Empty Cross Ministries
The Consequence of Unbelief
The Gospel of John Chapter 8
John 8:19 “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.”
In the previous lesson, the Pharisees had accused Jesus of witnessing of Himself. They said His record was not true, completely overlooking the fact that He had performed miracles that none of the holy men of the temple could do. Jesus reminded them, that in their law a thing shall be established by two witnesses.
The Jews, as was their habit, once again thought merely on human terms in asking about Jesus’ paternity.
Jesus had been witnessed of by the Father when He was baptized by John the Baptist, and the voice came from heaven for all to hear. Of course, John the Baptist witnessed of Jesus also. The miracles were a strong witness too.
Now to the verse above, they believed Joseph to be Jesus’ father when, in fact, God was His Father. Jesus tells them, if they had known God or His Word, they would not be disbelieving Him now. The word is Jesus.
John 8:20 “These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.”
This treasury, probably was the place of public assembly. We see from this and several other places in John’s gospel, that Jesus went often to the temple.
The Pharisees, scribes, and high priests did not approve of Jesus, but they could not do anything about it until Jesus decided the time was right. They would have captured Him here and punished Him if they could have; but Jesus was in control, not them.
He would walk past them, and they could not see Him; because He had blinded their view of Him.
In (verses 21-30), Jesus revealed the consequence of the rejection of him as Messiah and Son of God, i.e., spiritual death. These verses reveal four ways that ensure people will die in their sins and as a result, experience spiritual death:
1. Being self righteous (verses 8:20-22),
2. Being earthbound (verses 23-24),
3. Being unbelieving (verse 24),
4. Being willfully ignorant (verses 25-29).
The Jews who rejected Jesus displayed all four of these characteristics.
John 8:21 “Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins; whither I go, ye cannot come.”
Jesus repeated his message of (7:33-34), but with more ominous overtones regarding the consequences of rejecting Him.
“I am going away” by means of His impending death, resurrection and ascension to the Father.
These people have rejected the Savior of the world. They would still be searching for their Messiah long after He had come and gone. They would die in their sin, because they rejected Him. There would be no eternal life in heaven with Him, because they rejected Him.
Read (Romans chapter 10 verses 9-10). It explains what you must do to inherit eternal life with Jesus. These Pharisees fell way short of those requirements.
John 8:22 “Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? because he saith, Whither I go, ye cannot come.”
They assumed, because Jesus told them of having a short time to live, that He would kill Himself. They cannot comprehend someone who knows when He will die. They assumed Jesus was going to hell. Little did they know that would be their place, not Jesus’.
The Jews spoke either in confusion or perhaps more likely, in mockery of Christ. Jewish tradition condemned suicide as a particularly heinous sin that resulted in permanent banishment to the worst part of Hades (Josephus, Jewish Wars iii.viii.5 [iii.375]). God did deliver Him to be killed (Acts 2:23), thus, as God, he gave up his own life (John 10:18).
John 8:23 “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”
The contrast here is between the realm of God and that of the fallen, sinful world, (i.e. from below). The world in this context is the invisible spiritual system of evil dominated by Satan and all that it offers in opposition to God, His word, and His people.
Jesus declared that his opponents’ true kinship was with Satan and his realm. By this domination, they were spiritually blinded.
Jesus in this, is telling them they better enjoy what they can here on earth, because they are not preparing at all for eternity. They can only see the flesh and are looking through physical eyes that can only comprehend things of this world. Jesus is from heaven. God is a Spirit.
John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
Jesus is Spirit also. He cannot be understood by a carnal, worldly mind. Our Spirit must worship Him. Worldly and Spiritual things do not mix.
John 8:24 “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.”
John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
You see, to be saved we must believe that He is, and believe that He is a rewarder of those who believe. Salvation is very simple; BELIEVE. You see, these Pharisees did not believe, so they cannot inherit eternal life.
“I am He”: the word “he” is not part of the original statement. Jesus’ words were not constructed normally but were influenced by Old Testament Hebrew usage. It is an absolute usage meaning “I AM” and Has immense theological significance.
The reference may be to both (Exodus 3:14), where the Lord declared His name as “I AM” and to (Isaiah 40-55), where the phrase “I AM” occurs repeatedly. In this, Jesus referred to Himself as the God (Yahweh, the Lord), of the Old Testament, and directly claimed full deity for Himself, prompting the Jews’ question of (John 8:25).
There is only one way, and His name is Jesus Christ our Lord. If they do not believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, then He didn’t die for their sins, and they are still living in sin.
John 8:25 “Then said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.”
When they asked, He could have said, Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, or He could have said their Messiah. They would not have believed any more by Him specifically saying one or the other of these names.
The Jews were willfully ignorant because (chapters 1-8), demonstrate that multiple witnesses testified to Jesus’ identity, and Jesus himself in words and actions persistently proved throughout His ministry on earth that He was the Son of God and Messiah.
“From the beginning” meant from the start of Jesus’ ministry among the Jews.
He just said “The same as I have already told you.” It was not His time now and there was no need to make them angrier than they were now.
John 8:26 “I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him.”
Whether you and I care to admit it or not, God is absolute truth. This is what Jesus is telling these Pharisees, but it also applies to our day. We can say what we believe, and it may or may not be true; but when God speaks, it is truth.
Jesus is saying here; you are not right in the sight of God. He also says that He is pointing out their sins so that they can do something about them now, before they stand in front of Him to be judged of Him.
He says, if you believe in the Father, then listen to what I (Jesus), am saying to you, because the Father is the one who sent me.
John 8:27 “They understood not that he spake to them of the Father.”
These people were so caught up in the formality of church that they could not understand anything spiritual. They simply did not know He spoke to them of Father God.
John 8:28 “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.”
Jesus is speaking prophetically of being lifted up on the cross. Those who were present at the crucifixion, when the noonday turned black as night and when the earthquake came, said surely this was the Son of God.
They did not understand that Jesus (the Son of God), took on the form (flesh), of a man and dwelt among them. They could not understand that this flesh, standing before them, could be the Son of God. These Pharisees thought Him to be the Son of Joseph.
Having refused to accept Him by faith and having nailed Him to the cross, they would one day awaken to the terrifying realization that this One whom they despised was the One whom they should have worshiped.
Many Jews believed on Christ after his death and ascension, realizing that the One whom they rejected was truly the Messiah. (Acts 2:36; 37, 41).
Jesus’ will and the will of the Father is the same.
John 8:29 “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.”
This was evident even to the on-lookers. Jesus did no evil, only good. On many occasions when Jesus did the miracles, the on-lookers realized that these things could only be done of God.
John 3:2 “The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.”
You see, it was evident from the beginning that mortal man could not do the kinds of miracles that Jesus did.
In John 14:11, we read in Jesus’ own words “Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very work’s sake.”
John 8:30 “As he spake these words, many believed on him.”
It was evident who Jesus was and is. It is the same now, as it was then. Some believe, and some don’t. What are we talking about when we say believe? Believe that Jesus was, in fact, God the Word who took on flesh and became the Savior of the world. Romans (chapter 10:9-10), tells all.
John 8 Continued Questions
1. What question did these Pharisees ask Jesus in verse 19?
2. What was Jesus’ answer to them?
3. What had these Pharisees completely overlooked that should have witnessed to them who He was?
4. Who did they believe was Jesus’ Father?
5. Where did this conversation take place?
6. Why did they not lay hands on Him then?
7. Jesus said they would seek Him, and not find Him. What does that mean?
8. What did Jesus say would be their condition at death?
9. What did the Jews think Jesus was talking about in verse 22?
10. He said “Ye are from __________; I am from ______: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.”
11. In the fourth chapter of John verse 24, what is God?
12. Jesus said to them “for if you believe not that I am he, ___ ______ ____ __ ____ ____.
13. What is the one necessary thing to be saved?
14. Why did they ask Jesus, Who art thou?
15. What did Jesus say He spoke to the world?
16. In verse 27, it says they understood not that He spoke to them of whom?
17. When would they know who He was?
18. What did Jesus always do?
19. In John 3:2, what is the lesson to be learned?
20. In John 14:11 we read if they did not believe what He said, believe Him for what?
21. What happened too many of those listening to Jesus?