The Abandonment of the Disciples & the Assault of the Religious

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle John. More specifically today’s passage is found in verses thirty-seven through fifty-three of the seventh chapter. “Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you. Keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Just not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:14-24).

 

            “Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? Will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?” (John 7:25-36).

 

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him. And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him” (John 7:37-44).

 

            “Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them of the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee arise the no prophet. And every man went unto his own house” (John 7:45-53).

 

            THEN THEY SOUGHT TO TAKE HIM! THE PHARISEES AND THE CHIEF PRIESTS SENT OFFICERS TO TAKE HIM! AND SOME OF THEM WOULD HAVE TAKEN HIM! THEN CAME THE OFFICERS TO THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND PHARISEES; AND THEY SAID UNTO THEM, WHY HAVE YE NOT BROUGHT HIM? THE OFFICERS ANSWERED, NEVER. MAN SPAKE LIKE THIS MAN. MY TIME IS NOT YET COME! MY TIME IS NOT YET FULL COME! BUT NOT MAN LAID HANDS ON HIM, BECAUSE HIS HOUR WAS NOT YET COME! AND MANY OF THE PEOPLE BELIEVED ON HIM! MANY OF THE PEOPLE THEREFORE, WHEN THEY HEARD THIS SAYING, SAID, OF A TRUTH THIS IS THE PROPHET! OTHER SAID, THIS IS THE CHRIST!

 

            “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. ON the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein” (Leviticus 23:33-36).

 

            “Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: and thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solem feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee” (Deuteronomy 16:13-17).

 

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the seventh chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John drawing to a close. If there is one thing that makes this particular passage so incredibly interesting is that it is essentially the third chapter in as many which contain a powerful discourse and dialogue Jesus had with those during that generation. In fact if you read the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John you will find it contains a tremendous amount of language and words spoken by Jesus—not only on an individual basis but also on a corporate basis. If you begin reading with and from the third chapter you will find a nighttime discourse and dialogue between Jesus and a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus. It would be during this particular discourse we are brought face to face with one of the most familiar and beloved Scriptures in all of scripture as in the sixteenth verse we find the words “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It is in the third chapter of this New Testament gospel we are brought face to face with the first of many discourses and dialogues Jesus had during those three and a half years of public ministry. This particular narrative, however, is one that took place on a more individual and personal basis as it was between the Lord Jesus and one of the Pharisees who would come to Him privately by night seeking an audience with Jesus the Christ.

 

            As you continue reading the words which are found in the New Testament gospel written by the apostle John you will find in the fourth chapter how the Lord Jesus would need to pass through Samaria—and not only pass through Samaria but pass through Samaria for a very specific reason and purpose. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of what is found in the fourth chapter of this gospel as it contains another personal discourse and dialogue Jesus had with someone who was undoubtedly seeking. If there is one thing that must be recognized and understood within the fourth chapter it’s that although Scripture doesn’t explicitly state it this woman was looking, seek after and searching for something. The very fact that this woman had five husbands and was presently with a man who wasn’t her husband is something that clearly indicates and reveals that she was indeed looking for something. What’s more is that we must needs recognize that having had five husbands and presently being with a man who wasn’t her husband seems to suggest that what she was looking for ultimately was not found and was not met by these particular individuals. I have to say that I am curious and wonder if there was something about each man that was perhaps different than the other and caused this woman to be married to each of them. What’s more is I can’t help but think about how long this Samaritan woman was with each man in marriage before the marriage ultimately ended and would end in divorced. Something else that is not present within the passage but something that might be worth mentioning and considering is that maybe the trouble that was found in each of these marriages had nothing to do with the men she was married to but had everything to do with her own self. What if the men she was married to actually discovered something within this woman and as a direct result of this discovery they were actually the ones who chose to walk away? What if this woman had been married five different times and yet each time she thought she had found the one she was searching for it would be short-lived and would ultimately end in divorce.

 

            The more I read the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that this woman would have a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ and at first would not even realize and recognize that it was the Messiah and the Christ. Perhaps one of the most powerful truths that surrounds this passage of Scripture is the fact that this is one of the only times in all of Scripture where we actually find Jesus openly declaring and proclaiming Himself to be the Christ and the Messiah. There were times when the unclean spirits and demons would address Jesus and refer to Him as the Son of the living God and even as the Christ and He would silence them and not permit them to speak. There was even a time when Simon called Peter would declare and proclaim concerning Jesus in the presence of the disciples that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God. Following Simon Peter’s declaration Jesus would call him blessed because flesh and blood had not revealed this unto him and would then declare that upon this rock He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. Despite Jesus’ words to Simon Peter we find Him instructing the disciples not to proclaim and declare that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God. There were times within and throughout the life and ministry of Jesus when He instructed unclean spirits to be silent and when He instructed His disciples not to openly declare that He was the Christ and the Son of the living God. Even with this being said, however, we find Jesus sitting at a well in Samaria and speaking to a Samaritan woman and declaring unto her that He which spoke unto her was indeed the Messiah and the  Christ.

 

            It is something absolutely unique and remarkable when you think about the words which are found in the fourth chapter of this gospel as within it we find Jesus openly declaring and proclaiming Himself to be the Christ and the Messiah—not in Judaea nor even in Galilee but In Samaria. There in a place where no Jew would even think of passing through much less stopping and sitting down at a well and speaking with a Samaritan woman Jesus would openly declare that He Himself was indeed the Christ and the Messiah. It’s important that we understand this particular truth as the narrative surrounding this encounter brings us face to face with the fact that this woman was not only searching for something in the relationships she had but there was also this Messianic expectation that was present within her heart and soul. In fact I would dare say that one of the greatest reasons Jesus might have needed to pass through Samaria on His way to Galilee from Judaea is to manifest and proclaim Himself as the Messiah to this Samaritan woman who was undoubtedly seeking after and searching for something. What’s more is that I would even dare say that the men within this city were seeking after and searching for the Messiah and the Christ. When this woman came unto the men in the city after departing from the presence of Jesus we find her returning unto them and not only inviting them to see a man who told her everything she ever did but also asking them if it was possible that He be the Christ. What makes this truly unique is when you read the test and discover that Jesus never made any declaration that He would remain and tarry at the well and wait for this woman. The text reveals this woman departing from the presence of Jesus and leaving her water pot behind and yet Jesus never made the statement He would wait for her or would even be there when she returned. Even with this being said, however, we find this woman returning unto the men and inviting them to see a man who had told her everything she had ever done and asked if He could be the Messiah.

 

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that Jesus not only openly declared and proclaimed Himself to be the Messiah and the Christ to this woman but also remained and abode with them for two days demonstrating and manifesting Himself as the Messiah. There is not a doubt in my mind there was a remarkable Messianic hope and expectation present among the Samaritans—present within the hearts and souls of those with whom the Jews would have no dealings with. Isn’t it interesting how this text seems to reveal two different people groups who would apparently have no dealings with each other and yet they both were looking for the Messiah. How incredible it is to think about and consider the words and language found in this passage of Scripture for it suggests that there were those in Samaria who were looking for the Messiah and the Christ—this despite the fact that Jews would not have any dealings with Samaritans. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it highlights and underscores a tremendous truth within our own generation surrounding differences, tensions, and division which might be present among people groups and the like and how there might be one common theme that was present among each of those groups—namely there expectation and anticipation for the Messiah. We cannot afford to miss this particular truth as within the gospel narrative written by John we find Jesus entering into a place of tension and division and choosing not to hurl condemnation and judgment at a woman who was a five time divorcee and who was presently with a man who wasn’t her husband. What’s more is this same Jesus who showed up Samaria and refused to condemn and judge this Samaritan woman who was a five time divorcee would also sit in the Temple and both deliver a woman caught in the act of adultery from her accusers but also declared unto her that he did not accuse or condemn her. How absolutely incredible it is that the same Jesus who would not accuse nor condemn a woman caught in adultery in Jerusalem would be the same Jesus who would show up in Samaria and not accuse or condemn a Samaritan woman who was a five-time divorcee and was with a man who wasn’t her husband.

 

            I absolutely love reading the fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John for within it we find the Lord Jesus showing up in Samaria refusing to judge and condemn this five time divorcee—and not only refusing to judge and condemn her but also declaring unto her that He was indeed the Christ and the Messiah. What’s more is that when the men of the city came out of the city unto Jesus while He was still seated at the well they did so because they believed on Him because of the word and testimony of this woman. The men of the city would entreat Jesus to abide and tarry with them and Jesus would oblige and accommodate their request and abide with them two full days. There is not a doubt in my mind that during those two days the Lord Jesus further demonstrated and manifested Himself as the Messiah. Think about it—if Jesus openly declared and proclaimed Himself as the Messiah and the Christ to this Samaritan woman in Samaria even after refusing to condemn her for being a five-time divorcee then I am sure he would have continued revealing Himself as the Messiah. What an incredible truth it is to read the words found in the fourth chapter for within it we find the Lord Jesus willing to enter into a place of tension and division and openly proclaiming and declaring Himself to be the Messiah and the Christ. Not only this but Jesus would also abide and tarry with them for two full days undoubtedly further declaring and manifesting Himself as the Messiah and the Christ. When those two days were all said and over with the men of the city spoke unto the woman and declared how they first believed in Jesus because of her word and testimony but how they believed on Him from that moment on. What an incredible thing it is to think about the fact that when Jesus departed from Samaria after abiding with them for two full days there would be a people who not only encountered the Messiah and the Christ but who also knew based on Jesus’ own word that He was the Messiah. Undoubtedly the men of the city thought this man might have been the Messiah based on the word and testimony of this woman and yet after they heard His own word for two days they believed for themselves that He was the Messiah and the Christ.

 

            As you continue reading in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find that the events which took place in the sixth and seventh chapter took place on a corporate scale rather than on an individual basis. In the third chapter we find the Lord Jesus Christ speaking one on one in a personal and private setting with a Pharisee named Nicodemus while in the fourth chapter we find the Lord Jesus speaking one on one in a similar personal setting with a Samaritan woman before ultimately abiding with those in the city of Sychar for a full two days. When you come to the fifth chapter you will find it beginning on an individual and personal basis and yet transitioning very quickly in a single day to a public discourse and dialogue between Jesus and the Jews. Upon reading the words which are found in the fifth chapter you will find it beginning and opening with the Lord Jesus entering into one of the porches at the pool of Bethesda and healing a man who had suffered from an infirmity for thirty and eight years. What’s more is Jesus would heal this man apart from the troubled waters and without anyone needing to come to him and help him get to where healing would and could take place. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also heal this man on the sabbath and it would be this particular truth that would set in motion—not only the dialogue and discourse Jesus had with the Jews in this chapter but also with the Jews again in the seventh chapter. We must needs realize and understand that the fifth and seventh chapters are not only intrinsically linked and connected to the feasts of the Jews, and not only linked to the city of Jerusalem but they were also linked to the Jews as well. It would be in the fifth chapter when the Jews would seek to persecute the Lord Jesus because He healed and made whole a man on the sabbath day. It would also be in this same chapter we find the Jews seeking to kill Jesus because He had not only proclaimed God as His Father but by doing so would make Himself equal with God.

 

            When you read the latter half of the fifth chapter of the gospel narrative written by the apostle John you will find Jesus speaking directly unto the Jews—not only because they persecuted and murmured against Him but also because they sought to kill Him. In fact it would be this concept of the Jews seeking to kill Jesus that would serve as the backdrop and the foundation for the seventh chapter of this same gospel narrative. It would be in the seventh chapter of this gospel we find Jesus no longer walking in Jewry because the Jews sought to kill Him. Instead of walking in Judaea and Jerusalem Jesus would walk in Galilee because of the desire and intent of the Jews to kill Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for even in the seventh chapter we find Jesus Himself linking what would take place in Jerusalem at the time of the feast of tabernacles with what had previously taken place at another one of the feast of the Jews. It is in the first few verses of the seventh chapter we find the apostle John writing of Jesus walking in Galilee rather than Jewry because the Jews sought to kill Him. Not only this but we find Jesus—when speaking unto the Jews—speaking of and reminding them how they sought to kill Him. In all reality there are two distinct references found within this passage of Scripture that directly link the seventh chapter and the events which took place within it to the events which transpired earlier on in the fifth chapter. Scripture and the apostle John do not reveal how much time elapsed and passed between the events of the fifth chapter and the seventh chapter, however, we must needs recognize and understand that the two chapters and the two interactions between the Lord Jesus and the Jews were linked together. With this being said we must recognize that these chapters are linked together in the desire and intention of the Jews to kill the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

            Before we get into this we must needs acknowledge the events which are found in the sixth chapter of this gospel as in the sixth chapter we find a powerful shift and transition from those who sought after, pursued and followed the Lord Jesus Christ to many of His disciples turning back and walking no more with Him. It would be in sixth chapter we find Jesus feeding five thousand men not including women and children with five loaves of bread and two fish. This chapter would begin with the Lord Jesus taking five loaves of bread and two fish, blessing and breaking them, distributing them to the disciples who would in turn give them to the multitude and thereby feeding five thousand who He had sit down and rest in a place where there was undoubtedly much grass and green pastures. It would be here on this particular day when we find the Lord Jesus Christ as a shepherd—not only making them to sit down in green pastures and not only giving unto them rest but also feeding them until they were all full before He would dismiss them and permit them to return unto their homes. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in the sixth chapter how Jesus would not only feed five thousand men not including woman and children until they were full but also how there would be twelve baskets full of the fragments of the miracle that none would be lost. There is not a doubt in my mind that those twelve baskets full of the fragments of the miracle were undoubtedly used to feed others who perhaps weren’t present at the actual feeding of the five thousand. In all reality I would dare say that Jesus could have very well fed more than five thousand not including women and children as there could have been those who weren’t present at the time of the miracle who were able to partake of the loaves of bread. Not only this but they were able to partake of the same bread and fish which were blessed, broken and distributed by the hands of Jesus.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding the sixth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John is that there were those who perhaps weren’t present when the actual miracle took place who were able to partake of the partake of the miracle from the twelve baskets which were filled with the fragments. I can’t help but think about and perhaps even wonder how many others would and could have been fed from the twelve baskets which were filled with the leftovers from this miracle. Imagine this young lad having left his house with five loaves of barley bread and two fish and returning with twelve baskets full of the fragments of the miracle of Jesus. Imagine this young lad’s parents, friends, family members and loved ones asking him where he got and received these twelve baskets. Imagine the testimony this young lad would have had—a testimony which would have forever changed and transformed his life—as he shared how he offered his lunch unto Jesus and how He blessed and broke his offering before multiplying and distributing it unto the disciples who in turn distributed it unto the multitude. Oh I can’t help but think about what it would and could have been for this young lad to return home—even if he only returned home with one or more baskets—sharing the testimony of the miracle which took place and how his simple offering would and could be used to feed five thousand men not including women and children. What’s more is I find myself asking how long it would and could have taken Jesus to multiply and distribute unto the disciples that which would feed five thousand men not including women and children. Scripture already records how this crowd had been with Him most of the day and now they would have undoubtedly spent a considerable amount of time with Jesus as He would have needed time to break, multiply and distribute enough food to feed five thousand men which didn’t include women and children.

 

            It is something worth thinking about that in the very same chapter where we find Jesus feeding five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish which He blessed, broke and multiplied we find many of His disciples turning back and walking no more with Him. The ultimate reason many of His disciples would and could turn back and walk no more with Him is because He would speak of Himself as being the living bread which came down from heaven. The Jews would speak of Moses and how he provided for the children of Israel which were their fathers by giving them manna for forty years. For forty years Moses would give the children of Israel manna from heaven despite the fact that it would ultimately be the living and eternal God who would give and provide unto them manna. Jesus would hear and listen to the words which the Jews would declare unto Him and would then speak of and refer to Himself as the living bread which came down from heaven. Not only would Jesus refer to Himself as the living bread which came down from heaven but would also speak to them of their eating His flesh and blood. Of course we know that Jesus wasn’t actually inviting the Jews to eat and partake of His literal flesh and blood for we must needs recognize and understand that when He came unto His own and became the Word which dwelt among us He would take upon Himself flesh and blood. There is not a doubt in my mind that when we read of the Lord Jesus inviting men and women to partake of His flesh and blood we are reading of an invitation to partake in Himself and to partake of the life that was in Him. Furthermore we know and understand that the Lord would refer to His body as being broken much like the bread which He blessed and broke and how His blood would be shed and spilt. With this being said we must also recognize and understand that through communion we not only appropriate partaking in the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ but we also invite the life of Jesus to be manifested within our hearts and lives. It is through communion and the celebration of the Passover that we are inviting ourselves to partake of the flesh and blood of the Lord Jesus—partaking in and appropriating His suffering and the breaking of His body and the shedding of His blood.

 

            What so amazes me about what is found in the sixth chapter of this gospel is how it could begin with Jesus feeding five thousand men not including women and children until they were all fall and how Jesus perceived they would have made Him king and yet how they would quickly transition to the point where many of them would walk not more with Him. That which we find in the sixth chapter of this New Testament gospel is absolutely astounding when you take the time to think about it for what we find within it is a powerful shift that would take place when many of those during those days—many who at one point walked with and followed Jesus—would turn back and walk no more with Him. There would be many who would turn back and walk no more with Jesus and Jesus would even ask His own disciples if they wanted to turn back and walk no more with Him. Of course we know and understand within the sixth chapter that the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John demonstrates and reveals how Simon Peter would ask Jesus where they would and could go for he alone had the words of eternal life. What’s more is Simon Peter would also profess and proclaim how they were certain and were convinced that Jesus was indeed the Christ and the Son of the living God. Despite the fact that many would turn back and walk no more with Jesus we find Simon called Peter and the other disciples choosing to continue to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and to follow Him.

 

            With all of this being said we must needs recognize how it leads us into the events which took place in the seventh chapter and how it would be in the seventh chapter where we would find Jesus returning unto Jewry and returning unto the city of Jerusalem. In the fifth chapter we find the Jews persecuting and seeking to kill Jesus while in the sixth chapter we find many of His disciples who perhaps walked with and followed Him turning back and walking no more with Him. It would be in the sixth chapter and in Galilee where we find a great turning away and a great falling away taking place as men and women were not only offended with Christ but were also offended with the words which He spoke. It’s interesting to note that those in Galilee weren’t offended with Jesus’ miracles nor even anything which the Jews in Judaea and Jerusalem were offended with and yet they still found themselves turning back and walking no more with Jesus. It would be in Galilee where we find men and women walking away from Jesus and walking no more with Him while it would be in Judaea and Jerusalem we find the Jews persecuting and seeking to kill him. ABANDONED IN GALILEE AND PERSECUTE IN JUDAEA. It is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading the words found in this passage of Scripture how in Galilee we find many of Jesus’ disciples—those who walked with and followed Him—turning back and walking no more with Him and in Judaea we find the Jews seeking to kill Him. In fact it is when you come to the seventh chapter we find repeated declarations where the apostle John wrote how the Jews sought to lay hold of and take Jesus by force. You cannot read the seventh chapter without encountering the desire and intention of the Jews to kill Jesus as well as the desire and intention of the Pharisees who sought to lay hold of and take Jesus by force.

 

            As you read the words found in the seventh chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative you will find an incredibly powerful declaration concerning the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees and the religious leaders of that day seeking to take hold of and lay hands of Jesus by force. Within this passage we not only find the Jews seeking to kill Jesus but also the religious elite of that day seeking to lay hold of Jesus because of the words which He had proclaimed. In the fifth chapter we find the Jews persecuting Jesus because He healed a man on the sabbath and we find them seeking to kill Him because He proclaimed that God was His Father and thus made Himself equal with God. We must needs recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that in the seventh chapter we find the religious leaders seeking to lay hold of and take Jesus by force. In the fifth chapter we find the apostle John writing how the Jews sought to kill Jesus while in the seventh chapter we find the apostle writing about the religious leaders seeking to lay hold of and take Jesus by force that they might destroy and remove Him from the picture. Just as the Jews murmured against and were offended by the Lord Jesus Christ in the fifth chapter because of the words He spoke so also do we find the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel seeking to lay hold and seize Jesus by force. When we come to the seventh chapter we find the animosity toward and against Jesus escalating and growing even further and even more as now we find the religious elite and system joining in the assault and attack against Jesus.

 

            Perhaps one of the greatest truths found in this New Testament gospel narrative is the tremendous assault and attack against Jesus—not only because of the words which He spoke but also because of the miracles which He performed during those days. The Lord Jesus Christ had offended the Jews, many of His disciples and even the religious elite during those days as the apostle John takes time to carefully describe the assault and attack on Jesus. In all reality I would dare say that one of the greatest truths found within the New Testament gospel narrative of John is not only the dialogue and discourse which took place between the Lord Jesus Christ and those of that generation but also the assault and attack against Jesus. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found in this gospel it’s how offense with Jesus not only leads men and women to turn back and walk no more with Him but how it also leads others to persecute and seek to kill Him. THE ASSAULT AGAINST AND ABANDONMENT OF JESUS! One thing I can’t help but think about and consider when reading this gospel narrative is the tremendous picture of the assault against Jesus by the Jews and by the religious elite and the abandonment of His disciples. How absolutely incredible it is to read the gospel narrative written by the apostle John and come face to face with many of His disciples turning back and walking no more with Him as well as many of the Jews persecuting and seeking to kill Him. IN the fifth chapter we find the Jews persecuting and seeking to kill Jesus, in the sixth chapter we find many disciples turning back and walking no more with Jesus, while in the seventh chapter we find many of the religious leaders and elite of that day seeking to lay hold of and seize Jesus by force.

 

            It is absolutely necessary and imperative to read the words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John because they paint a powerful picture of what is taking place and what has taken place within our culture, our society and our generation. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we are witnessing and what we have been witnessing within our generation is a mass assault and attack against the Lord Jesus Christ. Within our culture and society we have found men and women who are not only turning their backs on and walking away from Jesus as they have made the decision to walk no more with Him as well as those who are seeking to persecute and assault Him. There are and there have been those who are seeking to completely remove the Lord Jesus Christ from our culture and from our society—something that began back in the middle of the twentieth century and has since spiraled out of control. I am absolutely convinced that throughout my lifetime we have witnessed countless men and women both within and outside of the government who have sought to completely and utterly remove the Lord Jesus Christ from history and from our present. You would have to be completely and utterly naïve to think about and consider the fact that there has been a great exodus and turning back from the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact I would even dare say there have been countless men and women who have turned back and walked no more with Jesus over the past year plus time in light of COVID-19 and what we have been walking through as a nation and as a world as a whole. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it calls and draws our attention to the tremendous truth that precisely what we find and read in the New Testament gospel written by John—that which was written concerning the abandonment of the disciples and the assault of the religious—is a powerful picture of what is taking place and what has taken place within our culture and society.

 

            THE ABANDONMENT OF DISCIPLES AND THE ASSAULT OF THE RELIGIOUS! I can’t help but read the words found in the seventh chapter of this New Testament gospel and see a powerful attempt of religion to seek and lay hold of Jesus. What’s more is that this attempt to lay hold of Jesus was not only because of offense with the words He spoke but also because of envy of the fame and popularity which surrounded His person. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight what is found here in these passages for there has been a tremendous assault against the Lord Jesus as many religious among us have grown and become offended with Jesus and the words which He has spoken. How absolutely intriguing and captivating it is to read the words found in this passage of Scripture and not only see disciples turning back and walking no more with Jesus but also the religious system and commuting uniting in their assault and attack against the Lord Jesus. If you begin reading with and from the thirty-second verse of this chapter you will find how the Pharisees heard how the people murmured certain things concerning Jesus and how they sent officers to take Jesus. When the officers came unto Jesus He emphatically declared how in a little while He was with them and then He would go unto Him which sent Him. Jesus would also go on to declare unto them how they would seek Him and would not find Him and where He was they could not come. Oh it is absolutely necessary that we recognize and understand what is found in this passage of Scripture as it draws and calls our attention to the tremendous truth concerning Jesus and the continued murmuring of the Jews against Him and the eventual and ultimate beginning of the assault and attack against Him by the religious leaders and system of that day.

 

            It is beginning with the thirty-second verse of the seventh chapter we find and read of the beginning of the assault and attack of the religious leaders against Jesus because of the words which they heard from among the Jews during those days. IN the last and great day of the feast Jesus stood and cried unto all those who were present and would issue the following invitation and clarion call to come unto Him: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38). The apostle John would go on to write how these words were spoken by Jesus and would refer to the Holy Spirit who would indeed come and be sent by the Lord Jesus but would not yet be present among them because He had not departed and returned unto the Father. Pause and consider how in this particular passage we not only find an invitation to all those who thirst to come and drink of Him but we also find the promise that all those who believed on Him would have rivers of living water flowing out of them. It is within this passage of Scripture where we find one of the first mentions of the coming of the promise of the Holy Spirit as Jesus would speak unto those at this time concerning the presence of the Holy Spirit being manifested within their lives. The apostle John would also go on to reveal how Jesus’ words concerning rivers of living water flowing forth from those who believed on Him as being directly linked to the coming and presence of the Holy Spirit but how the Holy Spirit had not yet been manifested because Jesus was still present among them. So long as Jesus was still present among His disciples and walked among men in flesh and blood the Holy Spirit would and could not be released. OH it is truly something worth thinking about and considering when reading this passage how the Lord Jesus would give an invitation to come unto Him and drink and how the byproduct of coming unto Him and drinking would be rivers of living water flowing out of them.

 

            The apostle John writes and records how many of those who were present during this time and heard the words Jesus spoke believed and professed that Jesus was the Prophet while others said and declared that He was the Christ. With this being said we must needs recognize and understand one of the central themes and truths that is found within this chapter—and not only within this chapter but also within our own culture and society—as the person and presence of the Lord Jesus seems to bring a division within and among men. If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the forty-third and forty-fourth verses you will find how there arose a division among the people because of Jesus and how some of them would have taken Him but no man could lay hands on Him because His time had not yet come. Oh one of the greatest truths surrounding the Lord Jesus Christ is that His person, His presence and His words seems to draw a dividing line in the proverbial sand of culture and society as Jesus divides men and women and their belief and opinion of Him. As much as I believe this particular chapter to be a powerful picture of disciples turning back and walking no more with Jesus as well as the religious seeking to persecute Him it is also a chapter that highlights and underscores a powerful division which the person and presence of the Lord Jesus Christ manifests within our culture and society. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this as it forces us to acknowledge and understand within our own hearts and souls what we think and what we feel about the Lord Jesus Christ. We must needs acknowledge the truth about what we think and what we feel about the Lord Jesus Christ and whether or not we are those who not only believe on Him and not only believe that He is the Christ and the Son of the living God but also will choose to continue walking with and following Him.

 

            As I prepare to bring this writing to a close it is absolutely necessary and imperative that we recognize what is found within this passage for not only do we find a powerful invitation to come and drink of Jesus but also how there is a powerful invitation given to partake of the person and presence of the Holy Spirit. What’s more is we must needs understand and acknowledge whether or not we are those who will choose to continue walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ. Are we those who are going to continue walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ despite the abandonment of disciples and the assault of the religious? Are we those who are going to walk with and not depart from the Lord Jesus Christ despite the fact that there are those who are turning their backs on and departing from Him left and right? Are we going to be those who are going to continue coming unto Jesus and drinking that we might produce those rivers of living water or are we going to be those who are going to turn our backs on Him and choose to walk no more with Him? We must needs recognize how incredibly important these questions and the answers to them truly are within our hearts and lives for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth that is found within our hearts and souls. We must needs be those who are adamant and resolved within our hearts and our souls concerning our commitment and devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. We must be those who despite the abandonment of disciples and the assault of the religious are such who will continue walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ. We must needs be those who will choose to commit and devote our entire lives to walking with and following the Lord Jesus Christ despite what is taking place within the culture and society all around us. We are living in the last days and those days before His return and coming and we must needs be those who are firmly resolved within our hearts and our spirits that we are going to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ with reckless abandonment for the remainder of our natural lives on this earth.

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