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‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5). Worship the Lord, for the same light burning in you is enough to extinguish the worst darkness in the human heart.


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Bible passage John 7:45 – 8:1


Unbelief of the Jewish Leaders
 45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

 46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

 47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”

 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”

   [The earliest manuscripts and many other ancient witnesses do not have John 7:53—8:11. A few manuscripts include these verses, wholly or in part, after John 7:36, John 21:25, Luke 21:38 or Luke 24:53.]

   53 Then they all went home,

John 8

1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).


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A perceived threat
Unlike the indecisive crowd (7:40–44), the religious leaders are quick to make up their minds about Jesus, sensing a threat to their control over the people.

They may have expected solidarity from their own staff in this, but Jesus’ authority can make its mark wherever there’s a germ of openness in a human heart. Their report that ‘No one ever spoke the way this man does’ (7:46) must have been like a slap in the face to a room full of religious teachers! The leaders resort to insults to discredit any tolerance of Jesus under the law (7:51,52).

Hope for the hopeless
They do not recognise that Jesus fulfils the law, introducing a new standard of righteousness through relationship with him, condemning their performance-based self-righteousness (Matthew 5:17,20)!

But there is hope even for this closed group, as it contains a quiet, reasonable follower of Jesus who is one of their own (7:50,51)! Who knows what influence for good, and God, Nicodemus went on to have among his fellow Pharisees. What relationships do you have with non-Christians? You might be the firstfruit of a mighty harvest in your gang!


Respond


We’re not all called to be teachers or evangelists, but we can all be atmosphere-changers for Christ, showing his hope to those who may not have experienced it. Ask God to show you to whom you can be the aroma of Christ.

Phil Andrews


Deeper Bible study


Lord, we thank you for our journeys of faith and your grace working in our lives. Help us to recognise how much the pace of journey can vary between us.

As the guards reveal that even they were too impressed by Jesus to arrest him, the pumped up Pharisees retort that none of them, nor the other leaders, have believed in Jesus; and they dismiss the crowd as an ignorant mob. Yet onto the stage steps someone who actually is a leader – ‘one of their own number’ (v 50). I wish we knew more about Nicodemus. Only John records him in the Jesus story and there is scant detail, though many stories were told about him later – there’s even an apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus! His slight record is highly thought provoking, however. His first visit at night showed confusion as Jesus spoke about being ‘born again’ (John 3). Perhaps he came at night because he was fearful of being seen by others, but it could show desire for deeper conversation without the distraction of crowds badgering Jesus for attention. Certainly we remain for ever grateful for Jesus’ teaching to Nicodemus, including the unforgettable 3:16.

Here Nicodemus shows courage in asking that Jesus be given a fair hearing (according to Jewish law) and running straight into their mocking rebuke. Willingness to face such a put-down by his peers reveals some conviction and in his final appearance with Joseph of Arimathea he brings a large amount of spices for Jesus’ burial (John 19:38–42). The disciples had run away, but not Nicodemus.

Several times in the Gospels minor characters like Nicodemus remind us how Jesus often operates on the scale of one. His cosmic claims have personal consequences. We marvel that Jesus never browbeats people into accepting him. Nicodemus is left with responsibility for faith-commitment. Perhaps, ultimately he made it. Grace grew slowly. In Christian belief Jesus draws us to himself by the Father and Spirit yet will never force himself upon us.

Michael Quicke


Bible background: Nicodemus


● His name is Greek and means conqueror of the people.

● He was a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin, and respected as a teacher.

● He seems to have been attracted to the teaching of Jesus and wanted to know more, but was afraid of this being widely known among his peers so came to Jesus secretly at night (John 3:1–21).

● He failed to understand the spiritual significance of what Jesus said, preferring to take everything at a physical level. The supreme example of this was his inability to make any sense of Jesus’ teaching about the need to be born again.

● John may suggest that his inability to understand and his coming in the darkness symbolise the state of Judaism at the time.

● He may have grasped more than appears for he features twice more in John’s Gospel.

● He argued in the Sanhedrin that Jesus was entitled to a fair hearing (John 7:50–52). This brought ridicule from his fellow council members. While this may not indicate that he followed Jesus, it does show that he was more sympathetic than others.

● After the crucifixion he and Joseph took Jesus’ body and prepared it for burial (John 19:38–42). Joseph is described as a secret disciple and John may want us to understand that this was also true of Nicodemus who has moved on since the first meeting.

● We know no more of him. A fifth-century Gospel attributed to him describes the trial of Jesus in some detail and Nicodemus features as a disciple. It may contain earlier material, but cannot be relied on.


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  • Song: God only wise
  • Composer: Eoghan Heaslip & Nick Herbert
  • Artist: Eoghan Heaslip
  • Album: Wonderful Story
  • Publisher: Survivor Music
  • Copyright: Copyright © 2008 Thankyou Music
  • Buy this album here 


Come to Jesus
Nathan Fellingham
Copyright © 2009 Phat music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com




Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Friday, 19 May 2017

    Atmosphere changers. Thanks Phil, I like that. Strong in faith, and hopeful when those around us are fearful and despairing. Speaking words of kindness when others are being critical and judgemental. Full of joy while others are negative and grumbling. Rivers of life, sparkling like crystal, not being pumped up, as Gilven says, but flowing as we yield to the beautiful fruit the Holy Spirit has placed within us. But it can be hard work to maintain this position in the face of constant opposition and no evidence of change, as Nicodemus found. Yet even so, the spiritual atmosphere is changed, God is more free to act. And as Prepare reminds us, there is no darkness the light within us cannot overcome. Paying for all, and waiting on news of your test results JANE and BARBARA, if and when you feel ready to share.

  • David Forbes | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    John pays particular attention to the way the people and the religious leaders form their opinions about who Jesus is. Jesus had previously stated that He and the Father are one which seemed to increase listeners anger levels. The crown and Pharisees are also listening to each others opinions - one not wanting to upset the other. In yesterdays feast of Tabernacles reading the plot thickens as Jesus invites the people to come to him for living water by which he meant the 3rd person of the Godhead the Holy Spirit. Jesus is upping the stakes and dividing peoples opinions even more about his identity. John talks of Jesus the divine Son of God coming to this earth to bring light.and in the start of his gospel writes John 1.12"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God; children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God". and in John 1:18 "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known". This Jesus we're reading of as he is slowly revealed to us is no other than God. What is our reaction to our God in the flesh this morning.

  • Angela Munday | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    We can find Jesus in the place least expected; some people let their own expectations blurr what is there before them....... "no prophet ever comes from Galilee." God and our Saviour, will never be revealed to those who are intent in following their own ways and will not listen to the teachings of Jesus. The light has come; may it shatter the darkness as we journey together in gentleness and peace.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Awe and wonder and thankfulness DAVID. It is evident that many of Jesus’ followers were also not aware of His birth in Bethlehem. There is no explanation in Scripture of why Jesus remained silent about this issue. Once again, we see that their logic wasn’t wrong but that they had based it on assumptions that were regarded by most as true when they were not A casual consideration of Jesus’ claims may cause people to make a similar mistake in judgment. We know that as we continue to seek with our whole hearts (Jeremiah 29:13) to know the truth about Jesus, we find the truth (John 14:6) and the more we live it, the more we are changed into His likeness.

  • Thelma Edwards | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    "Then they all went home.........but Jesus went to the mount of Olives". This struck me. After such a few days, the people went home, I imagine them probably chattering, unpacking the events they have witnessed with varying degrees of accuracy, probably a few 'Chinese whisperers' among them, probably quite a few 'spin doctors' by the media of the day! Not sure what the disciples did. And Jesus - He went to the mount of Olives. I know it doesn't say this, but I wonder if Jesus sought the quiet of the groves for His debrief with His Father, for quiet reflection, for solitude, for communion in prayer. "In the secret, in the quiet place, in the stillness You are there..."

  • Adam Julians | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Rachael, hard indeed and Jesus doesn't promise an easy life, but life in the fullest. Nicodemus is a lone voice among the Pharisees, enduring their anger and mocking. One might wonder, did he pray "Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing" or the like just as Jesus did when crucified. And again Angela, power under the control of the Holy Spirit in the form of gentleness needed for him here in order for the fruit of the Spirit to be evident in him and to not cave in to dark forces but to shine his light in the darkness. And yes David, all who believed in him having the right to become children of God and therefore to assert that God given right in the power, sound mind and love of the Spirit with Jesus as Lord. And awe wonder and thankfulness indeed being the right engagement with that Gilvin. The well known ad respected psychologist Carl Jung spoke consistently with the light and darkness we read of today and knowing that if anyone says they are without sin do not have the truth in them said this. That everyone has a shadow, and this shadow is commonly manifested by projection of issues onto others. The way to eliminate this shadow (or darkness) is to let in the light and expose it to the light. Jesus said if the only "light" within you is darkness then it is very dark indeed.

  • Helen Humby | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Nicodemus and the temple guards show enormous courage in this passage by putting their heads slightly above the parapet. They saw and knew Jesus was different but couldn't quite put their fingers on it. They were prepared to be vulnerable in order to defend him . The temple guards reaction really spoke to me. They had a lot to lose by speaking up. Lord make us courageous today. Thanks for prayers for Simon from the other day. God has answered quickly.He's really doing well and in touch with a Christian group now who are prepared to help him into rehab.

  • Graham Fuller | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    I sometimes wish there had been a written record of Jesus debriefing sessions with his Father. What amazing teaching that would make. Helen you have reminded us of a very important aspect of our relationship with Jesus, the fact the we can come with questions about how things have gone and how we should accept what has happened or continue to persist in prayer to achieve Gods purposes.

  • Thelma Edwards | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Jesus said "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5. I want to stay connected to the Source....Jesus be the centre, be my source, be my guide, Jesus." I want to simply dwell in Him, naturally connected so His sap flows through me all the time, producing that lifeliving fruit that the world so desperately needs. The blossom on the fruit trees in my garden has all gone now, the fruit is beginning to set, the bees have done their work and now I wait. Will the pruning I undertook last season produce a better crop than last year? I cannot hear the fruit saying "I must grow, I must grow, I must produce more, I must, I must...." the fruit is the natural result of staying connected. And so I will not strain and stress to produce the fruit of the Spirit, I will go to my secret place with Jesus and stay connected to the Vine and just BE.

  • Angela Munday | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Adam, Hi! Interested to know where the last sentence in your comment comes from - thanks. Helen, thanks be to God that He answers prayer; will continue to support Simon and his mum in the days ahead.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    ANGELA A version of Matt 6:23 part of the Sermon on the Mount

  • Angela Munday | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    GILVIN - Thankyou for the reference in Matthew......."If the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!" Will meditate on that verse today - thanks again for your response.

  • Derek Forster | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Perhaps today there are loving words Which Jesus would have me speak, There may be now, in the paths of sin, Some wand’rer whom I should seek; O Savior, if You will be my Guide, Tho’ dark and rugged the way, My voice shall echo the message sweet, I’ll say what you want me to say.

  • Barbara Sabin | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    What encouragement Word Live in the short prepare passage, thank you. I note the comment that Jesus never forces himself on us but there is an exception in Zaccheus Jesus said' today I am coming to your house' he invited Himself. What a Saviour! there is always an exception no one is beyond his love and care and compassion. So good to hear Nicodemus speaking up for Jesus too. Thank you RACHAEL for asking I have seen the Consultant had an MRI scan and the Hospital rang me yesterday to go and see the Consultant next Friday so will keep you all informed and thank you for your prayers I felt carried safely in the arms of Jesus as I kept my appointment, I sang Hymns whilst having the MRI Started with the Lord's my Shepherd, then ,He hold's my hand, I was on the fifth Hymn Teach me Thy way when the 25 mins was up God is good all the time. I pray that my light will continue to brighten up the corner where I am.

  • Adam Julians | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Hi Angela - "If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" Matt 6:23b. You are welcome.

  • David Forbes | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    "And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Mtt18:13

  • Jane Hill | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Dear Rachel. My thanks for your prayers and remembrance. This coming Monday I am measured and marked for radiorherapy to begin on May 30th. Situation a little worse than hoped for with no guarantees for swelling to reduce or pain to go. I am staying with Christian friends and have a continual stream of Christian visitors. Am feeling the Lord's presence in a very real way.

  • David Forbes | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Prayers for tomorrow Jane. I'm sure I'm speaking for all your friends here when i say that.

  • David Forbes | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    https://youtu.be/k4UDTA7Z9hU lovely words Derek

  • David Chipchase | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Helen, continuing to pray for Simon and Sue. Great to hear about the improvement. Barbara and Jane, continuing to pray for you both.

  • David Chipchase | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    Gilvin, thank you for yesterday's reply.

  • Barbara Sabin | Saturday, 20 May 2017

    DAVID thank you for the Song I'll go where you want me to go. I have not heard it before, it is very challenging . How many times have I not spoken when I should? .

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