Summary: Jesus is greatest of all: 1. Because of His holiness (vs. 46). 2. Because of His hope (vs. 47-51). 3. Because of His humility (vs. 48-54). 4. Because of His honesty (vs. 54-55). 5. Because of the happiness only He can give (vs. 56).
Jesus Is the Greatest of All!
The Gospel of John
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - January 25, 2017
(Revised September 18, 2019)
*Most of you know that here in John 8, the important Feast of the Tabernacles had just ended in Jerusalem. And Jesus was still in the city preaching before a crowd of people in the Temple. Part of the people believed in the Lord, but Jesus was also preaching to Jewish rulers who hated the Lord.
*Some of them hated the Lord so much they had been trying to kill Him for months, maybe over a year. But Jesus was there, preaching to them all, and warning the unbelievers that they were lost without Him.
*As we would expect, those hard-hearted rulers began to argue with Jesus, and part of their argument went back to the great patriarch Abraham. This Old Testament hero of the faith lived 2,000 years before Jesus was born. And the Bible calls Abraham "the Friend of God" because by faith, he left his home and followed the Lord to the land that would eventually become Israel.
*Genesis 12:1-3 says:
1. Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.
2. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.
3. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.''
*Those last words were a prophecy and a promise from God that one of Abraham's descendants would be the Savior of everyone on earth who believes in the Lord. Jesus is that promised Messiah, the Christ, the only possible Savior of the world.
*Well, the scribes and Pharisees who argued with Jesus held Abraham in high regard, so they sort of "pulled the Abraham card" on Jesus. It started in vs. 31-33, where Jesus was talking about the freedom only He can give:
31. Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
32. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.''
33. They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can you say, 'You will be made free'?''
*Then in vs. 37-42, Jesus said:
37. "I know that you are Abraham's descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you.
38. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.''
39. They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father.'' Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham.
40. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.
41. You do the deeds of your father.'' Then they said to Him, "We were not born of fornication; we have one Father God.''
42. Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me."
*In vs. 51, Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.''
*And in vs. 52-53, those hate-filled unbelievers replied:
52. . . "Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.'
53. Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself out to be?''
*With this background in let's read vs. 46-56, thinking about the answer to their question: "Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead?
*Down through the centuries of human history, it would be hard to name a man who was greater than Abraham. John Phillips gave this brief summary of why Abraham was a great believer:
"About one quarter of the book of Genesis is devoted to the story of Abraham. Although Abraham was born and raised a pagan idolater, when God’s word came to him, he obeyed it. He turned his back on his old way of life and became a pilgrim and stranger on earth -- and a citizen of heaven. He learned to trust and obey.
His spiritual pilgrimage began with a great demand on Abraham's faith, that he give up his earthly father, and it climaxed with an even greater demand on his faith, that he give up his promised son, Isaac. Abraham staked everything on the dependability of God and the reliability of his word." (1)