Updated: Feb 4, 2021
From examining John’s eighth chapter and writing about Jesus’ telling the Pharisees that he was the light of the world and the darkness of sin would be removed from all who followed him, finding Jesus to be the light of life for the world, I kept reading beyond that point. Because there is little focus placed on John 8 (no Episcopal Lectionary, minimal RCC, some ‘related’ in the C of E), I feel it is important to continue on in this forum, by offering further examination of what John wrote in this chapter.
In my analysis of John 8:12-20, I tried to make it clear that the appearance of Jesus speaking to Pharisees was most important to be read as God speaking to those who call themselves Christians today, through His Son Jesus. If one today does not read the Gospels (or listen to the words being read aloud) in that personal sense of God talking to one who seeks eternal life in Heaven, then the Gospels are little more than stories of a man named Jesus; and, no serious Christian can ever admit to that.
In my previous interpretations of the Greek text, I realize it is a new way of approaching Scripture for most people. Scripture can seem very simple and easy to understand and then also seem very confusing and difficult to grasp the meaning. Most sermons preached snip off one digestible piece of ‘fruit’ from a reading ‘vine’ and make that a servable meal, when a lot of extra additives have been used to give that morsel some bulk. Instead of being fed spiritual food, Christians are regularly fed reflections of self-knowledge, which comes from looking up stuff on the Internet, reading the opinions of others in books, and possessing a mastery of vocabulary like that of a literary genius. All of that then sounds like a beautiful siren singing lullabies by the rocky seashore.
That approach does little to make hearts burn for hearing more meaning from God’s Word. In my analysis of the eight verses from John 8:12-19, just the analysis was around 4,300 words; and, the analysis does not preach like a beautifully crafted sermon. Christians have turned into simpletons that lust for blurbs, memes, and ole faithful one-liners, with no desire for long-winded anything.
People these days prefer to be entertained by their religion, not educated by it. People tend to want their religion to act as a form of escapism from the hard life that most people know; so for at least a couple of hours going to church on Sunday feels like entering the eye of the hurricane, when it is okay to venture outside for a little while, before the next wave of life’s storm strikes. Everyone these days is too worried about what’s going on outside of church – in the real world – to really want to pay attention to what is said inside the church. Whatever readings of Scripture are done, they are always over one’s head; but that’s what the preacher is paid to know about. For a short time, let’s just sing some old favorite songs, do all the ritual stuff, and by all means – tell me a story that is like having a bestselling novel, written by a big name author, go breezing by my ears. Aaaaahhhh. Give us that catchy tidbit we can go home remembering.
The problem there is the preacher is remembered. Not God. Not Jesus. Not any other writer of Holy Scripture.
This is human nature. For as much as human beings will ALWAYS think, “This is the greatest generation ever!” The reality is every generation is the same. Today there are more gadgets than ever before. Today the idols society always loves to worship might be living human beings, rather than long dead gods and goddesses; and, they might make more yearly wages than ever before, but worshipping movie stars, music icons, sports stars, and tycoons of industry today is no different than worshipping Ba’al and Mammon and Zeus and Venus years ago. Humans love to bow down before gods of all kinds; and they always will.
Human beings are always so frail, too powerless to control their destiny [the one they long for that never arrives]. That means they will always worship those who have seemingly hit the lottery and won big with ‘stardom.’ Human beings love to project themselves upon that which they will never be. Human beings love wishful thinking.
This is why Christians today need to see themselves as the ones fighting against Jesus, rather than the ones who think they stand behind him, rooting him on against the scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees (et al). Christians today have to see themselves in this light, because they are the ones who – like always, in all times – support their leaders who do nothing to eliminate all the worries of life. None of the Pharisees arguing with Jesus could heal a leper, make a blind man see, raise the dead, or even figure out the meaning of the Torah, Psalms, or Prophets. All they could do was memorize some scrolls, dress well, and make orations that had better be loved … (or perhaps some condemnations need to be cast about?). What makes today’s religious leaders any different?
In the vein of idol worship, Jesus has been placed on a pedestal as an equal to God, His Father. It does not matter how often is read the words of Jesus saying (in some way), “It is not me speaking, it is the Father. I let Him do all my talking. Without God within me, I would be just as lost as you people.”
Nobody wants to hear that, because that would then make those be responsible for realizing, “Jesus just said he was sent by God to show us how to be Jesus reborn!” That means work is in order, which is a lot harder than just sitting in a seat and watching the Jesus show at the church-theater.
Imagine the radiance of God shining through Jesus, remembering he had just told the Pharisees, “I am the light of the world.”
Everybody needs to realize God is great. God is good. God is the God known as Yahweh. God’s children are all those who serve God totally and completely, loving Him with all their hearts. Moses was a child of God. Jesus was a child of God. The point of Judaism [as the sole surviving remnant of Israelism] and the point of Christianity is to also become a child of God, cut of the same cloth as the Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Job, Samuel, David, all the Prophets, Jesus, and all the Apostles. The only way for a soul to get to Heaven is to be a complete and total servant of God. That means changing the way one is, regardless of how righteous one thinks one is.
In John 8:21-30, we see another of a continuing series of confrontations with the Pharisees (now called “the Jews”). In John 8:12-20, Jesus confronted them around the treasury, which was off to the sides of the Court of Women. Jesus then went to preach on the steps of the Nicanor Gate. When his teaching was done, the Pharisees gathered around Jesus again. Then he had another conversation.
I am going to try a different format now. Please read my literal translations of John 8:21-30, based on the Greek text provided by the Bible Hub Interlinear page. However, I ask that you read it with the following in mind.
Jesus is talking to you. Read what he is saying as if you were standing directly in front of him, with him looking at you as he speaks.
When John wrote that Jesus said to the “Jews,” or the “Jews” said to Jesus, he wrote the word “Ioudaioi.” He had earlier called them Pharisees, but in the setting of the Temple of Jerusalem, during festival, this generic term shows a spread in general audience. Please see the questions asked of Jesus are no different that the questions Christians have – in hearing words that seem to say one thing, but mean another – because Jesus was speaking in a divine language.
Read the asides of John as the only insight you have, as a Christian who knows the ending of the ‘Jesus story,’ but that is all you know.
Notice how the word “faults” appears in my text. The Greek word translated as that is “hamartiais,” which typically translates as “sins.” According to Strong’s Concordance, the word properly means “missing the mark,” but that makes the implication be the guilt one feels from coming up short of what the Law says to do. Therefore, the word also translates as “a fault, failure (in an ethical sense), sinful deed.”
In a couple of places, notice how Jesus said “I am.” This is the literal translation of the Greek “egō eimi.” See how these are direct references to God [“I am that I am”] speaking through His Son. Therefore, listen to Jesus as the voice of God talking to you.
Notice how the Jews [you] asked Jesus, “You who are?” [ordinarily translated as “Who are you?], which was not a question about who Jesus of Nazareth was, but a response that stated the confusion about Jesus having said “I am.” This question must be read as the question all have that do not know God personally.
Notice how death is the central issue in this conversation. See how Jesus was speaking of death for those reading and listening to his words, as death is a certainty in the flesh for all mortal creatures. Jesus said he would be leaving, but he never said he would die. The Jews asking if Jesus meant he would commit suicide is not outrageous, as many Christians hope Jesus will not suffer on the cross and die – even when they know he will resurrect. That is a self-projection Christians make, because saving one’s life at all costs is what is innately part of being a human being. Christians do not want Jesus to suffer and die because Christians do not want to die – even if Jesus says, “Its okay, as long as I am you too.” The issue of death is a personal overvaluation of life in the flesh, where an eternal soul is married to a physical body that will eventually cease to support life. See how you ask Jesus, “You who are?” because you are too involved with who you are to even consider committing ‘ego suicide’ and submit to the Will of God.
Notice how John ends this segment by stating, “many believed in him [Jesus-God]. The Greek word “episteusan” is written, translated as “believed.” Because this word implies “ I believe, have faith in, trust in; pass: I am entrusted with,” this is not a casual statement that says, “many became Christians as members of a religion that day,” as if someone passed around a ‘sign-up sheet.’ Instead, it says “many received the Holy Spirit and were led to sacrifice their self-egos and be resurrected to the Christ Mind of God leading their lives from then on.” Today, many people believe Jesus was Jesus – what they read in the Holy Bible and hear a priest say. They say “I believe!” However, the question is: How many know Jesus and know God because they have become Jesus reborn, with complete faith in everything written in the Holy Bible – having been led to see, so all doubts are removed permanently?
Finally, notice the importance of ALL capitalized words written, as that has been maintained in this translation. No capitalization is coincidental, as it is always important to grasp a higher level of divine meaning being applied to the translation. Also, notice all the places where I have presented a bold version of the Greek word “kai.” This word was written where I present it; but it is more than the stuttering of “uh” or “and,” as God does not utter inconsequential words. Those places should be read as markers that announce the words that follow [in the next segment] makes a statement that you should fully grasp.
21. Jesus said:
“I am going away” kai “you will seek me” ,
kai “in this fault of you” ,
“you will die” ;
“in what place I go” ,
“you not are able to come” .
22. the Jews said:
“Can this be? will he kill himself” ,
“because he says” ,
“’In what place I go’” ,
“’you not are able to come’” ?
23. Kai Jesus said:
“You from this below are” ;
“I from this above am” .
“you from out of this the world are” ,
“I not am out of the world this” .
24. “commanded accordingly so to you fact you will die in these faults of you” ;
“if indeed not you believe fact I am” ,
“you will die in the faults of you” .
25. the Jews said:
“You who are” ?
Commanded to them this Jesus:
“Her rule anything kai I am talking to you” .
26. “much I hold concerning you to say”” ,
kai “to judge” ;
“on the other hand he having sent me truthful exists” ;
“with him I what I have heard from him” ,
“these things I say to this world” .
27. [John speaks an aside:]
“Not they understood fact the Father to them he was speaking” .
28. Jesus said:
“When you shall have lifted up this Son this man” ,
“then you will know fact I am” ,
kai “against myself I do nothing” ,
“on the other hand according to the manner in which taught me this Father” ,
“these things I speak” .
29. kai “this having sent me” ,
“with me is” ;
“not he has left me alone” ,
“fact I this pleasing to him do always” .
30. [John speaking an aside:]
“These things of his said” ,
“many believed in him” .