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Posted By Nan

Today I am pausing to review some of the themes raised in this section of John 7. I think it is important not to rush ahead leaving a jumble of thoughts but to bring them together so that we may all grow in our faith and knowledge of God.
In verses 1-13 I talked about how following Jesus causes pain, but that He understands our pain. Here was the example of His own brothers not believing in Him.
The other truth that emerged was that speaking God’s word is not always good for us and can lead to persecution or exclusion. Luke 21:12-19 is good to read on this truth.
This led into the next section 14-20. People reject our words from God just as they rejected Jesus’ words from God. When we faithfully speak God’s word and it is rejected, remember that it is God the hearer’s reject, not you the messenger. I would like to add to that if you have a message from God to give, it is important to make sure the message is from God. You can determine this through prayer and studying the Bible. Sometimes I ask prayer partners to pray to confirm the message. I never tell them what the message is, I just ask them to pray. Over time, it becomes easier to know when God has sent a message. When you give God’s message make sure the message is drawing attention to God and glorifying Him. Even the messages admonishing people to turn back from sin should bring glory to God. When people hear your message they should be prompted to turn to God and pray. If the people leave enthralled at your message and want to come back to hear you again, it is unlikely you spoke God’s word. The effect of God’s message should not draw attention to you but to God. This is a good way to identify the false prophets. Their words will not draw you to God but to them.
In 21-24 I talked about Jesus’ observation that the Leaders of His time had enveloped the people in rules that overdefined everything. They did this to prevent people breaking the law given to Moses by God. But Jesus, the Son of God did not agree with them. They had become so obsessed with their interpretation of the law that the rules became more important than God. I mentioned that this still happens today, with many churches becoming so obsessed with their doctrine and observance of their rules that they have left out the most important aspect of God – Love. Please read 1 Corinthians 12:27-13:13. This is where our focus on God should be, not on rules and doctrine. People should see us and see Love, not harsh judgmentalism and condemnation.
To summarise, following Jesus is not easy and can lead to persecution and exclusion. Even our families can reject us when we follow Jesus. Jesus experienced this himself and he understands what we are going through. Messages from God can be rejected, just as Jesus was rejected when he gave those messages. A message from God should always glorify God so beware of the messages you give and the messages you hear from others. Be careful not to put observance of the rules ahead of God. Remember that the most important thing in our relationship with God is LOVE, the first fruit of the spirit. So demonstrate love and focus on God's love through Jesus.


Posted By Nan

John 7:21-24
These verses are a continuation of the conversation Jesus had from verse 14. Jesus taught with authority that impressed the teachers of the law. His response had been to point out His teaching was not His own, but came from the father. He then accused the people of not obeying the Law of Moses and trying to kill Him. The crowd’s response was to say He was demon possessed. Now Jesus responds. “I did one miracle and you are all astonished”. This is referring to the miracle of John 5:2-9 when Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. He chastised the leaders in particular because they condemned Jesus for healing that man on a Sabbath yet they circumcise a child on the Sabbath. This was an inconsistency in their application of the law. By the time Jesus walked on the earth, the Jewish leaders had developed an elaborate system of rules to ensure the people did not break the Law of Moses. These rules set out to define everything, much as terms are defined in the laws of our countries. When setting rules for the Sabbath they decreed what was and wasn’t work which involved exactly what you could do, how far you could walk etc. One of the things Jesus was criticising them about was that, in seeing Moses laws as boundaries to set for people, they had missed the whole point of the laws as given to Moses by God. The effect was a rigid set of rules that condemned people, turned them away from faith in God and left them not understanding or knowing God. Sadly, this is what many modern day churches do.
I get really angry when I see Churches and their members condemning others based on their interpretation of the Bible. The one thing lacking in these churches is LOVE.
If love is left out of the interpretation of the law in the time of Jesus or in the creation of church doctrine then God is also omitted. People are drawn to God because He is LOVE and they are drawn to Jesus because of the outpouring of LOVE He demonstrated on the cross. Be mindful of how you view those who do not believe in Jesus their Saviour. Be mindful of how you judge others. Most of all, be mindful of God’s love in your life. If His love is not there, then sit and His feet and bathe in it! Don’t walk away until you have been filled to overflowing with the love, then go out into the world living that love.

Posted By Nan

John 7:14-20.
In this section, Jesus appears in the temple at the height of the feast and preaches to the people. He preaches with such knowledge that even the teachers of the law recognise the validity of what He says. Their response is to ask how he gained such knowledge. It is ironic that the men who went before Pilate accusing Him of blasphemy recognised the integrity and validity of His teaching. So what happened to them that they could so easily turn away from what they knew was the truth in order to get rid of this man who challenged them?
Jesus response to their question was another challenge. After Jesus had told them His teaching was not His own, but came from God, He then issued a challenge to the leaders. “He who does God’s Will will find out whether He speaks on his own or from God”. The question is, did the leaders recognise Jesus’ words as coming from God, or were they only able to see they were consistent with the law?
Then came the ultimate challenge. “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honour for himself.” For these men who did seek their own honour it was a direct criticism. They would have been aware also that Jesus knew exactly which of them sought their own honour. By this time the crowd became part of this challenge as Jesus asked them if Moses had given them the law. They all know the answer to that, Yes. But Jesus continues. Not one of you keeps the law. That must have rattled a lot of cages! What a challenge. All these virtuous pilgrims, making the difficult journey to Jerusalem to observe one of Moses’ festivals. How dare this strange man tell them they did not keep the law! To add insult to injury He then asks them why they are trying to kill Him.
Throughout the history of Christianity, God has sent His prophets to give the people messages. Often they have been as blunt as Jesus’ words here. Just as they were rarely heeded when Jesus gave them, so are they rarely heeded when His prophets give them. What is the reaction of the churches to which they bring the message? The same as the reaction here to Jesus. You are demon possessed. It is so typical of sinful man. When another person tells us something we do not want to hear they are obviously sick in the head, or deluded, or demon-possessed. Sadly it appears that the messages we least want to hear are those from God.
There are many reading this who are trying to avoid hearing a message that God is giving them now. You know who you are. Stop running and listen to God.

Posted By Nan


The link below is to a really interesting artcle by Chip Brogden and posted on his site. I have always wondered at the way the story of Solomon was handled. It seemed strange to me that we were taught about Solomon's great wisdom yet he was such a monumental failure. I always felt that anything he did became tainted by the knowledge of how much he had turned from God later in life. It is lovely to learn that many Christians have felt the same way about Solomon, as Chip's article demonstrates.



Posted By Nan

John 7:1-13
In these verses Jesus had remained in Galilee, having chosen to stay away from Judea because of the opposition to Him. As the important Feast of the Tabernacles approached Jesus’ brothers urged Him to come to the feast, as was fitting a public figure. They wanted Him to go and perform His miracles in public. The Bible notes here that His brothers did not believe in Him. It certainly appears that they did not understand His role, but instead applied all the unrealistic Messianic expectations and Jewish legalism to Jesus’ expected role.
Jesus reply to His brothers was that ‘the right time has not yet come’. He was waiting for the word from God to go. Only when God directed Him to go would he set off for Jerusalem. He rightly pointed out to His brothers that they did not understand His role and how much the world hated Him. After His brothers left, God called Him to go up in secret which He did. Note that there were the legalists watching out for Him to come as well as the crowds who were divided on whether Jesus was a good man or a deceiver. No-one dared say anything openly because they feared the ‘Jews’ referring to those who had studied the Jewish law and were authorised to speak on God’s behalf.
It must have been hard for Jesus. Not only did the world hate him but His own brothers did not believe in Him. So much pain occurs in families due to estrangement between siblings. I myself have never known the joy of being accepted by my siblings. It is comforting to know that Jesus understands this. He also understands when others ridicule us because of our faith in Him. He understands the pain of following the truths He taught us and being rejected by those who should know God well enough to accept those truths. So much of what we encounter in life and the pain and rejection we suffer has already been felt by Jesus. So go to Him for support and understanding and wait patiently as He did, for God to direct your path.



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