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Gospel of John - Chapter 7 - Lesson 2

Posted on March 31, 2016 at 8:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Jesus at the Feast of Booths

 

John 7:14 (ESV) About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”

 

Instead of going up to Jerusalem with the throngs of people, Jesus waited until the middle of the week of feasting to quietly enter the temple. The Jewish authorities were seeking to kill Him, so He didn’t want to come in drawing attention to Himself. It was a normal occurrence within the temple for a Rabbi to expound on the truths of Law, so He began teaching the people seated around Him. As far as the Jewish religious leaders knew, Jesus had never studied under a prominent rabbi or had other formal religious education; but they had to acknowledge He had clear understanding of the scriptures. So they were wondering where on earth He had learned this stuff. He didn’t learn it on earth but in His home in Heaven! If they had believed He was the Messiah, they would not need to wonder at all. The Lord would, of course, understand the word of God since He was THE WORD incarnate! He was the scripture in the flesh!

 

John 7:16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone's will is to do God's will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.

 

Jesus taught what was given to Him by the Father who had sent Him from Heaven to reveal God to the world and ultimately to redeem His children on the cross. He explained that those who truly desire to do God’s will are able to discern God’s truth when they hear it. Those who trust and depend on Jesus as their source of life, strength, and understanding are the ones who want to obey Him. This is still true today. If we are His sheep, we will recognize the Shepherd’s voice and follow Him (John 10:27). Jesus explains that you can know the fakes because they are glory hounds and have their own self-serving agenda. Jesus was continually glorifying the Father rather than pointing to Himself. It wasn’t about Jesus but about the One who sent Him. Jesus was sent on a mission to earth by the Father. Bottom line – the Father is God, and Jesus is God; so it’s all about God.

 

John 7:19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”

 

Jesus words about the Jews not keeping the Law will become clearer a few verses down, but He is pointing out that even they do not perfectly keep the Law – in this instance, the traditional Sabbath regulations. Jesus asked the haters why they had murder in their hearts concerning Him. As we studied earlier, Jesus (because He is God) knew they were plotting to kill Him eventually.

 

John 7:20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?”

 

This is not the only place in scripture where Jesus is accused of having a demon. We will see a couple of others in chapters 8 and 10 of John, and this accusation is also found in Matthew 12:24. Jesus was either a looney toon, inherently evil, or He was exactly who He claimed to be, the Son of God and Messiah. No one admitted to their murderous thoughts, but that doesn’t matter because Jesus knew the intentions of their hearts. He could see right through them; and by the way, He can see right through you and me as well.

 

John 7:21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it.

 

Jesus is referring to the one sign He had done in their area, the healing of the lame man by the pool of Bethesda which we studied in John 5:1-15. The point of argument comes from the fact that Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath. The Jewish leaders considered this “work”; and, therefore, forbidden.

 

John 7:22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

 

A baby was supposed to be circumcised at eight days old. If the eighth day happened to fall on the Sabbath, they still observed this holy command. They performed the surgery which would be considered “work” on the prescribed day even though technically that would be breaking Sabbath traditions. Jesus asked them how they could begrudge the lame man soundness of body on the Sabbath if they broke tradition for circumcisions. Surely, it couldn’t be wrong to make a man whole! Jesus is saying, “Don’t jump to conclusions. Assess the facts!” For example, I have a friend whose Christian band plays in a bar regularly. Don’t be quick to judge…they play Christian music and witness to the patrons. Jesus may have done “work” on the Sabbath, but can healing someone ever be wrong or unrighteous? This is what He was asking them to consider. In healing the man, Jesus was worshiping and bringing glory to God. How could this be wrong at any time or any place?

 

Q – All three of the other Gospels relate an occasion when Jesus declared that He was Lord of the Sabbath. Jesus knew His actions were righteous and that His accusers were steeped in traditions of men rather than the true spirit of the Old Testament Law. Do we sometimes judge people based on the particular traditions of our denominations even though they may not be strictly Biblical? Before judging others look at your own behavior and take time to consider that the Lord knows a person’s motives and only He can truly judge. Be slow to form a hasty opinion of someone, and take time to examine the fruit of their walk.

 

Gospel of John - Chapter 7 - Lesson 1

Posted on March 29, 2016 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Unbelieving Siblings

 

John 7:1 (ESV) After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.

 

After giving the discourse and declaration about being The Bread of Life, Jesus continued moving about in the region of Galilee. He did not return to Judea because He was aware of the plot to kill Him. It was not that He feared death but simply that the perfect time the Father had ordained for His sacrifice had not yet arrived. The cross was not a surprise or mere happenstance to Jesus. It was the plan and purpose of God from before the foundation of the earth.

 

Revelation 13:8 (KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

 

The time Jesus remained in Galilee was approximately seven months since He spoke about the Bread of life at Passover (April) and it is now time for the Feast of Booths (October). This time was probably dedicated to mentoring His disciples, those who believed He was the Messiah. Jesus invested a great deal of time training the Apostles (messengers, witnesses) who would be responsible for telling the world His story, for the advancement of the Gospel, after He had been crucified, risen, and ascended.

John 7:2 Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand.

 

The Feast of Booths or Tabernacles called Sukkoth was a harvest festival celebrated by the Jews. For an entire week, the Jews would live in booths (outdoor shelters) to remind them how their ancestors lived in tents and temporary shelters during the time of wandering in the wilderness, and God provided for them. We found an excellent article on this feast and how it relates to Jesus here:

http://considerthegospel.org/blog/2015/09/23/the-feast-of-tabernacles-layered-like-an-onion-with-meaning/

 

John 7:3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him.

 

Matthew lists Jesus’ brothers’ names as James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas.

 

Matthew 13:54-55 (VOICE) He came to Nazareth, the town where He had grown up. He taught at the local synagogue, and the people were astonished.

People: Is this our little Jesus? Is this Mary’s son? Is this the carpenter’s son? Is this Jesus, brother of James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Didn’t we just see His sisters yesterday at the market? Where did He learn all this? Whence His power?

 

These men were actually only half-brothers to the Lord Jesus because Joseph was the biological father of James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas; but he was the bonus dad of Jesus. Of course, Jesus’ Father was God.

 

Jesus’ brothers were saying, “Go be a show off, so we can make a big hoo-hah that you are our brother, and raise the roof!” They wanted Jesus to do miracles, great exploits of Messianic proportion, in Judea like He had done in Galilee to prove He was the Son of God. This was the brothers’ litmus test of whether this person they grew up with was truly the Messiah – if the Jewish powers that be in Judea believed Him, they would. His own brothers needed Jesus to pass an authenticity test of His Messiahship and Son-ship before they would believe. We know from scripture that at least James and Judas (Jude) ultimately came to believe Jesus but not until He had risen from the dead!

 

John 7:6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.

 

Jesus said these same words – “My time has not yet come” – to His mother, Mary, at the wedding in Cana. He constantly had to remind people, even His own family, that He was not on His own timetable. Everybody was always trying to rush Him! Jesus, however, knew the Father had a specific timetable for the events of His earthly life. God is sovereign over time. The people wanted microwave, on demand, miracles and theology, but Jesus was a slow cooker. Did Susan just call Jesus a crockpot? I think her point is that God has a perfect plan, and we should not try to rush Him when things don’t seem to be going our way. When they don’t seem to make sense at all. Slow cooked meat is always more tender, juicy, and flavorful. The Bible teaches us that there are rewards for those who respect God’s timing:

 

Isaiah 40:31 (NASB) Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

 

For Jesus’ brothers any time that THEY said was the right time, was the perfect time. They had no direction but their own self-gratification. Jesus was laser focused on God’s target, but his brothers suffered from a case of aimlessness. Since they did not yet believe, they wanted to see more “proof,” irrefutable evidence. Jesus never “performed” in response to unbelief. His miracles were always done as a result of someone’s faith.

 

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.

 

Jesus identified the reason for the world’s hatred of Him. No one likes to face the fact that they are a sinner. Jesus confronted sin boldly. Any work that is not surrendered to Jesus’ purpose is worthless, evil. When you are not surrendered to God’s will, you are against Him whether you realize it or not.

 

Matthew 12:30 (NASB) He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

 

We do not like to hear that our works done in our own power are not sufficient to impress God, that our self-effort is useless.

 

Matthew 12:46-50 (ESV) While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

 

We cannot earn our salvation. Jesus pointed out the fact that all men fall short to help them see their need for a Savior, to enable them to trust Him. Without the power of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, nothing of eternal substance and value can be accomplished. This concept will really be developed in John chapter 15, so stick with us!

 

John 7:8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

 

Jesus was saying, “You go on, boys.” Jesus did not reveal that He would follow later because He did not want His siblings to have time to construct a billboard announcing His arrival. He did not them to fashion a megaphone or bullhorn and proclaim the coming of the wonder-worker. Jesus wanted His entry into Jerusalem to be somewhat incognito at first, so He stayed behind awhile.

 

John 7:10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.

 

Jesus did not make a lot of noise as He came into the city, but entered discretely. Remember, the Jewish religious leaders sought to kill Him, but it was not yet time; so He avoided them. God was intricately in control of every movement, every action of both Jesus who was being obedient AND the evildoers who wanted Him dead. God is meticulously weaving history to reveal HIS story.

 

John 7:11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?”

 

The Jews, as Jesus foreknew, were looking all over for Him because they calculated that He would not miss the Feast of Booths. The Jews in this context are the Leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, etc.) that were hostile to Jesus. Their intent in looking for Him was to do Him harm. The people in the next verse are the throngs of common people there for the feast.

 

John 7:12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

 

The crowd had divided opinions of Jesus. Even those who said He was a good man were not acknowledging Him as Messiah or Son of God. Others thought He was deceptive and leading the people in a wrong direction. But all of this was done in whispers and murmurs because the people feared the religious authorities. It was all in gossip-like undertones.

 

Q – People still debate about Jesus, and are still divided about Him. Many acknowledge Him as a good man but do not recognize the reality of His deity. Some still think of Jesus as a deceiver and say the disciples stole and hid His body, denying the resurrection. Then there are the relatively few who trust Him as Savior, Lord, King, and God! The few who know that Jesus is the ONLY way to God the Father. Where do you stand in the debate about Jesus Christ?