John 8 Part 2: Yeshua Still In Jerusalem For Sukkot

John 8 continues with Yeshua still in Jerusalem for Sukkot. Almost all of the leaders had decided they wanted to kill Him because they believed that He made blasphemous claims about Himself; that He was a false prophet who was leading the people astray; that He was a renegade who broke the Law because He healed people on the Sabbath.

Even though His life was in danger, Yeshua went to the temple and boldly claimed to be the light of the world – the source of humanity’s light: truth, revelation, wisdom, victory, happiness and life. To receive those blessings, people needed to follow Him.

When challenged by the Pharisees, Yeshua claimed that He came from God, from Heaven, and was returning to God and to Heaven.

He claimed that God the Father sent Him and would always enable His Representative to come to the right decision in every situation.

He claimed He had another witness to testify to the truthfulness of His amazing claims about Himself – God the Father.

Yeshua made it clear that it’s impossible to separate knowledge of Him from knowledge of His Father. “If you knew Me, you would know My Father also.”

Yeshua made it clear that by rejecting Him, the leaders would look for the Messiah but would be unable to find the true Messiah, because the true Messiah is Yeshua whom they rejected.

Yeshua made it clear that by rejecting Him, they would die in their sin. They would die in a condition of unatonement, unreconciled to God, unforgiven.

Yeshua claimed to be different from everyone else, that He came from a world that is higher and greater than this world, and that even though He was in this world, He was not of this world. He did not share in the world’s fallenness.

Yeshua claimed that, even though they though they would be His judge, He would be their judge.

Yeshua claimed that God, who is faithful and true, sent Him, and as God’s ambassador, He faithfully communicated to mankind everything God wanted Him to say.

Yeshua prophesied that it would only be after His death and resurrection that some of them would believe in Him; that His death and resurrection would vindicate Him and the astounding things He said about Himself.

Yeshua claimed that He was God’s Representative, and that God was always very close to Him and never abandoned Him because His sole motivation was to please God, which He always did.

Even though these are amazing, astounding claims, and even though almost of all the leaders did not believe Him, John tells us that even as He spoke, many believed in Him.

But, Yeshua knew that there are those who believe and there are those who believe. There are true believers and false believers. There are believers who remain to the end and those who don’t. Yeshua wanted to make sure those who believed were true disciples. To the Jewish leaders who had believed Him, Yeshua said, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.

It is commitment to Yeshua and to His teaching, a deep, enduring kind of commitment, an if-you-hold-to-My-teaching kind of commitment, that distinguishes a true disciple from a false disciple.

We live in an endarkened world, and enduring faith is not easy to maintain. We have powerful spiritual enemies who are actively trying to corrupt Messiah’s teaching, and weaken our faith so that we will not hold onto Messiah’s teaching.

But with the grace of God, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, and the support of Messiah’s Community, it’s possible to hold to Messiah’s teaching.

The result of holding to the teaching is that you will a true disciple. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. This is one of the best-known sayings of Yeshua, and so very important.

Truth is liberating. When we know the truth, we are able to be set free the things that control us.

Set free from the dark kingdom that enslaves humanity.

Set free from false ideas which confuse us and harm us.

Set free from the corrupt values of a corrupt world.

Set free from the sins that enslave us.

Set free from death that dominates us.

Why wouldn’t these leaders want to be set free? Why wouldn’t we – by staying close to Yeshua and holding onto His teachings for the rest of our lives?

And, as happened so often, the leaders misunderstood. They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

But Yeshua was not talking about being a slave to a conquering nation, which He clarified. Yeshua replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Yeshua was talking about spiritual slavery. When we sin; when we yield to our areas of weakness, and all of us have areas in which we are weak; when we give in to temptation, and all of us have different things that tempt us, we lose our ability to control ourselves. We become controlled by our sins. We lose our freedom to be who God intended us to be.

There are terrible consequences to being a slave to sin. Yeshua made it clear that God will not allow those who are spiritual slaves to remain with Him. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. A child and a slave have a very different status. The child is a permanent member of the family. The slave is not. God will forever welcome someone who becomes a spiritual child. He will reject someone who remains a spiritual slave. Why wouldn’t the leaders want to become the children of God? Why remain slaves? Why not be set free from the forces of sin and death?

Yeshua told them how to be set free from their slavery so they could become God’s children. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. Yeshua claimed that He alone could set human beings free from the control of Satan and the demons, sin and the sin nature, false ideas and corrupt values and even death. He could set us free and give us a glorious new status with God by transforming us from slaves to sons and daughters. Why wouldn’t the leaders want Him to do that? Why wouldn’t we?

Yeshua responded to the leaders’ statement that they were Abraham’s descendants. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill Me, because you have no room for My word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence, and you are doing what you have heard from your father. Yeshua told these leaders of the Chosen Nation that even though they were Abraham’s physical descendants, they weren’t his spiritual descendants. They wanted to kill the Son of God, and they wanted to murder Him because they hated the things He was saying, and the things He was saying were the things He had seen in God’s presence. He was saying exactly what God wanted Him to say.

What could explain that kind of irrational hatred? The truth was that Abraham was not their spiritual father. The leader of the fallen angels was their spiritual father. You are doing what you have heard from your father.

“Abraham is our father,” they answered.

Yeshua knew better. “If you were Abraham’s children,” said Yeshua, “then you would do what Abraham did. A father passes on his nature and the things he likes to his offspring. A father dog passes on his dog nature and the things he likes to his pups – the kinds of food he likes, the kinds of places he likes to live in.

A father snake passes on to his offspring his nature and the things he likes, and the little snakes likes what father snake likes.

If Abraham really was their father, like these leaders claimed, they would share Abraham’s spiritual nature and do the kinds of things that characterized Abraham. They would listen to God, have faith in God, serve God.

But they weren’t acting like Abraham at all. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Yeshua told them that they were trying to murder Him, and He was an honest man who told them truth that He was able to hear from God. Abraham did not do such things. Their actions revealed that they were not the spiritual children of Abraham. Their actions revealed that they were the spiritual offspring of someone very different from Abraham, who was a great servant of God and full of faith. You are doing the works of your own father. Their spiritual father was the Prince of Darkness.

“We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God Himself.” Believing they knew better than Yeshua, they contradicted Him and stated that Abraham was their father. They were the legitimate heirs of Abraham. And, they were the faithful children of God. God was their spiritual Father.

Yeshua knew better. He knew they were very, very wrong. Yeshua said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on My own; God sent Me. A father passes on his nature and the things he likes to his offspring. If God really was the spiritual father of these people, they would love what He loves, and He loves Yeshua. He sent Yeshua to Israel. Yeshua did not come on His own – without the Father’s approval and blessing. And so, if they really loved God, they would love the one God sent to them. But they didn’t love who God loved. Therefore God could not be their father, absolutely was not their Father.

And, things have not changed in 2,000 years. Anyone who claims to love God, like the Jewish people and the Muslims, but does not love the Son of God, does not really love God. Love of Yeshua is one of the tests that reveal true love for God. Do you love Yeshua? Do you appreciate Him? Are you devoted to Him?

Yeshua was speaking the truth, making simple, clear statements about who He was, but these leaders wouldn’t believe Him. Why? Yeshua asked, and answered His own question: Why is My language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. And why were they unable to hear and believe? They shared a nature that was adversarial to God. They shared the nature of the head of the fallen angels. Because they shared his devilish nature, they shared his likes and dislikes. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.

Yeshua knew that Satan is real and revealed more about what he is like. 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. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me!

The title “devil” comes from diabolos, and means slanderer, accuser, defamer. The leader of the fallen angels uses lies, false accusations and unjust criticisms to harm.

He is a liar. He has no commitment to the truth. Even if he speaks some truth, it may be part of a larger plan to deceive and harm. Nothing he says can be trusted.

And he is the father of lies. He has ways of lying to human beings, so that all the lies and confusion in the world can in some way be attributed to him.

And he is a killer. He murders people by deceiving people and, in various ways, stirring people up and inciting them to murder other people.

The truth was that these leaders, who were repulsed by Yeshua and the truth Yeshua was giving them, and who wanted to kill Yeshua, had the same nature and desires as the devil. The Prince of Darkness was their real spiritual father, not God. And the same is true of everyone who hasn’t not been become a disciple of Yeshua and held onto His teaching and set free by the truth.

Yeshua then asked them a remarkable question, designed to get them to reevaluate Him. Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin? He asked them to provide a list of specific things He did that were wrong. If they couldn’t provide that list, it meant that He was doing the right things, saying the right things, and so they should believe Him. If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe Me? And other than accusing Him of breaking the Sabbath by healing on the Sabbath – which wasn’t a violation of the Sabbath, or claiming to be the Messiah and the Son of God – which are true, they couldn’t come up with any sins He committed. The leaders should have believed Someone who never did anything wrong and who always spoke the truth – as should we.

Yeshua reiterated that it’s who we belong to, either God or the adversary of God, and the nature we share with one or the other, that makes the difference in our ability to respond to the truth. Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.

The leaders rejected Yeshua’s responses. The Jewish leaders answered Him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?” Calling someone a Samaritan meant he was confused about religion and had dishonorable parentage. Maybe the leaders were implying that Yeshua came from a small town and from an unimportant family. Maybe they heard rumors about His virgin birth and were implying there was a less miraculous explanation.

Calling someone demon-possessed meant they were doing crazy, evil things. These leaders were accusing Yeshua of being dishonorable, religiously confused, evil and crazy.

Yeshua defended Himself from these insults. “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Yeshua, “but I honor My Father and you dishonor Me. I am not seeking glory for Myself; but there is one who seeks it, and He is the judge. Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys My word will never see death.” Yeshua denied being possessed by a demon. He was not acting crazy or doing anything wrong. The desire for self-honor causes people to do and say things that are not right and Yeshua claimed that He was not motivated by the desire to honor Himself. Everything He did honored God. He told them that they were dishonoring Him, but God was the ultimate judge and would vindicate Him and make sure He was properly honored. He claimed, invoking utmost veracity, that anyone who obeyed His teaching would not die – meaning they would not experience the Second Death, which is spiritual death in the Lake of Fire.

Did they really want to dishonor Someone who always honored God, and was never motivated by any corrupting desire to honor Himself, whom God would make sure was properly honored, whose word, if obeyed, would enable a person to avoid the ultimate punishment – the Second Death? Do we want to dishonor Someone like that?

The leaders again misunderstood. They thought that when Yeshua said, Whoever obeys My word will never see death, He was talking about the first death, physical death. At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that You are demon-possessed – evil and crazy! Abraham (the founding father of the Jewish people, great in faith and greatly blessed) died and so did the prophets (who were great spiritual leaders), yet You say that whoever obeys Your word will never taste death. Are You greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do You think You are?” They accused Yeshua of being crazy and evil by claiming to be greater than the greatest men of the Holy Nation – Abraham and the prophets, and claiming that He could something that neither Abraham nor the prophets could do – prevent His disciples from dying.

Yeshua was claiming to be greater than Abraham and the prophets, but He let them know that it was not to call inappropriate attention to Himself, but because it was true, and it was something that God wanted them to know; and because God wanted them to honor Yeshua the way He should be honored. Yeshua replied, “If I glorify Myself, My glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies Me.

Yeshua asserted that He was close to God and knew God, and they were strangers to Him. Though you do not know Him, I know Him.

Yeshua told them if He denied knowing God, He would be a liar like they were. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you.

Yeshua reinforced His previous statement. He knew God and was faithful to the Word of God. But I do know Him and obey His word.

He reasserted that He was greater than the founding father of the special nation, and Abraham, that great man of faith encountered Yeshua. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing My day; he saw it and was glad. How did Abraham see Yeshua’s day? Just as Abraham, by faith, knew that there was a future greater city that he looked for, He knew that there was a king of that greater city. And, Abraham was delighted by that knowledge. And, Abraham literally saw Yeshua’s day when he welcomed the three strangers, one of whom was the Lord – Yeshua. These men should be like Abraham, and welcome Yeshua, and honor Him, and rejoice that He was among them – as should we.

The leaders knew Abraham lived approximately 2,000 years before Yeshua and they did not believe Yeshua’s claim. “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to Him, “and You have seen Abraham!”

Yeshua responded to their unbelief that He saw Abraham, with the greatest claim of all: He is the eternal God. “Very truly I tell you,” Yeshua answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Yeshua claimed to be “I am”, the Yud Hay Vav Hay, who always existed, and who has existence in Himself.

The Jewish leaders considered Yeshua’s claim to be the eternal God to be blasphemy. At this, they picked up stones to stone Him, but Yeshua hid Himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. It wasn’t Messiah’s time to die. He was to die at another holiday, Passover, not Sukkot. So, He remained under divine protection until He fulfilled His most amazing life and ministry, and died the most amazing death, followed by His amazing resurrection.

Father, thank You for the great truth that was given during that Sukkot in Jerusalem by Yeshua.

Father, thank You for building Your sukkah with us in the Person of Yeshua. May He always tabernacle with us and may we always tabernacle with Him.

We know that there are believers and there are believers. May each one of us be those true believers who hold to Yeshua’s teaching until the end, which distinguishes a true disciple from a false disciple.

We praise You that there is such a thing as truth, absolute truth, and that truth is knowable. Thank You that the truth has been revealed.

Thank You for the truth that sets us free from the dark kingdom that enslaves humanity, sets us free from false ideas which confuse and harm us; set us free from the corrupt values of a corrupt world; sets us free from the sins that enslave us; sets us free from death that dominates us.

Thank You that we can be transformed from spiritual slaves into Your beloved and eternal sons and daughters, who will forever remain with You.

Thank You that it’s possible to get rid of our fallen nature that we are born with, a nature that is like that of the devil, and receive a new nature that is like Yours, so that we know You and share Your desires, and love what You love and value what You value.

Thank You that Yeshua was able to ask the question: Can any of you prove Me guilty of sin? And that He alone, of all human beings, lived a perfect, flawless, fully obedient life.

Thank You that Yeshua said, because it is true: “Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I am!” Help us to believe this.

Thank You for Yeshua’s fantastic promise, which gives us such hope: Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys My word will never see death.