Jesus us is not safe and he will not be tamed. We constantly try to make him the hero of our own causes but he will not serve them. Jesus was not every person’s friend. Many hated him and like our own criticisms this hatred exposed their hearts. [Audio | Notes]
For further thought
Other great teachers will point to a truth they have discovered; a way that has been revealed to them; the life that has been given to them or light that has been shown to them.
But Jesus stands before the crowds and says: (Ch14) I am the way you must follow, I am the truth you must believe, I am the life you are built to live.
At the festival of tabernacles in John 8 Jesus stands in the temple and says: ‘I am the light of the world.’ In that context he is saying: ‘I am the truth about God.’
This was not safe teaching in first century Judea nor in twenty first century Melbourne. His opponents still want him to conform to their idea of what would be acceptable.
Q: Jesus’ opponents counter that he is only bearing witness to himself. In Chapter 5 Jesus has listed several witnesses that testify about him and here he adds one more here. What are these witnesses? Are they compelling?
Q: What can’t Jesus accusers see about themselves? What are they denying about:
- The scriptures?
- Their own political situation (are they right to say the Hebrews have never been slaves?)?
- The state of their hearts?
- The goodness of God (by calling the good show in Jesus, darkness)?
Seven times Jesus uses ‘I am’ sayings in John (See Exodus 3 – where God gives his name as: ‘I am’). There is debate amongst the scholars about how close Jesus comes to using this phrase in an absolute sense. He has said: I am the light of the world and the bread of life, … he will say: I am the way, the truth, the life: … but by the end of this debate, the gloves come off. He declares that he is ‘I am’ without any qualification or modifiers. Like the Lord God in Isaiah 41 he is saying there is none beside me.
Q: Why do Jesus’ accusers react the way they do to his declaration to be: ‘I am’?
Q: How can we tell the story of Jesus not only as a teacher, a wise man or example but as Lord?
Making Jesus safe
So, who is Jesus?
- The debate
Denying the evidence
- Denying scripture
- Denying political and spiritual reality
- Denying the state of our hearts
- Denying the goodness of God
Jesus is not safe, he is Lord