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John 7:25-36, NIV
25 The people of Jerusalem began to ask, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from."
28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me." 30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.
31 Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, "When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?" 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.
33 Jesus said, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come." 35 The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks?"
June 25, 2011Jesus said he was from God. In the presence of these temple-goers in Jerusalem, he proclaimed that God had sent him. Jesus knew where he came from, knew where he was headed and had a real sense of purpose for his life and a vital mission to fulfill.
Maybe we should all re-program our minds and echo his words. Faith allows us to think that way. I am a child of my heavenly Father; therefore I am from God. God is my Maker. For the time being, I may live in Manheim, PA, but that's just a temporary address. My real home is with my Father in heaven.
Our goal is not personal happiness; life is much bigger than that. When we get to know the One who sent Jesus and the One who knit each of us together in our mother's womb, then we can begin to understand the purpose and direction of our lives, too. Like Jesus, we too can claim to be sent by God, each of us with objectives to fulfill. We claim these words, not in arrogance, but with a steady commitment to the task God has for us.
According to John, Jesus also knew his mission would get him killed. Which puts him in a league with very few participants over the centuries, most of whom we call heroes.
More journal entries
July 2, 2011The people are confused. Who is this man? Where did Jesus come from and where is he going. As in all crowds, people talk and pass on what they heard someone else say. All hearsay; no one knows for sure what is going on.
Hence the question, "If the authorities are trying to kill Jesus, why is he speaking openly and unhindered? Jesus said nothing to add clarity for he people in this crowd, just words that would provoke the religious leadership.
Despite the contentious atmosphere, some people did put their faith in Jesus. Why? Because they couldn't conceive of anyone doing anything more miraculous than what they had seen Jesus do.
Then Jesus told them he was going away to some place to which they could not follow. This was another way of saying that Jesus was in control of his own life and no one could have any power over him unless his Father in heaven permitted it. The temple authorities and their henchmen will not arrest Jesus. When the time is right, Jesus will give up his life.
In the meantime here's a riddle you can try to solve -- I will return soon to the one who sent me; you will look for me but will not be able to find me because where I go you cannot follow.
July 19, 1983So far in John's gospel the town of Sychar believed in Jesus, also his mother, John the Baptist, the disciples and those who experienced his miracles. Disbelief is mentioned among the brothers of Jesus and impliedcontinually on the part of the Jewish leaders.
People suspected Jesus' life was in danger. Unless they had a sick loved one who needed healing, it probably didn't matter much to most of them. They thought they knew who he was and where he came from. He was the man currently at odds with their temple leaders. The man most talked about and discussed. The most interesting and controversial person on the scene. But they didn't really know him. Jesus talked; they listened, but they didn't really hear him. Not a problem peculiar to that generation, but one persisting into the present time.
Jesus is the way to the Father. It's like a carousel but how does one get on? Simply by believing in Jesus. Believing with the heart. Deciding to believe and holding firm to that decision. Loving him. It must be a combination of love and will directed toward God through Jesus. Love and will makes for wholehearted devotion.
June 30, 2011Which comes first? Loving someone or knowing them? What is the connection between loving and knowing? Between knowing and loving our friends and neighbors and knowing and loving God?
During a teaching session in the temple courtyard, Jesus told the festival crowd they did not know God. These were the faithful who returned to Jerusalem, maybe annually, to celebrate the faith of their ancestors as they had journeyed from slavery in Egypt to the freedom of their Promised Land. They were people who performed all the religious rites and rituals at the right times.
Yet they did not know God. Sometimes I wonder what exactly we are missing, what it is that we do not get right, as we worship God and claim to follow the teachings of Jesus. Do we "know God" any better today than the people in this gospel story?
February 3, 2002Jesus said he came from heaven and was sent by God. In the natural he came from Nazareth and the home of Joseph and Mary.
Still today we form opinions about people based on where they are from--what region of the world, what section of the country, what part of the city. When our daughter wanted to rent a room in Pittsburgh for a semester of study, the first question the landlady asked was, "Where are you from?" Lancaster County must have been a safe bet, Becky got the room. "Where are you from?" is a common question. I often ask new people I meet in town where they lived before moving here; it's a good conversation starter.
Many people believed in Jesus because of his miracles. Which is perfectly logical and natural. But the Sabbath miracles caused a problem--mixing a right with a wrong. It stirred up the debate of which overrides the other. Did the good of the miracle outweigh the sin of breaking the commandment to not work on the Sabbath? Jesus declared his works good; not everyone was convinced.
July 20, 1983Jesus was teaching in the Temple during the festival, and he stopped in the middle of his discourse to address the concerns at hand. Who was he? The people were misinformed. They didn't even have their head knowledge right or the facts straight. How could they believe in him for salvation when they had wrong impressions as to who he was!
Knowing--oh the bliss of knowing, really knowing, anything. Knowing so well that no one and nothing can undermine and cause doubts. Did Jesus ever doubt his sent-ness? Did he wake up some mornings and just want to quit? I don't think so. His was a life of faith, not backed up by earthly values or standards, but supported by wisdom gained through walking with God. We are made for God and by God, so the sacred realities of heaven are not really foreign to us, they are just not programmed into us by the world we live in.
Jesus talking with assurance about his sent-ness--that's where his authority came from. Help me develop more assurance of my relatedness to God, and then maybe I'll have the confidence and power to speak, witness, and to get my faith off the page and into the realities of my life.
July 21, 1983They tried to stop Jesus from influencing the people, but the moment wasn't right. That's the Gospel writer's interpretation of the event. God is in charge. When Jesus was arrested, his time had arrived. Everything caused by God. Everything happening in God's own time. Examples from the Bible show that prayer can change God's timing. Yet in Jesus' case, no amount of prayer could change God's plan for his eventual arrest and death. This was set. So when is it right to pray for deliverance, and when is it right to pray for courage to endure the cross? I've asked the same question in reference to healing in general and my healing in particular.
July 23, 1983If someone accepted by faith that Jesus was the Messiah, what did that mean? What effect did that have on an individual person, on the community of the faithful? If this is the Messiah among us, what shall we do? Would anything change?
Regarding the command to arrest Jesus--If something threatens you, fight to get rid of it. If you don't like something, oppose it. It's the role of leaders to protect and defend their followers. These leaders were protecting the people from the dangers of Jesus' words, from the mistake of believing in Jesus. Someone had to control these fickle people, they were bound to believe anything!
Everybody was just doing their job, similar to Paul persecuting the Christians. They were so busy doing their jobs, they were blind, deaf, and probably dumb to God. People haven't changed a bit. It still seems like people are being controlled by those who are blind, deaf, and dumb toward God. It's so easy to be cynical. Where is the ray of hope? Where does the light shine?
July 15, 1983 These Pharisees and other religious leaders in Jerusalem were considering murder in the name of their religion!--a religion which forbids murder. When you do it, it's wrong; when I do it, it's OK because I have good reasons!
How beautifully Jesus and the Jewish leaders could have gotten along . . . . if only they really knew Moses and the law, if only they understood the heart of God, if only they would have allowed/desired God to remove the blindness from their eyes. We have to be willing. We have to see a vision of how things could be and then be willing to let God change us. And we need to cooperate and be an active participant in that change.
July 25, 1983Where is Jesus going? Do I detect jealousy--leaving us and going to someone else? The best way to make a person want something is to tell them they can't have it! People don't appreciate what they have until it is denied to them. Is that what Jesus is doing? I'm going away where you can't find me. All of a sudden that causes concern. They didn't want him present, but they didn't want him mysteriously absent either.
The Greeks--you're not going to them, are you? To the Greek-speaking Jews scattered in faraway places, intermingling with Gentiles. The ones who ought to come to Jerusalem for the annuals festivals. Surely Jesus won't go beyond our borders, would he?