Summary: There must come a time of godly division when we accept or reject Jesus. John, in this part of his gospel, is pushing his readers to consider their belief about Jesus.
You may remember this Sunday as the Sunday that Church was no longer safe. (Use video camera). Once in a while, for special occasions and things, we have video taped our worship time and there has been a camera on my face up here. What would happen if we took the focus off the front of the auditorium and turned it around? (Proceed with camera into crowd - most effective if it would live feed on screens up front)
All you ladies should know that you automatically add 20 pounds when you’re on camera. It also highlights blemishes, I’m told!
I owe my obnoxiousness behind a camera to 2 crazy uncles. They’d bring their video camera to our Thanksgiving family reunions. That was a big deal 20 years ago. They’d tape all day, and we’d watch the videos that evening. What fun! My family and I are going to watch this one tonight!
Isn’t it interesting how some people respond to having the camera put on them?
You see, it’s too easy to make ourselves “the audience” in the gathered church setting. Isn’t that kind of the way we position it? It’s a lot like some sports event. We come and assemble as an audience to watch some people up front perform, and they ought to be good performers because God is their Coach. Then, over lunch, we critique them. Actually, what’s going on here from week to week is that God is our audience, the people in this crowd are the performers, and the people up front are really more like cheerleaders.
What if we started seeing all that we do here from God’s perspective? What if we started hearing a voice that said, “C’mon! You can do it! It’s time to get your game face on! Time to get to action!” What would change? What would we do to prepare for Sunday mornings? What would our conversations over Sunday lunch sound like? Where would we direct our praise and thanks; our criticism; our suggestions?
There are no miracles recorded in John ch7. The evidence is in now. Up to this point, the camera has been mostly on Jesus and you’ve been the observer. You’ve watched Him change water into wine, change the life of a Samaritan city, heal a sick boy and a lame man, feed a multitude with 5 loaves and 2 fish, and walk on water. But now John backs up the camera a bit and begins to pan the audience. It’s time to look at them - to take a look at their different responses. In fact, John points out in ch7, count them, 19 different responses to Jesus. And just by this change in perspective, John makes an important point that we’re going to spend some thought on this morning: There must come a point of godly division of those who accept and those who reject Jesus. That’s why we read in
Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
You read correctly – “divided because of Jesus.” Jesus said that His life on earth would bring division
Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.
The life of Jesus is powerful enough, the demands of Jesus go deep enough, the evidence for Jesus’ claims is strong enough that He can’t just be ignored. There are going to be some opinions formed about Him. It’s interesting to see the different reactions of people to Jesus. That’s what John is going to have us do this morning.
(I. Some People Need More Info about Him)
It’s festival time in Jerusalem. In fact, it’s about this time of year, and the Jews have gathered for the harvest festival known as the Feast of Tabernacles/booths. Everyone will camp out in little temporary shelters as a reminder of the days when the Jews were a wandering nation living in tents in the desert. It’s like a Jewish Oktoberfest, without the beer tents!
Jesus travels up in the middle of the feast and joins the teachers hanging around in the temple. Even before He gets there, people are talking about Him. And one of the reactions John shows us are some people there who need more information about Him. They’ve heard something, whether it’s true or not, and just from that they’re trying to draw some conclusions.
We’re good at that. I saw a sign in an office: “We don’t have an office exercise program here. Everyone already gets enough exercise jumping to conclusions and flying off the handle!” That’s us, isn’t it? We get some piece of information, true or not, and we take off with it. So, not a lot has changed with people in 1,988 years. There were people there who were simply short on information: