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John 8:12-30 – Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father[a] who sent me. In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “Will he kill himself, since he says, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning. I have much to say about you and much to judge, but he who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” They did not understand that he had been speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
With the exact same data available to us, people around the world have very different opinions about WHO Jesus is.
Some people think that Jesus was a great teacher who showed the world how to love and care for those marginalized by society and bring about lasting social change. For them, that sums it up.
Some people believe that Jesus was one of many great prophets sent by God to teach us how to live a good life and please Him.
Some people believe that Jesus is a myth. A divine idea – a principle inherent in every person.
Some people believe that Jesus was this guy - chestnut brown hair, blue eyes, a fair complexion, perfect English. He spent most of His time sitting in peaceful meadows stroking lambs and cheering us on. Sort of like the ultimate “Mr. Rogers”.
Of course, that’s just a start. Depending on who you talk to, Jesus is a Revolutionary; a Magician; a family man who married Mary Magdalene; a Charismatic; a Rabbi; a Cynic; a staunch conservative; a long-haired bleeding-heart liberal, and the list goes on and on.
Think about it. We all have the same set of stories – we all have the same account of what He did and what He said – yet our world is still confused about Jesus Christ. It’s no different than it was in His day. Everyone knew what He did, but no one could agree on what it meant.
In John 8, Jesus begins to reveal His identity in a plain, straightforward way. The Pharisees demand that He tell them: “Who are you?” So Jesus complies, and His answer means everything.
WHO Jesus is matters way more than what He did or what He said. If Jesus was just a prophet like those in the Old Testament, or if He was a great teacher who captured the fancy of His nation, then the things He did and said can be explained away, and we are even free to ignore the parts we disagree with.
But if Jesus is GOD – the Alpha and the Omega – the Beginning and the End – the same I AM that Moses met in the burning bush – the same God who created you and me – that changes everything. That Jesus demands our Worship, and our submission, and our heart.