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None of the Above

So they were stating to him, “Where is your father?” (John 8: 19-25 – my translation)
Some questions we ask are of others are very important, most of all to us. In this case (c. AD 30) the Pharisees, a politico-religious party, are questioning Jesus in the Jerusalem Temple. He has just told them that his father had so arranged the past 2,000 years of their national history that there were repeated promises about the Lord God above descending to bless the world.

By asking, “Where is your father?” they may have been hoping that he would say something like ‘in heaven above’ whereupon they would have arrested him for falsely claiming to be God above.

Jesus answered, “You discern neither me nor my father! If you had discerned me, you had discerned my father also.” These messages he spoke in the treasury, teaching in the temple, and no one took him, in that his hour had not yet come.

He merely pointed out that they had made it clear that they have not discerned him or the father. 

So he said to them again, “I myself am going away, and you will seek me and will die in your sin. Where I myself go away you are not able to come!” 

Jesus again addresses the whole Judean crowd and repeats his original message. He is going above. They will die in their sins. They are not able to go above.

So the Judeans were stating, “Perhaps he will kill himself, in that he states, ‘To where I myself go away you are not able to come’ ” and he was stating to them, “You yourselves are from below; I myself am from above. You yourselves are from this world; I myself 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 myself am, you will die in your sins.” 

The crowd tried to work out what Jesus meant. Maybe he will kill himself? Maybe that’s where we’re not able to go? 

So Jesus makes to even clearer for them. They are from below. He is from above.

They are from this world.  He is not from this world. 

They will die in their sins because, unless X, they will die in their sins.

What exactly is X? X is “if you may not believe that I myself AM.”

Back around BC 1350 in a written record held in their own sacred National Archives but distributed widely to synagogues in AD 30 is the record of Moses asking the LORD God for his name – in order to give that name to the Pharoah of that time. 

Moses was told, tell Pharoah “I AM WHO I AM” has sent you to him.

Jesus’ statement was very clear. They needed to believe that “I AM” otherwise they would die in their sins.

What is the meaning of “die in your sins”? This world of which we are all a part is full of sins which people commit against one another. It’s not only Putin who sins. It’s us. It’s me.

So they were stating to him, “Who are you?” 
Those who asked this question were stating clearly that they did not believe that Jesus is “I AM”. And, worse, they may well have wanted him to say (as was the intention of their earlier question - see above), ‘I am the LORD God’, because then they could arrest him for claiming to be the LORD God above.

Shortly, Jersey folk will go to the polls to elect members of the States (parliament) of Jersey. Unusually, we are able to cast a vote for ‘None of the Above’ (the above being a list of all the candidates). 

Some of the crowd in Jesus’ day in the Jerusalem Temple were determined to believe that he was 'None of the Above' in a different sense – he was not from above at all. People still believe that. And the “unless” of Jesus still remains.

Sinner Syvret

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