We're concluding our study of this passage today. We've seen in the previous verses that they Pharisees are operating from a position of blindness. They couldn't see the truth of Jesus, and His relationship with the Father. I guess they thought that Jesus "had a lot of nerve" to speak to them the way He did! So they ask Him, "Who are you?" In their minds, they were probably wanting to ask, "Why do you think you can speak to us that way?"
But Jesus keeps speaking to them graciously, compassionately; He tells them that He's been sent by the Father. And He tells them again of His mission. That He's been sent into the world with a message for everyone, including these leaders who are so full of their own importance and self-righteousness.
And that He is going to forfeit His life. He's going to give it up, voluntarily.
The Son of Man, He said, was going to be lifted up. The Pharisees don't "get" this part, but we do. We know that He was speaking about being lifted up on the cross.
The cross . . . remember the old hymn, "At the Cross"? At the cross is where we find the Lord of glory, offering Himself for our sins. We find the Redeemer, the One who can wash away all of our sins; we find the One who has the authority to forgive those sins.
In the light of the current events, where Russia's president Putin is asserting himself militarily over former members of the Soviet Union, it's ironic to read this excerpt from Peggy Noonan's book, When Character was King:
Last summer (2000) when Vladimir Putin met with George W. Bush, the Russian president shared a personal story that our chief executive hasn’t forgotten. When Putin was young, his mother gave him a cross to wear around his neck. Although he initially hid it in a jewelry case, he eventually decided to wear it. He even had it blessed while on a trip to Jerusalem. It became a treasured symbol of a mother’s love and her cherished faith. When the cross turned up missing following a house fire, Putin was greatly disturbed. He dispatched an employee to sift through the charred remains of the building to try and find it. After an exhaustive search, the employee reported to Putin and held out a closed hand. He opened it and revealed the prized cross.So I believe we should ask ourselves, do we have that cross? Are we walking in His light? Are we like the ones in the last verse above, the "many who believed on Him"? Or are we like the Pharisees, and reject His authority over our lives? If we follow the path of the Pharisees, we must die for our sins. If we follow the path of those who believed Him, we will walk in the light and experience eternal life.
Putin told Bush: "It was as if something meant for me to have the cross."
To which the President said, "Mr. Putin, that’s what it’s all about - that’s THE story of the cross."
That light will not only expose our sins and imperfections, but it will give us hope and confidence as we trust in Him.
Jesus said, “I am the Light of the World,” He was stating that He was God in the flesh, the Word who made His dwelling among us.
We are either for or against Jesus, there is no middle, so we will either be with Jesus for eternity, or forever separated from Him.
He gave up His life for us on the cross; we were meant to have that cross, the symbol of our forgiveness and redemption; so that we would walk in His light.
Thank you, Jesus!