JOHN:The Book Of Heartfelt Belief
God Sent Me
Jerry A. Collins
The essence of idolatry is to create God in the image you want Him. Today that image is tolerance. We want God to tolerate our opinions and beliefs about money and greed, sex and sexual perversions, marriage and broken homes, so we create a god like that. One who accepts and condones our opinion and actions. Jesus was not into tolerance. And all kinds of people, from family and friends to neighbors and strangers were intolerant of Jesusí intolerance. Amazing how people who serve the god of tolerance are so intolerant of those who donít! The incidents in John 7 are a watershed in Jesus ministry because opposition against him magnifies, turns a corner and builds in crescendo all the way to the cross and all of this on the heels of his greatest popularity. What motivated this turn of events?
We can trace the sequence of events associated with what is called The Feast of the Tabernacles (vs 1) throughout the chapter to learn what lessons there are for us. The first scene takes place as this feast gets close vs 2. Then scene two begins when this feast is half over vs 14. Scene three unfolds on the last and greatest day of this feast vs 37. In each scene there is opposition to Jesus beginning with his own family vs 5, then spreading to the Jewish authorities, the crowds who heard him, the temple officers, Pharisees and chief priests. In each scene, Jesus replies to the opposition and creates conflictive responses where some believe but most increase their opposition. Whereas we are told his brothers did not believe in him to accusations of demon possession, seizure and arrest, hostility, plot to kill him. The whole episode here begins with the note that there was a plot to kill Jesus vs 1. In each scene, John also makes parenthetical comments vs 5, 22 and 39 as he recollects the meaning of these events some 40 yrs later with greater clarity. In each scene the opposition was unable to carry out it plans because Jesus controls His own destiny vs 6, 30 and 43.
The feast of tabernacles was a feast where people traveled to Jerusalem lived in tents or shelters during the autumn harvest time as a week-long feast of thanksgiving for the bounty of harvest. It also commemorated the divine guidance in the wilderness travels of their ancestors the booths reminding them of the wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.
1. OPPOSITION USUALLY HAPPENS FROM PEOPLE WHO USE TO BE CLOSE TO YOU 1-13
Jesus own brothers had grown up with him and their advise is rooted in their unbelief and rejection of him. The essence of their remarks are put up or shut up! Urging him to leave the safety of Galilee for the danger of Jerusalem are words of cynicism perhaps to get rid of him from where they lived because they are embarrassed by him or to encourage him to follow his ambition and face the consequences. Jesus in control of all events relating to his life on earth knows it is not time yet to face this and says so. The world was not dangerous for them since they were part of it but the world hated Jesus because he was not and besides He exposed their sin to them. When they left Jesus decided to make a covert entry into the city since his enemies were searching for him there. There was widespread whisperings about him both pro and con because of the power of the Jewish authorities.
Proximity to Jesus in a family does not guarantee faith. In addition Jesus spoke of the way he would divide families since he requires that men love Him more than families (Matthew 10:21-22; 34-39). Allegiance to Jesus will produce opposition from those who use to be close to you. We do know that one of these brothers, James, became a believer after Jesus resurrection and wrote the book of James in the NT (Galatians 1:19). This reveals that even those closest to us opposing our faith or convictions about Christ can be changed in their hearts and believe too. It is not hopeless. 2. PEOPLE WILL OPPOSE THE TRUTH THAT JESUS IS SENT FROM GOD 14-36
Halfway though the feast Jesus had the courage to teach that He and His message were sent from God vs 16-17, 29, 33. At first they were amazed at His courage to teach and the content. Until Jesus attacked their assumption to be law-keepers vs 19. Of course Jesus knew their hearts and knew that their hatred of Him would eventually lead to murder. The crowd denied this. Yet this is exactly what they had planned to do when he had healed the man at the pool of Bethesda (5:18). Their superficial understanding of the Law caused them to make a judgment by mere appearances vs 24 and essentially Jesus calls them to repent of it by making an honest or righteous judgment instead and remove the death sentence they had placed upon Him. Though initially confused by these comments, Jesus once again makes clear His claim to be from God which reveals their true intentions to seize Him vs 30 while even then others believed. With the threat remaining Jesus says He will return to God who sent Him and unbelievers cannot come. So now is the opportunity since a time will come when it is too late! Again, unbelief is unable to comprehend Jesusí words supposing that He was going to the Diaspora.
It is still true today that people refuse to believe that Jesus is sent from God, went back to Him and will return again.
3. PEOPLE OPPOSE JESUS OFFER OF ETERNAL LIFE 37-52
At the high point of this feast Jesus offers salvation to anyone believing. The reference to living water is to the HS who satisfies his need for God providing new life for us. Though the Spirit was not yet at work in this way He would be when Jesus returned to the Father. In spite of the large-scale rejection Jesus still offers salvation. The divided opinion persisted and confusion remained because of an unwillingness to believe Jesus. The main point of contention seemed to involved Jesus residence. Of course, many prophets had come from Galilee including Jonah, Hosea, Nahum and Amos. Their prejudice is reason enough!
1) Jesus is not a victim but in control of his destiny.
2) Either Jesus is Savior with authority or a fraud with attitude.
3) Satan has many alternatives to Jesus.
4) While casting seed expect opposition from unexpected and go after belief.