Now 2 days ago my wife and I were driving around Wooster and we saw a church sign that said, “We are a Lifeboat, not a Party Boat” and I felt like telling them to change boats. For while its true that we are to rescue the perishing, it’s also true that those who have been rescued are to be partying (or if you prefer “celebrating the festival”). In other words Christians are those who rejoice that Jesus purchased our pardon on the cross, celebrate that He rose from the dead triumphant, partying over eternal life. Even in the midst of very severe trials, Christians find that the joy of the Lord is our strength. Jesus is our Shelter, He is our Sabbath, He is Sacrifice, He is our Savior, and He is our Satisfaction and elation. In other words, Jesus is our Feast of Tabernacles. That Feast was the shadow, Jesus is the reality.
So the context of John chapter 7 is the foreshadowing of the cross (verse 1), and the celebration of the feast (verse 2). Today, I want us to notice these 3 points together: 1-The Challenge to Jesus (verses 3-5), 2-the Cross of Jesus (verses 6-8), 3- The Conflict over Jesus (verses 10-13).
So in verses 3-5 we have the challenge to Jesus. In verse 3, His brothers challenge Him to go prove Himself to His disciples, and in verse 4 they challenge Him to go show Himself to the world, draw a crowd, get a following. In other words they said, “go to the feast and work your miracles, give your disciples something to really believe in, show yourself to the world, become a public figure, gain a following after yourself.”
And verse 5 tells us that his brothers did not believe in Him. You know why they didn’t believe in Him? One of the reasons is they were too familiar with Him. Look at chapter 6 verse 42. Verse 41 Jesus says He’s the Bread that came down from heaven, and in verse 42 they said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ’I came down from heaven’?" “Hey we know Him, we’re familiar with Him, we know His mom and dad and where He is from.” Listen I have a warning for us here today. Guard your heart that you do not become so familiar with Jesus and His cross that it doesn’t affect you when you read it or hear it. Guard your hearts against familiarity and complacency.
Jesus didn’t want to become a public figure, He had in mind becoming what looked like a public failure. In Jesus’ answer to His brothers, we see the cross. Look at verses 6-8: 6 Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8 You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." John 7:6-8 (NIV)
When Jesus says “my time has not yet come” He is using a phrase that is used 7 times in His life, each time it is pointing forward to His death. You can see one of these times in verse 30: “At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.” Look at chapter 8 verse 20: “He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.” Seven times the statement is made: “my time has not yet come” but look with me at chapter 13. This is where Jesus is with His disciples just before the Passover when He is going to die. Verse 1 says, “Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.” His time had now come, He was going to go to the cross and die, then rise from the dead and go to His Father.