John 7 (2)
What do you think of Jesus?
- Read John 7:11-13
In 1998 I and my very pregnant wife, took a van full of youth on a mission trip from Mississippi to the plains of Colorado. While there we met a pastor, who told us about one of his members who had recently moved to Denver. He said, this member wanted to share Christ with her neighbors so each time she visited over the fence with the lady who lived next door she would include something in the conversation about Jesus. After a month of these conversations, the neighbor said, “Who is this Jesus you keep mentioning? I have no idea who you are talking about”.
Who would believe folks in the United States would not know who Jesus is? But, even closer to home, we had a similar situation happen this past Christmas with some volunteers here at Christmas in the Country.
As Gladys was helping several of the National Honor Society kids find their costumes, explaining that they would be playing the parts of Joseph, and Mary, one of the students asked, “Who are Mary, Joseph, and Jesus? My family isn’t very religious.”
Who is Jesus? That and your answer will make all the difference in the world.
In this passage, we find the people discussing that very question.
Jesus’ family has gone up to Jerusalem for the festival of booths, a time to remember how they had once lived in tenets and to remember how the Lord led them through the wilderness and protected and provided for them during their journey.
Jesus’ brothers had suggested that He go up to the festival and show Himself so He could get a following, so He could start a movement, but they really didn’t believe in Him. He told them “No”, but a few days later He went to the festival after all.
During the time that He waited, the people in Jerusalem were looking for Him, The leaders asked, “Where is He?’ He people asked, “Who is He?” That is a question that men and women have been asking ever since Jesus’ time and that needs to asked and answered again and again in very generation.
In this passage the people offer 4 possibilities. In verse 12 we read,
- Read verse 12.
I. He is a good man
The first possibility people suggest is that He is a good man. That is one idea many people have about Jesus even today. Many suggest that He was a good man, or that He was a good teacher. That is an impossible answer for several reasons.
1. Jesus cannot be a good man, because of the relationship He claimed to have with God. In the psalms, king David, one of those in the Bible closest to the Lord called Him:
The Lord – 1:2
God of my righteousness – 4:1
My King – 5:2
Oh Lord my God – 7:1
God of my salvation – 18:46
God of Jacob – 20:1
Oh My Strength – 22:19
King of Glory – 29:3
And 16 other names.
He described God as:
A shield for me – 3:3
My glory – 3:3
The One who lifts up my head – 3:3
The righteous God – 7:9
A just judge – 7:11
A refuge – 9:9
The portion of my inheritance and my cup – 16:5
My strength – 18:1
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer – 18:2
The horn of my salvation, stronghold – 18:2
My support – 18:18
My shepherd – 23:1
And had many other ways to describe God; but he never called God His Dad. Neither did any of the other writers in the Old Testament.
Then along comes Jesus and He claims to have a unique, special relationship with God where He is able to call Him, not only God, or Father, but to call Him “Abba”, or Daddy as well. Jesus comes along and says, “I have a relationship with God unlike any other person in history. God is my Dad. Is that the claim of a “good man”?
2. Jesus cannot be a good man because of His I-Am Sayings.
Jesus made some unique claims about Himself.
In a world filled with darkness and despair Jesus said, “I am the light of the world?” What good man does that?
When the people were clamoring for Him to feed them. Jesus said to the people. I am the Bread of Life.” The sustenance that you want, the filling you want is only available through me.
Do you remember His statement in John 14:6?
> John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
That’s rather arrogant of a “good man” don’t you think? To tell folks that the only way to get to God is through Him? Of all of prophets, and preachers, and scribes in the world, to tell people that the only way to get to God, the only way to get to heaven was to go through him?
Jesus cannot be a good man because of the special relationship He claimed to have with God. He could not a good man because of His I-am sayings.
Jesus cannot be a good man because He claimed the Old Testament Scriptures were written about Him.
3. Jesus cannot be a good man because He claimed the Old Testament Scriptures were written about Him.
- John 5:46
> Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
What good man would claim that the Bible was written about Him?
Do you remember, early in HIs ministry when He went to synagogue and they asked Him to read from the scriptures?
> Luke 4:16-21. He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
If I were to stand up here this morning, and read scripture like that and make a claim like that, what would you say when you left, other than, “I’m never going back there again?” You might say many things about me, but you wouldn’t say, “He’s a good man.”
No, Jesus cannot be a good man because of the unique relationship He claims to have with God. Jesus is not a good man because of His I-Am sayings. Jesus cannot be a good man, because He claimed and believe the Bible was written about Him. Jesus cannot be a good man because He claimed to be able to forgive sins.
4. Jesus cannot be a good man because He claims to be able to forgive sins.
Now, if you were to hit me, I could forgive you. If you were to steal from me, I could forgive you. But, how in the world could I possibly forgive you if went around and hit and robbed 100 other people. I could forgive what you did to me, but I couldn’t forgive you for what you did to all of those other people, for all of those other sins, and yet Jesus claimed to be able to do that.
Mark chapter 2, Jesus is teaching in a house. The place is packed. There is a crowd around the house, trying to hear what Jesus is saying through the doors and the open windows. There is no way to get in to Jesus. But, there are 4 men who have a friend they desperately want healed. Perhaps they played together as boys. Perhaps he fell on a job site and was injured. All we know for certain is that this man was paralyzed, and he had 4 friends who cared enough about him to bring him to Jesus. When they couldn’t get to Jesus they tore a hole in the roof above Jesus’ head and lowered their friend and his cot through the roof.
Let me tell you, those men must have really cared about their friend and they must have really believed in Jesus if they were willing to tear a hole in another man’s roof, big enough that they could lower a friend and his cot, or mat through it. Look, I work on roofs for a living, and I’m not gonna go knock a hole in someone’s roof uninvited. I’m gonna sit outside and wait for Jesus to leave. But this friends are anxious. They are concerned.
When they lowered the man through the roof in front of Jesus, the Bible tells us in
> Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Do you remember when Jesus went and ate at the Pharisee’s house. In Luke 7, we find that what the Bible describes as a “sinful woman” hears that Jesus is eating at the man’s house, she comes in, wets Jesus’ feet with her tears, wipes them with her hair, and then pours perfume on them. Then in Luke 7:48 Jesus tells her,
> Luke 7:48 “Your sins are forgiven.”
What good man claims he can forgive sin? No, Jesus cannot be a good man because of the unique relationship He claims to have with God. He cannot be a good man because of His I-Am sayings, because He claims the Bible was written about Him, and because He claims to be able to forgive sin. He also cannot be a good man because on several occasions He openly claims to be God.
5. Jesus cannot be a good man because He openly claims to be God.
I have heard some people make some audacious claims in my life. When I was attending Orange City Elementary, I had a janitor there tell me that he had never sinned.
When I was volunteering as a chaplain in the Shelby County Correction facility, I visited with a man in the psych ward, in solitary confinement, complete with a paper bathrobe and only allowed to eat finger food, who told me he was happy that I had visited Belveue Baptist Church because he owned it.
I had a young man sitting in my driveway yesterday, learning to drive a stick shift, who told me that he hadn’t ever spun out the wheels on that car.
I have heard few whoppers in my day, but even I have not heard anyone claim to be God, and yet Jesus did on several occasions.
- John chapter 8:58
Discuss. This wasn’t in Rome or Greece, where the folks had many gods. This was in Israel, where the people were monotheistic. They believed in 1 and only 1 God. Yet Jesus tells them before Abraham was, I Am. He even claimed the name God the Father used when He identified Himself to Moses in the burning bush. The people were so upset that He claimed to be God, that the next verse tells us that they picked up stones to kill Him.
Do you remember the time Thomas skipped prayer meeting?
The disciples were in the upper room. Jesus had risen from the dead and reports were coming in from people who had seen him. Jesus appears to the disciples in the upper room.
Later, when doubting Thomas decides to show up, the other disciples start telling him that they have seen Jesus. That He’s alive. Thomas tells them, “Unless I place my fingers in the nails cars in His hands, and mu hand in the gash in His side, I’ll never believe.” About that time, Jesus appears in their midst. He addresses Thomas and tells him, here, put your fingers in the nail scars in My hands and your hand in the gash in My side.
In response Thomas answers, “My Lord and My God.” Jesus accepted his praise.
He didn’t respond like the disciples did when people tried to worship them. He didn’t pull Thomas off the floor and tell him to stop it because He was a man just like them. Jesus answered Thomas, “You only believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me.”
No Jesus cannot be a good man. Well, If Jesus is not a good man, then what other options are there?
II. HE IS CRAZY
- JOHN 7:18-20
They said, “Man you have a demon.” You’re crazy. You have lost your mind.
1. Jesus couldn’t be crazy because He had His wits around Him all the time.
Did Jesus act like a madman? No. He had His wits around Him all the time. Man, the pharisees and religious leaders tried to trick and trap Him all the time. They never succeeded.
Jesus, a man with 7 brothers died without children. All of his brothers married his widow. They all died childless. IN the resurrection, whose wife will she be?
Silly folks, in the resurrection there won’t be marriage.
Jesus, should we pay taxes to Rome? Show me the coin you pay the taxes with. Who’s picture is on it? Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.
Was there ever a situation that caught Him unaware, or that rattled Him? No. No bread for these 5,000 people, I’ll make some. Storm, wind and waves trying to sink us, “Peace be still”. Murdering, demon-possessed man come running at you from out of the tombs. “Demons, come out of him and go into those pigs.”
Which is harder, to forgive sins or to heal the lame. So that you know that the Son of Man has the authority to forgive sin, “Take up your bed and walk.”
2. Jesus couldn’t be crazy because of the way people reacted to Him.
How do you react when you see a crazy person, when you see someone with a mental illness? How do people respond when they see people with demons or a mental illness, walking down the street talking to himself. They usually do one of several things. If they are harmless, folks ignore them. If they are dangerous, we see to it that they are locked up. But folks did not respond to Jesus that way. They either followed him, or they tried to kill Him. My, some folks left their businesses, and their families, and all they had to follow Him. Folks don’t usually do that for mad men.
Well if He’s not a good man, and if He’s not crazy, what other options do we have?
III. HE IS A LIAR
- John 7:12
Well, if He was a liar, He was a good one. He had all kinds of people believe in Him. All levels of society believed in Him. In the end, even His family, who had watched Him grow up and knew all of His history believed in Him.
He was a good one, but He was also a bad one. They wanted to kill Him.
He taught that God was holy . . . He taught that man and his sin are unholy . . . and He came to do something about it.
We cannot come into God’s presence because of our sin. Jesus said He would die for our sins. He would bear the punishment.
This is good news. This is great news, but only if it’s true. If it is not true, then He has sent generations of people into a hopeless eternity & He should be cursed as a fiend from Hell.
Does that fit with one who was known as meek and lowly; who served as a poor itinerant evangelist in order that He might help the destitute and teach those that others despised; who said, “Come unto Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest?” Somehow the facts don’t fit the idea of Jesus being a liar.
What then? If Jesus is not a good man. If Jesus is not a lunatic. If Jesus is not a liar, then what other option remains? The only remaining option is that Jesus is Who He claimed to be and He is Lord.
IV. HE IS LORD
The other day I heard Willie Robertson, from duck dynasty speaking to a group. He asked, “If I wanted to help a bunch of ducks, how could I best do that? If I wanted to tell them where the best food was, and if I wanted to warn them about those floating bunches of bushes with smoke coming out of the top of them, and a bunch of bearded guys sitting in the middle of them, how could I best do that? If I wanted to warn them about swimming in the middle of a bunch of plastic ducks, what would be the best way to do that? The best way would be for you to become a duck, so you could understand duck stuff and so you could speak duck language.
That’s what Jesus did. He left the glories of heaven. He came to earth and took the form of a man, so He could speak and interact with us. And, so He could die for us to pay the price for our sins.
Jesus is Lord.
Now, if Jesus is Lord, what must our response be to Him?
V. OUR RESPONSE TO LORD JESUS
1. Become a Christian. A Christ-follower
A - Admit - Admit that you have sinned. Admit that you cannot save yourself.
B - Believe - Believe on Jesus Christ.
Believe that He is the son of God. Believe that He came to earth, lived a sinless life. Dies on the cross for your sins and mine. That He was crucified, buried and rose again on the 3rd day, and sits right now at the right hand of the Father.
C - Confess
Confess your sins and ask Him to forgive of your sins.
D - Door, open the door of your heart and invite Him to come in to be your Lord and Savior.
2. Make Him Your Lord
> Luke 6:46 Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and Don’t do the things that I say?
- Believers Baptism, go into all the world and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . .
- Learning and growing - Teaching them all things I have commanded you
We have seen a lot of disturbing images in recent months. We have seen pictures of crowds of people, packed in airports, trying to get back to America, and then we have later pictures of those same airports sitting empty.
We have seen pictures of people standing inline outside of grocery stores, trying to get in to buy essentials, things we once thought could only happen in other countries.
We have seen pictures of police brutality, and pictures of police being brutalized. We have seen pictures of our streets filled with rioters, and our businesses being looted and burned.
We have seen pictures of cars inline for blocks, filled with people waiting to be tested for covid. We have seen pictures of full emergency rooms, and of families standing outside of nursing home windows, waving at their loved ones in side.
We have seen pictures of children, killed in drive by shootings, and of our statues, and landmarks being pulled down and defaced.
These are signs of the times. But, I must confess, the picture that perhaps upset me the most was one of a man standing in the midst of a crowd, in one of the barricaded streets of one of our cities. He was wearing a t-shirt that showed a cross being thrown into a trash can. Above his head he was holding a sign which read, “If Jesus returns, Kill Him again.”
My friend, if Jesus is not your Lord and Savior, that man might as well be you, because you are as lost as he is, and the sacrifice of Christ helps you no more than it does him.
What will you do with Jesus?