Monday in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

John 8:21-30

He Is from Above; We Are from Below

Jesus continues his dialogue with the people which we read from yesterday.  And I have to confess that had I been among the people listening to him, I probably would have been just as confused and frustrated as they were at some of his sayings.  In contrast to some preaching manuals and church growth philosophies of our day, Jesus did not seek to be “user-friendly,” nor did he tailor his sermons to the “felt-needs” of the people.  He spoke only what the Father told him to speak, and most just did not get it.

And there is only one reason for this, though it can be stated in different ways.  Sometimes we say that their hearts were hardened, which is true.  We say that their minds were darkened by sin, which is also true.  But, here, Jesus states the same truth but from another angle: “You are from below; I am from above.  You are of this world; I am not of this world.”  And this states the same truth but in a most fundamental way, that there is the greatest of differences between us and him; that is, not just quantitative, but qualitative.  It’s not that Jesus is just better than us; he’s completely different and other than us.  Now, yes, he came and assumed our humanity, and lived our life, but that is what he chose to do, voluntarily.  And when he became man, he did so while remaining God at the same time.  But ultimately, he is different from us, for he is God the Son – from above.

And we are from below, the crowning achievement of his creation, made in his very image – that then rebelled against him.  And his message to us was that he had been sent by his Father to declare unto us what he had heard the Father say.  He spoke nothing on his own authority, only what he knew from the Father.  But they would not listen, because they could not listen, because they, and we, are from below.

And so the only passageway to “above” for us is through him, who is from above, “for unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”  Only he has done that which is pleasing to Him, so only he can approach this holy God, who made us, and loves us – who loves us so much that even after we rebelled, sent His only Son to make us children from above.  And this happens only when we receive Christ as Savior and Lord.

We are from below and he is from above.  This is a reality that will never change; he will always be God and shall always be man.  But the Son of God became the Son of man that the sons of men may become sons of God.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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