Considering we live in the age of grace, there certainly is a plethora of opinions on God, Jesus, the Bible and religion. God can’t make it any easier to find Him so why the chaos, division, uncertainty in one’s identity, misunderstanding the value of life as well as differences within denominations?
Let’s help settle the dust of all this confusion by studying God’s word. We are learning as we journey in becoming united in love, that it is imperative that we seek God through His word. By seeking and learning truth, our minds become clearer with understanding. God wants to converse with us about everything, yes, everything! As we do, God not only shifts our mindset towards Him, He also softens and molds our hearts so we align ourselves up with His ways. This enables us to truly love our fellow man.
So, let’s continue on in the book of John and see what else we learn about Jesus and ourselves. Read John 7:10-24. From last week’s lesson, the Festival of Shelters was going on during harvest time. Jesus’ brothers wanted Him to show off His great talents during the festival but we know that Jesus does not go places or say things unless His Father tells Him to. Jesus stayed back as His brothers left for the festivities.
QUESTION: We studied this last week but what were the motives of Jesus’ brothers wanting Him to go to the festival? Is that right or wrong? What was Jesus’ motive?
Now, we read that Jesus secretly went to the festival. He wanted to stay out of public view.
QUESTION: Why is Jesus keeping Himself hidden? Reread verse 11 for added insight. Is it wrong for the religious leaders to want to find Him? Reread verse 13 for help.
INSIGHT: Notice how Jesus follows what God tells Him. He doesn’t let what is going on around Him to dictate His actions and words. He never proceeds forward until He hears from His Father. We are to live like this too. See John 15:5 for added insight. We are to keep ourselves in line with the will of God.
God had a plan. One in which involved His Son and that particular time in John 7 was not the time for what was going to take place later.
QUESTION: From verses 12-13, what are some opinions people had about Jesus? Who do you say He is?
Believing God and following Jesus are choices that each of us need to make on our own. No other person can make these decisions for you. You cannot choose salvation and obedience for another. An example would be a parent choosing salvation for his child. Parents are to teach the ways of God so one day their child chooses salvation. We all must come by our own free will.
QUESTION: Do you find it interesting that no one had the courage to speak favorably about Him in public? How about you?
Back then people shied away from proclaiming Christ in their lives and it is no different today. I find it interesting and I hope you do too that man has not changed. What troubled people back in Jesus’ day are the same troubles today. What was sins back then are the same sins today. This should encourage us. This means that the Bible is relevant for today! So, dig in!
Midway through the festival, Jesus began teaching at the Temple.
QUESTION: What was the people’s response to Him in verse 15?
Our world measures authenticity and greatness through higher education, degrees, specialized training and awards. Here is a man with undeniable wisdom and skill without the worldly stature to back Him up. He caused people to scratch their heads in amazement yet be baffled too. Faith will do that to a person. God has us walk by faith and not by sight, see 2 Corinthians 5:7. They missed seeing Jesus for who He was because they trusted their own thinking, their eyesight and leaned on their feelings.
QUESTION: How does your thinking, eyesight and feelings trip you up in seeing God for who He is? Look up Proverbs 3:5, 2 Corinthians 5:7 and Philippians 4:6 for what God says about this. Did these truths help you to make some changes?
Because God made the universe, He is the ultimate encyclopedia of all areas of study. Jesus is The Teacher, the one who know it all. Jesus carries a doctorate in ever field of study. We forget who He is, don’t we? In our flesh we downplay His authority and elevate ourselves to whatever feeds our fancies.
How did He answer people in verses 16-19?
QUESTION: Jesus came with a message. Who’s message? He gives a promise, a reassurance, in verse 17. What is it? What discernment will you receive?
QUESTION: When someone speaks on behalf of themselves, what do they do according to verse 18? This is the epitome of our humanness, we are selfish. When someone speaks on behalf of the one who sends them, in this case God sent Jesus, one would speak truth about that person.
Jesus will do everything possible to help people come to an understanding of who He is. God wants everyone to come and receive His amazing love! 2 Peter 3:9 states, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent.” He continues in verse 19 that despite having the law from Moses, they still refused to obey it. So, how in the world can they believe Him if they can’t even follow His word?
QUESTION: This is the same dilemma for us today. The Bible has become global and it’s inexpensive to obtain. The average American home has several of them but what is the problem? What about you? Do you follow the God’s word? How much time do you allot to studying truth? It is spiritual food and like physical food, we need it daily.
Jesus tells them that they are trying to kill Him. So far it was only the Jewish leaders who wanted to put a stop to Him but now it appears to be the majority of the crowd!
QUESTION: What did they call Him in verse 20?
When we read verses 21-24, Jesus is indirectly calling them out on their two-faced attitudes. Back in the their day, circumcision was a part of God’s covenant. You can read about it in Genesis 17:9-14. They held to this tradition very closely. Then Jesus heals on the Sabbath, go back and read John 5:1-15. People get all over His case for doing something that they do!
QUESTION: What does Jesus say to them in verse 24? What is He wanting them to see? Read 1 Samuel 16:7 for added insight.
Jesus is wanting us to understand that He takes precedence over all religious traditions, family heritages and anything in between that brings glory to the world or ourselves. His Presence is all we need. We are to give all glory to Him. We are to say, “I am second.” (iamsecond.com) If someone asks you, “who do you say Jesus is?”, what would you say? Are you living like Christ did, totally dependent on our Father and obedient to the Holy Spirit? There is no safer place.