John 7 Part 2

Resumed from part 1

Our Lord, then, clearly knew that His time had not yet come. He knew that He’d come not to be served but to serve and to give His life away as a ransom for many. Let’s take a look then. He was sensitive to the Father’s timetable. Listen to these verses. In John 2:4b, Jesus said,” My hour has not yet come.” In John 7:6, we hear it again, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune.” John 7:8, “My time has not fully come.” John 7:30, “His hour had not yet come. John 8:20, “His hour had not yet come.” So they weren’t able to seize Him.
But by contrast, if you jump over to John 12:23 you hear this word. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” So now the hour has come. In John 13:1, “Jesus knowing that His hour had come, that He would depart out of this world to the Father.” Finally, John 17:1, “Father the hour has come.” So Jesus was exceedingly sensitive to His Father’s timetable.
I fear that most people I work with and myself included is that our timetable is not the same as God’s. I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet but our timetable is always somehow different from His. We have different ideas than God does about what we want to see happen. It’s always He’s later than we want Him to be. It almost never happens that He shows up sooner. He may surprise us in various ways. He’ll do things differently than what we had in mind as well. It always seems that way. Just when you think you had this big vision then He takes it away and says it’s not really what it was. There’s something else. Actually, it will be better at the end but often we don’t see that. We get stuck in our ways.
Remember the paralytic in John 5? Jesus says, “Do you want to get well?” Do you really understand the implications of that? If you really do get well, you can no longer come and expect to be receiving the welfare and the gifts of people and depend upon it. You’ve crafted an identity based upon that.
The poet, W.H. Oden, put it this way, “We would rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die.” It’s a good couplet, a good four lines from Oden. It’s very perceptive. We would rather be ruined than changed. Isn’t that an interesting idea? I think people are terrified of change. That’s really what He’s after. I think that’s one of the main reasons people resist coming to Christ. In fact, if we look at John 7, it’s a paradigm of the fact that people are in a rebellion against God’s purposes and the various responses to God’s Son illustrates that. It would be naïve to suppose that if you present the gospel clearly that people will respond. That’s not the case. There is a need for this supernatural breakthrough. So Oden said we’d rather be ruined than changed. We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the moment. He’s saying that there’s a cross of the moment if you wish to be made well. We then climb the cross of the moment and let our illusions die. So when Christ asks, “Do you want to be made well?” He’s also saying do you prefer your pain to the possibility of change? Some people prefer their pain to the possibility of change because they’re afraid of change.
Where you seek meaning, are you willing to be changed by that meaning? Where you seek understanding, do you really want to find the truth behind the understanding? When you look for help, are you willing to receive instruction as well as the help? When you seek healing, are you willing to be transformed?
It doesn’t come so easy. What we want is a quick fix and God says that’s not the way I work. I have something more profound than that in mind for you. You must respond to that. It’s exactly the same thing we see here each time He presents Himself. There’s a radical implication. I don’t think that our true response comes out until there’s a risk involved. For example, the idea of truly responding to Jesus will involve the risk of public affirmation of Him in spite of the fact that there can be some real conditions where we can be rejected or spurned or hurt by our friends for standing firm in our commitment to Christ. It’s always going to be against the culture. Everybody wants to homogenize everything and say all religions are equally true in spite of the fact that other religions don’t even agree with that. The idea here is that religions aren’t equally true.
I want us to see the need there is for change and the price we’ll be paying for being committed to this truth. It’s not going to be something popular. It’d be a lot easier to say everything is equally good and everybody is going to make it in the end and everybody is going to be happy. That’s not an option we have speaking biblically if we’re going to be faithful to the truth. There’s going to be some real impact that it has on our lives. If we continue on then what we see from His brother’s perspective then is that they were offering the world’s perspective.
John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” That’s why the world hates Me.
John 7:8, “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” He’s using an interesting word there. There’s an ambiguity. The word “to go up” is a word that can also mean His ascension. So there’s the anticipation of the fact that when He goes up to Jerusalem it will be associated when He fully manifests Himself with the completion of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. When the Son is glorified, now the Son is glorified- He’s associating that with the cross but also beyond that with the resurrection and ultimately the ascension. He’s using it in that way.
Misunderstanding often takes place in this gospel. We see a misunderstanding becomes a typical Johannine theme to express how Jesus’ self-disclosure is really beyond the way people can imagine. It’s beyond human imagination. We often have as we’ve seen before, Jesus communicating one thing on one level and people are perceiving Him on a literal level and not grasping what He really as to say.

 

John 7:2-5, “Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For not even His brothers were believing in Him.” They were basically saying that Jesus could go ahead, if You want to make Yourself this Messiah then go ahead and show Yourself. This is a good time to do it. There’s a kind of skepticism here. In spite of all that close contact with Jesus, they were still unbelievers. The reality is that a prophet is not welcome in his own hometown. We often find that kind of reception among people we were raised with. His brothers were basically saying from the world’s perspective, “You want to get a following, here’s the way to do it.” There’s earthly wisdom versus a pearl of divine wisdom that they’re talking about here.
James 3:14-17 discusses two kinds of wisdom- the wisdom that comes from above and the wisdom that comes from below. The wisdom that comes from above is peaceable, righteous and bears good fruit. The wisdom that comes from below is a shrewd kind of craftiness, guile, a cunning approach and that form of earthly wisdom though are natural, earthy and demonic. He’s saying that kind of wisdom doesn’t come from God. What we see in this world here is that you have two different sets of rules we can play by- the earthly versus the divine. The difference between seeking the applause of the crowd like a celebrity or a rockstar and the true success of servanthood is a parallel here with the temptation in Matthew 4. Satan said, Go ahead and show yourself- throw yourself off the Temple- all the kingdoms of the world were shown before Him. Remember that idea there. Satan said if You will bow down before me, You will be worshipped and have all of this. It’s the way that we’re all going to be tempted from time to time- to compromise our convictions.

 

Continued in part 3

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