For hundreds of years, the Jewish people had been anticipating the coming of the Messiah, Now He was among them, preaching in the Temple courts, healing their sick, and proclaiming the Good News of God’s plan to bring salvation to the world. Everywhere He went, the crowds were stunned by what He said and did, but many wondered where His power came from. The powerful religious leaders that taught the nation about their Holy Scripture were not getting behind the One it wrote about. The people were confused, divided, and afraid. The religious leaders were growing more murderous. But Jesus walked boldly in the perfect will of His Father, unmoved by the faithlessness of the society around Him.
Once again Jesus began to teach. This time, He was in the treasury of the Temple. There were thirteen collection boxes in the shape of trumpets there to receive the money offerings of the people. The treasury was in the court of women, where both Jewish men and women were allowed to gather. It was also a place for teaching, which allowed Jesus to preach to both men and women.
The treasury was also right by the hall where the Sanhedrin met. That was the official high counsel for the Jewish faith. It was made up of powerful men who made all the major religious decisions for the Jewish nation. They had already determined get rid of Jesus, yet there He was, standing in the courtyard, proclaiming the truths of God. As you read, think about how breathtakingly brave He was to declare these things so boldly.
Jesus said, “‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
This is a remarkable thing to say. Can you imagine if you walked up to your friends or family and said the same thing? What would happen? They’d probably assume you were kidding because it is such an outrageous thing to say. But Jesus was being utterly serious. In fact, He was staking His life on it. It is either a radical truth that should make all of us fall on our knees in worship…or He was totally insane.
But what if it is true? What if in the midst of all the horrors and challenges of this world…pain, loss, suffering, war, betrayals, the endless struggle to survive…the long slow process of aging and death…the corruption of the human race and all the ways we hurt each other…all the confusion about right and wrong…what if there really was Someone who not only knew the answer but WAS the answer? What if there is a leader who truly is absolutely good, wise, noble…and able to exercise His power to bring about a new and perfect world?
If it is true, it is the best news in history. And the thing is, it is true. Jesus is the Light. He shines the truth of God and leads the way. Whoever follows Jesus will not only follow in His light, they will be given His light. They will carry the light of life within themselves! Imagine how many of the hearts of the men and women listening must have been stirred as the Son of God declared the Great Answer. Their own Messiah was offering this priceless gift! But not everyone had ears to hear this remarkable, bright hope.
The Pharisees began to argue against Him. How could Jesus make such a claim? How could He testify about His own authority? Jewish law required that one person bear witness to another. Men could not bear witness to themselves! Anyone can stand up and claim to be a god.
The great difference is that Jesus was God. He was the One who gave the Law to Moses in the first place! He was not bound by it’s regulations. He’d shown His authority through His miracles and teaching, but they were rejecting the signs. He stood in authority over the Law that the Pharisees were bound to obey. Here is what Jesus said:
“‘Even if I testify on My own behalf, My testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one.’”
First, Jesus argued that it was right for Him to testify to Himself because He was unlike any human. There was no other human alive that could testify to the greatness and magnificence of who Jesus was and where He came from. Their judgments were from the very small scope of what any normal person born in this world could see. But Jesus saw from God’s point of view, and it has a vision of all eternity! The Pharisees were displaying their tremendous ignorance, confusion, and unimaginable arrogance against the God of all Creation!
“‘But if I do judge, My decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent Me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for Myself; My other witness is the Father, who sent Me.’”
Jesus did not need someone else to speak and prove that He was the Son of God. God the Father Himself testified to it. There was no greater stamp of approval or higher authority to go to. The Maker of the Universe and Christ were One.
Again, the religious leaders were so blind that they were missing the power and majesty before them. In everything Jesus did, He stood with God the Father, Who sits on the throne of Heaven, ruling in power and might. Jesus constantly exhibited the perfect will of God at all moments and with every word. What an unimaginably great gift that generation of Jews had been given! What a treasure for those who had eyes to see! But with their next question, the Pharisees showed how hard-hearted they really were. “‘Where is your Father?”’ they asked. Jesus replied:
“‘You do not know Me or My Father. If you knew Me, you would know My Father also.’”
If only the Pharisees and other religious leaders would have stepped into the faith they were meant for! They would have known that Jesus was revealing God the Father all the time! To know the Son was to know the Father, and to reject the Son was to reject the Father’s will. Did the Pharisees understand their great error? Would they allow God to transform them?
Although Jesus spoke these bold declarations in the very courtyards of His enemies, claiming to be one with God Himself, nobody seized Him or arrested Him. His time had not yet come.