Summary: This is the 23rd sermon in a series from the Gospel of John. In this sermon we look at the claims that Jesus has made concerning Himself, and the different reactions He has gotten concerning those claims.
Where you fit, depends on where HE fits (John pt. 23)
Text: John 7:14 – 52
We’re working our way through John’s Gospel, for some time now… and just to re-cap for you what we looked at last week, we talked about how Jesus had been rejected by the multitudes, and how His own brothers came against Him, trying to shut Him up. And now it was the time of year for the Feast of Booths (or Feast of Tabernacles)… and that was a week-long memorial celebration when the people remembered how God had provided for the Israelites during the Exodus. They called it the Feast of Booths, because they all lived in tents during that time. And they wanted to remember – “Hey we all used to live in tents. We had no permanent home… but even then God was faithful and provided for us.” And it just so happened that the Feast of Booths coincided with the annual vine harvest, so they incorporated that in as well. And Jesus’ brothers have gone up… but Jesus didn’t go up right away. He actually waited a little while before He headed to Jerusalem. And the reason for that is because a lot of folks were trying to kill Him. And I what I want us to do is to look at these different groups and their reactions to Jesus. So let’s read the text, and then we’ll look at each group and Jesus’ words to them. (READ TEXT)
So the first group, we see in verse 15, they are the “Jews”. Now understand all these people were Jewish… but when John uses the word “Jews” he’s speaking about the Judeans… the people of Judah, not the Galileans. Remember; Jesus has been laying low in Galilee, but now He’s gone south to Judah, to the city of Jerusalem. So John uses this to distinguish between the Judeans and the Galileans. And we already know from last time, that many of these folks are seeking to kill Jesus… it’s not just the religious leaders, but many Judeans themselves. The reason they want Jesus out of the picture, is because they want a political Messiah. They want to be delivered from Roman rule. But they want a Savior of their own design, and Jesus didn’t fit their ideal. They’re not concerned with getting right with God. They just want political freedom. They want self-governance. And those things aren’t bad… but you can’t truly have them without God. So when Jesus started to call them to repentance, and when He stats telling them that in order to follow Him, it might cost them everything, they were out.
They didn’t want anything to do with Him. And so they attempt to justify their rejection of Him by calling into question His educational pedigree. They say, “How can this man have learning without ever having studied?” Meaning; having never studied under a distinguished Rabbi in Rabbinical school. Really that’s just an excuse… they don’t like what Jesus is saying because men love darkness rather than light… but they’re using His lack of a so called education as justification for rejecting His teaching.
The second group John mentions are in verse 25… he calls them the “people of Jerusalem”. And basically; they’re just confused… they’re not sure who Jesus is. Some of them question whether or not He’s the Christ – the Anointed one… the Messiah. But they’ve got all kinds of crazy ideas about what that means, and where the Savior was supposed to come from, and what He was supposed to do. They say, in verse 27, “When the Christ comes, no one will know where He comes from.” I have no clue where they get that idea. Not from the Bible that’s for sure. Even the religious leaders in Herod’s day knew that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem. So they’re totally wrong about that… and then… in verse 31, they say that they think that when the Christ comes, He’ll do even more signs than Jesus. Basically the Jerusalem crowd is religious, but they are completely ignorant. They’re ignorant of God’s Word, and they’re ignorant of who Christ is and what He’s come to do. These are the kind of people who would get sucked in to all kinds of false teachings, and the latest religious fads and trends, because they have no real knowledge of God’s Word, and the truth. You know… these are the people who end up reading “The Shack”, or “Heaven is for Real” and think it’s actually Biblical.
The third group that John mentions is in verse 32… our old friends the Pharisees. These are the religious leaders. And these guys hate Jesus with a passion. They’re legalists, and they’re totally lost… with the exception of one or two of them. And the problem that the Pharisees had with Jesus was that He kept upsetting their apple cart. They had a good racket going for them.