Monday, March 30, 2009

Daily - 3/30/09

John 8:21-30 - Tuesday's gospel

21 He said to them again, "I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come."

22 So the Jews said, "He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?"

23 He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.

24 That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins."

25 So they said to him, "Who are you?" Jesus said to them, "What I told you from the beginning.

26 I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world."

27 They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father.

28 So Jesus said (to them), "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.

29 The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him."

30 Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

In this week before Palm Sunday, the gospels continue the march to Jerusalem with readings from the series of conflicts with the Pharisees. These occur in the most detail in John.
There's a lot to say about this passage, but I'm going to focus on verses 23 and 24.

In 23, Christ tells the Pharisees that they literally are from two different worlds. Chirst is from above, and they are from below. He's claiming his divine nature here. He's just told them that he's going somewhere they cannot come -- this is a reference to returning to the right hand of the Father. His world is spirit, theirs is flesh.

In 24, Christ uses the term "I AM" to describe himself. In Hebrew, this word is YHWH, which we typically translate as "Yahweh". This is the very term that God said was his name when he called Moses from the burning bush. He is identifying himself as one with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

He goes on to say that because they don't believe in who he is, they will die in their sins. They have chosen separation from God, and God will honor that choice into eternity.

Tomorrow the plot thickens even more. Stay tuned!