Gospel of John Bible Study (8:12-30) The Validity of Jesus’ Testimony


Reading: John 8:12-30

Focus

How does one decide if what another person says is trustworthy?

Inform

This chapter comes in between Jesus’ encounters with the woman caught in adultery and the healing of the blind man.

v. 12  The context here is not clear, but Jesus may still be in the temple courts during the Festival of Tabernacles or Hanukkah, which followed shortly afterwards.  Hanukkah is the Jewish, eight-day festival of light that celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.

Hanukkah:  “From the Hebrew word for “dedication” or “consecration”, Hanukkah marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem (Second Temple) after its desecration by the forces of the King of Syria Antiochus IV Epiphanes and commemorates the “miracle of the container of oil”. According to the Talmud, at the re-dedication following the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Empire, there was only enough consecrated olive oil to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days, which was the length of time it took to press, prepare and consecrate fresh olive oil.”[1]

During this time, four giant menorahs, over 75 feet in height, were erected in the women’s court of the temple and lit.  The bowls held more than 10 gallons of oil and the wicks were made from the old breeches of the priests.  It is said that the light from these menorah could be seen in every house in Jerusalem.  Upon seeing the light, people would say, “Our ancestors turned their backs on the Temple of the Lord, but our eyes are on the Lord.”[2]

Jesus’ entrance into the world and his declaration that he is “the light of the world” reveals the contrast between life with Jesus and life without.  Because Jesus is light, life with him is walking in the light.  Life without him is walking in darkness.  As Jesus’ followers reflect his light, they, too are “the light of the world”  (see Mt 5:14 & Php 2:15).

v. 13  The Pharisees respond by questioning the validity of Jesus’ testimony.

v. 17 Alludes to Deu 17:6 “On the evidence of two or three witnesses the death sentence shall be executed; a person must not be put to death on the evidence of only one witness.”

Connect

  1. How is Jesus the light of the world?
  2. Jesus counters the Pharisees’ objections with 3 counter-arguments:
    1. He knows where he __________  __________ and he knows where he __________  __________.
    2. The Pharisees judge by human standards, Jesus judges by __________ standards.
    3. Jesus’ testimony is backed up by ____________.
  3. Are there other counter-arguments that we would add?
  4. How does knowing Jesus result in knowing the Father?
  5. Why will the Pharisees die in their sins?
  6. When was Jesus lifted up?

Vision

  1. How can we reflect Jesus’ light to others?

Summary


[1] “Hanukkah,” Wikipedia:  The Free Encyclopedia (Internet; found at:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah;  downloaded: 14 Oct 2010).

[2] “Joy of Living Water,” Follow the Rabbi (Internet; found at: http://www.followtherabbi.com/Brix/Brix/Brix?pageID=2797; downloaded on:  14 Oct 2010).

 

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