Character of Jesus 41

The Character of Jesus 41

Pointing to God

John 7:11 – 52

Letting the Spirit Work

  • Characteristic:  Letting the Spirit Work
    • (11 – 15)  Jesus’ prior behavior mystified the crowds.  Normal leaders glorify themselves (not necessarily in a bad way, but rather promoting themselves as the best answer to the present situation) and live comfortably.  Plus, rabbis had competing theories.
    • (16 – 19)  The mindset of the faithful:
      • (16, 18)  The faithful talk about God.  They themselves are merely a vehicle and largely invisible.  Note that no physical description of Jesus survived.  He wrote nothing.
      • (17)  “He who wants to know what God wants will understand.”  Promises of understanding are given in 1 Corinthians 2:9 – 12, Ephesians 1:17 – 19, 2 Corinthians 3:15 – 18, et al.
      • (19)  How is your present rubric working for you?
      • The desire of the leaders to see Jesus dead stretches back at least to John 5:18 after He healed the man at the Pool of Bethesda.
    • (20 – 24)  The consistency of the faithful:
      • The rabbis had missed the point of the Sabbath: a day of non-labor so that one could spend time thinking about God and be with family.  They focused on defining what was forbidden instead of what was appropriate.
      • When practices require exceptions, something went wrong.
    • (25 – 32)  Facts, not speculation
      • The crowds speculated, but no one went to investigate.  The birth records were nearby.  They already knew that Jesus did miracles.
      • Further answering the question of verse 15, Jesus says that He knew this stuff because He is from God.  The challenge was to put the evidence together and make a decision, not just speculate.
      • The reason that “no one laid a hand on Him” is addressed further in verse 46.
    • (33 – 36)  Challenge people to think
      • Jesus’ statement is obvious to us, but would it have been to them?  He already has referred to “Him who sent me,” so it should have been apparent.
      • Sometimes people just pretend to be clueless to avoid applying the obvious.
    • (37 – 44)  Be illustrative.
      • According to Jewish tradition, on this day of the feast, a line of priests passed golden pitchers hand-to-hand from the Gihon spring to the base of the altar where the water was poured out.  This was to represent the water from a rock in the wilderness (Exodus 17:5 – 7, 1 Corinthians 10:4 as well as predictions of living water in Isaiah 12:3, 58:11, Ezekiel 47:1 – 12, and Zechariah 14:8).
      • The illustration would be remembered better than a sermon.
    • (45 – 52)  Change is hard.  Do not expect massive results.
      • (46)  The real reason no one arrested Him; “Don’t mess with the real thing.”
      • Nonsensical accusations are a favorite defense of the threatened.  Expect it.
  • Application:  Letting the Spirit Work
    • Mystifying the crowds probably is a good thing.  What might that be?
    • Be invisible.  Encourage people to seek God.  Ask how their present method is working.
    • Consistency and simplicity will be remarkable to most.
    • Evidence is of first importance. The work of the Spirit means I am not required to fix myself.
    • How can we challenge people to think?
    • Illustrations work because the gospel is simple.  Know the communion and baptism symbols.
    • Don’t expect big results, God never has.