These three chapters of John contain some of the most famous quotes, quips and confrontations of Jesus' ministry. Chapter 7 contains a lively discussion between Jesus and some of his fellow citizens. Chapter 8 is the story of the Woman Caught in Adultery, and then the famous verse: the truth will set you free...if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed. Jesus ends the chapter with almost getting stoned by rocks. Chapter 9 is a funny, insightful and realistic story of two reactions to Jesus.
What themes did you find in these three chapters? Key words like light/dark, sin/freedom, belief/blindness, healing/hope.
C.S. Lewis famously described three options that people can have about Jesus: upon reading the Gospels you can come to one of three logical conclusions - Jesus was either a lunatic (see the comments about Jesus made in chapter 7), Jesus was a liar (see comments made about Jesus in chapter 9) or Jesus was Lord (see the response of Nicodemus, the Woman, the Blind Man).
As you read through the Scriptures, be praying for the Spirit to illuminate your mind and open up your heart to what He needs to teach/transform in you. Don't just read to get through the content, be reading to get God's Word in Your Heart.
Note also the contention surrounding Jesus: he is a prophet confronting the established religion of the day - he is getting the same general reception as all the other prophets (Isaiah was, according to legend, sawed in half; Jeremiah was put in stocks, thrown in a sewer pit, and beat up; Ezekiel was mocked...etc). Jesus came as a son of Abraham, the Blessing promised in Genesis 12. Jesus was come to fulfill the Torah and the Promises of the Prophets. What made it so hard to accept Jesus and his Message was that, in regard to the established religion people he undermined their power, exposed their falsity, pointed out their wickedness and greed; in regard to the average person Jesus' teachings were way too good to be true.
Jesus has the same effect today. He calls a spade a spade, and his promises seem too good to be true. We struggle with believing what Jesus teaches and we struggle with accepting it and we struggle with obeying it. We like to pretend something we're not (usually posing as better then we really are); and we get a bit jaded and cynical about what good can be done in the world. And yet for those that dare to believe and follow Jesus (Nicodemus & power, Woman and Blind man & news too good to be true), life ends up different...if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed...
...how free do you feel these days?
...how burdened do you feel?
...how blind do you feel?
"Does no one condemn you?"
"No one, Master."
"Neither do I" said Jesus. "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."
Is that your story too?