How is everyone going in studying the book of John? Today, we are going to begin chapter seven. I hope and pray that your faith is deepening as you study who Jesus is as well as discovering who you are in your flesh. I also hope that you are realizing that we all are on this journey together. We all battle with our flesh in the same arena. No one is singled out. We can relate to each other and encourage one another. While we become more cognizant of the sins that lurk within us, we know that the love of Jesus will not allow us to stay the same. This is great news! God transforms us into people who are alive inside and out! We become a people united in love. We now are living each day with heaven in mind.
QUESTION: What would your day look like if you kept heaven as your focus?
Let’s continue on our journey. Read John 7:1-9. We are getting a snippet into the personal life of Jesus with his siblings. It must have been hard to be a sibling of His. You know He was His mom and dad’s favorite, He never messed up. He never got scolded, except when He was 12. You can read about it in Luke 2:41-52. Other than that, Jesus’ siblings had to take the back seat. I guarantee you, jealousy and envy were a part of most arguments within the family.
QUESTION: If you have siblings, how do jealousy and envy rear their ugly heads? These bitter fruits wreak havoc not only when you are young but when you are adults too.
Here’s a little background of what you just read. The events of chapter six took place in the springtime. Chapter seven takes place six months later in the Fall. There is a Jewish Festival of Shelters that happens in October. Jewish people would live outdoors in booths made of branches for seven days to commemorate God’s provisions to their forefathers who wandered in the wilderness. They would rest from their normal work. This was a time of reflection for God’s people. God delivered them from the harsh hand of Egypt and He protected them in the wilderness for 40 years. It was a celebration of God’s continued provision. You can read about this in Leviticus 23:33-44.
Scripture says that Jesus traveled around Galilee for six months. What he did in that time is not recorded. We read that He wanted to stay out of Judea for the Jewish leaders were plotting His death. His brothers, though, saw things differently.
QUESTION: Reread verses 3-4. What did Jesus’ brothers want Him to do and why?
We continue to see how man’s thinking has a narrow view which is biased. His siblings knew that there would be a lot of people during the festival and Jesus should be showing off His grand talents! “Show yourself to the world!”, they proclaimed. Wouldn’t we help out our sibling too? “Bro, it’s amazing the powers you have! You need to let the world see.”
QUESTION: How would you react if you had a sibling that had great talent? What would be some benefits of having a family member well-known? Would you desire a piece of his famous pie?
QUESTION: What does verse 5 say? Would this be a problem for you? Jesus’ brothers had trouble seeing beyond the fact that they were related. They struggled with seeing Jesus as their God.
Jesus’ response reveals a great deal about His relationship with God. Verse 6 says, “Now is not the right time for me to go”, while verse 8 says, “My time has not yet come.” His brothers can attend anytime but Jesus is under His Father’s authority. So, He remained in Galilee. He lived by the words of His Father. Jesus walked obediently to those words. Every act of His will is founded in God the Father. He is our example of how to conduct our lives.
INSIGHT: Our conduct must be of obedience, obedience to the Holy Spirit and what He is asking of us. This is how we live daily with heaven in mind. If Jesus lived this way and He is the way to God, then we must also follow suit.
Think back to the Garden where Adam and Eve did not follow what God told them. They made their own choice which resulted in God separating them from Himself. They were sent out into the world where evil reigns. Now remember, God loves man very, very much. Instead of leaving man to grovel around until he dies, God sent His Son to save those who want to be saved. Every person chooses where they will go after they take their last breath on earth. There is a day, in our future, where He will be returning again to redeem His creation back from evil.
QUESTION: What would your life look like if you followed Jesus like He followed His Father? What would your marriage look like or how you raise your children? How would you go about your day, at work, play or anything in between?
Jesus’ siblings were free to go wherever but He wasn’t. He only moved forward and spoke after receiving direction from God. People who live in the world apart from Christ, are free to come and go as they please. While this appears to be the right way, it isn’t. Do you realize that this a false freedom?
QUESTION: How can living the way you want be a false freedom, where you can come and go as you please? From what we are learning, what is a person’s outcome when they leave this earth without Christ? Since no one knows when their last breath will be, are you living with heaven in mind?
Jesus remained in Galilee. Next week, we will continue on as Jesus does attend the Festival and begins teaching. Until then, continue learning and maturing in your walk with God. It starts with a listening ear, an open heart which leans towards truth and a mindset willing to change. We are followers of Christ which means we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. God’s way of doing life is beyond anything we can imagine! It’s time to grab hold of the love that takes us to infinity and beyond!