Day 8

I was in a study group yesterday when someone reminded us of some of the scriptures that talk about how few people will really make it to heaven. Everyone has an invitation but so few accept it. I know it’s hard to choose things you can’t see over the concrete goodies we can touch and fight for, but that is so fleeting. In Luke 16:19-31 we see a story about a rich man who didn’t help a poor man named Lazarus. Then they both died and Lazarus went to heaven, and the unkind, rich man went to hell. The rich man could see Abraham and Lazarus in heaven, from his place in Hades. He asked for mercy but it was too late. He even begged for them to go back and warn his family about Hell, but Abraham told him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” That story has a few meanings, because it’s also referring to how people after Jesus don’t believe in Him just like our ancestors didn’t believe in God before Jesus came. With that and the more obvious implication of it being too late after death to change our mind, I agonize over that story. I ache for those who don’t believe now because I think they just don’t realize what they’re doing. And sometimes I’m so frustrated by those who know the truth but still choose another way. But seriously, the results of these choices are permanent. More permanent than anything we can relate to, because all our understanding of time has a concrete beginning and end. 


All this is a long-winded plea to keep pursuing the Lord. Plenty of people claim to know Him but still don’t, or turn away. No one is safe unless they are actively seeking Him day by day. And no matter how many times one rejects you for His name, it’s not too late for them until they die. Don’t let anyone you know perish without at least trying to help them find the truth. Give them the best gift you ever received, even though they act like they don’t care. And if you haven’t accepted it yet, it’s not too late. It might be awkward to accept Him after all the bad things you’ve done, after all the explanations you’ve used to prove He doesn’t exist, or after all the endeavors you’ve pursued without Him. But not accepting Him doesn’t make Him the fraud. It seems insurmountable at times, but it’s really the easiest decision you could ever make. Give up the nonsense you’re holding onto and release yourself into God’s loving arms. You are forgiven, beloved, and a priceless treasure to your Savior.

All this was on my heart instead of comments about yesterday’s reading. So, here’s today’s reading, John Chapter 8:

    but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(B)”> The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(C)”> Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(D)”> in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(F)”> at her.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(G)”>  Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
    At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(H)”> Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
    He said, “I am<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(J)”> the light of the world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(K)”> Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.”  Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> But you have no idea where I come from<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(O)”> or where I am going. You judge by human standards;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(P)”> I pass judgment on no one.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(Q)”>  But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(R)”>  In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(S)”>  I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.”  Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(W)”> in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(X)”> Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.
     Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(Z)”> in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.”  This made the Jews ask, “Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, ‘Where I go, you cannot come’?”  But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AB)”>  I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AC)”> you will indeed die in your sins.”
   “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied.  “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AD)”> and what I have heard from him I tell the world.”
 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father.  So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up<span class="footnote" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="[a]”>[a] the Son of Man,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AF)”> then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AG)”>  The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AH)”> for I always do what pleases him.”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AI)”>  Even as he spoke, many believed in him.
     To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(AK)”> you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AM)”> and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AN)”>  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AP)”> you will be free indeed. I know that you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AQ)”> because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AR)”> and you are doing what you have heard from your father.”
     “Abraham is our father,” they answered. “If you were Abraham’s children,”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AT)”> said Jesus, “then you would do what Abraham did. As it is, you are looking for a way to kill me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AU)”> a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AV)”> Abraham did not do such things. You are doing the works of your own father.” “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself.”
     Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AY)”> for I have come here from God.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(AZ)”> I have not come on my own;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BA)”> God sent me.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BB)”>  Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BC)”> and you want to carry out your father’s desires.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BD)”> 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.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BE)”>  Yet because I tell the truth,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BF)”> you do not believe me!  Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? Whoever belongs to God hears what God says.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BG)”> The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
    The Jews answered him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; vertical-align: top;" value="(BH)”> and demon-possessed?”  “I am not possessed by a demon,” said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me.  I am not seeking glory for myself;<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BJ)”> 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.”  At this they exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed!<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BL)”> Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that whoever obeys your word will never taste death.  Are you greater than our father Abraham?<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BM)”> He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BN)”> my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BP)”> I know him.<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BQ)”> If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BS)”> rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BT)”> and was glad.”  “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
     “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BU)”> I am!”<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BV)”> At this, they picked up stones to stone him,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BW)”> but Jesus hid himself,<span class="crossreference" style="font-size: 0.65em; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(BX)”> slipping away from the temple grounds.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s