Wednesday, March 14, 2012

John 7:37-53

Our passage today shows us Jesus still at the Feast of Tabernacles:

On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:37-39)

This is an interesting picture of Jesus, because is tells us that He basically shouted out to the people there. We usually think of Jesus humbly going about in a quiet way, but He knew the desperate need and longing of these people and He wanted to get their attention. Jesus came to seek and save the lost - those who were weak, weary, hungry and thirsty. He wanted people to know that what they were seeking to fill that need was met fully in Him. And it’s not just that He offered a cool drink - He promised overflowing refreshment that would come from within the deepest part of our souls. The indwelling Holy Spirit would be a constant source of satisfaction to us - filling us so full that our joy would spill over to others.

I read somewhere that older people have a greater danger of dehydration, because they don’t recognize thirst. I think that is the spiritual condition of most of us. We have tuned out the desire for spiritual things because we are so distracted by the world - and we have no awareness of our need. Surely there are times in our lives when Jesus has to shout to get our attention! “Come to me and drink!”

Once again, the response of the crowd was mixed:

On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

Others said, “He is the Christ.”

Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him. (vs.40-44)

Now this reminded me of the whole “birther” thing. If Jesus could have just produced a birth certificate from Bethlehem, He could have settled this whole identity thing right there! :) But for most, there is never enough evidence. It’s not that they CAN’T believe - it’s that they WON’T! And that leads us to the next scene when the temple guards, who had been sent to arrest Jesus, return to report:

Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared.

“You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. “Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.” (vs.45-49)

Talk about spiritual pride! Hey, if the Pharisees don’t put their stamp of approval on Jesus, forget about it! It would be funny if it weren’t so serious. These leaders were the religious authority over God’s chosen people - and they were contemptuous of Jesus - calling him a “deceiver!” They even turned on one of their own who sees the need to investigate Jesus’ claims:

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, “Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?”

They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” (vs. 51-52)

Those who are in leadership positions are held more accountable for what they model. These leaders were making it more difficult for their “sheep” to know the truth! This reminds me of the serious position we hold as parents and grandparents to spiritually lead our children and grandchildren. If we aren’t modeling for them a strong commitment to the Savior, we will be held accountable.

Years ago, when I was the head of Sunday School for the church my girls grew up in, it amazed me how parents looked to the Sunday School teachers to be the ones to teach their children everything about God and the Bible. It was as if they just wanted to drop their kids off and assume that all of their spiritual instruction would take place for an hour a week. Just taking your kids to church and signing them up for mid-week programs is not the spiritual instruction God requires of us. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is very clear that spiritual instruction is a 24/7 job:

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

We need to be making our life with God visible to our kids every day. They need to hear our stories of His faithfulness; they need to be taught His Word from an early age. I’m feeling convicted about that as a grandparent!

Off to teach!


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