Tag Archives: Son of God

Sunday with John – Identity

John 9: 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him [the ex-blind man] out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 40 Some of the Pharisees near him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.  ESV

What is the general theme of the passage?
There’s one new identity the ex-blind man has already experienced with Jesus; the power of Jesus to take away his physical blindness.  Because of that experience he’s now an outcast too, and Jesus has sought him out to ask an odd question, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  Those capitals are not mine, they’re God’s!  Jesus has chosen that phrase to connect the other-worldly power this man has already experienced to another new reality standing right before him; the Son of Man is Jesus the Messiah. This man who had no sight at all just a short time ago now sees the full truth of Jesus’s identity and he said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him. 

The Pharisees claim to be “those who see” but Jesus’s judgment has hit a nerve.  He’s already shown them one truth they can’t accept; “If you were blind, you would have no guilt.”  Their defense goes something like this: “we can’t be guilty of sin because we aren’t blind!” Now Jesus confronts them with a much harder truth.  They are blind to the error of what they see so “now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.”

What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Son of Man, ben-adam, is the term Jesus most often chose for Himself during His life on earth to identify His likeness with God and mankind that began at Creation.  

What does it say about people?
Even before Adam was created, God had a plan to safeguard mankind from the corruption of their free will by allowing them to see His full identity as “Son of Man” and “Son of God.”

Is there truth here for me?
Long before those terms of Jesus’s identity became a reality in my life His plan was at work covering the distance between heaven and earth for me.  I believe this is an accurate visual way to represent God’s eternal commitment to establish the restoration of His broken Creation so “those who do not see may see.”

[The Son of God* – who promised sight for the blind]
God’s perfect creation*
to rebuild life broken by the corruption of “free will”
[The Son of Man* – offering comfort in our identity to Him]

Wednesday with John – 4 Words of Identity

John 1:19-34 [RSV] Here is a compilation of verbatim phrases and sentences copied from these verses.  This is a personal study method of identifying an important part of each verse and then letting them guide what I write. 

19 the testimony of John
Who are you?
20 He confessed, he did not deny
I am not the Christ.
21Are you Eli′jah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the prophet?”
he answered, “No.”
22 What do you say about yourself?
23 I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness,
24 they [priests and Levites] had been sent from the Pharisees
25 why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Eli′jah, nor the prophet?”
26 among you stands one whom you do not know,
27 he who comes after me
28 This took place in Bethany
29 Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
31 I myself did not know him
32 And John bore witness,
“I saw the Spirit descend and it remained on him
33 I myself did not know him
He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain
this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.
34 I have seen and have borne witness
this is the Son of God.”

This is the kickoff week of the ”public” ministry of Jesus.  It must have been like drawing the short straw for the priests and Levites that were sent to that wild place to question John.  He could read between the lines; he knew their question “who are you?” was code for “do you claim to be yet another messiah?”  It’s interesting to think about John’s courage implied by this phrase, “he confessed, he did not deny.”  There were many false messianic claims and that phrase was a critical part of his answer, “I am not the Christ.” Perhaps the most dangerous part of his ministry was the act of baptism itself. John had just identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” telling God’s chosen people they weren’t clean enough.  There was something more they needed to do: to be cleansed by baptism in preparation for the coming of the Messiah,  just as if they were the same as an impure Gentile.

John resisted identifying his own activity with anything [or anyone] other that what he’d just seen with his own eyes: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” Twice John uses the odd phrase “I myself did not know him” but we know he did know WHO Jesus was. His confession was that now he recognized WHAT Jesus was, and that confirmed his own identity. “For this I came baptizing with water, that he [Jesus] might be revealed to Israel.”

He had become a disciple!  “And John bore witness, I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him…He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”  What he’d witnessed with his own eyes was the work of the Holy Spirit.  He could personally confess to the reality of  that work as the  truth of  his own testimony: “this is the Son of God.”

Disciple: a personal follower
Witness: personal observation
Confession: personal knowledge
Testimony: the confession of a follower from personal knowledge