Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 7:9-10 After He had said these things, He stayed in Galilee. After His brothers had gone up to the festival, then He also went up, not openly but secretly.
Jesus knew confrontation with the religious leaders was inevitable, but continued His mission, daring to appear in Jerusalem. Jesus, who had recently been avoiding the conspirators, now proved His motive had been prudence, not fear or cowardice.
By avoiding the assailants, Jesus showed we are not rashly to court danger, but should avoid it unless it lies directly in the path of duty. It would have been imprudent for Jesus to rush headlong into danger prematurely.
Though cautious, He at the same time refused to be detoured from the course of His duty. We must never for the sake of life forsake the purpose of life.
Though danger was imminent, Jesus continued on His appointed path. He carried on in the face of adversities. The leaders wanted Him dead, and now His family became a difficulty under which He labored, yet He persisted.
Many who have been publicly opposed at least had the support of family. Jesus was denied even this solace. He can sympathize with those who stand alone. He drank this bitter cup. His religion excluded Him, His national leaders hated Him, His brothers shunned Him.
Many Christians walk alone, following in the lonely footsteps of Jesus. This makes the Christian way difficult. This loneliness often troubles believers to the point of making them feel guilty.
Believers sometimes blame themselves for their family and friends remaining in sin. When tempted to do this, always look at our Lord. Though He was flawless, His brothers did not believe, and one of His friends betrayed Him.
Do your best, and follow the precepts of Scripture, but leave results to God. However lonely the way becomes, follow Jesus= example and carry on.
John 7:11-13 The Jews were looking for Him at the festival and saying, AWhere is He?@ And there was a lot of discussion about Him among the crowds. Some were saying, AHe=s a good man.@ Others were saying, ANo, on the contrary, He=s deceiving the people.@ Still, nobody was talking publicly about Him because they feared the Jews.
Jerusalem was abuzz about Jesus. The crowds were debating about Him. They could not agree on a category into which Jesus fit.
Some called Him a deceiver. A kinder category was Agood man,@ which indicated awareness of His character, but a lack of perception as to the full extent of what He was.
Many who have no bad thoughts of Christ have low thoughts of Him. They do not honor Him when they speak well of Him, because they do not say enough.
Truth is, Jesus fits neatly in no human category. To describe Him, a Divine category is needed. Napoleon well said, AI know men, and Jesus Christ is more than a man.@
Fear kept this crowd from speaking openly about Christ. Cowardice often does the same to us. The world must clearly be told in bold ringing tones that we believe in Christ, who someday will judge all the world.
Ian Maclaren told preachers, whenever they preach, they should say a good word for Jesus. This should be the motto for every conversation of our lives.
John 7:14-16 (Holman) When the festival was already half over, Jesus went up into the temple complex and began to teach. Then the Jews were amazed and said, AHow does He know the Scriptures, since He hasn=t been trained?@ Jesus answered them, AMy teaching isn=t Mine but is from the One who sent Me.
The crowd thought only an accredited teacher was entitled to expound Scripture, but Jesus was not formally trained in theology. They were amazed to hear a man who had not been to rabbinic school speak with such authority.
In Judaism, no person was allowed to be self-authorized. A teacher had to cite authorities for all important statements. Realizing His era did not value originality, Jesus made it clear He did not claim to be His own authority. He asserted His authority was God.
Jesus claimed to be teaching something He had learned in another world. This is where many preachers and teachers fail. They have a one world message. A teacher sent from God must choose thoughts that come inspired from the Holy Spirit. Study and gather material. Then let the Spirit quicken it or all is vain.
The leaders thought there was only one way to learn God=s truths. Unless lessons were taught a certain way, they were not to be presented at all.
Into this comfortable, proper setting Jesus exploded. When He arrived, Jerusalem became a storm-center. Jesus was guilty of committing the crime of Awe never did it that way before.@
The Galilean carpenter took over the temple crowds and dared to interpret the Scriptures for them. Jesus enjoyed freedom from tradition and left it as a legacy for His followers.
Thank God for freedom to rise above formality and tradition. We Baptists enjoy the spirit of religious liberty. We don=t even have to act like other Baptists.
We are free to follow God=s directions as we interpret them. More than one path leads to spiritual success. Let adventurous believers dare to seek out new paths as God leads. The dividing line must be theology, not methodology. As long as a person believes the Bible, promotes Jesus as Lord, and tells the lost how to be saved, leave him or her alone. The Lord is their Judge.
Christ uses all kinds of servants because it takes all kinds to reach the masses. Paul said, AI have become all things to all people, so that I may by all means save some@ (I Corinthians 9:22).