The events in John 8:21-30 occurred just before Jesus’ crucifixion. Throughout His ministry, He sought to bring people back to God, but many people refused to listen to Him. That’s the nature of sin. All sin is a rebellion against God. All sin is evidence of poison.
Jesus made these statements in this passage to everyone-Pharisee, servant, curious onlooker, Roman soldier, and people from every culture and generation: If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. It is possible to forget that sin is the problem that separates humanity from God, and that redemption in the Son of Man is its only remedy.
The people Jesus was speaking to were influenced by earthly passions. They were governed by earthly desires, which are the opposite of heavenly desires. The crowd still didn’t understand that Jesus was the Messiah. They still saw Him as a mere pretender. It’s amazing that He had the patience to put up with poverty, abuse and the lack of friends. Jesus wanted to tell them so much more, but they were unable and/or unwilling to hear it.
When the people refused to believe that Jesus was going where they couldn’t go, it revealed the darkness of their unbelief. They assumed that Jesus was going to kill himself. According to the Pharisees, anyone who killed themselves would be condemned to hell.
When the people asked Jesus “Who are you?,” He could not give then a satisfactory answer. They asked not as honest seekers but as prejudiced non-believers. He could not overcome their rejection with another explanation when they did not understand or accept His ministry in the past.
Jesus told the people what would happen to them if they continued to reject Him-spiritual death. This passage reveals four ways people will die spiritually:
- By being self-righteous
- By being earthbound, that is, by being concerned about earthly things instead of being concerned with heavenly things.
- By not believing in Jesus.
- By being willfully ignorant.
There are times when we allow the concerns of others to become more important to us than what God thinks. We should be concerned about what others think, but the only judgment that really matters is the one God will render. We will answer to Him for our thoughts, actions, and motives, not those of other people.
The only way we can have an eternal relationship with God is to accept Jesus as our Saviour. Following Jesus requires a new way of thinking. Each day gives us new opportunities to learn Jesus’ way of thinking, speaking and living. As we learn the new way of thinking, we will learn more about ourselves, other people and leadership.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible: New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013; p.1454)
- Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament. Part of Wordsearch 12 Bible software package.
- Fredrikson, R.L. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 27: John (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1985)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Paul Chappell, “The Priority of Pleasing God.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- “New Insights.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Ron Moore, “I AM…the Light of the World.” Retrieved from ronmoore.org