John 7:1-31 (NRSV)
The Unbelief of Jesus’ Brothers
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. 2Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near.
The festival of Booths, also known as the Feast of Tabernacle, was a joyful, week-long celebration, when families camped out in “booths” made of branches and leaves to remember God’s faithfulness to Israel during the wilderness wanderings.
3So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; 4for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5(For not even his brothers believed in him.)
6Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil. 8Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
Jesus at the Festival of Booths
10But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret. 11The Jews were looking for him at the festival and saying, “Where is he?” 12And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, “He is a good man,” others were saying, “No, he is deceiving the crowd.” 13Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews.
14About the middle of the festival Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. 15The Jews were astonished at it, saying, “How does this man have such learning, when he has never been taught?”
16Then Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine but his who sent me. 17Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.
from This Day with the Master,
by Dennis F. Kinlaw
TRUTH AS A PERSON
Jesus talked a lot about truth. Note how often the word occurs in the gospel of John. When he spoke about truth, Jesus spoke in personal terms. You will remember that he refused, much to the dismay of many people, particularly the philosophers, to speak of truth in abstraction, as though it existed in itself. He wanted to relate truth to himself and to his Father in an existential way. He even went beyond that; ultimately he identified truth completely with himself and his Father.
The temple authorities, troubled by Jesus and wanting to know the truthfulness of his message, challenged him. He responded, “If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God” (John 7:17).
Jesus thus affirmed the truthfulness of his own teaching in terms of a relationship to his Father. Sometimes we would like to translate that answer into, “Anyone who does the truth will certainly know it.” But that is not the way Jesus spoke or thought. We should never be fooled. There was no truth for Jesus apart from the Father. Truth was simply the Father’s will. Thus personal categories are appropriate when we speak of truth because the ultimate categories are all personal. Ultimately, Jesus is the truth.
If we develop a love affair with the truth and pursue it far enough, we will find the truth. When we find it, we will have found Jesus and that he is the one we need.
19“Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you looking for an opportunity to kill me?” 20The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill you?”
21Jesus answered them, “I performed one work, and all of you are astonished.
See chapter 5, verses 2 through 18.
22Moses gave you circumcision (it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the patriarchs), and you circumcise a man on the sabbath. 23If a man receives circumcision on the sabbath in order that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I healed a man’s whole body on the sabbath?
If it is permitted (even commanded) to do a negative work (such as cutting away the flesh in circumcision) on the Sabbath, why not a positive work (healing a man) that brings wholeness?
24Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
HERE is “Give Me Faith” from Elevation Worship.
Is This the Christ?
25Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? 26And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? 27Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”
28Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from.
I wonder what tone of voice Jesus used when he said this sentence. Was he being a bit sarcastic — “Yeah, right, you think you know me and where I come from, but in reality, it would blow your mind!” Or was he being instructive — “Let’s start with what you know and move on so I can teach you what you don’t know.” Either way, he was, as he always is, speaking the truth.
I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. 29I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
30Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
1) Had I lived in Jesus’ time — would I have believed in him? What would have convinced me — or caused me to doubt? Lord, help me to believe with all my heart and mind and soul now!
2) Jesus speaks often about what is true. Later in John he will declare, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” What does it mean to you that Jesus is truth? How does that fact impact how you think and act?
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.