Hide and Seek

He said to them again, “I’m going away; you will look for Me, and you will die in your sin. Where I’m going, you cannot come.”

So the Jews said again, “He won’t kill Himself, will He, since He says, ‘Where I’m going, you cannot come’?”

“You are from below,” He told them, “I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

“Who are You?” they questioned.

“Precisely what I’ve been telling you from the very beginning,” Jesus told them. “I have many things to say and to judge about you, but the One who sent Me is true, and what I have heard from Him—these things I tell the world.”

They did not know He was speaking to them about the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing on My own. But just as the Father taught Me, I say these things. The One who sent Me is with Me. He has not left Me alone, because I always do what pleases Him.”

As He was saying these things, many believed in Him. (John 8:21-30)

The reason we don’t understand some of what Jesus tells us isn’t because he’s not clear. It’s because we can’t hear him over the shouts of our own ideas. Jesus’ words were often enigmatic for those who first heard him. But from our perspective, his words are perfectly clear.

Jesus told his critics that he was going to be crucified, die, and return to his Father in Heaven. They did not share his destiny in heaven since they had refused to believe him. When John writes “the Jews” he does not mean the Jewish people as a whole, but rather some of their religious leaders. Sadly, the Gospel of John has been frequently twisted by anti-Semites who attempt to blame the Jews for Jesus’ death and the world’s problems. John was Jewish, the disciples were Jewish, and the overwhelming majority of early Christians were Jewish. Jesus directed his criticism at the religious leadership of Israel, not the Jewish people as a whole.

Quiet your mind, lay aside the concerns and questions you have, and try to hear Jesus on his own terms. Discover his questions and his concerns and make them your own. Find out what matters to Jesus, not just what matters to you.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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