IT’S ABOUT TIME
S: Timing (sovereignty)
Th: The timing of Jesus
Pr: WE NEED TO BE DRIVEN BY THE WILL OF GOD.
TS: We will find six phases to the narrative found in John 7:1-24 that demonstrate how Jesus was driven by the will of God.
The ____ phase is…
I. DISTANCE (1)
II. DOUBT (2-5)
III. DISCRETION (6-10)
IV. DEBATE (11-13)
V. DOCTRINE (14-18)
VI. DIVISION (19-24)
RMBC 14 July 02 AM
ILL Notebook: Choice (CA v. NJ)
About three dozen employees from around the country were sent to California for a training seminar on some equipment they would be using. At dinner one evening, the participants were asked to tell where they were from and what they did. A man seated in the middle of the table said that he worked for a chemical plant in New Jersey. "New Jersey?" the facilitator echoed. "How is it that California ended up with all the lawyers and New Jersey has all the chemical-waste dumps?" "New Jersey had first pick," he quickly retorted.
My apologies to our lawyers and chemists…
Remember to keep your sense of humor!
We are all faced with choices.
We make choices everyday.
You have already made choices today.
You made a choice to get up.
You made a choice to get dressed.
You made a choice about what to wear.
You made a choice to come to church this morning.
And there is more choices to come!
This morning, in the text we are studying, Jesus is being faced with choices.
We are continuing our study of the gospel of John.
Last week, we finished chapter 6.
Today, we move ahead to six months later as we begin chapter 7.
And we observe here that…
1. Jesus is deliberately moving toward the cross.
In this particular gospel, John doesn’t want us to miss this.
Jesus was very intentional.
He has a purpose in mind to accomplish.
And as He moves toward the cross, we see that…
2. The opposition to Jesus is getting more intense.
Just as He is moving more deliberately to the cross, there is also a deliberate plan to remove Jesus from the scene.
We are told over and over again that the Jewish leaders desired to kill Jesus.
Now the plan was being formulated.
With this in mind, as we come to today’s text, we are going to observe how Jesus desired God’s will more than anything else.
3. We will find six phases to the narrative found in John 7:1-24 that demonstrate how Jesus was driven by the will of God.
4. The setting for this text is the Feast of Tabernacles.
It is also called the Feast of Booths.
It had three major purposes.
First, it was a memorial to when Israel wandered in the wilderness and lived in tents.
Second, it was a harvest festival, held during what is our October.
And third, it looked forward to the promised kingdom of the Messiah.
It was a real time of celebration and joy.
I. The first phase is DISTANCE (1).
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.
As we come to this section of John, the beginning of an open and militant opposition to Jesus and His ministry is evident.
This opposition is centered in the heart of the nation of Israel—Jerusalem.
So, Jesus kept to the north.
During this time, Jesus ministered where it would be best received.
He kept a low profile in Galilee.
John does not record what happened during this time, but Matthew, Mark and Luke do detail it.
John, though, does want us to note that Jesus kept His distance.
He is not going south to Jerusalem until it is time to go.
II. The second phase is DOUBT (2-5).
 Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand.  So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing.  For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.”  For not even his brothers believed in him.
We find here that the half-brothers of Jesus challenge Him to go south to Jerusalem for the feast.
And they have advice for Him…
1. Jesus is advised to show Himself as Messiah.
Note what they recommend…
1.1 Advice #1: “You need a larger arena.”
Jerusalem is the place.
It is crowded with pilgrims from all over the world.
So now is the time!
It is time to get out of Galilee
It is time to get out of the sticks.
It is time to get to where the people are—Jerusalem.
It is time to get to the capital and minister to the heart of the people.
1.2 Advice #2: “You need to touch base with your disciples.”
Jesus’ brothers tell Him that His followers in Judea need to see Him again.
He should support and reinforce their faith.
1.3 Advice #3: “You need to move out into the open.”
They also tell Jesus that He is being unrealistic.
He has been hiding in the north.
It is time to let the people see Him.
1.4 Advice #4: “You are wasting your gifts.”
Finally, they tell Him to do something spectacular!
The people need to be convinced.
The Jewish leaders need to be convinced.
So convince them!
At the first hearing, this advice sounds natural and normal.
It seems to have common sense.
There is almost a systematic, businesslike way to it.
But John lets us in on the truth here.
The brothers did not believe in Jesus.
We may find this incredible, for His brothers lived with Him all those years and yet, they did not realize His uniqueness.
So this ends up being a real challenge for Jesus.
2. The trouble with this advice is that it was really temptation.
Their advice was rooted in unbelief and rejection, not faith.
What they were really doing was tempting Jesus to take a path for celebrities, not for servants.
So, would Jesus make the choice and follow their advice?
ILL Notebook: Timing (…I owe you)
Tim and Bill were standing in a bank when a pair of robbers entered the lobby.
Not only did the thieves clean out the tills, but they walked around with bags and ordered everyone to throw their valuables in.
Just as the thieves got to the pair, Tim turned to Bill and, passing him a bill, said, "By the way, Bill, here’s that twenty bucks I owe you."
You have heard the phrase, haven’t you; “It’s all in the timing”?
This prepares us for…
III. The third phase is DISCRETION (6-10).
 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.  The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil.  You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.”  After saying this, he remained in Galilee.  But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.
The time was not yet right for Jesus to show Himself as the Messiah.
Jesus shows tremendous discernment at this point.
We would have been tempted to follow the advice of His brothers.
But it was the wrong time.
It would never work.
God had appointed the time and the pathway for Jesus, and this was the way He was determined to go.
Jesus communicates that his brothers are to go.
It was their religious duty to do so.
But He was not going.
At least He was not going to go with them.
He was not going to be a part of some ostentatious parade that would bring attention to Himself.
What they were looking for would come later.
In half a year’s time, there will be what is called the “Triumphal Entry,” and Jesus will be momentarily welcomed as the Messiah.
But not now.
He is going to go, but not with a view to acceptance, but with a view of rejection.
IV. The fourth phase is DEBATE (11-13).
 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?”  And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.”  Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.
When the feast began, it was expected that Jesus would be there.
The Jewish leaders were looking for Him.
In fact, the text tells us that it was continuous.
They kept searching for Him.
There is no doubt that Jesus had aroused the interest of crowd, and He was not even there!
But the reports had gotten around.
He had performed healings and miracles.
But because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders were now fully against Him.
So there is a murmuring in Jerusalem about Jesus.
Some are calling Him good; others believe Him to be a cunning deceiver.
Some believe that He is taking advantage of the mindless masses—these poor, simple, gullible folk.
The opposition to Jesus in Jerusalem has gotten so strong that even His friends did not possess the confidence to speak of Him openly.
Anyone that was for Jesus was reduced to hushed tones.
It is in this atmosphere that Jesus appears…
V. The fifth phase is DOCTRINE (14-18).
 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching.  The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”  So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.  If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.  The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.”
Jesus does show up.
In order to avoid the unwanted attention, He had kept a low profile.
He came into Jerusalem quietly.
But He still does what comes naturally.
He goes to the temple and teaches.
And the reaction is stunning.
The leaders literally ask…
1. “How does this man know his letters so well?”
After all, He did not have the credentials.
He had not gone to the proper rabbinical schools.
Yet, Jesus taught with authority.
He took the ancient prophecies, and expounded and explained them.
This was so different from the other rabbis.
They taught from authorities, not with authority.
Jesus was a refreshing difference.
But they had a hard time swallowing this difference.
Jesus explains that His teaching is divine in both its origin and in its nature.
His teaching is not His own.
It is the Father’s.
And it was something that each listener could know.
2. The secret of knowing God’s will is by doing it.
God’s Word proves itself true to those who sincerely do it.
When we practice what He says, the evidence becomes internal and very persuasive.
We know it to be true.
ILL Notebook: Obedience (marine general)
Many years ago, Pastor Ray Stedman, met a hard-bitten old Marine General, one of those tough, self-sufficient characters who was use to giving orders. After he had retired he became a Christian and grew with astonishing speed. Everyone who knew him saw the change. They respected him as much as they always had, but they saw a compassion, an understanding, a patience develop in him that was never there before. He was able to get along with people with whom he had formerly been bitterly at odds. When Stedman asked a Christian leader that knew him why this was true, he replied, “When the general hears something from the Scripture, he obeys it immediately.” This is why he grew so fast.
With every act of obedience, the truth of what Jesus says becomes more and more persuasive.
We know it is true, because God proves Himself true every time.
Jesus then goes on to explain that He is not seeking the applause of people.
If He was, He certainly would have been teaching a different message.
Instead, it was on His heart to exalt God and, in turn, humble man.
It was His determination to give all the glory and praise to God.
VI. The sixth phase is DIVISION (19-24).
 “Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?"  The crowd answered, "You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?"  Jesus answered them, “I did one deed, and you all marvel at it.  Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.  If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?  Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
These final verses demonstrate that…
1. Jesus did not come to unite, but to divide.
Jesus communicates the truth that there are those that are seeking to kill Him.
In fact, this desire to kill Him was contrary to the very law these same people claimed to revere.
But there were some in this crowd of people that had not observed any effort to kill Jesus.
They were ignorant of the designs of the rulers, so they thought Jesus was paranoid.
Jesus, though, presses on.
He reveals that the Jewish leaders were completely inconsistent and blatantly hypocritical.
After all, they had allowed circumcision as a necessity to be done on the Sabbath, but they would not allow healing.
So, according to this logic, it was right to make one part of the body right before God, but not the entire body.
Their logic was falling apart.
So Jesus places the final challenge to them…
2. Justice is to be based on substance, not appearance.
They needed to get their values straight.
The values of the Jewish leaders had been shallow and only on the outward appearance.
They had completely missed the spirit of the law, and thus, God’s point of view.
Have you ever noticed that…
1. We live in a world that believes that “truth is what you make it.”
Truth is what you make it…that is a line that I heard on a TV drama this week.
It occurred to me that we live in a culture that really lives that.
When describing things that are ugly and sinful, we reword them to make them acceptable.
For example, if a man comes home from work and is mean and grouchy with his family, we call it “executive tension.”
If a person is rich and snobby, it is reworded as classy and elegant.
If a person is committing adultery, we dare to call it a “love affair.”
The trouble is is that sin is sin.
It is not a weakness, shortcoming or a mistake, as we often label it.
You know, if we change the label on the bottle of poison, it doesn’t mean that the power of the poison has been taken away.
It is still poison.
This is the way Jesus was.
He did not come to tolerate differing viewpoints and validate everyone’s thoughts, feelings and actions.
He came to speak the truth.
He came to say that everyone is not okay.
He came to say that everyone is not basically good.
He came to say that each one needs a Savior.
So Jesus proves that when you preach this kind of message faithfully, you will excite opposition.
But this did not stop Him.
He was driven!
2. Jesus was driven to do the will of God, regardless of its popularity.
He came to be and to do what is true!
He did not come to be accepted by man.
The only acceptance He desired was by the Father.
And it should be the same for us!
3. WE NEED TO BE DRIVEN BY THE WILL OF GOD.
Is that on your heart today?
Is it on your heart to follow the example of Jesus?
Jesus is the dividing line.
And He asks us to choose.
He asks us to choose God’s way or the world’s.
It’s time to make a choice!
BENEDICTION: [Counselors are ]
Choose God’s way…be like Jesus who did not give into the temptation to prove Himself right and always be understood; instead, He took the path that was marked out for Him.
Choose God’s will…and recognize that though it is not always easy, it is always right and true; we will never go wrong when we choose Him!
Now may your love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best; and may you be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Amen.