The Gospel Of John, Chapter 7
Today, when you hear the name "Jesus" spoken out loud in the media, it almost always seems to bring controversy with it. This was even more true when Jesus walked on the earth. People were constantly divided in their opinions of him. Of course, this was no surpise to Jesus. In fact, Jesus said in Matthew 10:35, "I have come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law."
Jesus came to reveal who God is and in doing so, separate the world into two groups: Those who belong to God through their belief, and those who do not.
We continue to see that Jesus is aware of timing. He knows his death is inevitable, but he also knows exactly when it will happen. So he always makes very careful decisions about how much exposure he should have to the public and exactly when. (verses 1-10)
In Chapter 7, Jesus continues to strongly divide people. Ironically, it starts with his own brothers. If they hadn't seen any of his miracles, they would have found it especially hard to believe. After all, this was their big brother. They'd known him all their lives. Seen him scrape his knee while playing and smelled his sweat while working together.
Still, it may be that their unbelief was helped along greatly by the fact that Jesus accused everyone of sin and evil. (See verse 7) No one likes to be told that they've sinned or that they are evil. The Bible is very clear on what is evil and what is good. With such strong absolutes, this is what often makes people so offended by Christianity and the Bible. We all want to do our own thing and quickly play the victim when we feel "judged". And although Christians are not meant to go around waiving a superior finger at unbelievers, Jesus makes no apologies for speaking the truth and clearly defining good and evil.
Jesus also stripped away the trappings of cold religion to get at the heart of what scripture says and values. The religious leaders wanted to uphold the letter of the extra laws they had established as a "compliment" to the law of God. But Jesus cut through the faulty logic of the additional rules for the sabbath they had invented.
Although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the prophetic birthplace of the Messiah, no one bothered to ask Jesus where he was originally from, just assuming he had lived all of his life in Galilee. Many in the crowd dismissed Jesus without exploring him more deeply. This should be an example to us today. Do we really have Jesus figured out? Do we really know who he is? Whether we believe him to be the Son of God or not, both Christians and non-Christians should explore the identity and teachings of this man, or risk putting him in a box and missing out on incredible life-changing truth.
Next Week: Chapter 8- Two sides of Jesus. He forgives, but also warns of judgment. And just exactly who are the "children of God". Are all of us, or just some? We'll explore it all next week!
Question for comment: Do you think of people as naturally leaning more toward good or evil?
(Let your voice be heard! Leave your comment here!)