The Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 8:12-20

Matters of Eternity

One of the obvious things one notices when he reads the gospels, especially John’s, is the distance between Jesus and his hearers.  Whether it be his opponents or his very own disciples, it so often seems that they are speaking past one another.  This, of course, is not Jesus’ fault; he is speaking the words of God.  But his hearers do not hear, because they cannot, and because they will not; that is, their hearts are not open to the truth, and they refuse to open them.

Carrying on the dialogue from chapter seven, Jesus now proclaims that he is the light of the world (1:4-9): The one who brings knowledge of the Father in his own words and person, who brings spiritual clarity, and moral purity.  He is the very revelation of God, just as he said to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (14:9).  If you desire to know God, look on Jesus.  Of course, this is lost on his hearers.  Referring to the law that requires two or more witnesses to establish the truth of a matter, they charge Jesus with bearing witness about himself, which automatically disqualifies what he says.  Jesus answers that, even so, his testimony is true, because, “I know where I came from and where I am going.”  This plays on the former controversy among the people about where the Messiah comes from and whether Jesus did or did not fit the bill (7:27-30, 40-52).  But they don’t know where Jesus comes from or where he is going.

And it’s all because they know neither him nor his Father.  Because of this, they cannot judge rightly, because they are always judging by appearances; that is, sinful human reasoning.  Their blindness prevents them from seeing the God-man shining through the flesh, and their deafness keeps them from hearing the truth of his words.  So they go on arguing and bickering with him, more concerned with scoring theological points than with matters of eternity.

And here we sit: Are we more concerned with bickering, complaining, and, thereby, hardening our own hearts, or are we concerned with eternal matters?  I can work myself up over a lot of worldly things; I can enter many theological debates; I can score a slew of political points.  But when my mind is on such things, the words of Jesus are blowing right past me.  I don’t hear them, because my mind is on earthly things.  And if I’m not listening to Jesus, I’m not listening to the Father.  And he did everything he did in order to bring me to the Father.  So let’s not waste time, but be heavenly-minded.

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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