesus that there weren’t any left to accuse and condemn her. Upon hearing these words, Jesus emphatically declared unto her, saying, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).

It is against this backdrop and in the context of this woman who was caught and taken in the act of adultery, accused and condemned by the scribes Pharisees, and yet delivered out of the judgment and sentence of her accusers that we find the rest of the eighth chapter taking place. The apostle John writes that immediately after Jesus had delivered this woman out of the hands of her accusers and those who would condemn her, He declared those who were standing there that He was the Light of the world, and that those who followed Him would not walk in darkness, but would have the light of life. What you read and find in the remaining portion of the eighth chapter is very similar to that which you find in the fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of this particular gospel, for there would be a great division which would take place within Jewry, as there would be those who would believe on Jesus the Christ, while there were those who viewed Jesus as a fraud and as an imposter. What you find in chapters five through eight is a tremendous picture—not only of many of the Jews taking offense to the words which Jesus spoke unto them, but also many of the scribes and Pharisees. In all reality, those who appealed to their heritage as ancestors of Abraham took and found fault with Jesus, while those who appealed to their own self-righteousness and holiness would also find fault with Jesus and the words which He spoke unto them. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand that within this passage of Scripture—as well as that which we find in chapters five through seven—we find both the Jews, as well as religion finding fault and taking offense with the words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto them concerning Himself. It’s worth noting, however, that when you come to verses thirty and thirty-one you find what I would describe as a breath of fresh air in the interaction between Jesus and the Jews. In the thirtieth verse you will find that as Jesus spoke unto all those who were present at the Temple, there were many who believed on Him. What’s more, is that in the thirty-first verse of this chapter you will find Jesus speaking unto those Jews which believed on Him that if they continued in His word, then would they be His disciples indeed, and they would know the truth, and the truth would set them free. What so intrigues me about that which is found written and recorded within this passage is that although there were those Jews who believed on Jesus, He had the ability to draw a dividing line in the sand between those who truly believed on Him, and those whose faith and belief could be shaken and shattered. It’s worth noting that when Jesus declared that men would know the truth, and the truth would set them free—He wasn’t speaking unto the scribes, nor was He speaking unto the Pharisees. When Jesus spoke concerning the knowledge of the truth, and how the truth would set men free, He was speaking unto those Jews which believed on Him. How incredibly interesting is it to think and consider the fact that it is possible to believe on Jesus the Christ, and yet still be in bondage and need freedom. What we find in this particular section of Scripture is Jesus declaring unto those who believed on Him that if they knew the truth, the truth would in turn set them free. The Jews who believed on Him, however, took great offense to the words which Jesus the Christ spoke unto them, for they had never been in bondage. If therefore, they were Abraham’s seed, how could they indeed ever be in bondage?

It’s absolutely astonishing to read and consider the fact that in response to the Jews’ declaration that they were Abraham’s seed and were never in bondage, Jesus immediately declared unto them that whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin. What’s more, is Jesus would go on to declare that the servant abides not in the house for ever, but the Son abides forever. Jesus would go on to emphatically declare and proclaim unto those Jews who could not perceive themselves having ever been in bondage or slavery to anyone that if the Son therefore would make them free, they would be free indeed. Please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of that which is written within this passage of Scripture, for not only did Jesus speak of truth and declare that the truth would make them free, but Jesus would also speak unto them concerning Himself and declare that those whom the Son sets free would be free indeed. In all reality, what we find within this passage are two distinct realities concerning freedom—namely, the truth setting men free, and the eternal Son of the living God setting men free. What’s more, is that what we find and what we read in this particular set of verses was not spoken unto the scribes, nor was it spoken unto the Pharisees. What we find in this passage of Scripture was not Jesus speaking unto religion, nor even those who rejected and did not believe on Him, but on those who believed on Him. These were Jews who sought not to kill Jesus, but believed on Him, and yet Jesus spoke unto them concerning truth and freedom—two realities which clearly offended them to the very depths of their being. Upon hearing Jesus speaking unto them concerning truth and the truth setting them free, the Jews immediately appealed to their heritage and lineage as the seed of Abraham, and how they had never been in bondage. Ultimately, Jesus would declare unto them that those who commit sin are indeed and in fact a servant of sin. What I absolutely love about what is written within this passage is that Jesus would go on to declare that if the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. The question we must ask ourselves when we read the words found within this passage of Scripture is whether or not there are areas within our life which need to be delivered. We must come to the point and place within our lives when we seek to understand those areas that still need the deliverance of Jesus the Christ, and those areas where the truth needs to set us free. What’s more, is that within each of these chapters mentioned within this writing there was a strong division within and among the Jews, as there were those who viewed Jesus as a fraud and imposter, while there were others who believed on His name. Are we going to be those who turn back and walk no longer with Jesus, or will we be those who choose to abide with the Son, believe on His name, and commit ourselves to Him with our whole hearts and our souls.

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