Conflicts over the Law

Conflicts Over the Law, the Light, His Person, Healing of the Blind Man (John 7:53-10:21). After
the Feast everyone went to his home, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. He returned the next day to
the Temple, where He was confronted by the teachers of the law and Pharisees who caught a woman in
adultery. They claimed to be righteous, but Christ reveals their unrighteousness to them. Christ as the
Judge did not approve of her adultery, but as the Savior forgave her, exhorting her to leave her life of sin.
Grace is a gift that once received compels obedience—a change of life!

After the interruption, He declared “I am the light of the world.” This glorious announcement was
coupled with a promise, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of
life.” This claim could not go unchallenged by the Pharisees. They rejected Him, supposing there was no
supporting testimony. No person’s word was to be accepted unless substantiated by other witnesses.
Christ presented two witnesses—His own and His heavenly Father’s.

To those who opposed Him, Jesus said, “You will die in your sin.” The only way to receive forgiveness
of sin and the gift of life was to “believe that I am the one I claim to be” exclaimed Jesus. He proceeded
to offer them deliverance from bondage to Satan. They claimed that “the only father we have is God
himself.” But Christ showed them that they were not the children of God. In attempting to kill Him, they
were carrying out the desire of Satan, who was both a murderer and liar. They had chosen Satan’s lie,
showing that they were of their father, the Devil.

Christ affirmed, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” “I AM” was the name of the Self-existing God. Full
of rage and fury, they rush to take stones from the incomplete building parts of the Temple, to put an end
to Him by stoning—the penalty for blasphemy. But in the confusion, Jesus passed into the midst of those
who were His friends in the crowd and quietly but boldly came out from the Temple.

On the Sabbath Day, Jesus returned to the Temple and healed a poor blind beggar. The man was born
blind so Jesus Christ might demonstrate the exceeding greatness of His power. Once again He affirmed,
“I am the light of the world.” The man was commanded to wash in the Pool of Siloam. The man
stumbled in darkness to Siloam and returned seeing. The man related what Jesus had done. The
Pharisees were quick to note that miracle took place on the Sabbath, yet attempted to deny that man was
really blind. The Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ would be
put out of the synagogue. His parents, fearing excommunication, would not answer the Pharisees’
inquires. The healed-blind man testified, “If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” The
Pharisees rejected his testimony, viewing his blindness to be a result of sin. They reasoned that since he
was a sinner, he could not teach them, who were righteous. The man was thrown out of their presence.

Christ now confronted the man, inquiring, “Do you believe that I am the Messiah?” The man asked his
Healer to identify the Messiah, and Jesus identified Himself as the Messiah. The man replied, “Lord, I
believe.” Jesus now proclaimed that He who claimed to be the Light of the World had come to make
blind people see. The Pharisees asked if He considered them to be blind. His answer implied they were
because they still claimed they could see; so they were saying they did not need His light.

In Chapter 10 of John, Jesus tells the Parable (more of an allegory) of the Good Shepherd and Sheep to
the crowd that witnessed the miracle of the healing of the blind mind. On the eve of the Babylonian
captivity, Jeremiah attributed the state of the nation to the false shepherds who had usurped authority over
God’s flock (Jeremiah 50:6) and Ezekiel delivered a similar message (Ezekiel 34:1-16). In Jeremiah’s
prophecy the Shepherd is none other than the Branch of David, “the LORD our Righteousness” (Jeremiah
23:5-6). According to Ezekiel’s prophecy, God Himself will be a Shepherd to restore and bless the nation
that has been scattered (Ezekiel 34:15).

The Pharisees and Sadducees usurped the authority of shepherds over the nation and demanded that the
people follow them. But in our Lord’s judgment they are false shepherds, who led the people astray.
They were diverting the people from the One who could lead them in the paths of righteousness.

The Middle Eastern sheepfold was very simple: a stone wall, perhaps ten feet high, surrounded it, and an
opening served as the door. The watchman at night would sleep at the opening of the fold and actually
become the door. Nothing could enter or leave the fold without passing over the shepherd.

Christ points out that the true shepherd comes through the door and he calls his sheep by name, which
recognizes him, and he leads the sheep, which follow him. False shepherds and strangers, who are
thieves and robbers, try to get into the fold some subtle way, but the sheep will not recognize or follow
them. There are three doors in this allegory:

THE DOOR INTO THE SHEEPFOLD (John 10:1). The sheepfold here is not heaven but the nation
of Israel (see Psalm 100). Christ came to Israel through the way appointed in Scripture, the watchman
(John the Baptizer) opened the door for Him.

THE DOOR OF THE SHEEP (John 10:7). This is the door that leads people out of their present fold;
in this case, Judaism. Christ opened the way for multitudes to leave the old religious system and find
new life.

THE DOOR OF SALVATION (John 10:9). The sheep using this door go in and out, which speaks of
liberty; they have eternal life; they enjoy the pastures of God’s Word. Satan, through his false
teachers (thieves and robbers), wants to steal, kill, and destroy the sheep; but Christ gives abundant
life and cares for the sheep.

There is a contrast between the Pharisees (hirelings) who had no concern for the sheep, and Jesus Christ,
the Good Shepherd. The hirelings flee and protect themselves when the enemies come; but Christ
willingly gives up His life for the sheep.

The “other sheep” are the Gentiles, who were not in the Jewish fold. Jesus must bring them, and He will
do it through His voice, His Word. Christ is the Good Shepherd who dies for the sheep. He calls through
His Word, and those who believe step through the Door, out of their religious fold, into the true flock of
Christ, the Church. Jesus gives a beautiful description of true Christians, His sheep:

1. Hear His voice, which means they hear His Word and respond to it
2. Know Christ and are known, so that they will not follow a false shepherd
3. Follow Christ, which speaks of obedience
4. Have eternal life and are secure if they follow Him

The Jews took up stones again to stone Him and He makes it clear that they trying to kill Him because He
said, “I am the Son of God.” But He eluded their grasp.

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