Saturday, June 20, 2015

John 7:14-36 comments - at the Feast of Tabernacles

14 ¶  Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15  And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16  Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18  He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 19  Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 20  The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 21  Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. 22  Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. 23  If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? 24  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. 25  Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? 26  But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? 27  Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. 28  Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 29  But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. 30  Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. 31  And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? 32  The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. 33  Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. 34  Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. 35  Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? 36  What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?

In the middle of the feast Jesus began teaching in the temple. The Jews were amazed because they knew that this man was supposedly uneducated.  The implication is that they thought He was illiterate. So, the Jews are amazed at both His miracles and His knowledge although they did not believe Him because they thought they knew Him and we know that familiarity does often set our expectations, as mentioned previously.

Mark 6:2  And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3  Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.

But, Jesus explains that what He has to give them came directly from God the Father, the seat of will of self-identity, the soul of God, if you will receive it. Jesus is glorifying God the Father, as His representative on earth, in what He says and does. Are we?

Jesus accuses them in that Moses gave them the Law but they don’t keep it. Paul makes a similar argument in talking of how the law does not justify men in his argument in the first chapters of Romans as the Jews who have the Law do not keep it and the Gentiles, who don’t have the Law, often follow its precepts not meaning to, as a law unto themselves.

The same can be said for those of us who are conservative Christians, who might call themselves fundamentalists, as we are notorious for gossiping when we say we aren’t, committing fornication in our hearts when we say we’re pure in that regard, and being filled with hate and envy when we are told that is not of God. This goes right along with seeking wealth for its own sake, power to dominate others, and adopting the world’s standards of entertainment and pleasure. We have a standard as well from God and don’t follow it ourselves.

In verse 20, in response to Jesus accusing them of wanting to kill Him, the Jews accuse Him of being possessed by a devil. By doing so we are shown that it was expected that one of the consequences of having a devil was thought to be confusion and paranoia.  This is basically what they are accusing him of. Remember how King Saul became when an evil spirit attended him in 1Samuel 16, 18, and 19? In the context the Jews are accusing Jesus of being controlled by a devil. A similar thing is done in Mark 3:29.

Jesus healed the handicapped man at the pool in the first part of chapter 5 and this was done on the Sabbath so the Jews wanted to kill Him for that. Jesus pointed out that the Jews obeyed Moses who ordered them to be circumcised, a requirement of God that came down from before Moses’ time. This could be done on the Sabbath. So, they found it no issue to remove part of a man on the Sabbath but were angry that Jesus had made a man whole on the Sabbath. Go figure. He tells them not to judge things by the way they look but to judge them by a righteous judgment, which could be taken to mean, by the context, to judge things for what they really mean, not by your slavish devotion to ritual and vain repetition to try to justify yourselves before God. In this, Jesus appears to be likening circumcision, being made one of God’s people by a sign, with being healed, made whole, by God, both of them being good things to have done on a Sabbath day.

Then, some of them ponder how He can speak so openly and boldly when so many are out to get him? They wonder if the rulers actually think He is the Christ, the Messiah to come. They then express their disbelief because they claim they know Jesus personally but no one is supposed to know the Messiah, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2) For, as Jesus in Hebrews 7:1-3 has Melchisedec as a type of Himself, perhaps even it was Him, it has been argued, they did not truly know from whence He was, as He came from God.

In verse 26 modern versions remove, “very,” which takes the emphasis away that these Jews are asking, do the rulers think this is the true Christ?

Starting in verse 28 Jesus declares that they know Him. Presumably, from the context He is saying that they think they know Jesus but the one that sent Him they do not know, and that is God the Father. Back in verses 17 and 18 Jesus had made the statement that if a person was doing God’s will he would understand the doctrine that Jesus delivered from the Father. The point that righteousness flows from seeking God’s glory and not your own is an important point to understand. Put away your justifications for the desires of your flesh, your paranoia, your bigotry, and your fear. Seek to lift up God, not the world or your flesh. Righteousness is not found in your human heart, but only in God through Christ.

Jesus knows the Father because He came from the Father with the Father’s instructions. Again the Jews try to apprehend Him but He does not permit Himself to be caught because it is not in His timetable to be taken at this time. People then believed on Him with a question, as if another person claiming to be the Messiah came (and I have read that many did) could he do more miracles than Jesus? It appears to be a very weak statement of faith but people have come to Christ saying that His doctrine makes the most sense, answers the most questions about life, or is  the most consistent religious belief, and who else offers more than this? They’ll be the first to run in a pinch, though.

The Pharisees become even more vexed and the chief priests send the police to grab Jesus. We go from a mob to the authorities who want to end His ministry now. This is what you would expect to be directed by Satan who was denied in three attempts to subvert Jesus’ mission, if you recall Luke 4 and Matthew 4.

Then, Jesus speaks vaguely about the end of His mission on earth. He’s going to be leaving soon and they cannot go where He is going. They ask the question, is He going to spread His message among the Jews dispersed among the Gentile nations? What does He mean by saying He will be with us for a little while and we’ll look for Him and not find Him and where He is going we cannot come?

This is a puzzle to them. At this point the question has arisen whether or not the Jewish leadership believes Jesus, as they seem to be making little effort to arrest Him. A question of authority, a tension is created, and the credibility of the leadership is challenged. Jesus warns them that there is little time left for them to believe. Officers have been sent with orders to bring Him in but God’s timetable is certain and now is not the time.

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