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John27 – above and below: the void

So he said to them again, “I myself am going, and you will seek me and will die in your sin. To where I myself am going you are not able to come!” (John 8: 21)
This teaching of Jesus could only mean one thing to his hearers. He was ‘moving’ towards his after-death. They also were dying but they did not have the ability to come to where he would be after-death. The key issue is therefore: Why not? Why no after-death with Jesus for his hearers there around AD 30? John, Jesus’ first century eye-witness biographer continued -

So the Jews were stating, “Perhaps he will kill himself, in that he is stating, ‘To where I myself am moving you are not able to come.’” And he stated to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are from this world; I am not from this world. So I said to you that you will die in your sins. Because if you may not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.” 

Yes, his hearers, speaking among themselves, continued to think that he must be ‘moving’ to another earthly place. Instead, he was referring to ‘moving’ ‘above’ and away ‘from this world’. Then he states clearly the reason why they ‘are not able to come’ to where he is ‘moving’. ‘You are from below.’ ‘Because if you may not believe that I am, you will die in your sins.’ 

So they were stating to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “That which indeed I am speaking to you from the beginning. I have many things to speak and to judge concerning you, but the one having appointed me is true, and I heard these things from him. These things I speak into the world.” (They did not know that he was stating the Father to them.)  

He has said that the key to the 'above' is to ‘believe that I am.’ They ask, ‘Who are you?’ His answer is to ask them to recall the words he has always said and just said - "I am". The name of the LORD God of the Jews is "I AM WHO I AM". As John reports "he was speaking to them of the Father."
‘They should have known that Christ was God. His patience should have proved that to them. (Quintus Tertullian, author, 155-240)
So Jesus said, “When you may lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am, and I do nothing from myself, but just as the Father taught me, I speak these things. And the one having appointed me is with me. He has not left me alone, in that I myself always do the things pleasing to him.” 

When Jesus refers to them lifting up the Son of Man, he could be referring to them lifting him up on the cross – something which some of his hearers were already intent on achieving. He could also be referring to them lifting him up – exalting him – in their hearts after his cross, death and resurrection. Both?

If both apply, then they will be convinced that he is the ‘I am’ – but only after crucifying him. They will know that he is the same as the Most High who, in their Scriptures (the Bible’s Old Testament,) was named the ‘I am who I am.’

Speaking these things himself, many believed into him. So Jesus stated to those Jews believing in him, “If you may stay in my own word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will free you.” 

Many believe into him. He would love them to ‘stay in [his] own word.’ Only then will they ‘know the truth and the truth will free’ them. Free them?

They answered him, “We are seed of Abraham and enslaved to no-one at any time. How do you state that, ‘You will come to be free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly I state to you, that everyone doing sin is a slave of sin. In fact the slave does not stay in the household into eternity; the son stays into eternity. So if the son may free you, you will really be free.”

Free them from slavery to self-exalting sin. ‘Sin’ in the singular (as used by him here) means falling short all the time. Self-interest forces us, in our deeds, to fall far short of all we should be. On my own I can’t free myself of that. And it’s that which, enslaving me, stops me being ‘a son’ ‘in the household into eternity.’ I need ‘the son to make me free - indeed.’  

“I do discern that you are seed of Abraham, but you are seeking to kill me, in that my own word has no space in you. I speak the things that I have discerned with the Father; so also, you do the things that you have heard from the father.” 

Slavery to self-interest ‘below’ was leading them to kill the man seemingly stopping their happiness. There is an ‘above’. They weren’t going there.
Sinner Syvret

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