What is God Doing? (In John 8.48-59)

I’m on to the next section of John 8, which is really just a continuation of the great dispute between Jesus and his Jewish opponents.

Short Aside/Rant –  Some so-called scholars have accused John of being anti-Semitic because he refers to Jesus’ opponents as “the Jews.”  This is serious buffoonery on a couple of levels.  First, John himself was a Jew so to say that he is anti-Semitic is somewhat of a joke.  Second, anyone who reads the Gospel of John on the most basic level can see that there is a range of responses to Jesus’ message by people who are Jews.  Some believe, some want more information, some follow after Jesus but stop short of true belief, and some are totally opposed to Jesus and want to kill him.  This is pretty much the same range of responses to Jesus’ person and message throughout history.  John was NOT anti-Semitic.  Questions?

But I digress…

Here is a snapshot of Screen Shot 2013-12-25 at 4.32.58 PMJohn 8.48-55 in the ESV:

With the magic of Logos Bible Software I’ve highlighted the Greek participles in this passage.  There are three participles and they all modify  God the Father.  The first two are modified by the Greek word “and” so they are connected together.  We can see that God is “doing” two things in this passage and they are both connected to Christ.

  • God is “the One-who-is-seeking-[Jesus’ glory]-and-judging”—Here Jesus points out that God is seeking Jesus’ glory and that God will be the judge between Jesus and his opponents.  God, in other words, is firmly on Jesus’ side in this epic conflict between Jesus and his Jewish opponents
  • God is “my Father-who-glorifies me.”—”You say that God is your Father?” says Jesus, “that is rather interesting because God is ‘my Father-who-glorifies me.’  This is what he does.  This is who he is.”  You can see the obvious problem, if God is glorifying Christ and God is the Father of his opponents, there is an undeniable difficulty.  Someone here is wrong in their conception of God the Father [Hint:  It is not Jesus.  See vs. 44]

Have you ever heard someone say, “Well my God would never do ‘X’?” [X is usually something that involves pain, suffering, or judgment].  This passage should make us shudder when we hear those words.  The Jewish opponents of Jesus were saying that exact same thing.  “My God would never send someone like you to earth to raise a ruckus and condemn the most religiously committed people in the culture!”

Be careful, dear reader, that you do not try and make God into your own image like Jesus’ opponents did.  It did not end well for them.  It will not end well for you.

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