Come Follow Me Book of Mormon Central Taylor Tyler

VIDEO: Come Follow Me Insights with Taylor and Tyler | John 7–10 | Scripture Central | Book of Mormon Central




I’m Taylor.

And I’m Tyler.

This is Scripture Central’s Come Follow Me Insights. This week, John 7-10.

So let’s jump in in our first episode with chapters seven and eight and then we’ll do chapters nine and ten for the second episode this week, amazing stories to cover in John’s Gospel. In chapter seven, verse one it says after these things, Jesus walked in Galilee for he would not walk in jewelry because the Jews sought to kill him. The implication is he’s not walking openly down in Judea, down in Jerusalem. Now the Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand. Feast of Tabernacles happens in the fall, sometime late September, early October, depending on the lunar calendar of a given year. And so this situates us, orients us so that we can kind of see the rest of John’s gospel. We’re about six months away, give or take from the feast of Passover where Jesus is going to be crucified. So he’s got about six months left in his life in his ministry.

So in the context, this is the feast of tabernacles and this is to remind the people their forefathers have been saved by God from Egyptian bondage and were brought out in the wilderness and there they lived in these temporary booths and that is where they encountered God, was out in the wilderness. So we see themes here of God finding his people or bringing them into the wilderness to save them. So think about this context as we read this next chapter.

Yeah. So you’re up in Galilee, jesus has this interesting interaction with his brothers, his own family members, where verse three says his brother and therefore said unto him, depart hence and go into Judea that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. So his own family members are saying go down, people need to see more of your works. And Jesus told them that he’s not going to go, but he sends them ahead. But then you get this little interesting insertion by John in verse five where he says, for neither did his brethren believe in him. His own family members didn’t believe that he was divine. To them he was just their oldest brother. And verse six says, my time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. So he sends the rest of his family members along with probably many of his disciples to go down to Jerusalem to this feast of the tabernacle saying, I’m not going to come down yet. But then he ends up going down later. Now if we pause there for just a minute. Keep in mind later on scriptural tradition holds that James, the writer of the Epistle of James, is a half brother of Jesus as well as Jude, another possible half brother of Jesus who later on write Epistles who become converted.

But the message is that James especially is only converted after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not during his ministry. So we end up with the group going down. But then Jesus showed up in the middle of the feast. Look at verse 14. Now about the midst of the feast, jesus went up into the temple and taught. So he came after all. And the Jews marveled, saying, how knoweth this man letters? Having never learned? How is he able to read? He didn’t come through any of our schools. They have the two major rabbinical schools in that day, the school of Shamai and the school of Hale. And Jesus isn’t a graduate of either program. And they’re shocked that he’s able to be lettered that he can read. Keep in mind we don’t know the exact, but many scholars put the estimates somewhere between three and 10% of the population is able to read. It’s a very unusual capacity. And they’re shocked that Jesus is in that elite group of literate people. And then he gives the answer not directly to them, but veiled to his disciples. And I think for us today to benefit from. Look at verse 16 and 17.

Jesus answered and said, my doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. It’s almost as if to say, you went to the school of Hale or Shamai, but I went to the school of Him that sent me. My Father taught me what I need and I’m not doing my own teaching, I’m not making anything up. Look at verse 17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself. He’s basically saying, put it to the test. You don’t have to assume that I’m just making up these teachings. Do it and then you’ll learn whether it’s of God or whether it’s man made. What a beautiful principle. If we apply this to any doctrine or any commandment or any aspect of the Gospel or church today, verse 17 is amazing because it becomes this opportunity for us to put the Lord to the test in an appropriate way to say, is the law of tithing just made up? Well, you can read about it, you can study other people’s experience with it, you can become the world’s expert on the law of tithing and still not fully know whether it’s of God.

Jesus’s formula here is the way you really discover if a doctrine is of God is by doing it, not just by studying it.

And he builds on this and he says, I’m not speaking out of my own authority, I’m not trying to glorify myself. Verse 18 he that speaketh of Himself seeketh his own glory, but he that seeketh his glory, that sent Him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. So Jesus is representing the authority of God. And what happens in the world today? People try to speak on their own authority or in the authority of somebody who is in their realm of associations. Jesus is deeply unusual. He speaks on the authority of God.

And then this conversation gets heavy really fast. It turns a corner very quickly here and it becomes one of the biggest confrontations we’ve had. We, we had a fairly lengthy confrontation with the Pharisees and the leaders back in John chapter five, but this one is up a notch. He starts in verse 19, did not Moses give you the law and yet none of you keepth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? Whoa. That was a major line that he just stepped over when he says, none of you are keeping the law. Because this whole group, what do they pride themselves with?

We keep the law.

We are the law keepers and we are so much better at it than everybody else. And now here’s this man saying, no, you’re not keeping the law. You’re not righteous. You’re self righteous. And he doesn’t have a lot of patience for self righteousness. And he then continues in this conversation with them. Notice in verse 24 he says, judge not according to the appearance. And the Joseph translation says, according to your traditions, stop making your judgments on people based on the traditions, but judge righteous judgment. So notice one of their responses in verse 27. How be it we know this man whence he is, we know who he is and we know where he comes from. But when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Are you noticing they’re now teaching one of their traditions that when the Messiah comes, he’s going to come out of out of the east or out of unknown lands and he’s going to show up on a big stallion with a drawn sword and wipe out the Roman government and restore the kingdom to Israel. That’s their tradition. But they’re like, but we know you. We know where you’re from.

You’re from Galilee.

The backwater this gets back to this question. We keep seeing the identity of Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus Christ? This is just an ongoing question and it’s important because it reverberates still today. Who is Jesus and do you know Him? And the more clarity we can get about the identity of Jesus and our relationship to Him, the more we are brought into that covenantal relationship. But they’re making these assumptions. They know who he is, and because of those assumptions, it takes them on the wrong path. So as we continue to read, we want to ask ourselves, have I truly known Jesus?

That’s an extremely relevant point for all of us to wrestle with, is am I doing the same thing to the Lord Jesus Christ as these Pharisees and leaders, the people back then where I’m creating a box and I’m trying to fit God into that predefined box that I have made for Him. And when he doesn’t fit it, then I say, well, that’s clearly not the Lord. It’s amazing how much he does in our life that we probably don’t recognize as coming from Him. So look at verse 28. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, ye both know me and ye know whence I am, and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true whom ye know not. So Jesus is going to use this phrase, just watch for it. Sent me, sent me. It’s going to show up in 28, 29, 33. It’s going to come up across the page when we keep moving forward in chapter eight as well, he keeps bringing up this idea of I am not here on my own. I didn’t bring myself here. I was sent here. I am on a mission by Him who sent me.

And he starts describing more of that relationship. It’s beautiful. Verse 29 I know Him, for I am from Him and he hath sent me. I wish I would have known this doctrine better when I went out on my mission at age 19 to really understand and contemplate what it means to live life wearing that name over my heart, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints with my name Elder Griffin on that tag. To be able to have this kind of perspective would have deepened my experience to realize I didn’t go to Brazil. I didn’t go and serve among the people in the Kurdichiba, Brazil mission of my own. I was sent there. And if I had spent more time contemplating he who it was that sent me on that mission and being able to say, I know him and I am from him and he hath sent me, I would have probably spent more time loving people and connecting better with them and helping them connect better with God than just me doing the socially acceptable thing of serving. My mission starting at age 19. If we skip down to verse 38, he says, he that believeth on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water, this moving water.

Now let’s tie some things in it’s the Feast of the Tabernacles. And one of the things that they would do at the Feast of Tabernacles is they would have this incredible procession down to the to the bottom of the city of Jerusalem, to the far south, to the Pool of Siloam, which beautifully means sent he that sent me. And we’re going to get the Pool of Siloam miracle in chapter nine in the second episode this week. So they would go down to the pool and get water and then bring it back up to the temple for this glorious celebration.

So they pour the water out at the altar at the temple. And the symbolism here, we think, has to do with the prophecies we have in the Old Testament. At some point in the future, living waters will flow out from Jerusalem out to the Dead Sea and heal it. And there was a sense among the Jews that the temple was the navel of the world or the belly of the world. So all the Jews knew this. Well, listen to what Jesus is saying back in verse 37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. So already everybody’s getting ready to see this water symbolically poured out as a sign of everlasting water to quench all thirst. And Jesus is saying, I will provide that for you. And then he says, he that believeth on me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly, so flow rivers of living water. Wow. The temple was the center of the Jewish community, their religion, their state. And Jesus is saying, if you accept me, you will become a temple.

And this would have been so mind boggling for a lot of people. Some people would have gotten it and said, we have now seen the truth. And others would have been deeply angry that Jesus was in their minds trampling on their traditions and their symbols, which.

You beautifully just summarized. Look at verse 40 through 43. It says Many of the people, therefore, when they heard this saying, said of a truth, this is the Prophet, and others said, this is the Christ. But some said, shall Christ come out of Galilee? Is the Messiah really going to be a Galilean? And then you jump down to 43. So there was a division among the people because of Him. Just because he’s there, teaching them, loving them, performing these miracles, doesn’t mean that everybody’s going to accept Him. There was a division as he’s declaring who he is. Now, one of my favorite quotes along these lines comes from C. S. Lewis in Mere Christianity near the end of chapter three in that book, he says, christ says that he is humble and meek, and we believe him. Not noticing that if he were merely a man, humility and meekness are the very last characteristics we could attribute to some of his sayings. Then CS. Lehi goes on to say I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him. I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.

That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg, or else he would be the devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was and is the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. So you can see how he’s being more open now in declaring his identity, and it’s causing this division. Some are calling him crazy, some are calling him the Christ, and others are seeking his destruction, which now sets the stage for verse one. Jesus went onto the Mount of Olives, and early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him, and he sat down and taught them.

So now picture this setting visually. You’re in the temple, it’s early in the morning, and you get this group of people who comes and gathers around Jesus, and he’s teaching them. And then they’re interrupted the scribes, and the Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst so now we get another group of people, these scribes and Pharisees, who come into this setting, and they set the woman in the midst, in the middle of the group center of attention. And these are the spiritual leaders of the people. They’ve found this woman taken in the very act of adultery. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery in the very act. Now, Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned, but what sayest thou? This should cause everyone to start asking a couple of questions. If she was caught in the very act, then the first question should be, where’s the man? Because in the law of Moses, if you read the actual law that they’re quoting from and that they’re trying to trap Jesus in, the emphasis is on bringing the man for judgment and the woman with him.

But in this case, they’ve already broken the law because they’ve only brought the woman, they haven’t brought the man. So it’s starting to feel very much like a setup, like a trap. Another thing to consider, how many adulterers have they been stoning recently for that practice, this provision in the law of Moses to stone adulterers? It has probably been centuries, 800 plus or more years since they have been executing the law as it’s written in Leviticus, leviticus 20, verse ten, and Deuteronomy 22. It’s been hundreds of years now they’re pulling this law saying, well, Moses said that such should be stoned, but what sayest thou? Can you see how they’re setting up this perfect trap thinking we’ve got him? Because if he says, Go ahead and stone her, then we can say, yes, so much for your new gospel you’ve been preaching. And if he says, don’t stone her now, they have in their minds legal grounds to condemn him of setting himself above Moses.

This next verse is super significant, I think. Verse six. This, they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him, but Jesus stooped down and with his finger wrote on the ground as though he heard them not. And some years ago, when I was in the Bergamot University Jerusalem Center, a fellow student mentioned, wait a second. Didn’t Jehovah write the law with his finger on stones? I wonder if there’s something going on here.

Yeah, isn’t that fascinating that instead of talking to the Pharisees and scribes or talking to the woman or talking to the crowd, instead of answering their question directly, he simply stooped down? And this is the only instance in the entire New Testament where you get Jesus writing or a record of him writing anything. And what is his writing instrument? His finger on the ground. And keep in mind, the temple is still under construction at this time. It’s a 46 year construction project, and there are still lots of construction elements there. So you can picture this stone floor with maybe some dust and sand and dirt. And he writes on the stone, so to speak, with his finger tied into this beautiful symbolism from Mount Sinai.

And it goes on. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself and said unto them, he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again, he stooped down and wrote on the ground. And this fellow student said, I wonder if what Jesus was doing was writing with his finger. The upgraded law that no longer do we stone people, but the new law is we first look at our own sin before we are willing to cast any stones. And there were plenty of them on the temple map from this construction site.

So you get this incredible moment where the tension in the air must have been huge with this interruption. And now, by Jesus stooping down and writing with his finger on the ground, everyone in the crowd, all of these people, and maybe even the woman, they’re now looking at what he’s writing on the ground. Most of them probably couldn’t read whatever it was he was writing, but this group would be more likely to be able to read it. And you can just picture over time, this quiet, steady, I’m not going to engage you. It allows the temperature to come down a little bit in that setting. And they keep asking him, but did you notice the significance of his statement when he actually did address them? He that is without sin among you? Well, there’s only one person in the temple. There’s only one person in the entire world who fits that description, and he’s the one who’s talking to them. He he could have just pointed to himself, he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her, which, under this this law of Moses, if you’re if you’re going to execute somebody, those witnesses are the ones that need to cast the first stone.

It’s kind of a sign of I’m serious, it can’t be this false accusation. So he says, let the person who is without sin among you go ahead, throw a stone. And then he stoops down and writes again. And there have been a lot of people back in the early days they loved the early Christian writers, loved talking about this story and speculating about what he was actually writing on the ground. And there are some great options out there. Fact is, in our Scripture, we don’t know he’s writing something, but whatever it is that he wrote, it had an effect. And what is the outcome? They which heard it being convicted by their own conscience went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last. And Jesus was left alone. And the woman standing in the midst, the implication to me is she’s still standing in the midst of a large crowd. This group has now gone out pricked in their own conscience, one by one. Are you noticing how Jesus really is the master teacher? You have three classrooms here of students. You have the crowd, you have the Pharisees and the scribes, and you have a classroom of one.

And Jesus is going to help every single one of those classrooms this day. This group walks out pricked in their own conscience. They walk out feeling guilty about something and hopefully feeling a degree of sorrow that would lead them to repentance. But at least he diverts that group. And now I love the wording here in John’s account where he says, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst. As far as Jesus is concerned, he’s not looking at the midst of the group, at the crowd. He’s seeing the woman. It’s a classroom of one and now becomes one of the now begins one of the sweetest teaching moments in his ministry.

When Jesus had lifted up himself and saw none but the woman. He said unto her, woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said no, man lord. And Jesus said unto her, neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.

There is so much in these two verses that Jesus lifting up himself, he didn’t see anyone but the woman. He’s looking at her and her alone in a condition of incredible vulnerability and public shame and embarrassment and a moment where she didn’t know if she was actually going to be killed a few minutes before this point, and him looking at her saying, where are those thine accusers? Hasn’t anybody condemned thee? And her statement, no man, Lord. The Joseph Smith translation here that finishes verse eleven says, and the woman glorified God from that hour and believed on his name. It’s a beautiful conclusion to this story. Now can you notice the tension between two things? The tension between the laws of God and the love of God? President Dalinay Chokes has spoken about the beautiful connection between these two. Not competition doctrines, not competing attributes of God, but perfectly complementary aspects of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And can you see what happens if we swing the pendulum too far over to one side or the other? We can either become too legalistic and make it so that nobody feels any hope for being able to be forgiven.

If we focus too much on the law and you messed up and you’re in trouble, and you can see that if you swing the pendulum too far to the other side, oh, God loves you. He loves you so much it doesn’t matter what you do, he’s still going to love you. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean that he can then trust you. You’re going to be stopped in your progression along the covenant path if you believe that, hey, I’m going to eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow God’s still going to love me. He might beat me with a few stripes, but in the end I’ll be saved. You can see how emphasizing one extreme over the other is going to be a damaging effect on somebody’s progression along the covenant path.

What’s interesting here is that the way Jesus says this, he gives a very strong invitation, he shows mercy like go, like, I’m not going to condemn you at this point, but sin no more. You see both of these wrapped up in that single phrase?

Yeah. What a difference it would be if this story ended with Jesus looking at the woman saying, yeah, neither do I condemn thee, go and sin some more. That wouldn’t have been a very good story, and it wouldn’t have been very kind for Jesus, because wickedness never was happiness. And he’s helping this woman not just fill of his love and fill of the hope that can come from forgiveness, but he’s helping her recognize the importance of loving God and putting his laws first and foremost. So in our family relationships, sometimes if we’re not careful, we’ll overemphasize the love of God to the point where maybe our children grow up in an environment where they get this idea that, hey, I can do anything I want and God’s still going to love me. Which isn’t very kind to them to not teach them the laws of God and the seriousness of breaking those laws and to keep it in balance with God’s mercy and his grace and his love. And this story contains that interplay as well as any other story I know.

I love how the story then goes on. We get this powerful verse, then speak Jesus verse twelve again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. I’m going to ask a quick question. What time of day is it? And it turns out if you look back at verse two early in the morning, what happens early in the morning, the sun is rising. So when Jesus says, I am the light of the world. Now, this is a true statement wherever you go, whether it’s daytime or nighttime. But he chooses to be in the temple as the sun is rising, possibly bathing Him in light. And he says, I am the light of the world. That was the whole point. I think that was one of the main things he was trying to teach that day, and he got interrupted. So sometimes you’re a teacher, you have a plan, and you get interrupted. But Jesus still goes back and teaches a lesson.

Are you noticing that there was actually a fourth classroom in all of this temple experience that day? And that fourth classroom is us today, looking back through the quarter of time thousands of miles away, learning lessons of how to recognize God’s law and God’s love and God’s light, because he’s giving us access to his truth and his light today just as much as he gave everybody back in his own day. It’s just in a different way today, with the help of the Holy Ghost to guide us in this study. I love being in the classroom, watching Jesus teach us how to become more like Him and to walk this covenant path with Him. It’s such a delight to be his student. Now, in the rest of chapter eight, remember, things started to ramp up and heat up in the conflict with the Pharisees and scribes in chapter seven, and then they had that night in between. Now they’re back in the temple. Now it’s going to be ratcheted up to a whole new level in the rest of chapter eight, this is a difficult confrontation that’s going to take place. So there are a lot of verses here.

Let’s just hit and miss a couple of these critical points. Jump down to verse 19. Then said they unto him, where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me nor my Father. If you had known me, ye should have known my Father also. Beautiful invitation to us that when we come to know the Savior, we’re coming to know God the Father. Look at verse 28. Then said Jesus unto them, when ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself. But as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. You’ll see that phrase? I am he. See it in verse 24. We had it right there in verse 28. Do you notice the word he is in italics? That’s the King James translator’s way of signaling to us that that word didn’t exist in the Greek manuscripts. They’re adding it, or they’re making an edit here to make it read more smoothly in English. The Greek text is ego. Amy I am. Which, when you read the Greek Old Testament called the Septuagint, when Moses is talking to the Lord.

In the burning bush. He asks him, when I go into Egypt to address the people, who should I tell them sent me? Whose errand am I on? And God’s answer is in the Greek Old Testament version, septuagint is ego amy, I am. It’s pretty profound here in this temple setting when he’s saying ego amy not, it because he’s not speaking Greek, he’s speaking Aramaic. But it’s very clear the connection that he’s making with the God of the Old Testament, jehovah being himself.

The word Yahweh in Hebrew, which we know as Jehovah, is in some ways translated as I am, the self existing one. So the Jews would have known exactly what he’s talking about. And we don’t always get that clearly through the translation of our English scriptures. Jesus is saying, I am. And this is a super important verse. Exodus, chapter three, verse 14. Moses, who’s this, like, premier prophet the Jews love, they always want to follow him. But have they stopped to ask, who was Moses following as when Moses, who was sent out? Todd has already talked about the word sent. Moses was sent apostle to go deliver the people who sent him. Moses asks, who are you? Under what name and authority will I go present myself I am. Or in Hebrew, jehovah yahweh. The self existing one. Very, very powerful. The scriptures are so exciting.

It’s beautiful, the layers. And then you go to verse 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. He throws that in there again, I’m not on my own errand. I’m doing that which will please God. What a beautiful pattern for each of us to try to emulate. Verse 32, ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. The implication is these people are believing a lot of traditions and some lies and some half truths, some made up theories, and there’s no value, there’s no lasting benefit in believing a lie or believing an untruth or believing a half truth. Truth is truth, our prophets have told us. And if we know the truth, then we’re made free. Free to what? Free to actually use our agency and our freedom of choice more fully. It’s beautiful. So then he comes down to skipping down to verse 38. I speak that which I have seen with my Father, and ye do that which you have seen with your father, your traditions. Now he’s going to turn the temperature up even more.

They said, Well, Abraham is our father. And Jesus saith unto them, if you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham, but now ye seek to kill me. Now jump down to 41. Ye do the deeds of your father. Then they said to him, we be not born of fornication. So he’s hinted at it a couple of times, you’re following your father, and I’m following my father, but he hasn’t made it very clear. But watch what happens. Turn the page over verse 44. Ye are of your father the devil. Wow. This conversation just turned a corner here when he says it very plainly. You’re following your father, and your father’s the devil. You’re following the lusts of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning. He didn’t abide in the truth. And verse 45, because I tell you the truth, you won’t believe me. You believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And I say the truth. And if I say the truth, why do you not believe me? He that is of God heareth God’s words. Ye, therefore hear them not, because you’re not of God. I could keep talking to you forever and ever, and you’re not going to believe them because you’re not of God.

You’ve chosen to follow your father, the devil in this context. Brothers and sisters, this is an important point for us today to realize we have agency. Book of Mormon makes this very clear. We are free to choose life and salvation through the atoning redemption of Jesus Christ, or to choose captivity and death according to the captivity and the power of the devil. It’s our choice. And he’s making it very clear what this group of leaders among the Jewish people have chosen.

So he goes on. Let’s jump down to verse 56, this whole debate about the identity of Jesus Christ and who his father is, and they really like the idea of Abraham. Jesus says your father, Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, there are not yet 50 years old, and thou hast and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily. I say unto you, before Abraham was I am.

This is beautiful. Highly significant. As a side note here, sometimes people pay a lot of attention to the punctuation. So notice how you read it before Abraham was then there’s a comma I am. Keep in mind that the commas, the punctuation, the capitalization, the versification, that is all added by King James translators, because if you look at all of the Greek texts, there’s not a punctuation mark. There’s not a dividing element in the text. It’s all capital letters, all one big long run on sentence in most of those earliest manuscripts of the Greek New Testament. So watch what happens if you move the comma back one word. Which 1611 the KJV translators put it where they did. What if we move it back one word. Listen. Before Abraham was I am. That idea of you’re putting all of your stock in being children of Abraham, thinking that’s going to save you, but you’re really growing up to become like the father that you’ve chosen, the devil. But before Abraham was Jehovah, and he’s clearly indicating himself in in some fashion, we know that because of their response verse 59, then took they up stones to cast at him.

But Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. It’s not his hour to be slain, and he will not be slain by stoning. It’s prophesied. He will be lifted up and crucified, and so he miraculously is able to escape out of the midst of his people. So as we come to the close of this first episode for this week, let’s reemphasize this idea that we are given the privilege to be a part of this classroom as students of the Master Teacher through our study of the New Testament this year. What a privilege to get to watch Jesus interacting with people and to learn from him and to plead with God to help us in our search for knowledge, because we believe him when he says, ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. That’s our hope to come to know Jesus ultimately, because later on in John 14, he’s going to tell them, I am the way, the truth and the life. He is the truth. And if you put it in that context, we shall come to know not just true things, but we’ll come to know the embodiment of truth, which is Jesus Christ himself.

And the truth, jesus will make us free. Chapter nine is one big, long story that is just beautiful on many levels.

And the context is so interesting. We left Jesus heading out of the temple where the people have been trying to stone him to death. Now just give that context. He’s trying to avoid death in the temple and then this next story happens.

Yeah, that’s a good point. If you look at the very last words of verse 59 in chapter eight, it says, and so passed by. So he’s escaped that stoning up in the temple, and so passed by. Now, chapter nine opens with, and as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

Now, if you’re trying to escape death, would you take the time to pause and observe somebody else who’s suffering? And Jesus is like, oh, wow, there’s somebody here who might need my help.

Yeah. And it’s fascinating how the disciples ask this initial question. In verse two, they said, Master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Are you seeing a subtle hint at their belief in premortality? Who sinned, this man or his parents, because he was born blind? And their tradition, probably inherited from Greek philosophy, is that any disability, any struggle, physically, mentally, emotionally, is a sign of divine disfavor. You did something to offend one of the gods or goddesses in your pantheon of whomever you’re worshipping, and so now they’re punishing you and they bring this up with Jesus. And his response is, neither hath this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of god should be made manifest in him. And then he goes over verse six. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. If you can picture for a moment being that blind man sitting there at the gate of the temple, he may not be able to see physically, but blind people can sense things more acutely than seeing people can in many settings, and especially this man who has had to live by begging.

You can picture, he can sense when somebody’s coming close and this idea of, oh, somebody’s going to make an offering or give me either money or food. So you can picture this extension of his hands or a cup to get an offering. And then he hears, I don’t know about you, but if I’m the blind man, I’m thinking, wait a minute, what’s going on here? And then Jesus makes spittle clay out of that dirt and his spit, and then he takes it, shoves it into this man’s eyes. I don’t know about you, but if I’m that man, I’m probably going to shout out, help. Somebody help. But you’ll notice there’s nothing like that going on in the story. There’s no resistance from the man. I wonder if this chapter nine is about two kinds of sight, both physical and spiritual. And we’re going to watch this man grow in both ways in seeing Jesus for whom he really is, and he doesn’t resist. I wonder if he can sense or feel the power that are in those hands that are now touching his eyes. And he senses a calmness, a steadiness, even in the face of this very what everybody else would see as extremely inappropriate and disrespectful.

But this man senses something. And so Jesus gives him a command. In verse seven, he said unto him.

Go wash in the pool of Saloam, which is by interpretation sent. So Jesus sends him to the pool called Scent. And the blind man went his way thereof and washed and came seen. Now, if you understand the geography of Jerusalem, I remember as a kid reading this story, and I’m always excited to hear that the blind man’s been healed. But now, having been in Jerusalem, where the temple is and where the pool of Saloam is, is actually quite a hike down, we think about Jesus is always so good and loving and kind, which is true, but would you send a blind person down a very long, steep path without any guidance? And so there’s a lot of things going on here. One thing I take from this is the faith that Jesus expects the man to display.

And another factor here that doesn’t come in until a little bit later, is it’s the Sabbath day? Jesus has performed this miracle or is performing this miracle on Sabbath day? So this man now is walking a long way away in fact, if you look at an overview of the city of Jerusalem, this is about as far away from the temple as you can get inside of the city of Jerusalem to get to a body of water. And right there on the southern courtyard of the Temple Mount is a huge mikva ritual bath. Lots of water right there. And up the Market Street, the western Wall Street, there are dozens of mikvah OT these ritual baths. He could have made this so easy for the man, actually. He could have just healed him without making him go and wash at all. But for that man, on that day, part of his journey of seeing involved following some pretty difficult commands. He was sent as far away as he could down a very steep path, as Taylor’s described. And instead of the man sitting there going, this is ridiculous. I’m not going to do it, he went, he followed what Jesus told him to do, and he came seeing.

And now begins the rest of this story, the rest of this chapter. You’re going to get interactions with various groups. So look in verse eight, it’s with the neighbors. Verse 13. The Pharisees. Verse 18, his parents. And then we get the rest of the chapter with ongoing discussions with the Sanhedrin. So let’s pick it up with the neighbors. He comes back, he’s seeing. He’s so excited. But his neighbors, those who are also begging for their for their sustenance, they say, wow, this can’t be him. But he says verse nine, some said, this is he, and others said, he is like him. But he said, I am he. It’s me. I’m your buddy. And he answered and said, a man that is called Jesus made clay and anointed my knives and sent me to the pool of Siloma. Watch as we see this man. So he’s already physically healed. The physical miracle is done. It’s finished. He can see. But now watch the spiritual miracle unfold as this blind man becomes a seeing man. Spiritually, he just simply starts with, it was a man named Jesus Christ who did this to me. So they said, well, where is he?

He said, I don’t know. So verse 13, they brought him to the Pharisees, and it was the Sabbath day when Jesus had made the clay and anointed his eyes. So the Pharisees asked him to tell the story, and so he simply tells the story of what happened. And so verse 16, you get this division among them. And John keeps pointing out that there’s this division among the leadership of the Jews. And so verse 17, they say unto the blind man again, what sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? And he said, he’s a prophet. They’re questioning him on this. They’re pushing him. How could this have happened? It’s the Sabbath day. Who is this again? And instead of just saying, well, it’s a man named Jesus Christ, this external pressure has turned into an increased internal sight of who he really is. And he says, oh, it was a prophet who did this to me.

But they’re so blind in their traditions, like, no, the world has to be this way. Certain things happen on the Sabbath. We have certain cultural traditions that nobody should transgress. All right, let’s go get the parents involved.

It’s almost as if to say, we think this is a set up. We’re not believing that you were actually born blind, so let’s get witnesses. So they go and get his parents.

And before we jump into that, these Pharisees lived in Jerusalem. What’s the likelihood any one of them could have observed this man at some point? The fact that none of them seemed to recognize this guy? And here’s Jesus, who had fled from the Temple for his life, stops, observes a man, sees the need, observes to serve. And none of these Pharisees who’ve grown up in Jerusalem apparently even know who this guy is. They had been that unobservant of the needy people in their community.

That’s amazing. That point right there. And it comes out in verse 18. But the Jews did not believe concerning him that he had been blind and received a sight, which is exactly what Taylor’s pointing out here. They’ve walked in and out of the Temple all the time because they’re so set on their self righteousness that they haven’t even noticed this guy to the point where they could recognize him and say, oh, yeah, this is him. He’s been there every day. So here come the parents. And you can picture these poor his mother and father are scared to death of this group of leaders, this probably portion of the sanhedrin. And so they ask him, is this your son? Yes. Was he born blind? Yes. Then why can he see now? And you can picture his parents saying, I love their answer. His parents answered them and said, we know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But by what means he now seeth, we know not. Or who hath opened his eyes, we know not. He is of age. Ask him. He shall speak of himself. And then John tells you these words spake his parents because they feared the Jews.

What an amazing lesson that in our parenting, in our leadership, let us not get to the point where people are afraid of us, where if they’re obedient to things we say or do, they simply are obedient because they’re afraid. They’re filled with fear. That’s a terrible way to motivate people. You can’t try to do the Lord’s work and lead people or parent using the devil’s techniques of instilling fear. And that’s what’s going on here. So the parents left. So again, they call the man in verse 24 and I love this the irony of verse 24, then again called they the man that was blind and said unto him, give God the praise. We know that this man is a sinner. So the man that you’re saying did this, we know he’s a sinner, so give God the praise. The irony of if only they knew what they were saying. Give God the praise.

Then you should be praising God right now. Like we praise God for showing physically what we all need spiritually. And we should have pointed out earlier, part of the theme of this chapter is light and seen. Who sees and who doesn’t.

Who’s coming to the light and knowing the truth so the truth can set them free? And who’s choosing to live in darkness because my sins and iniquities are easier to hide if I stay out in the darkness. I love our blind man’s response to them. Here are these people who are the leaders of the people, the learned, the people with power and authority and means. And here’s this man who’s been a beggar his whole life. Since the day he was born. He was blind, and now he can see. Most amazing day ever for him. And he’s scratching his head and probably squinting at this group of men, and he says verse 25. He answered and said, whether he be a sinner or no, I know not one thing. I know that whereas I was blind, now I see. I can’t judge the level of sin, but I know that that man made it so that I can now see. And then their response to him is, what did he to thee? How hope, how opened he thine eyes? Tell the story again. And this this blind man who is not blind, speaking to a bunch of men who are showing that they’re extremely blind spiritually, he answered them and said, I have told you already, and you did not believe.

You didn’t hear it. Joseph changed the word hear it to believe. Wherefore? And then here’s Joseph’s edition. Wherefore would you believe if I should tell you it again? Would you really believe? And so they now reviled him. You’re his disciple, but we’re Moses’s disciple. So the irony continues. Look at verse 29. We know that God spake unto Moses. As for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. Which God was it that spoke to Moses? It happens to be this fellow that they’re calling a sinner. And so the man answered, why, herein is a marvelous thing that you know not from whence he is. And yet he has opened mine eyes. You didn’t even see me in my blind state, but he saw me and he healed me. None of you could do that. And there are a whole bunch of sick people out there who, if you had that power, go ahead and heal them. And none of you are doing anything to help them. So why is this such a marvelous thing to you that you’re trying to figure out who he is, whether he’s a sinner or not? Now, their response down in verse 34 is, thou wast altogether born in sins.

You see how they’re bringing up this cultural belief that disability is a sign of divine disfavor because of sin. You were born in sins, and DOST thou teach us? And they cast him out. The implication is they’re kicking him out of their presence, almost as if you have no fellowship with us, you’re following this sinner, and so you are not welcome with us.

This happens today when you gain more truth and light. There will be other people who don’t have what you have, and they don’t think you’re part of their tribe anymore, and they will kick you out and not want to associate with you. It’s a hard thing that the more truth you acquire, the people who want to live in darkness and ignorance are far less likely to be welcoming to you and to feel like you’re one of them, which is probably, in the long run, a good thing. But unfortunately, what happens is sometimes people wanting to have the safety and comfort of a group or a tribe will be willing to reject truth and light and stay living in ignorance or even lies, so they don’t lose the comfort and safety of a group that they are familiar with.

So here’s this man. Can you picture this moment when he got cast out of his group? Can you picture him walking away? In my mind’s eye, I can picture him weeping, weeping tears of joy mixed and mingled with tears of sorrow, being so elated that he’s looking around saying, that’s what the color blue is that everybody’s been talking about in the sky. That’s what a cloud looks like. That’s what a tree looks like. This is what my hand looks like. This is what people look like. That’s a tree. That’s a flower. I can picture him just absorbing this newfound world of discovery that he’s enjoying and at the same time wondering, what in the world just happened? How could I be rejected and kicked out so quickly for simply telling the truth? And here’s this sheep that is now feeling probably a little lost, a little displaced. He he no longer has anywhere where he’s going to fit in well. And verse 35 says, jesus heard that they had cast him out, and when he had found him, this idea of leaving the 99 and going after the One, looking for him until he finds him.

And when he had found him, he said, DOST thou believe on the Son of God? And he answered and said, who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? I love this man’s meekness. I want to be more like this guy. I want to be more humble like that. Just teach me, who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? You’ll notice he’s using this high term of respect for Jesus. Who is he, TDA. Lord, I want to know the christ. And Jesus’s response in verse 37 is, thou hast both seen Him and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. So are you noticing this progression of spiritual sight being restored to this previously physically blind man? A man healed me. He’s a prophet, Lord the Christ. And there was incredible external pressure on this man to reject Jesus, to turn away from Jesus, to deny the Lord. But the external pressure didn’t work the way that it had intended. It actually strengthened the resolve of this man and he grew in his conversion. Brothers and sisters, today the pressures, you don’t need to be afraid of people questioning your testimony or questioning your conversion or your connection with God.

That can actually serve to strengthen your tie to the Lord. The thing we need to be worried about is when those questions and those pressures are allowed to become internal doubts, where we then start to separate and start to say, OOH, I don’t know if I can trust, I don’t know if I can believe. I don’t know if it’s worth putting this effort into following the Savior anymore. It’s when they become internal that they’re more likely to then separate us. But these external pressures are only serving to help speed up the process of spiritual healing for this man in John chapter nine.

So John chapter nine is about how to see God. John chapter ten is about how to hear God.

That’s a beautiful perspective of this shepherding chapter. So you just saw an example in John chapter nine of how the good shepherd treats a lost sheep. A sheep who has been struggling for decades, and now in one afternoon or one day, he gets this incredible experience. So you open up chapter ten with Jesus saying, verily, verily, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but by but climbeth up some other way. The same is a thief and a robber. Because in antiquity, what they would do with these sheep herds is they would build the sheepfold with rocks and brambles and big hedges, and then there would be only one entrance. So all these various shepherds at night could bring their sheep into the safety of the fold and then go home and sleep and leave one shepherd in charge of protecting all of the sheep. And then in the morning, when the various shepherds would come to the fold, they know their sheep, they know them by name, they call them by name and their sheep know their voice and they follow. And so they gather their sheep out of this fold and they take them off to the pastures for feeding for that day.

So he’s using this pastoral example to teach a really powerful example of what he’s doing with us. So you pick it up in verse seven, then said Jesus unto them again, verily, verily, I say unto you I am the door of the sheep. You’ll notice in John’s Gospel he uses this phrase I am blank seven times different things that he’s proclaiming himself to be. And in this one it’s I am the door of the sheep. You’ll notice other times he doesn’t fill in the blank. It’s just I am which is the name of Jehovah ego amy in the Greek context. But here he tells you I am the door of the sheep.

And the way you’ve laid this out, Tyler, it makes it unmistakable that Jesus is the entry point. It’s through him that we get into the sheepfold of God’s kingdom. Unmistakable.

Verse nine I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved and shall go in and out and find pasture. Now look at the next I am statement verse eleven I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep but he that is in hireling and not the shepherd whose own the sheep are not seeth the wolf coming and leaveth the sheep and fleeth and the wolf catcheth them and scatters the sheep. The hireling fleeth because he’s a hireling and cares not for the sheep. There’s this beautiful example of Jesus saying I am not just a day worker looking over sheep. I’m a good shepherd. Which harkens us back to Ezekiel. In the Old Testament, Ezekiel was talking about the problem of the leaders of the Jews is they were not good shepherds. They were letting the flock be destroyed. They were taking the flock into the wrong places. Here Jesus is giving this contrast of I won’t just watch over you, I will actually lay down my life for the sheep. And as a side note, if you’ve ever worked with sheep I’m not a rancher but I’ve talked to people who’ve had lots of experience working with different kinds of animals.

Apparently sheep are some of the at times most difficult animals to take care of, have a mind of their own.

They get themselves into trouble.

They they get into trouble. And here’s the Lord saying verse 14 I am the good shepherd and I know my sheep and am known of mine as the Father knoweth me. Even so, I know the Father and I lay down my life for the sheep. This is such a powerful analogy because he’s saying, look, I’m laying down my life for these animals that can do nothing directly to thank me or to repay me. And that’s the way it is with the infinite atonement. He’s not asking you to repay Him for what he’s done for you. He’s simply asking us to trust Him, to love Him, to follow Him, to come to Him when he calls us by name because he knows us and to come to know Him through that process.

And the thrust of what he’s teaching is love, that he loves the Father, the Father loves Him.

Look at.

Verse 17, therefore doth my Father love me. Why? Because I laid down my life that I might take it again. So the thrust of these verses is about this interlocking love between God the Father and His Son. And then we get this interesting verse in verse 16 that is so powerful and useful and it doesn’t particularly fit the theme of God’s love. He just simply says, and other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd. So in the midst of talking about this love between the Father and Son, shares this insight that didn’t make sense to the people in the old World. But when we get the Book of Mormon, Jesus explains this, that the people in the Book of Mormon are yet one other sheepfold that he has, and there are others that in future days will be revealed to us.

Yeah. See, the Jews in his day were told in the Book of Mormon account, if you cross reference this with third Nephi, chapter 1511 through 24, he gives an extension of this talk, and he tells them that the Jews in this setting. In the Bible, they assumed that he was talking about Gentiles. But he said I was talking about you over here in the Americas. And he then tells the people in the Americas, I have other sheep as well and I’m going to visit them as well that aren’t in the biblical context or in the Book of Mormon context. There are other sheep. And the beautiful aspect to me is that there’s going to be one fold and only one shepherd, not a bunch of hirelings. He brings everybody to be at one with him and with the Father, and then he reminds us of his power over death. Verse 18, no man taketh my life from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. And then you’ll notice in verse 19, John brings it up yet again.

There was a division, therefore, again among the Jews for these sayings. So you get people and the dividing line is getting more and more stark and contrasted where people are taking sides trying to figure out who is Jesus Christ to me? Is he Christ or is he a devil or something in between. So now we jump down to verse 22 at the Feast of the Dedication, or this is in the wintertime Hanukkah time period, and Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch, and then came the Jews round about him and said unto him, how long DOST thou make us to doubt if thou be the Christ? Tell us plainly. So there’s this division and all of these debates going on and people arguing and conversing back and forth, and Jesus’s answer is, I told you, and you believe not the works that I do in My Father’s name. They bear witness of me, but ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep. As I said unto you, my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I don’t know of very many places in Scripture that are more clear in showing us the power of our agency and our freedom to choose.

The voice of the good shepherd calls after us, even by name. And it’s our choice whether we hearken to that voice and turn and come unto Him and follow Him or as he sends us out on certain missions, whether we take those or whether we reject that voice and say, no, I don’t want to listen to that. So it goes on to verse So 27 my sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. That is such a beautiful promise. If I get on the covenant path, I enter into that relationship with Christ. There can be all kinds of bad things that happen to us in this life, but none of that ultimately or eternally matters because we’re with Him in his fold, he will give us eternal life. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. And then he makes this statement I and my Father are one.

But notice the italics that my is included by the translators from 400 years ago, and it really would be reading I and Father are one.

Beautiful. Did you notice that in Scripture he never uses the word same when referring to his relationship with the Father? He never once says, I and my Father are the same. He always uses the word one. And we’ll talk more extensively about this concept in John, chapter 17. But isn’t it fascinating that everything Jesus is trying to show us is this unity oneness? It’s not just between him and his father. It’s between him and his sheep. And it’s between the different flocks of sheep that he brings them together into one fold with one shepherd. He uses this word repeatedly in a Gospel context, telling us that if you’re not one, you’re not mine. We have to become one. He never says, you have to be the same. You have to do everything exactly the same. He wants us to be uniquely us, but find unity within that diversity. It’s such a beautiful concept here. So as he makes that statement, I and Father are one. The response from the Jews is, they took up stones again to stone Him.

I love his next verse. Jesus answered them many good works have I shooed you from my Father. For which of those works do ye stone me? The jews answered him, saying, for a good work we stone thee not, but for blasphemy. And because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law? I said, ye are gods.

He’s quoting their hymn book, the Psalm.

82, which is often sung in the temple. Where are they? They’re in the temple. They have probably maybe even sung those very words that morning. Who knows?

Yeah. So he concludes with verse 36. Say ye of him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, thou blasphemest because I said I am the Son of God. If I do not the works of my Father believe me not. But if I do, though you believe not me, believe the works that ye may know, and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him. Therefore they sought again to take him, but he escaped out of their hand, and he goes to this place. And verse 42 ends, and many believed on him there. So as we close this episode today, what a beautiful reminder from John Nine and Ten that the Lord is able to bring sight to the blind. And we’re not talking just the physically blind, we’re talking the spiritually blind. And he is the good shepherd who gave his life for you as one of his little lambs. And now he calls you by name to come and be a part of his fold and to trust Him and to listen to his voice and to love him and to become one within this this fold of God.

What a beautiful promise for all of us. And we leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen. Know that you’re loved.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.