John 8.

In the eighth chapter of John, amongst other things, two figures are seen standing out in prominent relief - the Son, and Satan.

The antagonism between them is maintained all through the Scriptures, from the day when the announcement was made, "I will put enmity … between thy seed and her Seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel." From that day till the end of time we find the Son of God on the one side, and the great enemy on the other, directly opposed to one another.

I wish merely to notice some very striking points of contrast between our Lord and His terrible antagonist, as we find them in the latter half of this chapter; for terrible as the adversary is, we have in Jesus one who is infinitely superior to him. We have, too, in this contrast light thrown upon the present state of things upon earth, and great help for our souls.

Jesus, in the twenty-fifth verse, is asked by the Jews who He is. The force of the answer is lost, I think, in some versions, and perhaps the best interpretation of our blessed Lord's answer is simply, Absolutely* that which I also say to you."

*"In the principle and universality of what I am." See note in J.N.D.'s Translation of N. T.

There was a Person upon earth whose words described what He who spoke them was in Himself. There was not a word too much nor too little, there was no change nor variation in Him who was, and is always, the Ancient of days, and yet could come down a true Man amongst men to speak truth (v. 46) in a world of deceit and imposture. We shall never have sounded the depths of the immense truth of the incarnation, nor explored the glories of the One in whom there is no change, and who at the end of the chapter, as it has been said, when forced, by a godless world, to declare who He is, stands there in changeless majesty as the great I AM. May He enlarge our hearts to apprehend His glory.

And now the contrast to this is to be seen in the forty-fourth verse, where it is said of the great enemy that he "has not stood in the truth."*

*I borrow again from the New Translation, for it is very important to observe the force of the perfect tense. The great cherub stepped off the ground upon which he was placed, and he still continues on the ground of falsehood and opposition to God.

The terrible step taken by the "anointed cherub" is described in Ezekiel 28:11-19. There had been a great moral fall in one who occupied one of the highest places in the universe; his heart was lifted up because of his own beauty, and he was cast to the ground. To have one's own self as the object of the heart, to become enamoured of one's own beauty, is the certain precursor of apostasy; and in the case of the bright and exalted creature before us, the fall was terrible, and the consequences, which still endure, are even more terrible. For what is all the opposition of the enemy but that work which is founded upon an independent position outside the truth? He abode not in the truth.

Let us look well at these two prominent figures in the passage before us - the unchangeable, obedient Son, and the apostate head of the revolt against God.

We need not torture our minds with Byzantine questions as to the origin of evil; we have enough in that which is revealed in Scripture, which presents to us the Son of God manifested that He might undo the works of the devil. It is blessed to think of the end of the controversy.

Two things, I think, are especially presented to us in our Lord's conversation with the Jews here, and in them the contrast may be pursued. The adversary is a murderer from the beginning; the opponents of the blessed, dependent Jesus were seeking to kill Him. They should know more as to Him (v. 28), when they should have lifted Him up as the Son of man: the carrying out of their murderous policy should establish life and blessing on a firm basis, and a humble believer, keeping Christ's words, should never taste death.

Then, again, we have in Satan a liar and the father of lies. There is no truth in him; he is off the ground of truth himself, and is a constant source of lies and falsehood. There is a peculiar' deliverance offered to the believer in the midst of all the importance of this world, and that is knowing the truth and being made free by it.

Knowing the Son, and being made free indeed, is the bright side of this last contrast. The whole question of sin, misery, and condemnation has been met and settled for ever; and then we know Him who lives for ever, the same unchangeable Jesus. No matter what impostures may surround us, what lies may be circulating in this world of deceit, we have the truth; we have the Son Himself; and His words - that cannot be added to nor diminished - in the very passage before us, give us to know exactly the true character of the Father, the Son, the world, Satan, and everything else.

Happy they who, not content with being delivered from the cruel enemy (the murderer and liar from the beginning), seek to know more and more of the changeless Son of God. If we have been delivered from the dire apostate, let us give all diligence to learn ever more and more of Him who has made us free, the blessed Son, Revealer of the Father's heart to our souls

"We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us an understanding that we should know Him that is true; and we are in Him that is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life." (New Translation.) E. L. Bevir.