Whisper louder

Whisper louder

John 7: 30-37

At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?” 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. 33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”

In verse 13 the crowd were afraid to say anything about Jesus publicly for fear of the religious leaders.

Intimidation will keep you silent. It will keep you just talking privately with those of the same kind. Intimidation silences the Church.

The whisper needs to become loud so that it can be heard, v32:

“No one can perform more miracles than Jesus.”

“We have convincing evidence that Jesus is the Messiah.” (Message)

“No one will do more signs than Jesus, he is the Christ” (NKJV)

Let us all find the courage to whisper louder.

 

Looking at Jesus we see God

Looking at Jesus we see God

John 7: 26-29 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” 28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

There was a belief at the time that the Messiah would suddenly appear from nowhere and no one would know where he had come from.

The problem was that they knew the background of Jesus and where he was from, so he couldn’t be the Messiah.

Jesus could have given lots of replies but he perhaps strangely agrees with them, at first. “You know where I am from.” But then continues to let them know they don’t know the person who sent him and where he is really from. They don’t know God.

The reason people cannot accept Jesus is because they don’t really know God. Know the Father know the Son, know the Son know the Father.

The closer we get to Jesus, the more like Him we become and as we follow Him, then we get to know God. Let’s turn our eyes upon Jesus.

 

The enemy never controls your life.

The enemy never controls your life.

John 7

V1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him… V19-20 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” 20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you? … V25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?

 

Jewish leaders were asking how? v1

Jesus was asking why? v19

The crowd (pilgrims) were asking who? v20

Some of the people were asking when? v25

 

Maybe today you are feeling storm-battered. Perhaps you are facing the onslaught of people speaking ill of you. Criticism can hurt so badly it takes you to the brink. You may be wondering why. (Though Jesus question was related to why were they going to break the law by killing him though offended he broke the law by healing on the Sabbath?) But you may be questioning why you are facing such attacks. Criticism can hurt so badly it takes you to the brink. Yesterday sadly a celebrity presenter took her own life because of such attacks.

What we will be reminded of in this chapter and throughout the gospel is that our time is not in the hands of anyone except God the Father who loves us immensely.

Secure in that we can live out our lives despite threats to de-stabilise us, confident in God and His purpose for our lives, no matter the attacks we face.

 

 

Inconsistency

Inconsistency

John 7: 19-24

Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” 20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” 21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

Remember the man who was invalid for 38 years who Jesus healed on the Sabbath? Jesus does. He reminds them. He tells them that they are inconsistent.

A baby boy has to be circumcised on the 8th day and if that day happens to be the Sabbath the ceremony still goes ahead, thus breaking the Sabbath. They keep one part of the law but break another because it suits. They are inconsistent. The invalid man being healed on the Sabbath, was this wrong in light of the baby boy’s circumcision?

We have all fallen into the error of judging by what we see. First impressions count but they can be wrong. This week there was a government cabinet re-shuffle and people lost their jobs and so many judged. I don’t know enough information to know whether it was wrong or not. I wasn’t in the room.

We assess, judge and conclude and often we can be miles from the truth.

Our perspective is often not showing us the entire picture of what we have just witnessed. Let us give people more room to give their reasoning for certain things. Let us grace them with the opportunity to help us understand. We desire that from God for our own lives and He has the perfect perspective. So how much more us. Let us strive for consistency.

It is not about us

It is not about us

John 7: 15-19 “The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” 16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.”

May the world see God not us, v16

Behind every rabbi was the teacher who taught that rabbi. That’s who people would look for. Jesus says, ‘Behind me is God.’ In all that we say and do, may our world see God.

May people discover the truth of what we say as they are obedient to God, v17

The Gospel isn’t always received well. Usually people don’t want to obey God because of the challenge it brings to do so. But those that do then come to realise the truth of our words.

May we not get in the way through our ambition to be seen and heard, v18

Sacrifice is the way to bring glory to God. There isn’t another way. As we surrender our lives to Him and love Him sacrificially by going to those who need Him then He will be glorified. We need to decrease so He can increase. We need to be less so He can be more. We need to get out of the way so others can find the way to Him.

Where is He?

Where is He?

John 7 v 14

“Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach.”

  1. He is there in Jerusalem but for the first few days of the week long Sukkoth festival (Tabernacles) no one knows where he is. He is in hiding, there, but no one is aware.

They are celebrating God’s provision (a water ceremony) and His presence (an illumination ceremony) through the Wilderness years (a redemptive story). Whilst the people are thinking on their ancestors and especially the redeemer, Moses, The Redeemer of God is in the city but he is yet to go to the Temple.

  1. It is halfway through. It is in the middle. Is Jesus coming or not? I don’t think so. He would have come by now if he was coming. There is another half to go but it doesn’t look likely.

 

  1. Jesus goes into the Temple courts and performs a miracle of healing, feeds another crowd from a few loaves and fish and carries out a supernatural act akin to the walking on the water. He does none of these, though he could have chosen to do so. He went to the Temple to teach. Moses was given the Torah (literally means teaching), the first 5 Old Testament books and taught the Word of God to the people. Here comes Jesus, the Word and he chooses rightfully to teach.

So?

  1. Jesus is nearer to you than you realise. You may not see him but he is with you. STOP WORRYING, Jesus is in the city.
  2. It’s not over yet. You may be wondering if Jesus will show up and do something. It’s halfway, it’s not over yet. What is in front of you is better than what is behind you. KEEP THE FAITH.
  3. He is the Word. You may think today you need His provision or His presence but you always need His teaching. His Word formed in you changes you. Take it with you today, memorise it and MEDITATE on it throughout the day. Your circumstances may not change but you will change for the better.

True discipleship part 3

True discipleship part 3

John 7: 2-5

“But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”

It is time to leave this God-forsaken region, this Gentile area, you are too good for this place.

It is time to move up a gear, to go to the applauded stage of the world, to be seen and heard, to be given the recognition you deserve.

‘No’, said Jesus and He introduces us to truths that we need to carry in our life.

Never follow those who don’t believe in you.

If you want to become a public figure then this is not the right time to be so.

Learning to live in secret is the secret.

 

All in good time, God’s time.

All in good time, God’s time.

John 7: 1-12

“After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. 10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” 12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.”

The feast was not only a remembrance to the wilderness when their ancestors wandered around staying in tents but it was significant for looking to the coming Messiah who when he came would gain the victory over the Romans.

His brothers wanted him to go public at the Festival. They didn’t know the time.

The Jewish leaders were anticipating him to be on public display at the Festival. They never recognised the time.

The crowds were divided in their opinion about him. Their time was now and for what they could get.

However, Jesus knew his time had not arrived yet.

Don’t let people dictate your course.

Don’t let their expectations intimidate you into stepping into a place that God hasn’t prepared for you yet.

Don’t worry over the opinions and judgments of others. It is God’s time or no time.

Stay in control of your time.

True discipleship part 2

True discipleship part 2

John 6: 68-71

“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)”

True discipleship is when the crowds have left.

True discipleship is when there is nowhere to go that compares to where you are with Jesus.

True discipleship is following the vocabulary of heaven.

True discipleship is a journey of becoming totally convinced in who Jesus is.

True discipleship lives in the environment where the false also lives.

Don’t turn back

Don’t turn back

John 6: 66-67

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. 67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

Some of you know my roots are in The Salvation Army and I have some of their songs on my playlists. In 1985 (which seems like only a few years ago but is actually 35!) John Gowans, who later became the General of the S.A, wrote a musical for a Youth conference, it was entitled Man Mark II. He was burdened about the future of the SA, that he saw many taken up with the organisation, administration, finances etc and not with the mission of God. He actually could have been speaking to the many traditional and Pentecostal/charismatic streams today! One of his songs fits our verses this morning. It is called I’ll not turn back.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8dqWHKdn3I)

Please read the lyrics slowly.

If crosses come, if it should cost me dearly
To be the servant of my Servant Lord,
If darkness falls around the path of duty,
And men despise the Saviour I’ve adored:

I’ll not turn back, whatever it may cost;
I’m called to live to love and save the lost.
I’ll not turn back, whatever it may cost;
I’m called to live to love and save the lost.

If doors should close, then other doors will open;
The Word of God can never be contained.
His love cannot be finally frustrated,
By narrow minds or prison bars restrained.

If tears should fall, if I am called to suffer,
If all I love men should deface, defame,
I’ll not deny the One that I have followed,
Nor be ashamed to bear my Master’s name.

That was 35 years ago. But wherever you are today and whichever denomination or not you are worshipping within, this song should be sung. More than that the question of Jesus 2,000 years ago needs to be heard right across the churches: You do not want to leave too, do you?