Monday, July 30, 2007

Sunshine (Movie Review)

You may have not heard of this movie. It's distributed through "Fox Searchlight", which usually showcases independent films. But there's nothing "indie" about the production value on this flick. Great actors, sets and special effects, although this isn't a summer CGI filled popcorn flick.
The sun is dying, and 8 astronauts are sent on a mission to re-ignite it. Many elements of this film are nothing boldly new. You may be reminded of "Mission to Mars", or "Red Planet" a few times, but it's not so blatant to make the movie un-enjoyable by any stretch. It's a sci-fi suspense thriller, with some possible supernatural elements, although the audience is asked to decide that on their own.
If you enjoyed "Event Horizon", but don't wish to be scarred that horrifically ever again, you'll really enjoy "Sunshine". Cilian Murphy (28 Days Later, Batman Begins) and Chris Evans (Fantastic Four, Cellular) are the two "stars" in this ensemble cast. All the actors perform very well, and the directing and eerie score keep you on edge for much of the movie.
With the lack of publicity this movie has, there's a chance it will come and go from your theater quickly, but if you like sci-fi thrillers or any of the other movies referenced above, you won't want to miss "Sunshine".
Rated R for violent content and language
Quality: 9.0/10
Relevance: No Score (This review was written before the use of the "Relevance" category was implemented.)

In Search Of Truth, John Chapter 11

The Gospel Of John, Chapter 11

One of Jesus' most memorable miracles is found in this chapter of The Gospel Of John. In addition to a display of Jesus' absolute power, we also see his love and compassion for individuals.

God loves you more than any human ever could. But God does not give your happiness in this life priority over the revelation of his character to humanity. God wants people to know who he is more than he wants them to be happy. Why? Because knowing Jesus and trusting in him will give us ETERNAL happiness after this life.

In this chapter, Jesus wanted people to understand that he is the ultimate source of life, and that trusting in him is the most important decision we can make. (Verses 25-26)

Jesus allowed Lazarus to die and for people to experience the despair of his death so that they could see God's power and love. But did he do this like some distant, unfeeling god who has an agenda devoid of compassion for humans? Not even close.

In verses 34-38 it's clear that Jesus was emotionally traumatized by the events taking place. It may be that he was overcome by grief because of the pain those around him were feeling, or that he felt agonized because of the unbelief of those around him. Either way, Jesus was not displaying the characteristics of a distant, uncaring god.

We can be reminded of two things from this passage:

1. Sometimes God allows terrible tragedies to happen because of something greater that he will make come out of it. (See Genesis 50:20 and Romans 8:28) Even though we can't see what that is until God chooses to reveal it, we can trust that he knows what is ultimately best for everyone.

2. We can be sure that God deeply feels the pain that we experience, right along with us. He has chosen to invest emotionally in us, purposefully making himself vulnerable to feeling pain and real sorrow on our behalf.

Coffee House Question:

What is something in your life that was difficult or painful to experience, but turned out to be good for you or others in the end?

Don't forget to leave your answer to this question here, or send it to to possibly be included in our podcast!

(Names withheld upon request.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Open Auditions!

Img_0573After a great weekend of recording with Sean Anthony Roberts, this week we jumped into preparations for "Dark Ritual" open auditions.

We'll be submitting the audition notice on several voice acting and audio drama message boards and you're invited to audition, too!

We have several supporting roles left that will be a lot of fun to play! So don't be shy if you're interested in trying out!

All you need is a microphone that can record clearly and the ability to send us files of your voice recordings in WAV or high quality MP3.

If you're at all interested in getting more information about the audition process and parts that are available, send an e-mail to with a subject line reading "Audition Info", and we'll send everything you need right to your inbox!

As always, thanks for your prayers and support! Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Great Weekend!

Img_0528My friend Sean and his wife were in town this last weekend so that he could record the part of Saolos for "Dark Ritual". Although we worked a lengthy and intense schedule for a day and a half, we had a lot of fun and his performance is incredible.

After we finished recording, I sat down with him for two different interviews. The first is a spoiler free conversation about recording for Dark Ritual, and the second is full of spoilers about the story and his character.

The first one will be part of our show this week on the Spirit Blade Underground Podcast, so be sure you check it out. The second one I'll hang onto and put on the website with spoiler warnings sometime after Dark Ritual's release.

Thanks again, Sean, for a great weekend and for work that will be very memorable to all of our listeners!

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, July 23, 2007

In Search Of Truth, John Chapter 10- Part 2

The Gospel Of John Chapter 10, Part 2

Last week we took a close look at verses 34-38, so this week we'll zoom back out and look at the chapter as a whole.

In the first half, Jesus talks about the nature of Jesus as the "Good Shepherd". This isn't the first time the Shepherd metaphor is used in scripture. God was called the "Shepherd of Israel" in Psalm 80:1, and some of Israel's bad leaders were defective "shepherds" mentioned in Isaiah 56:9-12. Jesus makes the statement that everyone who has led the people of Israel (not including God's prophets since they served the "Shepherd of Israel" rather than doing the shepherding by themselves) were thieves and robbers. This especially rang true of the false religious leaders who lined their pockets with money given to the temple.

We shouldn't rush to make judgment, but this is undoubtedly still happening in many churches today. Although they may start out with all humility, attractive and likeable preachers can be greatly tempted by power if they don't submit themselves to the authority of God and to others around them. Left unchecked, high-powered church leaders can become "false shepherds", like the hired hand that Jesus describes.

Good leaders will lead by holding others to the standards of God's Word, but they will also be self-sacrificing as they learn to be more like Jesus. Ultimately, false leaders will sacrifice what is best for their congregation in favor of their own interests. It's important to make sure that we are involved only in churches where the Word of God is preached and taught, and the teaching isn't consisting of a human's personal thoughts and ideas.

Jesus emphasizes "life" here by saying that the sheep who follow him will "find pasture", referring to sustanance. Jesus didn't come to make life boring and sterile. He came so that we can have life "to the full"!

By following the teachings of Jesus, and trusting him with the eternal state of our souls, we can learn to have a hugely fulfilling life on earth that is in anticipation of a life beyond comprehension in eternity!

We also learn some things about people who are real believers in Jesus. He says that his sheep "will never follow a stranger" in verse 5. In fact, in verses 28 and 29, we see that real believers will never fall away from Jesus as a result of a friend, a family member, a movie or a t.v. show changing the way they think. So if someone who seems to have been a believer in Christ falls away from belief in him, they likely never really "knew" him outside of an intellectual knowledge. Jesus says, in verse 14, that his sheep "know" him, using a word in the orginal language that means to know "through experience". So the real followers of Jesus are not those who simply have a head knowledge of him, but are those that live life "experiencing him" through prayer and imitation of his life.

Although humans cannot ultimately know objectively whether other humans are real believers in Jesus or not, it's undoubtedly true that many people that attend church their entire lives are simply "doing religion" and have not really made the choice to trust in and have a real relationship with Jesus.

Have you ever thought about where you sit in relationship to Jesus? When it comes down to it, what do you REALLY believe about him? If you think of yourself as a Christian, do you really try to "know" Jesus through the way you live your life and spend your time? 

Question for commenting-

Although we can't ultimately know what is in a person's heart, what do you think should be true of someone that really believes in and follows Jesus?

See you next week with Chapter 11!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Music and Misc.

Img_0518This week started off with the completion of various odds and ends and then produced the bulk of its productivity in the realm of music. Both "Veritas" and another song called "Used" were given some attention this week, the latter gaining the most ground.

We're seeing some good patterns so far with website traffic up recently and a dozen or so listeners to the last couple of podcasts.

We're hoping the podcast will help us establish a community a little more and provide something both fun and faith-building for sci-fi and fantasy fans. And although we don't spend much time talking about Spirit Blade Productions on it, we hope that listeners will come see the rest of what we have to offer. If you have any ideas on how we might improve or add to the podcast, please let us know! You can comment here or send an e-mail to with your thoughts and ideas!

We would love it if you would consider one or two people this week that you could e-mail a link for the podcast to. We'd love to have more people involved both there and here on the weblog.

Thanks, everyone, for your continued support! Things are going great!

Have an awesome weekend!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Movie Review)

I'm not what you'd call a "Harry Potter Fan". I've read three of the books now, because my sister is a nut for Harry Potter and has somehow cornered me into developing a mild interest in the books. The first 3 movies did nothing for me, although I'll eventually buy all of them on DVD as a more tolerable alternative to "Shark Boy and Lava Girl" for our future kids.
I generally don't enjoy stories where adults are idiots and children are the only ones empowered to save the day. Don't get me wrong, I LOVED those kinds of stories when I was a kid, but as an adult they don't fly with me.
However, as the characters in the books and actors in the films have gotten a little older, I've been able to enjoy the stories a little more each time. It also helps that each book seems to get a little darker than the one before it.
At the end of "Goblet of Fire", we were finally treated to a wizarding duel where the threat of death was obvious. It was wonderful, but all too short. Now, finally, in "Order of the Phoenix", we see a ton of great wizard dueling in the last 20 minutes of the film. Like the famous "Yoda v. Dooku" fight in Episode 2, the battles near the end of "Phoenix" make the ticket worth buying.
As for the rest of the film, it is the shortest of the movies despite coming from the longest yet of the books. This is seen through the choice of quick cuts and short scenes that ask the audience to infer many minor details instead of taking us through them all with the actors. A montage sequence is effectively used to cover Dolores Umbridge's "survey" of the Hogwarts staff.
A few sequences and minor character introductions seem off the beaten path of the main plot even more so than they did in the book (The "pet" Giant and the Centaurs being two that come to mind.), although these are probably present as set-up for the next book/film. (I haven't read Half-blood Prince yet.)
The actor cast as Luna Lovegood didn't sell me on her performance right away. But after a few minutes when I realized that spacey "drugged" look that's always on her face was an expression of her character (and not the sign of a really poor actress), I really enjoyed her performance for the remainder of the film.
All in all, I'd say it's the best Harry Potter film so far. A solid flick, though nothing more. Mainly because after the fantastic action at the end I found myself wondering why they couldn't get to stuff this great much earlier in the film.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images
Quality: 8.0/10
Relevance: 6.5/10

"Like Finding Moses' DVD Collection"

Img_0541_2Yesterday I spent most of the day and some of the night working with an orchestra. Not a synthesizer, but an orchestra. Of course, I've never met any of the players and can't imagine that I ever will. But I'm still using them as much as I can.

What I actually spent my time working with were two music products. One was a CD of orchestra samples. Meaning that some guy got an orchestra and a microphone together and said, "Violins, play middle C!- Great! Okay, now Trumpets, play the G above that!" After recording a multitude of single notes, combined notes, short notes and sustained notes, all at various volumes and intensities, he organized it together into a CD product for people like me to edit into our music however we'd like.

The other product is a CD containing musical phrases played by a live orchestra in a variety of cinematic styles. These files I can either use as they come, or spend time (like I did yesterday) chopping them up into smaller bits to use as samples, giving me more control over the final product.

At least one (and probably more) of the songs I'm working on for "Dark Ritual" will use a blend of dark electronic beats and sampled orchestra. I'll also be using a blend of live and sampled voices to create a men's chorus and mixed choir when appropriate.

I've always loved mixing together elements that seem opposed to each other: Extreme Violence and Christian Fiction, Sci-fi mixed with Fantasy, and now a Classical music sound blended with Electronic.

I'm certainly not the first. Far from it. Danny Elfman has been littering his film scores with electronic production value since "The Planet of the Apes". The bands "Evanescence" and "Red" have both combined hard rock with emotive strings.

It's something I've wanted to do before, and even imagined early on for song concepts (that had to be put aside) in "Spirit Blade". But two things have brought me back to the idea. First, I've grown in my ability to create and mix tracks, making it the right time to stretch myself in this area. And second, the story of "Dark Ritual" calls for an element of the ancient. Our main characters spend most of their time in a world of ancient tradition and dark mysticism, so I'd like the music to reflect that.

Hopefully, when you hear "Dark Ritual", both the scoring and the songs will help transport you to an ancient and mysterious place filled with both power and dread.

Monday, July 16, 2007

In Search Of Truth, John Chapter 10

The Gospel Of John Chapter 10, Part 1

We've made the choice to split our coverage of this chapter over the course of two weeks. The reason is that there is so much here to take notice of and we don't want to rush through it! You'll still want to have read the whole chapter for this week though, since we're focusing on a section at the end of it.

We've established the pattern of giving special attention to the character and claims of Jesus in this study. With that in mind, we'll want to spend a little extra time on verses 34-38. At a glance, someone might say that Jesus is claiming no more divinity than some leaders in Israel's past. But to understand the argument Jesus is making, we have to look at the scripture he is quoting from Psalm 82.

In Psalm 82, a picture is presented of God presiding over an assembly of "gods". The concept of multiple gods goes directly against the clearly monotheistic teaching of the Bible, so what's up? The answer is found in examining the Hebrew word used here for "gods": Elohiym.
This word is the most common Hebrew word translated as "God" in the Old Testament, however it has a range of uses beyond referring to the singular God of the Bible. In its plural sense, Elohiym has been used to refer to rulers or judges with divine connections (as in Exodus 21:6). It's also used to refer to pagan/false gods (Exodus 18:11, Psalm 86:8 are two of many examples) and "heavenly beings" which may or may not be angels or demons(Psalm 8:5, Psalm 97:7).

Context tells us when it is referring to the singular God of the Bible, as the word will often be accompanied by a singular verb, making it clear that God is one and not many.

This is a reminder that the book we call the Bible is not a work of English literature written by "King James", but a work with origins of a different language and culture. A lot of weird ideas are floating around out there because of people studying this book only as a product of the English language.

In this specific case, since the English language apparantly doesn't have a single word that can take as many different meanings as Elohiym, we are left with the sometimes insufficient word "god" to cover most of its uses.

Jumping back to the point Jesus is making, we now have a new perspective. In essence he is saying, "If these leaders in history were called Elohiym because of their connection to God or elevated status in the world, why would you say I'm blaspheming since I have been actually sanctified (meaning- specially set apart for the purposes of God) by God to come to the earth and am calling myself The Son of God? If ANYONE has the right to say what I'm saying, it's me!" And again, Jesus points to the work he is doing as the proof of his claims to having absolute and unparalleled unity with God.

A quick rabbit trail on the phrase "Son of God". It should also be noted that the Greek word Huios, "Son"(of God), that Jesus uses refers to a specific relationship with God and resemblance to him. This is different from the word Teknon that is used to refer to simply natural offspring that may have no relationship or resemblance to the parent. So when Jesus says he is the "Huios of God", his listeners would have understood that he was meaning something very specific and unique, that no one else to that point had ever claimed to be.

Pretty wild, huh? More next week!

Question for commenting-

When do you feel the closest to God?

Leave your comments here! We want to hear from YOU!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Seduction, Songs and Schedule Changes

Img_0573This was a very active week for us at Spirit Blade Productions. Events of note include:

Our evil villainess for "Dark Ritual" recorded her first session of dialogue with chilling results. I think listeners will love to hate our mysterious female antagonist.

We also made significant forward motion on the sound design for a song titled "Veritas". It will be less melodic than the rest of the songs in Dark Ritual, using a chorus surrounded by various spoken audio clips instead of verses.

Finally, one of our chief players ran into a schedule conflict that will bring him into town for recording NEXT weekend, instead of this weekend.

The next episode of our podcast will be online tomorrow. Things continue to look bright for the future and new possibilities for our company continue to present themselves. As always, when there's something we have to share, you'll find it here first!

Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Reading really IS fundamental

Img_0565I imagine that you know how to read. You're reading this, right? There's probably also a good chance that you LIKE to read. But how many Christians do you know that really like to read? In my experience, the number of Christians who enjoy reading seems to be steadily dropping.

"So what?"

Well, if we don't enjoy reading, we will probably find it difficult to learn more about Biblical doctrine through books and studies designed for that purpose. We will also be less educated regarding the various philosophies and religions of the world, making us less effective in relating to those who have chosen to invest in them. And most tragically, we will be much less likely to spend consistant time in scripture. This is the biggest problem of all.

Even among solid, Bible teaching churches, are large numbers of people who are content to let the preacher tell them what's true and what's important once a week, and then live the rest of their time caught up in the current of life without the presence and truth revealed by God's Word.

As a result, we have a Christian sub-culture in America that is "religious" (and a few that are even "sincere" and authentic in their faith), but not actively living their individual spiritual lives with God. We listen to preachers at church, or on our i-pods, or on the radio, but we lack enough hunger to overcome our distaste for reading. We don't search out and verify what we've heard, even learning MORE, in order to be effective in sharing truth with others.

I count myself among the guilty. Although I love to read, it's often not until I'm actually reading scripture, or even STUDYING it, that I'm reminded of the incredible truth and power it contains. I can only imagine the challenge I would be facing if I viewed reading in general as a chore. But that is where so many are at.

So why don't we (and by "we" I mean you, me and the "Spirit Blade Underground" community we have here) consider challenging ourselves to read more, increasing our time in scripture first? And why not also encourage and provide opportunity for our children(if we have them) to read? The more they learn to love reading today, the stronger and more intelligent they'll be as the next generation of God's people.

Being better readers and students of God's word can go a long way toward making us better servants of God. And sharing the truth we learn with our children and friends will leave a legacy of eternally lasting value.

-Paeter Frandsen

Monday, July 9, 2007

In Search Of Truth, John Chapter 9

Bible_lightThe Gospel Of John Chapter 9

If you're joining us for the first time, this is part of our weekly Bible study. Currently, we're checking out a chapter each week from the Gospel of John, and trying to find valuable truth that will help us understand our lives and give a clearer picture of who Jesus is.

If you haven't read chapter 9 yet, we strongly encourage you to pause and read through it (it's not a very long chapter) and then read our observations here:

The disciples bring to mind an interesting question. Do bad things happen to punish us for some wrong we have done? Are the events in life all part of some karmic machine in the spiritual world? Jesus denies this concept, stating that this man's blindness was put in place to show God's power. That's a reminder that we can take comfort from. When bad things happen, it's for some purpose God has in mind that will ultimately draw attention to him. We can be so focused on a "why me" attitude that we forget that the universe does not revolve around us, and humanity is not the main character of the cosmic story playing out. God is.

We've heard some people say that they would believe in God if they could only see some kind of clear miracle. Although in the end, based on what we read in chapter 9, that wouldn't necessarily be true. The Pharisees received clear proof that this miracle of healing had taken place. But they knew that if Jesus was the Messiah, their roles would become obsolete, their corruption would be revealed and their honored status would be taken away. In the face of undeniable evidence, they chose to continue in disbelief in order to hang on to their comfort and independence. To put it lightly, this truth has probably never been more relevant than it is today.

Another parallel to modern culture is found in the attitude of the blind man's parents. They were having a hard time denying what had happened to their son, but they didn't want to give Jesus credit because they knew they would be condemned by the Pharisees. Today, many sincere Christians feel hesitant to be open about their faith because the American culture is becoming increasingly antagonistic toward the Christian faith. We have to acknowledge that this antagonism comes in part as a response to extremists who, while calling themselves Christians, have done much harm while using their beliefs as justification for their offensive behavior. But despite the term "Christian" carrying a load of baggage, we can't hide in the crowd and avoid mentioning our faith. Genuinely loving and being a friend to non-Christians is the only way they'll understand what a real, Christ-following Christian is and it will also give them a glimpse of the character of God.

1 John 4:12- No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us.

Concerning the character of Jesus, we see two more noteworthy instances of his God-nature. He tells the healed man that he has "come to judge the world", something only God can do. Jesus knows the difference between absolute right and absolute wrong, and he came to reveal the truth about both. Likewise, the healed man began to worship Jesus, and Jesus accepted his worship. This is in contrast to angels, prophets and apostles in the Bible who, when given worship, are quick to correct those doing so, redirecting their worship to God alone.

Don't forget to read Chapter 10, and we'll see you back here again next week!

Question for commenting: We don't really know why Jesus chose to make mud with his saliva to put on the blind man's eyes as part of the healing miracle. Can you think of a possible reason why he chose to perform his miracle this way?

(Think as creatively as you want, there's not really a "right answer".)

Friday, July 6, 2007

"May I A-Cyst You?"

Img_05175 We're afraid there's not much to tell this week.

Paeter returned from visiting his sister in North Dakota on Wednesday. Although some progress was made registering the new podcast with several popular directories, Paeter found himself unable to be productive for long because of a painful "condition".

We're happy to say that he's doing fine now and it was nothing serious. But you can hear all the gory details on this weeks podcast entitled, "Revenge Of The Cyst!"

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Fourth of July

Img_0553Hopefully you're all having a great Fourth of July!

After getting back from out of town yesterday I'm feeling pretty beat, so today I'm taking it fairly easy. But after a good night's sleep I'm looking forward to jumping back into the fray tomorrow!

Enjoy the fireworks and don't get blown up!

-Paeter Frandsen

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Spirit Blade Trailer at GRN!

Project7 Jump over to and click play on the media player to the right of the screen to check out one of the GRN's biblically in-depth studies and to hear them play and promote Spirit Blade!

This podcast has some fascinating material for consideration that is worth some of your time as you sort through the connections between the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Justice League Heroes- PS2 (Review)

This is a review for the PS2 game.
I just finished playing through this game for the 4th time last night and the replay value is just insane!

This game is an action RPG made by the same company that developed Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance and the Champions of Norrath games. Like those games, you have a bird's eye view of the action with an adjustable camera. There are always two heroes on each level. You have the choice of having a live second player or having the second hero AI controlled. (And the AI is pretty good, too!)

Although you don't have a choice of what heroes to play until later in the game, you'll play using the core JLAers: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Green Lantern(John Stewart), and Zatanna (I would have preferred Dr. Fate). As you progress, you can unlock Hawkgirl, GLs Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan, Jay Garrick, Walter West, Green Arrow, Aquaman and Huntress, in addition to new costumes for the existing heroes!

Throughout the game you pick up power upgrades so that you can choose what aspects of your hero's powers you want to focus on. And the powers are handled beautifully in this game! Even a simple block is unique for each character and incorporates who they are and what they can do! GL's form a shield, Wonder Woman reflects the attack BACK with her bracelets, and Martian Manhunter becomes intangible!

The villains you face include classics like Killer Frost, Brainiac, The Key, Doomsday and one villain that I won't ruin the surprise for!

The frame-rate is as smooth as melted butter and despite being a little too short, the game has incredible replay value as you unlock new characters and your power animations change in subtle ways as they grow in strength.

Although I am partial to the DC universe, I found this to be a better game than the PS2 version of Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. The environment is MUCH more interactive in "Heroes" (guys like Superman can fly around swinging cars like baseball bats on the very first stage of the game!) and the animation and frame-rate is a lot smoother.

If you like action RPGs and haven't given this one a try, go check it out! Saving the world has never been this cool!

Quality: 9.0/10

Relevance: 5.5/10

In Search Of Truth, John Chapter 8

The Gospel of John, Chapter 8

There are two extremes that we can take when developing an understanding of Jesus’ character. Many who are not Christians, but who admire and respect Jesus, think of him as one who always forgave, always loved, always accepted everyone just the way they were and never passed judgment. On the other hand there are those who say they are Christians and think of Jesus as the conquering king, and the ultimate judge who condemns everyone.

This chapter reminds us that Jesus is not so easy to put in a box.

First off, we should mention that the Pharisees are “at it again”. They’ve brought a woman to Jesus after catching her in the act of adultery. Because the ruling Roman government wouldn’t allow the Jews to perform executions (See John
) Jesus was trapped between ignoring God’s law (See Leviticus and Deuteronomy ) and coming into conflict with the Roman government.

Jesus chose a response that acknowledged the truth of God’s law, but that also made it impossible for them to carry out the execution themselves. (Stoning probably shouldn’t have been done here anyway, since only a specific situation calls for it in Deuteronomy 22:23-24. Another example of the Pharisees re-working God’s law.)

But notice verse 11. Jesus chooses not to condemn her. The Greek word used here for “condemned” is katakrino. And here it means: to pronounce sentence against. So Jesus is saying, “I’m not going to sentence you to Hell or punishment right now.” However, he does tell her to “sin no more.”

Unlike us, Jesus (because he is God) has the unique authority to pardon sin. We cannot do this. At the same time, we can’t determine who will go where in death. So Christians should not be quick to say who is going to hell. On the other hand, we must still acknowledge in our minds what is sin. Although some sins have become acceptable to our culture, Christians should not allow their ideas of right and wrong to be shaped by anything but the Bible.

We can remember from verse 11 that Jesus is the only one fit to decide anyone’s eternal fate. Our role is to, a) keep clear in our minds what is sinful, while b) loving and caring for everyone around us, since we are all flawed sinners. Both aspects are vital. Emphasizing one over the other will result in veering away from the truth.

Let’s look at some of the claims of Jesus in this chapter:

v. 12- “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness”. In other words, he says he is the ultimate source of truth and knowledge.

v.16 He claims to be sent by “The Father”.

v.23 Unlike the rest of humanity, Jesus claims to be “from above” and “not of this world”.

v.28 After being “lifted up” (a reference to the cross and the resurrection that followed) people would know that he is who he claimed to be.

v.28 He speaks only what The Father has taught him.

v.29 The Father is always with him.

v.29 He claims to ALWAYS please the Father. In other words, he claims to be completely without any form of sin!

v.51 Anyone who keeps the word of Jesus will never see death.

v.58 “Before Abraham was born, I am!” (Hold that thought. We’ll come back to this one.)

Verse 31 leads into the popular (but often taken out of context) verse 32. Jesus says that those who are his students (the meaning of “disciples”) will follow what he teaches. And once they are doing this they will know the truth and THEN the truth will set them free.

Verse 32 also isn’t a general philosophical statement. Jesus explains what verse 32 means in 34-36. If we follow and learn from Jesus, we will ultimately be set free from the sinful habits and choices that bring pain to our lives and the lives of those around us.

Here’s a question: Who are the children of God?

We’ve probably all heard this term used in a variety of ways. Sometimes political figures will endeavor to make people feel unified by referring to us all as “God’s children”. But is everyone a child of God? What does Jesus say about this?

In verse 41, the Jewish people around Jesus said “God himself is our Father!” But in verse 42, Jesus says “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God.”

In fact, because of the evil desires in their hearts, Jesus told these people that their father was the devil! (v.44)

Lastly, why did this group of Jewish people attempt to stone Jesus to death in verse 59? Seems a little intense, doesn’t it? The answer comes from verse 58. Abraham was the man God chose to start the entire Hebrew nation. He is possibly the most revered ancestor of the Jewish culture. And Jesus says that before Abraham was born, “I am.” Was he being stoned for bad grammar? Now THAT would be a scary place to live!

Actually, these Jews recognized that Jesus was claiming to be timeless. Eternal. His words even partially echoed (as they would have noticed) the words of Exodus 3:14 when God told Moses what name he should call him. So the Jewish people tried to stone Jesus for referring to himself as God. A crime punishable by stoning (Leviticus 24:16).

As we can see with each chapter of the Gospel of John, it is becoming increasingly difficult to think of Jesus as simply a good man or prophet or a wise and compassionate teacher. In light of the radical claims Jesus continues to make, we have to consider the options of him being:

1. A complete lunatic

2. The greatest con-man to ever live.


3. God in human form.

Food for thought. See you next week!

Question for commenting: Aside from the three options listed above, can you think of another possibility to consider regarding the character of Jesus?

(We’d love for you to leave your comments or questions about this chapter, whether it’s something we covered or not! Let your voice be heard!)