Day 7 – Nick
So here we are, 1/3rd of the way through John’s eye-witness gospel account of the life of Jesus. If you’re tracking with us, thanks! If you haven’t been, you still can!
*Next Week* we have great guest articles from one of my closest friends Olau Thomassen, my brother-in-law, John Bagg, who heads up WEC International in the UK, and my very wise Mum
When you fill your mind with Jesus, watch what happens!
Summary of Chapter 7
Verses 1-13: There continues to be a strange paradox between the disciple’s half-hearted devotion to Jesus as their Lord, Teacher and the Messiah of Israel, and their refusal to fully submit to His timing and leadership. Sound familiar? It’s bizarre to me: on the one hand, (when Jesus had given them the option of leaving along with the rest of the deserters), Peter replies with resolve that, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words of eternal life…’ (6:68), but on the other they were trying to boss Jesus’ schedule, specifically around the imminent Feast of Tabernacles. This theme of spiritual blindness isn’t a motif for one chapter, it’s a theme for the entire book.
Verse 5 of John 7 is a heart-breaker for me:
For even His own brothers did not believe in Him.
Verses 14-24: Jesus’ timing, as mentioned above, is of central importance in this chapter. There are repeated times when the Pharisees tried to over-rule His timing by trying to kill Him, seize Him, make Him King by force etc, but the ways and timings of God were not going to be frustrated by the impatience and short-sightedness of man. Jesus goes to the Festival of Tabernacles in His own time.
Though God is constantly everywhere – transcendentally present in ‘secret sovereignty’ – He has His own particular timing for specific events when He will unveil His presence in a special way. (A W Tozer calls this manifest presence of God the divine immanence). This is exactly what happens during this public, Jewish festival: Jesus is secretly present in the background, watching, listening, waiting and then He suddenly emerges on the scene, as though the leading Character from behind a theatre curtain, not at the behest of His brothers or nay-sayers, but to fulfil the will of His Father. As He started teaching in the initial exchanges with the Jewish people and the religious leaders, Jesus was,
…seeking the glory of the One Who sent Him… (v 18)
Verses 25-44: Division intensifies within the festival in these verses – it’s all kicking off as the misconceptions of the promised Messiah are unpicked by the Messiah Himself! As the festival reaches its pinnacle, so too does the intensity of the Self-revelation of Christ.
Jesus raises His voice on two occasions – verse 28 and 37 – verse 28 relates to the knowledge of the Father and verse 37 relates to the knowledge of the Spirit. Both of these verses should be highlighted in our bibles. Imagine Jesus raising His voice! Relationship within the Trinity is of pre-eminent importance and our intimacy with the Father, via the promised Spirit, is our adopted inheritance!
Jesus’ came to bring this message – some accepted Him others thought He was possessed by a demon.
Verses 45-52: The extent of the division regarding Jesus’ identity spread into the inner courts of the Sanhedrin where our friend Nicodemus appears again. It’s clear that Jesus, as the Word of God, was,
…alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword…penetrating even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
This dividing of soul and spirit transcended even close-knit Pharisaical friendships.
Key Thoughts from Chapter 5
- The schizophrenic shift between the worshipful adoration of Jesus and the bossing of Him around, as though we were God, is an aspect of this chapter that smacked me between the eyes. Belief in Jesus as Saviour, Comforter, Wisdom-Provider are all well and good. But we’re also supposed to simply believe Him including when it looks as though He should do something else or change the timing of things. Our trust in Jesus can be utterly complete so that we can rest assured and fall asleep with Him even on the highest of waves.
- When Jesus raises His voice in verse 28 I get goose-bumps – I’ve simply written ‘WOW’ in my margin. Jesus is preaching about His Daddy! It is clear from the text that, in this moment, Jesus is particularity impassioned. For the spirits of men, the raising of His voice could reasonably be imagined to be like the crashing of the waves of a tsunami, the thunder claps of an electrical storm or the trumpet blast at the start of a procession. He is the roaring Lion of Judah.
Prayers from Chapter 7
Jesus! You are our everything! We love thinking about You! We love talking about You! We love writing about You! We praise You for Your love and patience with us which is immense. Help us to be Your brothers and sisters who simply believe You. Father, it’s amazing to see Your Son deal with the unbelieving humanity of this passage knowing that some would slander and some would worship. Help us to follow His example to preach the gospel with boldness and we really pray today for the rivers of living water to rise up in and though our lives. Oh God – thank you for saving us and giving us faith. We love You. Amen