96. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. -John 7:23-24
We are so bad as people about judging each other based on appearance and external matters. Jesus says here that appearance is not the issue, but the reality of things behind the appearance. Jesus is always getting beyond surface issues to the heart of the matter. They thought it looked bad to make a man well on the Sabbath because it deviated from what their extra man-made traditions taught was acceptable on the Sabbath. They were also jealous that Jesus hadn’t checked with them to make sure it was okay to do this. Jesus basically says here that it’s always right to do good on the Sabbath. It is a no-brainer! Later the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 that because of how Christ makes lives new when they receive Him, “from now on we regard no one according to the flesh…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” A few verses later he says those of us who know Christ are ambassadors for Christ, urging sinners to be reconciled to God. May we all look beyond outward appearance to the needs of our fellow sinners. Christians are sinners saved by God’s grace reaching out to sinners still under the wrath due their sins, urging them to be reconciled to God.
97. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not glorified. -John 7:38-40
Praise the Lord we are now living in the days of the New Covenant, the days since Jesus died for our sins, rose from the dead, and has returned to Heaven and resumed the glorified position He had always had as God the Son (John 17:5). When a sinner like you or me turns to Christ, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). And it is impossible for God the Holy Spirit to be inside someone and not be flowing out like living water! Galatians 6:22-23a says “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” This does not mean that Christians won’t ever struggle with sin, but it does mean we have spiritual power within us because we have God the Holy Spirit within us, and as Philippians 1:6 says “He who began a good work within us will be faithful to complete it until the Day of Christ.” So just as you did at salvation, continually come to Christ and drink! Be flushed of sin and filled with the Holy Spirit who lives within you!
98. Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” -John 8:12
I am so glad that the God who created the world stepped into it when sin had made it a dark place, and lit the world up with His glory. Jesus and His Word are a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. He is our Way, and He leads the way. So don’t walk in darkness any more – follow Him! The first thing you need to understand to live abundantly in Christ is that anything His Word asks of you will be better for you than leaning on your own understanding and disobeying Him. I certainly want what’s best for me, and following Jesus has always been better for me than the times I foolishly went my own way! You must begin by truly believing that following Jesus and His teachings will lead you to become the best possible you! Satan will always try to get you to doubt the truth and goodness of God and His teachings. But listening to Satan and rejecting God’s Word will always lead you down a path of darkness until you repent and return to the life of following Jesus!
99. Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. -John 8:24
This is one of the most explicit claims Jesus made to being God. The word He is in italics because in the Greek it is not there – Jesus said that if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins. He is saying that He is equivalent to the I AM that met Moses at the burning bush. Jesus was saying that He is equivalent to Yahweh. John chapter 8 contains three of the great I AM statements in John’s gospel. By the end of the chapter the religious leaders want to kill Him for blasphemy (saying He is God). The prophet Joel had said in Joel 2:32 that whoever calls on the name of Yahweh (the LORD) will be saved. That’s the passage that said that the Holy Spirit would be poured out in the last days. Peter preached from that passage in Acts 2, convincingly arguing that Jesus had died for their sins and risen from the dead and is both their Lord (and Messiah). When the people recognized the truth of what Peter was preaching, they asked Peter what they should do in response. He told them to repent of their sin, believe in Jesus, and declare they faith publicly in baptism in the Name of Jesus. Calling upon Jesus for salvation would mean the forgiveness of their sins and salvation, and they would receive the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Then Peter said, “This promise is not only to those there that day, and their children, but to all who are afar off” (See Acts 2:14-39). If you have never done so, believe that Jesus is the Great I Am, and call out to Jesus for salvation from your sins. Don’t die in your sins, but trust in the one who died FOR your sins and saves those who turn to Him!
100. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My Disciples indeed. And you shall know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” -John 8:31-32 Context: John 8:31-36
Make no mistake about it: It is meaningless to say you believe in Jesus and scorn anything He teaches. Jesus makes it very clear here that His true disciples “abide” in His word. Abide means to dwell, or to live in. True Christians are those who have called on Jesus for salvation and are now letting Christ’s words form who they are becoming in Him. He is their way, their truth, their life! All this is possible because of the salvation He has graciously provided them. As verse 36 says, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” At salvation the believer gains a perfect standing in Christ as God’s adopted child. As the believer abides in Christ’s word, they progressively look more like a member of God’s family, both enjoying the benefits and seeking to live up to the family name! God has adopted you and I into His family, fellow believer – let’s grow together in Him by abiding in His word!