The King of Stories -- Of Light and Water... and Tenting Among Us

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

Another main dramatic climax in this chapter. Keep in mind that the Feast of Tabernacles is also known as the Feast of Light and Water.

Of Light and Water... and Tenting Among Us

After awhile, midway through the Feast (of Tabernacles, says the Evangelist), Jesus went up into the Temple and taught.

The Jews (i.e. leaders among the Jews) therefore were marveling, saying, "Where has this man learned his letters, not having been taught (i.e. formally by a rabbi)??"

So Jesus answered them and said, "My teaching isn't Mine, but His Who sends Me!

"If anyone ever wants to do His will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or (whether) I am speaking from Myself.

"He who speaks from himself, seeks his own glory; but He Who seeks the glory of the One Who sends Him, this One is true, and has no injustice in Him. Hasn't Moses given you the Law? Yet not one of you is keeping the Law! So why do you seek to kill Me?"

The group answered, "You are demented! Who is seeking to kill you?!"

Jesus answered and said to them, "I did one deed (probably meaning the healing of the man born blind); and all of you are astonished.

"So! Moses has given you circumcision--not that it is from Moses but rather from the fathers (i.e. the patriarchs of the Jews back to Abraham, 400 years before Moses)--and on a Sabbath you circumcise a man.

"If a man receives the circumcision (cutting off the foreskin from his penis) on a Sabbath, lest the law of Moses be made nothing; then why are you about to vomit seeing I made an entire man whole on a Sabbath!?

"Do not judge according to the look of things, but judge fair judgment!"

Some of the people of Jerusalem said therefore, "Isn't this the one whom they are seeking to kill?" "Yet look!--he is speaking boldly! And they are saying nothing to him!" "Perhaps the chiefs know truly that this is the true Anointed King??"

"But we know where this man comes from (said others); yet whenever the Anointed King may come, no one knows where he will be from!"

Jesus (still) teaching in the Temple, therefore called out, "You know Me and you also know where I am from!--yet I have not come of Myself! But He Who sends Me is true... and you do not know Him! I know Him, for I am from Him, and He has sent Me with a mission!"

This (sort of thing) is why they sought to arrest Him (says the Evangelist); but no one laid a hand on Him, for not yet had His hour come.


Now many in the crowd believe in Him, saying (in retort), "The Anointed King--'whenever He may come'!--will not be doing more attesting works than this man does, will he!!?"

But the Pharisees hear this murmuring of the crowds concerning Him; and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers (Temple Levite soldiers) to bring Him along (i.e. by force if necessary).

Jesus therefore said (probably to the rabbis who were on His side for now), "For a little longer I am with you; but I will be going off toward the One Who is sending Me! You will be seeking Me, but shall not find Me; and where I am, there you cannot be coming!"

So the Jews said to themselves: "Where is he about to go, that we shall not be finding him? He is not intending to go to the dispersion (of Jews) among the Greeks and teach the Greeks-- he?!

"What does He mean by saying, 'You will seek Me but will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come'?"


Now on the last day, the Great Day of the Feast (says the Evangelist), Jesus stood (in the Temple) crying out:

"If anyone is thirsting--let him come to Me and drink, whoever trusts in Me, as the Scripture says (meaning Isaiah speaking of God)! From his belly shall rivers of living water gush!"

Now this He said concerning the Spirit (explains the Evangelist to his audience), which those believing in Him would soon receive; for not yet had the Holy Spirit been given, for Jesus had not yet been glorified.

Some of the crowds, hearing these sayings, said: "This truly is the Prophet (whom Moses promised would be sent)!"

Others were saying, "This is the Anointed King!"

But others said, "(No!) For the Anointed King will not come out of Galilee! Hasn't a scripture said the Christ will come from David's seed and out of David's village Bethlehem??"

So there was division in the crowds because of Him. And some of them wanted to seize Him; but not one lays a hand on Him.

The officers then went to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who said to them: "Why did you not lead him here?!"

But the officers answered, "Never speaks anyone like this!"

So the Pharisees answered them, "Surely you are not also deceived! None of the chiefs believe in him, nor any of the Pharisees! But this crowd that doesn't know the Law is cursed!!"

Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them) is saying to them, "Our law does not judge anyone, unless it first is hearing him and knowing what he does."

They answered him and said, "Are you from Galilee, too?!? Search and see!--the Prophet will not rise from Galilee!!"


So Jesus spoke to them again (apparently going to the Pharisees, in a private meeting, either at this time or shortly after saying this), saying, "I am the Light of the world! Whoever follows Me shall absolutely never walk in darkness, but will have the light of Life!"

The Pharisees said to Him therefore: "You are (only) bearing witness of yourself! Your testimony is invalid (and so cannot be accepted)!"

Jesus answered and said to them:

"Even if I ever should be testifying of Myself (as He soon would do at His trial), My testimony still is true! (His testimony does in fact count as 'two or three witnesses in perfect conjunction', although they don't understand this yet...) For I know where I came from, and where I am going.

"You all are judging by a worldly standard ('according to the flesh'); I am not judging anyone (like that, or yet). Yet when I shall be judging, I shall be judging truly; for I am not alone: but I, and He Who sends Me.

"Even in your Law it has been written, that the testimony of two men is valid.

"I am He Who testifies about Myself!--and the Father sending Me also testifies about Me." (Notice that the first statement is practically the same as the tetragrammaton, I Am That I Am.)

So they said to Him, "Where is your father?"

Jesus answered, "You know neither Me, nor My Father. If you knew Me, you would know My Father, too."

He spoke these declarations in the treasury (i.e. in private session with leading Sanhedrin members) while teaching in the Temple (adds the Evangelist); and no one seized Him yet, for still His hour hadn't come.

So again He said to them: "I go away, and you will seek Me... and in your sin you shall be dying. Where I am going, you cannot come."

The Jews were saying therefore (in sarcasm), "Maybe he will kill himself!--since he is saying, 'Where I go you cannot come'!" (implying He should go to hell)

But He said to them, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.

"So I said to you, that you will die in your sins.

"For unless you trust Me, that I AM, you shall be dying in your sins."

Then they said to Him (having heard Him claim yet more clearly the ultimate name of God, though still not quite directly): "... ... Who are you?!"

Jesus said to them: "The same as I have been saying--'from the beginning'!

"I have many things to speak--and to judge--concerning you. But He Who sends Me is true; and what I hear from Him I speak to all the world."

They do not know He spoke to them of the Father (adds the Evangelist).

So Jesus said:

"When you shall be lifting up the Son of Man, then you will know I AM. Yet I am doing nothing on My own initiative; but as My Father teaches Me, these things I say.

"And He Who sends Me is with Me; He leaves Me not alone, for I am always doing what is pleasing to Him."

As He spoke these things, many (of the leaders) came to believe in Him.


Jesus said then to the (leaders of the) Jews who had trusted Him: "If you will remain in My Word, you are truly My disciples; and you will know the Truth; and the Truth will make you free."

They answered Him: "We are Abraham's descendants; we have never been the slaves of anyone! Why are you saying, 'You shall be freed'?!"

Jesus answered them:

"I promise, I promise, I tell you the truth: everyone who commits sin is a slave; and a slave does not remain in the house (or family) forever. A son does remain forever.

"If therefore the Son shall ever make you free (and not a slave), you shall be free indeed!" [See first comment below for a footnote here.]

"I know you are Abraham's descendants!--yet you seek to kill Me, for My Word has no room in you. I am speaking what I have seen with My Father; thus you also are doing what you hear from your father."

They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father!"

Jesus said to them, "If you are children of Abraham, then do the deeds of Abraham! Yet now you are seeking to kill Me, a Man Who has spoken to you the truth which I hear from God--Abraham doesn't do this!

"You are doing the deeds of your father."

They said to Him, "We were not born of prostitution!" (a figure of idolatry here, spiritual 'adultery'; though perhaps obliquely referring to Jesus’ mother, too.) "Our Father is One--God!" (a variation of the Shema declaration)

Jesus said to them:

"If God was your Father, you would have loved Me--for out of God did I come forth and am arriving! Nor have I come on My own authority, but He sends Me with a mission!

"Why do you not understand what I am saying!?

"Because you cannot hear My Word: you are of your father, the Adversary (Satan), and you are desiring to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, for truth is not in him. Whenever he speaks the lie, he speaks from his own, for he is a liar, and the father of lying.

"Yet I--because I am speaking the truth, you are not believing Me. Which one of you can expose Me in sin?! If I am telling the truth, why will you not believe Me!?

"He who is of God is hearing the words of God. So you are not hearing: because you are not of God."

The Jews (among the leaders who had believed in Him up to now, or perhaps nearby rabbis watching and listening to this exchange) answered and said to Him: "Do we not say rightly--that you are a demented Samaritan!!"

Jesus answered and said: "I have no demon; but I am respecting My Father, and you are disrespecting Me. Now, I am not seeking My own glory: He is the One Who is seeking and judging!

"I promise, I promise, I tell you the truth: whoever keeps My Word, he shall under no circumstances ever be seeing death-for-the-eon."

The(se) Jews said to Him, "Now we know you have a demon! Abraham died; and the prophets also; and yet you say 'If anyone ever keeps my word he shall absolutely not taste death forever'! You are not greater than our father, Abraham--who died! The prophets died, too! Who are you making yourself out to be?!!"

Jesus answered: "If I ever do glorify Myself, My glory is nothing. My Father--of Whom you are saying He is your God--is Who is glorifying Me. And you do not know Him, but I know Him; and if I ever said I am not acquainted with Him, I would be a liar like you.

"But I am acquainted with Him; and I am keeping His Word.

"Abraham, your father, exults that he will see My day; and he did see it, and rejoiced!"

So the Jews said to Him: "You are not even fifty years old!--and you have seen Abraham!"

Jesus said to them:

"I promise, I promise, I tell you the truth...

...before Abraham came into being...

...I AM!!"


So they picked up stones to throw at Him.

But Jesus was hidden; and went out of the Temple.

(...and going through the midst of them, He went His way, and so passed by...)

John 7:14-52
John 8:12-59

[Next time: The Death of the Year]


Jason Pratt said…
.......[first deferred footnote here]

The reference here is to Roman law, possibly Jewish also, in which a biological child of a father has no rights in the family but is legally considered only a slave, until the father--or perhaps his highest legitimate heir--formally recognizes his child as an inheriting member of the family, at which time full rights, authority and responsibilities as part of the legal family were given. Typically this would be done when the child reached puberty, the time at which he or she could begin engendering or bearing children. However, the father was under no obligation to raise any child of his to inheritor status. This meant the status could be withheld as punishment; if the child insisted on acting irresponsible, for instance, essentially never 'growing up'. A good father would of course always have a moral obligation, out of love, to keep working with his intransigent children, hoping for the day when they would stop being rebels and become responsible people; but until then, he would not be doing them or anyone else any good by conferring inheritorship on them.

Most texts include the words "of sin" after "everyone who commits sin is a slave"--but there is some evidence that this is a gloss, added originally in a margin note and accidentally inserted at an early stage of copying. It adds nothing to the declaration, and indeed interferes with the flow of the principle being discussed--although it is certainly also true that whoever sins is a slave to sin.

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