A Conflict Between Two Worldviews
JOHN 8 depicts one long showdown between two conflicting worldviews. It begins with the woman caught committing adultery (vv. 1–11), then moves to an argument between Jesus and the Pharisees about their fleshly judgment (vv. 12–30). Next, the Lord explains what it means to truly be born of Abraham (vv. 31–47). Finally, He debates the synagogue leaders about His identity (vv. 48–59).
The flawed worldview of the Jewish leaders contributed greatly to their continuing inability to understand Jesus. They sat in a place of power and feared being displaced. Jesus taught that leadership meant serving others; they sought titles and positions of honor. Jesus taught that leadership meant giving up rights; they took pride in their heritage as sons of Abraham. Jesus told them that their actions revealed their true father—and that’s when they had had enough. This Jesus simply was too radical for them.
Still, they couldn’t win a debate with Him. He seemed to know the Scriptures better than they did! He was different from them—but much to their disappointment, He was right.
The Pharisees sought power and already competed with the Roman Empire for control of the masses. Not only did they have to deal with their own king, Herod, but they also needed to consider a Roman governor named Pontius Pilate. Consequently, they protected every bit of turf they could.
Does this sound like any leader you know? Someone who fights to maintain manmade traditions and rules? Someone blind to the needs of others and preoccupied with himself or herself? Such leaders stand in contrast to the servant leadership Jesus modeled.
Secular Leadership vs. Spiritual Leadership
Take a moment to contrast the world’s leadership model with Jesus’ model.
Issue • Secular Leadership • Spiritual Leadership
How to gain influence • Leverage power • Love people (Phil. 2:3–11)
How to possess confidence • Compete and win • Depend on God (2 Cor. 3:4–6)
How to acquire authority • Claim your rights and position • Servanthood (Matt. 20:20–28)
How to grow an organization • Demand of people • Develop people (Acts 19:8–10)
What vision drives you • Temporal gain • Eternal gain (Matt. 6:31–22)
What is success • Overcoming the competition • Obeying the Lord (1 Cor. 4:1–5)
The heart of leadership • The boss • A Father (1 Cor. 4:15)