“As he was saying these things, many believed in him.” John 8:21-30
I came upon these verses this morning and had that one question: WHY? Because our Lord and Father seems to be talking gibberish. Talking in riddles.
“I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come. 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 you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he. Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him. When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.”
“As he was saying these things, many believed in him.” Why?
Why did many believe in him?
As a sermon this little conversation would not cut it at all. What is He going to tell us, what are the key things He is telling us, and what were the key things He did indeed tell us? And will this fit into the hour of worship? And what hymns should accompany the theme, what prayers of intercession should He pick, who will be there? Is He taking all of that into account? And what is happening/happened locally/nationally/globally that He has linked in His message – how does “the outside” connect with “the inside” – and (most importantly of all) is He scripturally correct?
I wonder whether those who preach and teach, too often, stay within their own comfort zones. I wonder how we can read these words of Jesus and find Him all by ourselves? Do we really need someone to find Jesus for us in these words?
I wonder if those shepherds feeding their flocks (or is that His sheep and His flock) allow each to find their own Lord and Father – to hear (rather than be told) – to connect directly (rather than by proxy).
Because sometimes, as with these verses, I impose my own frustrations on God Soft Hands Jesus – even as He walks willingly to my cross – I impose my tone of voice – I impose my judgements – I impose my limitations.
I am going away … you will die in your sin … you cannot come … you are (below) … I am (above) … you will die in your sins … why do I (bother to?) speak to you at all … much to condemn … I declare to the world … then you will realize … I do nothing on my own … the Father instructed me … the one who sent me .. HE has not left ME alone (unlike you?)!
Me against the world!! Just like Jesus says it here: Him and me against the world!
(Do you trust me enough to try something right now?)
I would love you to switch on your speakers/put on your headphones, crank the volume right up – and then click the video below … and now just look into the fire … nothing else … that’s all. Just look into the fire. Thank you.
Now … listen awhile … relax awhile … stare awhile … connect with your own memories … good memories … happy memories … your memories … make more memories … create new memories … looking into the fire … breathing slowly … breathing easily … breathing life … breathing in every nuance and sense and thought and silence … lingering as long as you wish … staying in this moment … this is your time … this is your moment … (and if you are not ready to move one – stay here – linger – dwell – relax … ).
Because ONLY when you are ready … now it’s okay to move on – still with the fire crackling – still with this peace – still in this moment … now it’s okay to read on …
Imagine you are stroking the hair of your loved one. Maybe your partner, maybe your child, maybe a grandchild.
Gently running your fingers through their hair – short or long.
You gaze on them with unconditional love as they sit or lay alongside you. Just you, them and the gentle crackling of this fire.
Time stands still. Time means nothing. There is no teaching, there is no sermon, there is no flock, there is no message, there is no theme.
There is just you, and this person you love as much as life itself – more than life itself.
Now … hear …. these … words … of … love …. as He gently runs His fingers through your hair. As He gazes on you with unconditional love. As He draws you closer in this moment. Looking into the fire. Love is all around. Time stands still. And words mean so much.
Your loving Father breathes these words just for you:
‘I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.’
He pauses. You both dwell deep in the embers. Alight. Alive.
‘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 you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.’
You feel His breath on your head. Each single hair tingling with the intimacy.
‘Why do I speak to you at all? I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.’
What tone do you hear? What cadence? How fast or slow does He breathe? Is this love or not?
‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.’
Is this a second or an hour? Is this now or the past? Is this your past or your future? Is this your life and just another lesson? Just how does He link you – and He – and these words – and this fire?
As he was saying these things …
You look at your own loved one.
Complete trust in your love for them. Complete oneness together.
Words you have said to them. Words they have said to you. Words you wanted to say, words you wished they would say.
And can. In this moment. Safe. Connected. Loved without condition. Loved without expectation. Loved without duty. Loved without sacrifice …
As He is saying these things … do you believe?