Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first twenty-four verses of the seventh chapter. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find a transition taking place within the public ministry of Jesus the Christ. In order to truly understand that which takes place within this particular passage of Scripture you need to turn and direct your attention—not only to preceding chapters within the gospel of John itself, but also to the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle Matthew. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the seventh chapter you will find something very specific concerning the public opinion which had suffered a shift and transition from the time He began to publicly manifested among those to whom He was sent. What’s more, is that I am convinced that if we want to see the big picture of what is taking place when we come to the seventh chapter—even before we direct our attention back to previous chapters within the New Testament gospel of John concerning His public ministry—we need to direct our attention to that which the apostle John wrote in the opening chapter of this particular gospel. As you read the opening chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find that rather than begin with the humanity of Jesus as other New Testament gospel writers did, the apostle John chose to begin in the realm of eternity. When the apostle John sought to present his own account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ he sought to direct the attention of his readers all the way back to the beginning—before time and space had even been created, and into the realm of the supernatural and eternal nature of the triune Godhead. Much like the Old Testament book of Genesis describes and details the beginning of creation by emphatically declaring how “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” the apostle John chooses to open and begin this gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ “in the beginning.” Consider if you will the words which the apostle John used to open up this particular gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ—not only concerning the divinity of Jesus who was the Christ and the Son of the living God, but also what He wrote concerning those who received Jesus while on the earth, and those who rejected and would not receive Him. Beginning with the first verse of the first chapter of the gospel of John you will find the following words written concerning Jesus the Christ:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of Him, and cried, saying, This was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for He was before me. And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the Boston of the Father, He hath declared Him” (John 1:1-18).
As you read the word which are written and recorded within this particular opening of this New Testament gospel you will find the apostle John made some intriguing declarations concerning Jesus the Christ. Despite the fact that Jesus the Christ—the Son of the living God—was the Word, and was the Light of the world, the apostle John would go on to write how He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, however, the world knew Him not. What’s more, is that if you continue reading the words of the apostle John you will him going on to emphatically declare that He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. In all reality, there is a strong and stark contrast found in the opening verses of the New Testament gospel of John—a contrast which would be played out within and throughout the gospel itself. The New Testament gospel of John opens up with a contrast between Light and darkness, but it also opens up with a contrast between those who received Jesus the Christ—those whom He would give power to become the sons of God—and those who would choose not to receive Jesus the Christ. The New Testament gospel of John would begin and open with a contrast between those who knew Him, and those who could not know and could not recognize Him. Despite the fact that He was the express image of the invisible God, and was in fact God in the flesh, there were those who would not received Him. Pause for a moment and consider the words which the apostle John wrote within the. Opening of this particular gospel, for the apostle John writes that the world knew not the Christ, and His own received not Christ. There is essentially this dichotomy which is found during the days of the public manifestation of Jesus the Christ in the earth, for there existed what I would call a two-sided coin—a coin that was made up of those who did not know Jesus the Christ, and those who would not and did know receive receive Him. If we are to understand the gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as written and recorded by the apostle John, it is absolutely necessary that we come face to face with the fact that there is this dichotomy which exists between those who received Jesus the Christ, and those who deliberately and intentionally chose not to receive Him. In the opening verses of this particular gospel the apostle John systematically lines up and prepares you for what would be found within and throughout the gospel—namely, as it pertained to those who would receive Jesus the Christ as the eternal Son of the living God, and those who would and could not receive Him as such. The apostle John prepares you from the start of the gospel—not only for a picture of those who received Jesus the Christ, and not only those who would not receive Jesus the Christ, but where you find yourself in those two groups. I would dare say that you cannot escape the first chapter of the New Testament gospel of John without being confronted within your own heart and soul about which group you yourself are going to be in—the group of those who receive Jesus the Christ, and the group of those who do not and cannot receive Jesus the Christ.
What we must realize when we come to the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ is that there occurred within His public manifestation and appearing when—not only would He not be received, but He would also be rejected, despised, shamed, scorned, and there would even be those who would desire His life that they might kill Him. When you read the four New Testament gospel accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ you will find glimpses of those crowds and multitudes who gathered themselves unto, sought out, and even walked with and followed Jesus the Christ—and there were those who not only would not receive Christ, but would actually vehemently hate and opposed Him. Before we get into the reality of those who would seek to kill and destroy Him, it is first necessary and imperative that we take a look at the response to Him while He was in His hometown of Nazareth, and then considering that which was written concerning His time in Galilee. I would invite you to walk with me into Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth, and to Jesus teaching in the synagogue, and even speaking unto those who knew Him from the time He was a young boy through the time He was the man who stood before Him. In order to truly understand the progression that took place within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ, and what we find and read in the seventh chapter, it is necessary that we turn and direct our attention back to the accounts of Jesus the Christ in His hometown of Nazareth—beginning first with the account which the beloved physician Luke wrote concerning His teaching within the synagogue there in Nazareth. Consider if you will the words which we find in this particular passage of Scripture beginning with the fourteenth verse of the chapter:
“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up: and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there’s as delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And He closed the book, and gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him. And He began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? And He said unto them, ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. And He said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in His own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; but unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these words, were filled with wrath, and rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill wherein their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He passing through the midst of them went His way, and came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His word was with power” (Luke 4:14-32).
The fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel written by the beloved physician Luke begins with Jesus in the wilderness being tempted of the Devil forty days before returning into Galilee full of the power of the Spirit of the living God. Having returned in the power of the Spirit, Jesus went unto Nazareth which was His hometown where He had grown up, and where many had known Him since He was a young boy growing up in the household of Mary and Joseph. On this particular occasion, Jesus entered into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. Once Jesus had found the place He was looking for in the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, He read aloud the words found there, declared that in those days the words of the prophet Isaiah were fulfilled in their hearing and sight. Eventually, however, those in Nazareth would become infuriated with Jesus because of the words which He would speak concerning them—words which He spoke concerning the hardness of their heart and their unbelief. The words which Jesus spoke unto those in Nazareth were words that touched upon the heart of familiarity with Jesus, for those who were familiar with Jesus from the time He was a young boy, and those who were familiar with Mary and Joseph, and even His own brethren, they could not receive and could not accept the words which He spoke unto them, for essentially what He did was rebuke and upbraid them for their unbelief and for the hardness of their heart. The beloved physician Luke eventually goes on to write and describe how all those who were in the synagogue were filled with wrath when they heard the words which Jesus spoke unto them, and rose up, and thrust Him out of their city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill wherein the city was built in order that they might cast Him down headlong. Here in His own hometown of Nazareth many who were present in the synagogue on this particular sabbath sought to kill Him because of the words which He spoke. How interesting and intriguing it is to think about and consider that almost from the start of His public ministry He would offend and upset certain of those whom He would speak to and teach with the words which He spoke unto them in their own synagogue. This is actually quite intriguing and quite remarkable to consider—particularly when you consider the words which were written and recorded by the apostle Matthew in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel which he wrote concerning the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. In fact, if you begin reading with and from the twelfth verse of the fourth chapter you will find that when Jesus heard that John was cast into prison, He departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, came and dwelt in Capernaum which was also in Galilee. Consider if you will the words which the apostle Matthew wrote concerning Jesus in this particular passage of Scripture:
“Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, He departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Netphthalim: that it might be fulled which was spoken of be Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatics, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan” (Matthew 4:12-25).
Upon reading the words which were written by the apostle Matthew you will find Jesus entering into Galilee where He would preach and emphatically proclaim repentance and the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven. The apostle Matthew would go on to write concerning Jesus the Christ that He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people. What’s more, the apostle Matthew would go on to write how the fame of Jesus went throughout all Syria, and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy, and how He healed them. What’s more, is that if you turn back to the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote you will find Jesus departing Judaea after hearing the Pharisees became aware that He baptized and made more disciples than John the Baptist. Within the fourth chapter of the gospel which the apostle John wrote we find Jesus journeying to Galilee, passing through Samaria to make disciples of the woman at the well, as well as countless others within the city, and then entering into Galilee where He was originally received by those who had seen all the things which He did at Jerusalem at the feast. What is so interesting and unique about what we read in the fourth chapter is not only that Jesus entered into Galilee and was received within that region, but He also returned to Cana of Galilee where He had previously turned water into wine. What makes the words which we find in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of Matthew, as well as the words which we find in the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel of John so peculiar and intriguing is what we find when we come to the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of John. If you begin reading with and from the first verse of the seventh chapter of this gospel you will find that Jesus continued to walk in Galilee, for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. In order to understand exactly why Jesus would not walk in Jewry, and why He instead chose to walk in the region of Galilee, it is necessary that we turn our attention back to the fifth and sixth chapters of this same New Testament gospel. Beginning to read with the sixteenth verse of the fifth chapter you will find that the Jews sought to persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him because He had healed the man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath. If you continue reading within the fifth chapter you will find that the Jews sought all the more to kill Jesus—not only because He had broken the sabbath, but also because He said and declared that God was His Father, thus making Himself equal with God. If you continue reading in the New Testament gospel of John and come to the sixth chapter you will not only find the Jews striving and contending with Jesus because of the claims He was making, but also because of the words which He spoke concerning His being the bread come down from heaven, and the need to partake of the body and blood of the Son of God. By the time you come to the end of the sixth chapter you will find that many who walked with Jesus went back and walked no more with Him because of the words he was speaking and the claims He was making.
As you approach the seventh chapter you will find that Jesus walked in Galilee, for He would not walk In Jewry because the Jews sought to kill Him. What’s more, is that when you read the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of John you will find that the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand, and His brethren urged Him to depart from that place, and go into Judaea, in order that His disciples also might see the world which He performed. What’s quite interesting when you read the words which are found in the seventh chapter of this New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote is that as much as the brethren of Jesus urged Him to depart into Judaea in order that He might shew Himself openly, the apostle John writes how Jesus’ brethren did not believe in Him. The apostle John would go on to write and record the words which Jesus spoke in response to their urging Him to depart into Judaea during the time of one of the feasts of the Jews. Beginning with the sixth verse of this chapter you will find Jesus speaking the following words: “My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come” (John 7:6-8). The words which Jesus spoke unto His brethren on this particular occasion were the same words which Jesus spoke unto His mother while at the wedding at Cana of Galilee, for when Mary had spoken unto Him concerning there being no more wine, Jesus declared unto her that His time had not yet come, and asked what He had to do with her. Interestingly enough, however, Mary declared unto the servants at the wedding to do whatever Jesus instructed them to do, and Jesus would proceed to instruct them to fill six clay water pots with water, and to fill them to the brim. Once all six of the water pots had been filled to the brim, Jesus then instructed them to take water from one of the clay pots and deliver it to the master of the ceremony. When the master of the ceremony tasted the water which had been turned into wine, he boasted of how most would use the best wine at the beginning of the celebration, and once everyone had drunk enough and perhaps even become drunk, the lesser wine would be brought out. Not son this occasion, for the best wine was saved for the last, and was delivered unto him at the command of Jesus the Christ unto the servants. Little did the master of the ceremony know that what he had tasted was water which had been turned into wine by Jesus the Christ there at the wedding. It’s quite interesting that although Jesus initially declared that His time had not yet come, He would still manifest His glory by turning water into wine at this wedding—a miracle which would be the first of His miracles, and the first public display and manifestation of His glory among men.
In the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of John we find Jesus’ brethren urging Him to return again unto Judaea—returning to a place where He had previously left after learning the Pharisees heard He baptized and made more disciples than John. Within the first six chapters of the New Testament gospel of John we find multiple reasons why Jesus would not return to Judaea and why Jesus would not return unto Jewry, for in the second chapter we find Jesus driving out the money changers and merchandise from the Temple of the Lord, and overturning the tables of money which were present within the Temple. What’s more, is that within the first six chapters we find the Pharisees learning and discovering that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than the apostle John—something which caused Jesus to depart from Judaea, journey toward Galilee, and pass through Samaria. Furthermore, within the opening six chapters of the New Testament gospel of John you will find the Jews seeking to kill Him because He healed the man at the pool of Bethesda on the sabbath day. The apostle John writes and records how not only did the Jews seek to persecute Jesus because of this, but they also sought to slay and kill Him. The apostle John writes how the Jews sought to kill Jesus—not only because He had broken the sabbath by healing this man at the pool of Bethesda, but also because He had called God His Father, thus making Himself equal with God. In the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel—we don’t find the Jews seeking to slay and to kill Jesus, but we do find many who walked with Him turning back and walking no more with Him because of the words which He spoke unto them. In the fourth chapter we find the Pharisees learning of Jesus baptizing and making more disciples than John the Baptist; in the fifth chapter we find the Jews seeking to kill Jesus because He had broken the sabbath and declared that God was His Father; and in the sixth chapter we find that many of His disciples turned back and walked no more with Him because of the words which He had spoken unto them. By the time we come to the seventh chapter of this New Testament gospel we find Jesus no longer walking In Jewry because they sought to kill Him. Here we are only seven chapters into the chapter and we find Jesus no longer walking in Jewry because the Jews sought to kill Him. When His brethren urged Him to journey into Judaea and reveal Himself publicly, Jesus declared that His time had not yet come, and then declaring that His time had not yet full come. What’s interesting and unique about Jesus’ words is that despite the fact that He declared that His time had not yet come, and encouraged His brethren to go up unto the feast while He Himself would abide in Galilee, He would choose to go up unto the feast—not openly, but as it were in secret.
Perhaps one of the most interesting and intriguing realities surrounding the New Testament gospel which the apostle John wrote is the tremendous emphasis he placed on the feasts of the Jews. Once you reach the second chapter of the gospel you will find that virtually every chapter makes mention of one of the feasts of the Jews, and/or even containing additional references to the feasts which the Jews celebrated as being instructed by Moses in the Law which was given him by the Lord while atop the mountain of God in the wilderness. In the thirteenth verse of the second chapter we read “And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem” (John 2:13). In the twenty-third verse of the same chapter we find the following words: “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did” (John 2:23). In the opening verse of the fifth chapter you read the following words: “After this there was a feast of the Jews’ and Jesus went up to Jerusalem” (John 5:1). IN the fourth verse of the sixth chapter the apostle John writes how “the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh” (John 6:4). In the second verse of the seventh chapter the apostle John writes how “The Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand” (John 7:2). Even within the tenth verse of the seventh chapter we find the following words written by the apostle John: “But when His brethren were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, Where is He?” (John 7:10-11). Thus within the gospel account of the apostle John we find a great emphasis—not only on Jesus walking among and spending time within Jewry and among the Jews, but also participating in and engaging the people during times of great celebration. In all reality, we might very well say that the apostle John directly linked his gospel account to the Law of Moses and to the feasts which were commanded by the Hebrew prophet while atop the mountain of God in the wilderness. There appears to be a strong link and a strong connection between that which we find in the gospel account of Jesus the Christ written by the apostle John and the law of Moses, for there is much emphasis placed on the various Jewish feasts which were still celebrated during the days of Jesus the Christ. In all reality, it would appear that Jesus deliberately and intentionally chose the time of the feasts of the Jews in order that He might engage the Jews during a time when there would be countless who would have journeyed from their various homes, towns, villages and cities unto Jerusalem to celebrate the feast. Thus, Jesus would use the feasts which He Himself ordained with the Father and the Spirit centuries earlier with Moses atop the mountain of God in the wilderness.
When you begin reading with and from the fourteenth verse of this seventh chapter you will find the apostle John writing how during the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the Temple and taught, and how the Jews marveled at His learning having never learned. What’s actually quite interesting about this reality within the New Testament gospel of John is that Jesus emphatically declared unto the Jews that His doctrine was not His, but belonged to He who sent Him. What’s more, Jesus would go on to declare that if any man would do the will of the Father, He would know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether He spoke of Himself. Furthermore, Jesus would go on to declare that those who speak of themselves seek their own glory, but how Jesus sought the glory of the Father, and how the same was true, and no unrighteousness was found in Him. It’s worth noting that Jesus would go on to declare that Moses gave them the law, and yet none of them actually kept the law of Moses. This is a stark contrast to the reality the apostle John painted within the apostle concerning the feasts of the Jews which were still taking place during those days. In all reality, we might encounter the words which Jesus spoke unto the Jews and come face to face with the fact that even though they went up to Jerusalem at the time of the different feasts which Moses commanded, they did not keep the Law which Moses commanded. What’s more, is that not only did they not keep the Law which Moses commanded and instructed, but they also sought to kill Jesus. If there is one thing the New Testament gospel of John reveals by directly linking the feasts of the Jews to the Law of Moses, it’s that despite the fact that Jews might have traveled unto Jerusalem in observance of the feasts, they did not keep and were not keeping the Law of Moses. In all reality, their observance of the feasts were nothing more than an outward display of religion while inwardly their hearts were far from the living God. They might very well have come up to Jerusalem out of ritual, routine and requirement to observe the feasts, however, when it came to the Law which Moses commanded, they did not keep and were not keeping that law. If we are to encounter and come face to face with one single reality when reading the words which Jesus spoke in this particular chapter, it’s that we can put forth an outward show and an outward observance of religion, piety and the like, and yet we can be completely disobedient and rebellious to the command, decrees and statutes of the living God which are found written in His Word. Jesus had absolutely no problem speaking during times of celebration and observance and calling men and women to come face to face with their external and outward show of religion and holiness, while they themselves were living in disobedience and rebellion to the law which was commanded by Moses. In order to drive this point home all the more, I leave you with two distinct passages which are found within the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah—the first of which is found in the first chapter of the book, and this second which is found in the twenty-ninth chapter of the book:
“Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot way with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth; they are a trouble unto me; I am wary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, please for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:10-18).
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid” (Isaiah 29:13-14).