XIX. THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES
The Scribes and Pharisees held the knowledge of the law, but were still under the slavery of sin (John 8:5, 9, 34). They brought a sinful woman to the Lord and, according to their knowledge, demanded a yes or no answer regarding the way in which the woman should be treated. They said that Moses commanded that such a person be stoned. Although the book of John reveals that the Lord Jesus several times was challenged to give yes or no answers, He always refused to do so. He did not refrain from giving such answers because He was wise, but because He was concerned with life. The Gospel of John is the book of life. Life is simply life, not knowledge of yes or no, good or evil. Both yes and no and good and evil belong to the tree of knowledge. Thus, the Lord did not answer them in that way. He stooped to write on the ground. Then He answered, "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone." When the Lord spoke this to them, His word touched their conscience and, beginning with the most experienced ones, they turned away. Not one of them was without sin. The only person without sin was the Lord Jesus. Therefore, the Lord’s answer pointed to Himself as the tree of life.
XX. THE DISCIPLES
Do not think that because we are disciples we have a guarantee that we are on the line of life. The disciples who were with the Lord still held the traditional knowledge of religion when they saw a man blind from birth (John 9:1-3). Based upon their religious knowledge, they asked, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind?" The Lord answered, "Neither has this man sinned nor his parents, but that the works of God might be manifested in him." The Lord did not give them a yes or no answer, but directed them to God. Yes and no belong to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but God is the tree of life. Thus, the Lord directed the disciples from the line of knowledge to the line of life.
Martha was a disciple of the Lord. However, she was occupied with the line of knowledge, holding the knowledge of the sound teachings regarding the resurrection on the last day (John 11:24). Martha had complained to the Lord that if He had been present, Lazarus would not have died. When the Lord said that her brother would rise again, Martha immediately expounded His word, saying she knew that Lazarus would rise again in the resurrection at the last day (John 11:23-24). She postponed the present resurrection life to a time two thousand years in the future. In His answer the Lord was referring to the present resurrection life, but Martha, by her religious knowledge and expounding of the Lord’s word, postponed the resurrection to the distant future. This was dreadful. Martha offered a good, fundamental exposition of the Bible. Nevertheless, the Lord directed her to the present resurrection by saying, "I am the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25). The Lord seemed to be telling Martha, "There is no need to wait for two thousand years. You need not wait for the last day. I am the resurrection life right now. Don’t change My word by your religious, fundamental expounding of it. I am the resurrection now."
Immediately after receiving the revelation from the heavenly Father (Matt. 16:17), Peter turned to his mind and was utilized by Satan to frustrate the Lord from going to suffer crucifixion (Matt. 16:21-23). The Lord rebuked him, saying, "Get behind Me, Satan...for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of men." Thinking is a matter in the mind and of knowledge. It is easy to be usurped and utilized by Satan when we exercise our mind in the line of knowledge to think independently of the Lord. Although Peter was on the line of life, beyond his consciousness he was shifted to the line of knowledge. We all must be careful about our thinking! Otherwise we may be taken over by Satan, the source of death.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)