Summary: Many who encountered Jesus found it impossible to remain neutral about Him. Today everyone has their own idea about Jesus. Some of these ideas are based on what others have said and some of them are their own thoughts. What is your public stand on Jesus?
Opening illustration: A US congressman, John Lewis, was 23 years old when he participated in the historic 1963 civil rights “March on Washington” led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Half a century later, journalist Bill Moyers asked Lewis how he was affected by Dr. King’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech that day. Mr. Lewis replied, “You couldn’t leave after hearing him speak and go back to business as usual. You had to do something, you had to act. You had to move. You had to go out and spread the good news.”
Many who encountered Jesus found it impossible to remain neutral about Him. John 7:25-46 records two different reactions to Jesus. While “many of the people believed in Him” (v.31), the religious leaders tried to silence Him by sending temple guards to arrest Him (v.32). The guards were likely present when Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (vv.37-38). The guards returned without Jesus and were asked, “Why have you not brought Him?” (v.45). They answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (v.46). The words of Jesus compel us to act, and to move, beyond business as usual. (David C. McCasland, ODB)
Let us turn to John 7 and catch up with a narrative which will surely challenge us to act on Christ …
Introduction: Today there is much division and confusion not only denominationally but universally in the body of Christ. Everyone has their own idea about Jesus. Some of these ideas are based on what others have said and some of them are their own concoctions. During the first century era when the church was not even established, the Pharisees theological diagnostic view about Jesus contradicted very much of what the common man had experienced. Today as we go through this passage, I would like you not only read and hear the text but also to act upon it. What really is your public stand on Jesus?
What is your stand on JESUS?
1. He is THE PROPHET (v. 40)
Prophets are presented in the Bible as having several functions.
(i) First, prophets are spokesmen for God. When the people of Israel asked the prophet Samuel for a king, God told Samuel, “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king” (1 Samuel 8:7). Samuel was responsible to relay the Word of God to the people of Israel, and God states that He was the source of Samuel’s authority and words. Thus, Samuel the prophet was God’s representative.
(ii) The second primary function of a prophet in the Bible is what people commonly think of when they hear the term prophecy, and that is foretelling or predicting future events through divine revelation. Foretelling, though not the prophets’ most common task, is another form of their primary role. In speaking on God’s behalf, sometimes the message would include predicting the future. Jesus predicted the future when He told His disciples “that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matthew 16:21). This prophecy is recorded as fulfilled in all four Gospel accounts. Jesus also predicted that, shortly after His ascension, the disciples would receive power at the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). Acts 2 records the fulfillment of the prophecy: the apostles received the Holy Spirit and spoke in languages they did not know to proclaim the gospel to at least fifteen different language groups present in Jerusalem for Pentecost. Thus, Jesus clearly fulfilled the role of a prophet, as He spoke predictively.
(iii) A third function of some of the prophets was healing and miracles. Moses performed many miracles, including parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21–22). Elijah performed a miracle when he called fire down from heaven to burn up a sacrifice (1 Kings 18:36–38). Elisha performed a miracle when he made the ax head float in the water (2 Kings 6:6). All four Gospel accounts record Jesus performing many miracles and healings.
God had told Moses that someday He would send another prophet to Israel, “and I will put my words in his mouth. He will tell them everything I command him” (Deuteronomy 18:18). Jesus was the prophet who fulfilled that prophecy (see Acts 3:22; 7:37). Jesus fulfills all the requirements for a prophet in title, word, and deed. He is the ultimate prophet in that He is the very Word of God Himself (John 1:1).
2. He is THE CHRIST (v. 41a)