Choosing Life (John 8:21–30)
This week we will study John 8:21–30. Let’s read the passage, “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.”
Returning to Heaven
In John 8:21–30, we see that Jesus was still talking to the Pharisees in the treasury of the temple. Jesus was repeating what He had already told them, that He was going away and they would seek Him, but not find Him. There are two things that many think Jesus meant by saying this; first, the Pharisees were going to seek out His disciples to kill them after Jesus returned to Heaven. Second, many think that this is referring to them continuing to seek out the Messiah, even after He had come. Either way, we see that Jesus said they would not find Him. Jesus then says that they would die in their sins and that where He was going they could not come. Because the punishment for sin is death and all sinners will be forever separated from Him, unless they accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus was returning to Heaven, where He came from, but He did not come for thirty-three years for nothing, no, He came to redeem mankind. Dying on the cross, having lived the perfect life, He fulfilled the entire Old Testament, becoming the once and for all sacrifice that would forever redeem all of creation. It is a completely free gift from God and only by His grace we are saved and forgiven for our sins. There is nothing we can do to deserve His grace and forgiveness. But, God, rich in mercy, came to save us by dying for us on the cross, taking all the punishment for our sins on Himself.
The Jews misunderstood what Jesus was telling them again and asked whether He was going to kill Himself. For both Jews and Christians, all life is precious from conception to natural death. So, suicide is always considered a tragic loss. If there is anyone who is reading or listening to this, who is considering suicide, know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that God loves you and there are many other people who love you too. Also, any lie that you believe about ending your life, is just Satan seeing your potential and trying to stop you from achieving God’s purpose for your life. If Satan is targeting you then you are for sure worth fighting for and you have great potential. Ask for help, a great place to start would be by clicking the link for the List of suicide crisis lines, for most countries(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines), or for those in the US you can call or text 988. If you ask the right person there will not be shame, but they will find a way to help, because they know that you have great potential and they love you. Some great people to ask would be a local pastor, local church elder, close friend who will take you seriously, or a trusted family member. The point is that suicide is always a tragic loss. So, the Pharisees thinking Jesus was going to kill Himself, was proof to them that He was not the Messiah. But, it is also proof that they did not know Jesus, because that was not what Jesus meant, no, He was telling them that He was going to return to Heaven. Jesus responded to this by telling them that they are from below and He is from above, and that they are of this world and He is not. He was saying that He is from Heaven, and they are not only of this earth, but also of the things of this earth (Fleshly).
Jesus then said that, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” Jesus is the only way to live forever (John 14:6). There is no other way to live forever. I AM is the name that God gave Himself in the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14). You often hear that Jesus never claimed to be God. There are deity claims throughout the gospels, you just have to know how to look for them. Because Jesus was usually addressing a Jewish audience, He used the names of God that they would understand. If you would like to live forever with Him, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), and believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9). Jesus is the only way and you need to accept Him to live forever.
Who Are You
The Pharisees responded to this clear deity claim by asking “Who are you?”. Because the name of God that Jesus used was I AM, they saw the opportunity to ask a question to completely ignore Jesus deity claim. Jesus responded that He had not changed His message and He had been telling them exactly who He was from the beginning. He then said, “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.” This goes back to what Jesus said, in John 5 that He only does and says what He sees His Father doing and saying (John 5:19). All the things that Jesus said in John 8 about the Father, the Pharisees did not understand, but instead thought He was talking about Joseph the earthly father who raised Him. Jesus continued by saying, that when they have lifted up the Son of Man, then they will know that He is I AM. This refers to Jesus’ death on the cross, when the religious leaders would have Him lifted up on the cross. But, remember that it was not just the religious leaders who put Jesus on the cross, it was also each and every person, including me and you. Also, Jesus allowed the crucifixion to be done, because that is how much He loves us. In this passage, He also said that God who sent Him, is with Him, and that the Father has not left Him alone and He always does what is pleasing to God. It then says that many believed in Him as He said these things. That is also my goal. I want to reach as many people as possible and encourage them to believe Jesus is who He said He is and to strive to do His will.
So today, if you do not know Jesus, what is stopping you? The evidence is unparalleled, that He is exactly who He said He is. As Christians, we need to remember that those who accept Jesus are not of this world either, but are citizens of Heaven. Also this week remember, suicide is always a tragic lost, and anyone who is reading or listening to this, would likely not hesitate to help someone, who is considering suicide to choose life. As Christians, we should know, there is something even more tragic and that is someone dying without Jesus. If we would not hesitate to help someone who is considering suicide, then why would we not share the gospel with everyone we can. But, at the same time we should not be forcing the gospel on anyone, but sowing seeds everywhere we go. Sharing the gospel can be intimidating, but it gets easier the more you do it. Right now stop and pray that Jesus would open doors this week for you to share the gospel.