Morning Devotions: John 7 – Is He the Messiah?
I greet you in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
It's a little bit later in the day. Today, I'm pre-recording this. I've got some content on hand so I don't run out of time toward the end of the week as we get closer to Sunday. And that also means I don't have to whisper because everybody in the house is asleep. We're in Day 7 of lockdown, which means we're in chapter 7 of the Gospel of John.
I'm reading chapters of God's Word because “faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” (Rom 10:17) and trusting that the Lord speaks to your heart as you have some time to ponder and think about God's Word. If you are from Benoni, please do drop comments down below. I'd love to hear how who is actually listening to or going through the devotions.
I'm going to read from John chapter 7 beginning at verse 1.
John 7 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
7 After this, Jesus traveled in Galilee, since he did not want to travel in Judea because the Jews were trying to kill him. 2 The Jewish Festival of Shelters was near. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea so your disciples can see your works that you are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret while he’s seeking public recognition. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 (For not even his brothers believed in him.) 6 Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it does hate me because I testify about it—that its works are evil. 8 Go up to the festival yourselves. I’m not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said these things, he stayed in Galilee. 10 After his brothers had gone up to the festival, then he also went up, not openly but secretly. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the festival and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was a lot of murmuring about him among the crowds. Some were saying, “He’s a good man.” Others were saying, “No, on the contrary, he’s deceiving the people.” 13 Still, nobody was talking publicly about him for fear of the Jews. 14 When the festival was already half over, Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. 15 Then the Jews were amazed and said, “How is this man so learned, since he hasn’t been trained?” 16 Jesus answered them, “My teaching isn’t mine but is from the one who sent me. 17 If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18 The one who speaks on his own seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. 19 Didn’t Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” 20 “You have a demon!” the crowd responded. “Who is trying to kill you?” 21 “I performed one work, and you are all amazed,” Jesus answered. 22 “This is why Moses has given you circumcision —not that it comes from Moses but from the fathers —and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses won’t be broken, are you angry at me because I made a man entirely well on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment.” 25 Some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Yet, look, he’s speaking publicly and they’re saying nothing to him. Can it be true that the authorities know he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from. When the Messiah comes, nobody will know where he is from.” 28 As he was teaching in the temple, Jesus cried out, “You know me and you know where I am from. Yet I have not come on my own, but the one who sent me is true. You don’t know him; 29 I know him because I am from him, and he sent me.” 30 Then they tried to seize him. Yet no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come. 31 However, many from the crowd believed in him and said, “When the Messiah comes, he won’t perform more signs than this man has done, will he?” 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things about him, and so the chief priests and the Pharisees sent servants to arrest him. 33 Then Jesus said, “I am only with you for a short time. Then I’m going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” 35 Then the Jews said to one another, “Where does he intend to go so we won’t find him? He doesn’t intend to go to the Jewish people dispersed among the Greeks and teach the Greeks, does he? 36 What is this remark he made: ‘You will look for me, and you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come’?” 37 On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” 39 He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. 40 When some from the crowd heard these words, they said, “This truly is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some said, “Surely the Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does he? 42 Doesn’t the Scripture say that the Messiah comes from David’s offspring and from the town of Bethlehem, where David lived?” 43 So the crowd was divided because of him. 44 Some of them wanted to seize him, but no one laid hands on him. 45 Then the servants came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him?” 46 The servants answered, “No man ever spoke like this!” 47 Then the Pharisees responded to them: “Are you fooled too? 48 Have any of the rulers or Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd, which doesn’t know the law, is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus—the one who came to him previously and who was one of them—said to them, 51 “Our law doesn’t judge a man before it hears from him and knows what he’s doing, does it?” 52 “You aren’t from Galilee too, are you?” they replied. “Investigate and you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”[The earliest mss do not include 7:53–8:11.] 53 Then each one went to his house.
Is he the Messiah?
If I had to give this chatter title, I would probably title it, ‘Is he the Messiah?’. Jesus’ half-brothers in the beginning of the chapter, mock him. They say if somebody can do these magic tricks, Why not do them in public so that you can get a public gathering and a public following. Jesus say that his time has not yet come. He's not going to go up in public and in fanfare to Jerusalem because he is on God's timetable, not on man's. Instead, he goes up secretly to a private place in Jerusalem. In reality, over the course of this chapter, Jesus provokes rumour and discussion and argument. Jesus Christ in actual fact divides the people in Jerusalem. And from this point on the plan, the plot to kill Jesus Christ is going to intensify through John's gospel.
There are three groups of people that are being described in this chapter.
- 1. The Jews: The leaders/Pharisees/Sanhedrin.
The first group is the Jews. And in reality, everyone in Jerusalem is a Jew but this is talking specifically about the leaders of the people. More often than not, the Pharisees. The high elite, the members of the Sanhedrin, the ruling Council. We read about them in John chapter 7:1. “The Jews were trying to kill him” And in John chapter 7:13, “No one was talking publicly about him for fear of the Jews.”
2. The Crowd: Mixed crowd attending the festival.
The second group of people is the crowd. This is a mixed group of people that had come and flocked from all corners of the world into Jerusalem particularly for the festival of shelters. We read about this crowd in two places. John chapter 7:31, “Many from the crowd believed in him and said, “When the Messiah comes he won't perform more signs than this man has done, will he?” And then again in John chapter 7:43, “so the crowd was divided because of him.” There's another distinction in terms of people, a more closely united group to the Pharisees that exist in Jerusalem, folk from Jerusalem in the nearby surrounds which would have taken the side of the Pharisees.
3. Nicodemus: The Leader who visited Jesus at night
Lastly, there is one man that I want to point out, Nicodemus. Nicodemus, the man who visited Jesus Christ by night secretly in chapter 3, is now aligning himself with Jesus Christ in the midst of this leadership, this Jewish structure, the Sanhedrin. We read in John chapter 7:50-52, “Nicodemus-the one who came to him previously and who was one of them, said to them, “Our law doesn't judge a man before it hears from him and knows what he's doing, does it?”” “You aren't From Galilee too, aren't you?” They replied.” “Investigating you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” So the chapter read. That's the chapter briefly outlined.
Well, how do we apply this chapter into our lives?
If you are an unbeliever listening to or reading these words this morning, then I want to echo the thought of the brothers of Jesus Christ in this text. We read at the beginning of the chapter, in John 7:5, that not even his brothers believed in him. I want to give you some encouragement. His brothers didn't believe in him, but after they were witness the miracle after miracle, and then after they witnessed the resurrected Jesus Christ after his crucifixion, many of Jesus’ brothers came to faith and trust in him. And we see them in the early Church. In fact, one of these brothers became a leader in the early church. His name was James and we see them in the writings and James writes a book of the Bible that bears his name and another one of his brothers, Judas, we call him Jude, wrote another book of the New Testament. The reality is their unbelief, turned into belief as they witnessed the signs of Jesus Christ. The same can be true of you because these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
If you're a seeker I'm talking about a genuine seeker, you are looking for God. If you're a seeker here this morning and you hear these words, then I want you to hear and echo from John 7:31. “However, many from the crowd believed in him and said when the Messiah comes he won't perform more signs than this man has done, will he?” Now the signs that the crowd would have been speaking about at this stage in the game was probably the healing of that man a few chapters ago, the lame man at the pool of Bethesda. The reality is they had heard and information had permeated that Jesus Christ healed this man on the Sabbath and that becomes the point of contention both in this chapter and in chapters to come. The reality is they recognized that this man was sent by God, just like Nicodemus had said of Jesus Christ in John chapter 3. You too need to look upon the person of Jesus Christ and recognize that he is the Messiah, he is the Christ, and he is the Anointed one, the sent one from God. He Bears the image of God to man. He is God tabernacling amongst us. Friend, put your faith and your trust in Jesus Christ this day and you will be reconciled to God.
If you are a new convert and you are reading this chapter this morning, and you are seeing in this chapter something of Jesus Christ. I also want you to see something of the Holy Spirit and how the Holy Spirit has been imparted to Believers. In John chapter 7:37-39, we read that “On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. The one who believes in me as the scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” He said this about the Spirit.” Those who believe in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” Friend, if you are a new believer, let me tell you that the Holy Spirit was given to the church on the day of Pentecost. And those who put their faith in their trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, are given the Spirit as a down payment, as a deposit, as a seal to that final day. You have the Spirit of God within you, a Spirit of power, a Spirit testifies inside of you that you are a child of God. A spirit which was given to empower you to go out into the world and to share and witness to the resurrected Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Lo, I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.” at the end of The Book of Matthew. And he does that by the presence of his Holy Spirit within the life of each and every believer.
Believer if you are reading this this morning, how can you apply this in your life? Let me say you can apply this by looking at the boldness of Nicodemus. Let's just read that passage again in John 7:50-52. It says that, Nicodemus-the one who came to him previously and who was one of them, said to them, “Our law doesn't judge a man before it hears from him and knows what he's doing, does it?”” “You aren't From Galilee too, aren't you?” They replied.” “Investigating you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
Do you see the transformation in Nicodemus’ life? I mean previously, he came to Jesus probably ashamed and a little bit scared. He came at night so that no one else would witness this conversation that he wanted to have with this person, he was convinced was sent from God. And now, as the leaders stand and start to connive and start to plot and plan the destruction of Jesus Christ. Nicodemus is no longer scared and no longer secret instead, he stands and he professes, and he makes Bold Proclamation as he is standing on the side of Jesus Christ, contending them to their face.
Friends, as a believer, there might come a time when you to need to stand before men and give a profession that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, sent by God. And when that moment comes, do not bulk away, do not hide away, do not shame away, and do not be ashamed of Jesus Christ. In that moment, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Profess him Jesus Christ as your Lord and your Savior and testify to the good work which Jesus has done in your life. That might happen with your family, it might happen with your friends, and it might happen with your co-workers. However it happens, when the moments come to testify to Jesus Christ, use them that he might be glorified in your life now presently, even as he will one day be glorified forever and ever, in the world to come.
Let’s close in a word of prayer.
Father God, I do thank you for your Word. I thank you that it is faithful and true and that it points us to the person of Jesus Christ. Help us to see him in this text that we might glorify him in this life, even as we will glorify him forever and ever in life to come. This I pray in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
May God bless. Bless you.