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Study in John’s Gospel

Study in John’s Gospel

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Study in John’s Gospel

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  1. Study in John’s Gospel Presentation 21

  2. Jesus’ Person and Teaching Chap 7v11-17 Presentation 21

  3. Introduction There are two questions that children often want answered; 1. “Where did I come from?” and 2, “What holds the sky up?” The first had to do with the child’s identity and the second with his or her security. Would you be surprised to learn that the questions regularly asked of Jesus in every age also fall into these same two categories - identity and security? Both are addressed in the passage before us. Presentation 21

  4. Identity: Who Is He? When Jesus made his way up to the feast of tabernacles the crowd were already asking questions about his identity,‘Where/Who is Jesus?’v11. And the one incomplete answer given by some in the crowd was that he was only “a good man” v12. If they had asked Jesus about his identity he may have asked, what does the O.T. teach about me? He constantly pointed out that the clue to his identity and mission was to be found in Scripture. He tells us, “Moses… wrote of me” 5v46. And again, ‘Abraham rejoiced to see my day and was glad’ 8v56. After his resurrection Jesus made it clear to his disciples on the Emmaus road that all of the O.T. spoke of him, explained his mission and provided the reason for his death Lk.24.27. Presentation 21

  5. Identity: Who Is He? When Jesus first began his public ministry, he was asked to speak in the synagogue at Nazareth. The proscribed reading for that day was Isaiah 61 a passage which speaks of God’s work of salvation through his chosen servant. When the Bible reading was finished Jesus said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” Lk.4.21. It was a quite stunning claim. Jesus was saying, ‘I am the fulfilment of what is written here in Scripture. I am God’s solution to man’s need of salvation.’ This was a truly remarkable statement. Presentation 21

  6. Identity: Who Is He? The impossibility of viewing Jesus as just a good man is further seen in his claim to forgive sins. Commenting on this C. S. Lewis writes, “Unless the speaker is God, this is really so preposterous and to be comic”. Occasionally, on the news, we hear the parents of murdered children say, “We forgive their murderers”. But if they went on to say, “And we forgive every penitent for all the wrongs they have done”, then our admiration would turn to amazement and disbelief. We would ask, “What gives them the right to say that? Who do they think they are…?” Yet, that is the right Jesus claimed to have! Presentation 21

  7. Identity: Who Is He? When a paralysed man was lowered through a roof in order for Jesus to heal him, Jesus said, “your sins are forgiven” Mk.2v5. Jesus brought, not only physical but spiritual, emotional and psychological healing. And the religious leaders were furious saying, “Only God can forgive sins”. And their theology was absolutely correct; they simply failed to recognise that it was God incarnate, who had been speaking. Presentation 21

  8. Identity: Who Is He? There were a number of occasions when Jesus clearly appeared to claim to be God. He did so in the knowledge that such claims would be considered blasphemous by those who saw him as a mere man. Blasphemy was a capital offence! Indeed, in Ch.8 the religious leaders attempt to stone Jesus because he made an explicit claim to be God. What do we do with these claims? Do they, by themselves, prove that Jesus is God? Surely people are constantly making false claims. One thing is certain; we cannot believe that Jesus was a good man or a great teacher if in fact he misled people concerning his own identity – by claiming to be what he was not! What other possibilities have been put forward if he was not who he claimed to be? Presentation 21

  9. Identity: Who Is He? He was mad! But do the claims of Jesus suggest that he was a megalomaniac, or mentally unbalanced? Yet, this was the view of some in v20 who said, “He has a demon”. “This fellow is crazy!” But before we jump too quickly to accept that explanation we need to ask if it fits with the N.T. picture of Jesus? Did Jesus act and speak like a megalomaniac? Was he so self-absorbed that he had no interest in, or compassion upon others? No! Does the teaching given on the Sermon on the Mount sound as if it is the product of a crazed mind? No! Presentation 21

  10. Identity: Who Is He? It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Jesus was the sanest person, who ever lived. He spoke with quiet authority. He always seemed in control of the situation. He was never surprised nor rattled by his detractors. But finally, and this is important, people did not simply tolerate and indulge Jesus in the way that the majority of people react towards those who are mentally ill. They did not put him in a straightjacket and sympathise with his family because he was mentally unhinged. No! People were either devoted to him or they were violently opposed to him. Presentation 21

  11. Identity: Who Is He? If Jesus was not crazy could he have been a deceiver? Some thought so cf. v12.. They believed he wanted public recognition and so made false claims, thus deluded others into believing in him. If Jesus won a following through deception, then he was the worst deceiver, who ever lived! Why? Because he claimed that through his death he would bring eternal life and forgiveness to man! He claimed to be the only Saviour of the world. And if none of that was true, then he has consigned millions of gullible followers to a hopeless eternity! Presentation 21

  12. Identity: Who Is He? In addition, we need to ask, if Jesus operated such a calculated deception, how did he personally benefit? He certainly did not benefit materially in the way that many confidence tricksters and pyramid salesmen do today. They make all sorts of claims in order to make themselves rich! Nor did Jesus achieve a noble death in the eyes of his contemporaries - the Jews viewed crucifixion as the greatest shame that one could experience - to die on a cross was to be under a curse. [Deut. 21v23 Gal 3v13.] No there was clearly no benefit for Jesus here! Presentation 21

  13. Identity: Who Is He The only final possibility is that Jesus is who he claimed to be - God. I hope you believe that or, are at least on your way to believing it. In the light of Jesus’ claims, you cannot conclude that he was merely a good man or, even a great teacher. It is equally hard to conclude he was a madman or a deceiver. However, once you are convinced of the truth of Jesus’ claims, you need to respond to them. Have you tried in the past to obscure Jesus identity? Are you now convinced he is who he claims to be? If so you may want to pray along these lines, “Lord Jesus I recognise that you are the Saviour I need. Forgive my sin as I turn from it and place my trust in you for forgiveness. Take up residence in my heart and strengthen me to follow you all of my life”. Presentation 21

  14. Trustworthiness: What Did He Teach? If our first question concerned Jesus’ identity then our second deals with the trustworthiness of his teaching. The Jewish religious leaders knew that Jesus had received no formal theological training. His teaching was so new and radical that people wanted to know if it could be trusted. Responding to this concern, Jesus stressed the enormous gulf that existed between mere human teaching and that which is divine in origin. Jesus says in effect, “I am not claiming any originality or novelty. The doctrine that I teach comes from the one who sent me - the Father” Presentation 21

  15. Trustworthiness: What Did He Teach? Isaiah writes, ‘"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD’ Isa 55.8. This is certainly clear when we begin to compare the views of this world with the teaching of God’s Word. Take just one example, the doctrine of God. Some think of God as a heavenly policeman, or a benevolent grandfather, or as the big man in the sky, while others reduce him to a kind of parental hangover figure. Philosophers have described him as the ‘Ideal’, the ‘Prime Mover’ and so on. Basic to all these views is the idea that God is detached from man in his need and if the truth be told not terribly interested in people in general. Presentation 21

  16. Trustworthiness: What Did He Teach? In contrast, Jesus taught that God is not only holy but compassionate. He is the Lord of history and providence. He is concerned to repair his vandalised and disfigured world. And so he came in the person of his Son to redeem a broken and fallen humanity. He is constantly intervening in history, drawing us to himself and revealing to us his grace and mercy. Now that is a quite different picture from the many popular notions that abound! And we find these ‘differences’ are revealed by Jesus over and over again, not only in the doctrine of God but in the doctrine of scripture, the doctrine of man, the doctrine of salvation ….etc. Presentation 21

  17. Trustworthiness: What Did He Teach? A great void exists between the teachings of men and of God. This leads to some important conclusions. First, it is only God’s truth that can satisfy the human heart. There is no comfort in the speculations of men. True peace does not become ours by human reasoning. The story is told of a renaissance craftsman, who was visited by his priest on his deathbed. ‘You are dying’, he said. Then holding up a beautiful crucifix he said, ‘look upon your God who died for you’. At that the sculptor became even more agitated and said, ‘but I made that’. Neither the work of our hands, nor the speculation of our minds brings us any comfort. Only teaching that is divine in origin can bring us stability and peace. Presentation 21

  18. Trustworthiness: What Did He Teach? A second conclusion we can draw relates to the reliability of Christ’s teaching even those parts that seem strange to us. Jesus explains the mechanics of this process in v17, ‘If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.’ Notice, God does not give assurance concerning spiritual truth in order to satisfy mere curiosity. But, when a person makes it clear that they are serious about God and will act upon the truth that he reveals, then God will disclose those truths to him - giving him a deep-seated conviction of what is true. This internal subjective persuasion is what John Calvin described as ‘the ring of truth!’ Presentation 21

  19. Trustworthiness: What Did He Teach? A church elder described how he came to grips with this truth of Christ’s teaching. He did not come from a Christian home. He was an atheist and proud of it. He was called up to serve in the army and quartered with some Christians. Their lifestyle made him feel uncomfortable. He felt there was something missing from his own life. He began to envy them. One night, when the army base was empty, he knelt by his bed seeking the truth and prayed, ‘O God if you are real I need to know. If Jesus can change my life as he claims, I need to know that too. If you make yourself known I promise to obey and serve you for the rest of my life’. That night God made himself known. His life was changed and he went on to be a faithful servant of Christ for many years to come. Presentation 21

  20. Conclusion The identity of Christ’s person and the trustworthiness of his teaching are issues of tremendous importance in our spiritual pilgrimage. God does not invite us to join a mystery tour, where we all travel and hope wistfully that there is something of substance at the end of our journey. In fact God says, ‘If you seek me with all your heart you will surely find me’ Jer.29.13. And that only leaves us to answer these questions: 1. How badly do I want to know God? 2. What is my appetite like for God? Presentation 21