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Election manifesto statements

So Jesus spoke to them (the crowd in the Jerusalem Temple c. AD 30) again, stating, “I am the light of the world! The one following me may never walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8: 12-19 – my translation)
 
This must be the most arrogant statement of identity ever to be spoken by any person on earth. If any of the folk up for election in Jersey this month included this identification of themselves in their manifesto, he or she would be certain to receive NIL votes at the polls.

Not just the light of AD 30 Jerusalem. The light of the world.

His manifesto was that the one following him “will not walk in darkness”. That implies that those not following him were unable to see where they were going. His manifesto was that the one following him “will have the light of life.” 

It’s significant that John, the writer of this first-century eye-witness biography of Jesus, was a stickler for accuracy. The word for “life” which Jesus used was zoe in the original Greek. That word was used by him repeatedly to describe the “life” of the Lord God above, eternal life in fact. So the manifesto of Jesus, proclaimed by him, was that those following him would have the “light” of the eternal life of God.

So the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying concerning yourself. Your testimony is not true.” 

This was a very understandable reaction from the Pharisees, a politico-religious party there in Jerusalem. How would Jesus respond?

 

Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I myself may testify concerning myself, my testimony is true in that I discern from where I have come and to where I am going away.” 

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This first response is, if nothing else, sincere. He states that he was not saying anything that was not true, that was not real.

“In fact you have not discerned from where I have come or to where I am going away. You judge with reference to the flesh; I myself am judging no one.  And, In fact, if I myself may judge, my own judgment is true, in that I am not alone, but I and the father having sent me.”

His second point is that he recognises that the Pharisees have condemned him. Candidates publish manifestos to enable folk to discern everything about a candidate. It’s disappointing when folk cannot discern what is or isn’t “real”

What was it that brought about the inability of the Pharisees to judge Jesus correctly? It seems that the problem was that their assessment of Jesus was based on their own understanding of their own selves. We all judge the truth and reality of what is put before us with the deviousness we know in our own heart. A “flesh” judgment of Jesus reaches a "flesh" conclusion.

 
“And in fact in your own law it is written that the testimony of two men is true. I myself am the one testifying concerning myself, and the father having sent me testifies concerning me.” 

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But, third, Jesus needs to address this matter of having a testifier who can confirm the veracity of his amazing statement of identity, “I am the light of the world.” He needs the testimony of another if his statement is to be accepted. This is rather like the way in which Jersey’s electoral candidates have used Proposers and Seconders.

Jesus did have one who was testifying to him there in AD 30. It was “his father.” The Pharisees would have known exactly what he meant. Even by saying “I am the light of the world”, he was claiming to be the LORD God. So “his Father” must be the God of Israel, beloved of his people and nation.

The religious Pharisees may well have recalled lots of things from their national archives – today printed as the “Old Testament” in Christian Bibles. Things his father brought about, like these: -

Abraham (c. BC 2000) – was promised that one of his offspring would bless the whole world; Moses (c. BC 1350) told the people of his day that the LORD God would raise up “The Prophet” for them; King David of Bethlehem (c. 980 BC) was promised that his male descendant would have an eternal throne; The prophet Isaiah (c. BC 730) wrote that a virgin would one day conceive a son whose name would be “everlasting God”; Malachi (c. BC 450) even wrote that the LORD would suddenly come to his temple. The father’s testifiers.

 
Sinner Syvret

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