Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 1 Cor. 15:58


Monday, June 11, 2012

John 7 (day 357)

Blogging through the Book of John

Chapter 7

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(John 7:1-5)After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death.  But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters,  and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! 
 You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”  For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.

Jesus has just fed the crowd with just a few loaves of bread and fishes. He's walked on water, and he's told the crowd about how to get eternal life. This is the time when his followers started questioning him and leaving him. It was all fun and games when they thought he'd be a political leader, but when he started in on 'eating his flesh', they hightailed it out of there.

This is a little bit later. He knew the Jewish leaders were plotting to kill him , so he wanted to stay out of Judea for the time being. However, a festival was coming up, and his brothers (like good brothers...) wanted him to go too. They told him he couldn't become famous just hiding out. People needed to see him. 

Like everyone else, even his brothers didn't truly understand. It's hard when your family doesn't understand you. I think this truly shows that even though he had an earthly family, he really was alone down here. He couldn't tell anyone what he was feeling or share all of his doubts with. 

(John 7:6-9) Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime.  The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.”  After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.

That could be where this chapter ends. His brothers leave for Judea, and Jesus stays behind-- but he was Jesus-- and he had other plans.

(John 7:10) But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view.

I kinda think it's cool to think of Jesus as all stealthy like those action heroes: sneaking around corners and staying in the shadows out of view. It's just not our 'normal' way to think of Jesus-- but I think it's a neat visual.

(John 7:11-3)The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him.  There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.”  But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.

It seems the people in Judea had the same problem 2000 years ago as we do now: they didn't have the courage to speak favorably about him in public. Are we really do different from them? It's easy to judge them, but in reality, we have a lot of the same fears, insecurities, and worries they had back then.

Some claimed Jesus to be a good man. Others called him a fraud (probably those who wanted to suck up to the Jewish leaders). But no one came out for him. No one backed him. And he saw the whole thing. The worst thing to think about is here Jesus watched from the shadows, knowing that he would have to DIE for these people who would rather spit on him that acknowledge who he really was. What a horrible feeling! I think that his willingness to die for a bunch of people who rejected him is as much or more of a miracle than his healing miracles. 

He showed total and complete love to people who didn't appreciate it. Do you appreciate what he did for you?

(John 7:14)Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. 


(John 7:15) The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.

When I first started teaching special education, I didn't feel 'worthy' to teach it because I hadn't been trained. I went through college in regular education and got the sped job on a waiver (meaning I taught/worked while I went back to school). Some days, I felt bad because I thought I would have known more if I had gone through college for sped (after I went through school, I learned differently. Teaching SPED, as in all teaching categories, is learned more on the job than in the classroom.)

I felt that way at the beginning because I hadn't been trained.

Jesus hadn't been trained. He was a carpenter, for Pete's sake! How in the world did he know all of this stuff? Back then, not everyone could read. And they certainly didn't have access to a Bible. The only way they could know about the laws was if someone told them OR if they were learned leaders. 

Jesus wasn't a learned leader, so the people questioned how he knew what he was talking about.

Jesus had an answer for them...

(John 7:16-18)So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. 

Jesus wasn't doing any of this for the glory. What glory did he have in his day? Being hated and knew he was going to die? He certainly wasn't doing it for the fame.

But some people were speaking out for "God" for the fame, and some still do today. We have to be very careful to see if we are reading/listening to something from God, or something from someone who just want acclaim and fame.

(John 7:19) Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.”

I like this verse. He was very blunt with them. They kept charging him with not obeying the law when he healed the man on the Sabbath. But in fact, they weren't obeying it. One of the commandments says plainly, "Do not kill".  But... what were they plotting to do to him? Which was worse? Healing a man on the Sabbath or killing someone on Friday?

(John 7:20)The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?”

I'm sure the Jewish leaders were sweating bullets. This claim Jesus made only made them want him gone that much more. The 'commoners' had no idea what was going on behind closed doors. They thought Jesus was crazy or demon possessed for thinking someone was going to kill him. Turns out, he was right.

(John 7:21-24) Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed.  But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.)  For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath?  Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”

Here he's showing them their hypocrisy. Sure, he healed on the Sabbath, but they circumcised on the Sabbath and that was ok. 

(John 7:25-29)Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?  But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”

So, the people started talking amongst themselves. They noticed how the leaders acted around him. They wondered if the leaders thought he really was the Messiah since they weren't going after him. It's interesting to wonder why they didn't. Why they waited. Where they scared of him? Where they hoping it would die down? Where they afraid he'd turn into a martyr?

The people had a mixed up view of how the Messiah would appear. Truth be told, they probably would have believed a stranger over 'little Jesus the carpenter' anytime. Think of someone you've known all of your life. Could you imagine them being the Messiah? They couldn't comprehend it.

Plus, they thought the Messiah would just appear and no one would know where he came from. 

(John 7:28-30) While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time[c] had not yet come.

The religious leaders had enough. They went after him, but no one laid a hand on him. This shows us that God is in control of everything. It wasn't his time to die. He still had work to do, so they didn't kill him. God controls all-- even when we forget it.

(John 7:31-36) Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?”
 When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus.  But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.”
The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks!What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”

Some in the crowds started to believe because, they reasoned, who could do more awesome works than Jesus and not be the Messiah? The religious leaders didn't like it, and ordered the guards to get him. But Jesus kept on talking. He said he wouldn't be there much longer and where he was going, they couldn't follow.

We know that he was talking about going to Heaven, but they didn't understand that. They thought he was going to leave and, Heaven forbid, teach the Greeks!

(John 7:37-39) On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.’” (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.)

Here is the big climax of the chapter. Jesus stood and boldly shouted that anyone who is thirty to come to him (just like he told the woman at the well). He was talking about living water, the Holy Spirit, but none of them knew what he was talking about since the Holy Spirit hadn't came down yet.

(John 7:40-44) When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.” Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.”So the crowd was divided about him. Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him.

Yet again, Jesus was supposed to be arrested, but wasn't. No one laid a hand on him again. 

It's interesting here where the people didn't believe he was the Messiah simply because he hadn't been born in Bethlehem... or so they thought. They  had no idea that Mary and Joseph traveled there when she was pregnant. They had no clue that this Jesus, little carpenter Jesus, was actually born in Bethlehem from David's line. Just as prophesied. He met all of their requirements, but still, it was too much for some to grasp.

(John 7:45-49)When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
 “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.
“Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked.  “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!”

Oh.... the high and mighty. The guards wouldn't arrest Jesus because they had never heard anyone speak like Jesus did. How brave of them! They knew the consequences of disobeying, and they did it anyway. I'm sure God dealt with their hearts so they wouldn't. 

The Jewish leaders mocked them and their 'simplemindedness'. They weren't *smart* like the leaders were. The guards and the simple crowds were too stupid to see the real truth-- that this man was an impostor. They were drawn into his 'web' because they weren't smart... not like the Leaders. 

Don't think you are bigger than your britches. Turns out the 'foolish crowd' had it right all along. Book smarts doesn't automatically equal smart.

(John 7:50-52)Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked.
They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself—no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

HUZZAH! Here comes our old friend, Nicodemus. You remember him, right? He's the one who actually went up and talked to Jesus. He couldn't understand about being born again. Well, he finally stood up and asked if it was legal to convict a man before a trial?

Truthfully, by this time, a trial was just a formality. Jesus, in the Jewish leaders minds, was as good as dead.

I don't know what was up with Galilee, but apparently it wasn't the place to be from. One of the disciples upon finding out that Jesus came from Nazareth asked if anything good came from Nazareth. Now, the Jewish leaders said that no prophets ever come from Galilee... wonder what was wrong with Galilee?  Hmmmm... Anyone know?

[The most ancient Greek manuscripts do not include John 7:53–8:11.]  (But we are going to go over them anyway in the next chapter...)

Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.

They plotted some more... then they all went home to their wives and kids. It's a strange image to me. You plot someones death, then you just go home to live your life.

In any case, that's what happened.

Tomorrow, we will do chapter 8.


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