The Pharisees reacted to Jesus over His claim, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Their hostility escalated from opposition to insult to violence, displaying traits of those who reject Jesus—a lack of knowledge, perception, and humility.
One thing quickly becomes apparent to anyone who reads the gospels, the pages of Scripture that contain Jesus' words and actions: no one who heard His words failed to react. Some who listened shook their fists at Him. Others marvelled at a depth of wisdom they'd never heard before. And some believed His words, choosing to follow Him. Whatever the reaction, no one left His presence unaffected by the encounter.
Jesus easily stands as the most influential person in history. Even today, millions call Him Saviour. Why? What was it about His short time on earth that shook the world so? What did He say to grab people's hearts the way He did? Why do so many believe in Him as the Son of God?
Embark on an eye-opening journey into the life and times of this carpenter from Nazareth. Just don't expect to be unstirred after your encounter with Jesus.
Jesus confronted the Pharisees with their own law when they brought an adulterous woman to Him. Jesus, the one true judge, forgave her: “Go and sin no more,” He said (John 8:11). Whenever we confront, condemn, and correct wrong, we must demonstrate humility, righteousness, and a spirit of forgiveness.
Jesus faced His attackers, including the Jewish leaders, the Jerusalem crowds, and even His own brothers. Although some opposed His ministry, Jesus offered Himself like water in a barren wilderness: “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!” (John 7:37). Believe in Him, and receive Christ’s living water.
In the Bread of Life discourse, Jesus contrasts physical and spiritual hunger. We work for bread to feed our bodies, but to feed our souls, we need God’s gift of life. The Jews sought proof—bread supplied from heaven like manna in the wilderness. But Jesus offered a better provision: Himself. “I am the bread of life.”
We live in an era of specialization. Specialists occupy every field from medicine to law to education. No human, however, qualifies as an expert in impossibilities. Only God can solve an unsolvable problem.
To defend His messianic claims, Jesus called five irrefutable witnesses: God the Father, John who spoke of Jesus as the Lamb of God, Jesus’ own works, the Scriptures, and Moses. Why don’t people accept the witnesses? They see and hear, but their hearts are unmoved and unwilling to believe.
When challenged by the religious elite of His day, Jesus defended His messianic identity with claims that infuriated His enemies but won the hearts of His followers. Jesus claimed to be equal with God, the giver of life, and the final judge.
When Jesus healed a lame man, rather than take joy for his healing, the legalists took issue with the man for carrying his pallet on the Sabbath. What a bunch of fusspots! To oppose legalists in our day, we must focus on truth, confront with conviction, and embrace grace.
When a royal official came to Jesus and pleaded with Him to heal his sick son, Jesus displayed His messianic authority by healing the boy from a distance. As a father, the royal official admitted his needs, loved his children, believed God’s Word, and walked by faith.
Whether or not we like to admit it, we all struggle with prejudice…judging people based on their outward appearance. But Chuck Swindoll calls us to move past our assumptions, to reach everyone with the Gospel.