John 8: 12 – 9: 41 – Jesus the Light of Life

The main theme of John 8 – 9 is “Light”. John 8 contains the teaching in the form of an “I am” saying developed into a discourse. John 9 is an act that confirms “the revelation” through the healing of the man born blind. The reactions and responses to Jesus’ teaching and action are also reported between teaching and miracle.

Structure of John 8: 12 – 9: 41

The section can divided in the following way.

John 8: 12-38              –           Discourse

John 8: 39-59              –           Dispute between Jesus and Jews (Reactions)

John 9: 1-41                –           Healing of the man born blind

Jesus is still in the temple (Jn 8: 20). The Feast of Tabernacles is still going on. This context is very relevant to understand the full import of the message of Jesus.

After speaking about the light, Jesus refers to his passion, death, and resurrection using the typical expression “the lifting up of the Son of Man” (Jn 8: 28; Cf. 3: 14).

Later, Jesus teaches about the truth that will make the disciples free (Jn 8: 31-32). This is followed by a provocative teaching of Jesus and the controversy with the Jews.

John 9 is the narration of the healing of the man born blind. This is different from the Synoptic traditions of healing of the blind (Mk 8: 22-26; 10: 46-52; Mt 20: 29-34; Lk 18: 35-43). The Synoptic evangelists reinterpret the miracle of Jesus in favour of the theology of discipleship. Whereas in the Gospel of John, this is the revelation of the identity of Jesus’ divine Sonship as ‘light of the world’. The blind man confesses his blindness and progressively receives the sight and proclaims his faith in Jesus as the Son of God. In contrast, the Jewish leaders pretend that they can see; and they know who Jesus is and are not able to recognize the real identity of Jesus. They are in fact in darkness.

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One thought on “John 8: 12 – 9: 41 – Jesus the Light of Life

  1. Reasons to Believe in Jesus

    Reasons to believe Jesus is alive in a new life with God can be found in quotes from two prominent atheists and a biology textbook.

    Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion. (Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology, New York: Washington Square Press, p. 784)

    Among the traditional candidates for comprehensive understanding of the relation of mind to the physical world, I believe the weight of evidence favors some from of neutral monism over the traditional alternatives of materialism, idealism, and dualism. (Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False, location 69 of 1831)

    And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

    Sartre speaks of the “passion of man,” not the passion of Christians. He is acknowledging that all religions east and west believe there is a transcendental reality and that perfect fulfillment comes from being united with this reality after we die. He then defines this passion with a reference to Christian doctrine which means he is acknowledging the historical reasons for believing in Jesus. He does not deny God exists. He is only saying the concept of God is contradictory. He then admits that since life ends in the grave, it has no meaning.

    From the title of the book, you can see that Nagel understands that humans are embodied sprits and that the humans soul is spiritual. He says, however, that dualism and idealism are “traditional” alternatives to materialism. Dualism and idealism are just bright ideas from Descartes and Berkeley. The traditional alternative to materialism is monism. According to Thomas Aquinas unity is the transcendental property of being. Campbell does not even grasp the concept of monism. The only theories he grasps are dualism and materialism.

    If all atheists were like Sartre, it would be an obstacle to faith. An important reason to believe in Jesus is that practically all atheists are like Nagel and Campbell, not like Sartre.

    by David Roemer

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