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The ultimate and perfect example of how to witness, teach, pray, etc. is always the Lord Jesus. There should never be even the slightest doubt about his perfect example in everything for one who professes to be a Christian.
Jesus Love In Conflict
Perhaps his great compassion for the widow of Nain when he raised her only son from the dead without her even asking him was one of the greatest all time examples of this to observe (Luke 7:11-15). But then, towards the other end of the gamut, was how the Lord Jesus operated in love for truth and souls when in public conflict with the false-teaching Pharisees. His example with them can help Christians better understand God’s love demonstrated and how it is vitally linked with truth. With this in mind, let’s focus in upon one of the Lord’s public conflicts with the dangerous false teachers, the Pharisees in John 8:37-59:
I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. (John 8:37)
● Jesus knew their murderous, rejecting hearts for: (1) him and (2) his vital teachings.
I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you do what you have heard from your father. (John 8:38)
● Jesus openly tells all (including the listeners) that the religious leaders of his day had a different spiritual father than he himself had. There was no trace of any ecumenical unity with the perfect Lord. He was always pleasing the Father and helping souls.
“Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Jesus, “then you would do the things Abraham did. (John 8:39)
● Abraham was only their natural ancestor. They were not spiritual children of Abraham.
As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things. (John 8:40)
You are doing the things your own father does.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.” (John 8:41)
● They insulted and slandered the Lord Jesus with the inference that he was an illegitimate child. Their hate for his message of truth was manifested in this way. At a different time, Jesus said the Pharisees appeared to be righteous on the outside but were filled with hypocrisy and wickedness (Mt. 23:28).
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. (John 8:42)
Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. (John 8:43)
● Unsaved people are spiritually unable to understand God’s word, even if they claim to be God’s children and are in a teaching position of spiritual leadership.
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
● Jesus boldly and angrily manifested God’s love with his declaration that they had the devil as their spiritual father. Such would be a blessing for those to hear who were standing around listening, as it would help prevent them from being deceived by these deceptively dangerous spiritual leaders. That was a manifestation of Jesus love.
Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! (John 8:45)
Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? (John 8:46)
He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God. (John 8:47)
● Jesus not only repeated that they didn’t have the truth but added that they were unsaved, that is, they didn’t belong to God even though they professed to and most people in that day would have thought they did.
The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” (John 8:48)
● More name calling and slander in this open and angry conflict with spokesmen of the devil. Now they added to their insults by calling the Lord a Samaritan and demon-possessed. Imagine that! This is how corrupt the established religious leaders were in that day.
“I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. (John 8:49)
● Jesus defends himself against their attacks on truth, but they remain unchanged in their wickedness. Sin and loving a lie often go together.
I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge. (John 8:50)
I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” (John 8:51)
● To avoid spiritual death through sin a person needs to keep God's word. Of course, these false teachers will continue to reject the truth and persist in their defaming the Lord and misrepresenting his teachings. There were plural people ganging up on Jesus with these slanderous statements. He was outnumbered yet had the truth. Jesus love is based on truth.
At this the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death.” (John 8:52)
● Just like Jesus said earlier, they couldn’t understand God’s word (truth). Jesus spoke of spiritual death but they thought God’s word was referring to physical death.
Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” (John 8:53)
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.” (John 8:54)
● Such evil teachers claimed to have God as their own God, but in reality were serving the devil. They opposed Jesus and his teachings.
Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. (John 8:55)
● Jesus openly called them a liar. This is the patient, compassionate and loving Lord Jesus. His angry tone of voice is implied, with such enemies of God’s truth. Such is like the love described in 1 Cor. 13:6:
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
NOTE: evil is the opposite of truth and real love can’t rejoice with such falsehood.
Jesus’ perfect love for the rich young ruler manifested with that unsaved man hearing truth about salvation, which caused him to walk away sad and still in his sins. See Mark 10:21-23.
At a different time, Jesus stated the Pharisees (false teachers) would make their converts twice the sons of hell that they were (Mt. 23:15). There is no way to know how many souls these religious leaders were dragging down to hell with them. They were dangerous, but appeared on the surface to be righteous.
Jesus Looked At Them In Anger
Jesus’ anger towards the Pharisees is crystal clear at a different time:
Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.” Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent. He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. (Mark 3:1-6)
Jesus went on in his public conflict with dangerous false teachers and said:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” (John 8:56)
“You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” (John 8:57)
● The opposition continues from these enemies as they twist Jesus’ teachings and doubt his identity. They are serving the devil, but think they are serving God.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)
● Jesus openly tells them the startling truth that he existed before Abraham and it was he himself (Jesus) who appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:14). Jesus stated here that he is deity.
At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:59)
● We don’t tend to think the Lord would ever hide himself and slip away, but he did. Those wicked, religious teachers wanted to kill him. They rejected Jesus’ healings and teachings, including v. 58 that he is God by nature (deity), and they wanted to stone him to death—the penalty for blaspheming which they thought he was guilty of.
They were talking with God in the flesh and thought he was demon-possessed, yet all along they claimed to know God. They couldn't recognize God's love demonstrated in front of them!
Points To Remember:
1. It is not always wrong to oppose, in anger, false teachers in public. Jesus’ example proves this to be so.
2. The love that God’s word exalts is one that is synonymous with truth and the opposite of falsehood.
3. Jesus' love operated in perfect wisdom, etc., yet these false teachers were not open to receive the vital truth they needed more than anything. It was God’s will for them to be saved, but they blocked God’s will in this area. Not everyone Jesus witnessed to got saved.
GOD BLESS YOU.
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