Well, it’s the Christmas holidays and I’m full-tilt into family time. What’s more, I think I’ve come down with a cold. I say this to beg your pardon for shortened blogs the next few days. I’m not looking for a pass, just a little wiggle room. Keep reading and studying!
Why does the world hate Jesus, Christians and the church? — 7:7
Jesus is meddles. But that’s what the world thinks. The world hates learning that it is wrong, it hates being judged (even if that judgment is absolutely correct), it hates someone living in a godly way (because the contrast makes ungodly living look bad), and it often thinks that Jesus is just meddlesome and intent on merely ruining their fun. Jesus was certainly deeply disappointed about the world’s hatred, but He was also realistic about it and didn’t pull Him away from doing right or teaching right. However, Christians (especially these days) seem to really desire to be liked by the world. We work overtime to not offend, to not judge, to not be a “goody-goody”, to be like everyone else, to throw in worldly words and attitudes (so worldly people will feel more comfortable), to go along and get along, etc. We resist being different as it were sin itself — despite the fact that being different is exactly what God requires of us. I’m not suggesting that we go out of our way to be offensive or rude — there are those who hide behind the faith in order to be hateful: “I’m just telling them the truth!” As we all know, there’s a way of telling people the truth about their sin that appeals from a broken heart and a way that tells the truth almost as if they’re glad someone’s going to Hell. The latter fashion is not the way Jesus told the truth, nor is the way we should tell it.
Thirsty? — 7:37,38
Thirst is a pretty powerful drive; you can’t go without water for very long. And when thirst is slaked, there’s a refreshed feeling. Jesus uses this feeling to make an appeal to men. It has been suggest that He might have made this appeal at the ceremony on the last day of the feast, when a water oblation was made by taking water from the pool of Siloam and pouring it at the foot of the altar. Jesus, John says, was making reference to the Spirit, although it had not yet been given. His point was, however, reasonably simple: He could give something that would be refreshing to the soul, unlike the Law which only condemned: a mark of sonship, a knowledge that we’ll be really understood (Rom 8:26), strength in the inner man, and more.
How critical is faith in Jesus? 8.24
Life and death statements are the sorts of things that you need to listen, and here’s one that the world around us really needs to listen to. Life is found in Jesus; death is found everywhere else (Buddha, Hinduism, Islam, and everything else including ourselves). This isn’t said in prejudice or evil judgment — it’s just true.
Set you free — 8.31,32
But mere faith in Jesus isn’t enough. Abiding in Him is where the life and freedom is found. He is our natural habitat, it is in Him that we find our real freedom.
Before Abraham was, I am — 8:58
Again, Jesus is claiming something significant — to be the same as the one who said, “I am that I am”. The religious leaders didn’t miss it; we’d do well to pay attention ourselves — it is significant beyond significant.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.