Friday, December 28, 2018

2018.12.28 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 7:1-13

Questions for Littles: Where did Jesus go in v1? Where did He not want to walk? Why not? What feast was at hand (v2)? Where did Jesus’s brothers tell Him to go (v3)? What did they suggest was a reason for Him to do that (v3-4)? Why would Jesus’s brothers treat Him like this (v5)? What does Jesus say about His time to go to the feast (v6, 8)? Why does Jesus say that the world hates Him (v7)? Where does Jesus remain at this point (v9)? Where does He go in v10? Why don’t people know about this? What are the Jews asking in v11? What was there much of in v12, among the people, concerning Jesus? Who spoke openly of Jesus (v13)? Why not? 
In the Gospel reading this week, Jesus’s brothers are giving Him the business. Undoubtedly, this was not the first time! But this is much worse than boyish mischief between siblings.

v1 tells us that Jesus didn’t want to walk in Judea because the Jews sought to kill Him. And the very next verse has His brothers egging Him on to go to the very place where His life is being threatened. Surely, they don’t know this, right? Wrong! Their egging Him on implies that they knew something of His resolve not to go up, and v13 makes it plain that the Jews’ murderous intentions were common knowledge.

So, vv3-4 are not mischievous, but rather murderous. Why? Why does everyone seem to hate Jesus? The Jews. His own brothers. Why?

v7 tells us plainly: because He testifies of it that its works are evil. We so crave the admiration and approval of the world, that we tend to sell ourselves this idea that if the church were just nicer and more welcoming, then the world would love us.

But what of following Jesus? He testifies that our works are evil. He still testifies that the world’s works are evil. And the world still hates Him for it. We have a choice: stand with Christ to love a world that hates us; or, stand with the world to hate the Christ who loves us. Which will we do? Are we willing to testify that the world’s works are evil?

And what if it actually comes to the point where speaking of Him openly is not just unpopular but dangerous to us? Will we be willing to speak up on behalf of our Master?
Which of “the world’s works” are we most tempted to give a pass? Will you?
Suggested songs: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH539 “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?”

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