I feel as though this whole "waking up before the kids" idea has gone the way of the dinosaurs. I'm never going to get a good grasp on it. Not until they're teenagers anyway. Then I'll want to sleep in with them! Nope, I'm just not a morning person. I will endeavour to get back to waking up before the kids again during the week. The important part of this challenge is the one that I am meeting on a daily basis - reading the chapters of John. A quick recap for you - I found the challenge on Back to Bible. Studies show that it takes 21 days to make something a habit. How convenient that the book of John has 21 chapters. In the beginning I was reading along with what Back to the Bible's commentary but going through this I've modified that a bit. Instead I read the chapter and pick out things that really struck me. Check out my last 6 posts to see what I mean. Are you ready? Let's get into Chapter 7!
We start with Jesus being in Galilee and a big festival going on in Judah. His disciples are trying to get him to go to the festival because no one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret (v. 4). Man, these guys. Sometimes they just. don't. get it. Jesus doesn't want the glory for himself. A good lesson to a lot of "Christians". Doing something to make yourself look good in the name of Jesus, that's not what it's about. You should want to do good things because you love Him, not because you want the spotlight. This is the biggest thing that struck me today. So many times we just want to look good. "Oh! I'll write that cheque for the charity to feel good about myself." "I'm going to help out that person so that they're in debt to me." These thoughts are so... abhorrent! Jesus never wanted that! He never once said I'm healing people to make myself look good. He pointed all the glory to his Father. He created an amazing example for us to follow. So why don't we? Hmm, I'm going to leave that one hanging right there, but if you have a response/rebuttal, the comment section is on down at the bottom of the page.
After the disciples left Jesus also goes... in secret. The Jewish leaders were on the look out for him. They wanted to arrest and kill him. Jesus had performed so many miracles and spoken and taught so much that he had taken over the festival. People everywhere were talking about him. Oh, not out loud of course. They feared the leaders. But there were lots of whispers. It even records that some people thought he was the Messiah while others believed he was deceiving people. They were split. Some believed, some didn't. The point I'm trying to make is... Jesus was at the forefront of most conversations. You know the saying "no publicity is bad". Think along those lines. He may have gotten a bad rep from some people, but they were still talking about him. Simple as that. You may hate tabloids, but you still read the headlines in the grocery store. You still know that Angelina filed for a divorce.
Finally, half way through the festival Jesus teaches in the temple and it amazed a lot of people. They couldn't figure out how he could know so much without proper teaching. My favourite line is when, after saying people are trying to kill him because he healed a man's whole body on the Sabbath. He tells them to stop judging by appearances and judge correctly. This is when things really start to get interesting. The crowd really starts to talk about Jesus and being the Messiah and this angers the leaders so much they send out the temple guards to arrest Jesus but no one laid a hand on him. This wasn't the time that Jesus was supposed to be caught. We hear his words to the people about how they will look for him but not find him and where he is, we cannot go.
I love Jesus' riddles. I doubt the people of the time liked them very much. They could be hard to understand. Like the whole judgement thing. It's so easy to say that someone is holy because of how they look. I mean, honestly, appearance make it easy to be set apart. You can notice specific things about people. Some tribes in Africa wear certain jewelry, they are easy to distinguish. Some Christians wear a cross, you can see it. Wiccans will sometimes have a pentacle with them (I know, I was one). These are all things that you can wear to stand apart. What about how you act though? Do you go to church on Sunday, but maintain your affair on Monday? Do you wear a cross, yet call someone to tell them all the latest things you found out at the bingo hall? I'm just postulating. I really have no idea. How about prayer? Do you pray from your heart, or do you just make it sound something you heard someone else say? Do you rejoice in the things that God has given you, or do you strive by your own means for more? These are hard questions and I believe when Jesus said you judge by appearance he meant that we make snap decisions on what we think is right i.e. the law. Not what God's Word says is right.
Finally, at the end of the passage we reconnect with Nicodemus, a person we met earlier in chapter 3. You know, the one that was having the conversation at night because he was afraid what other's may think. I'm so happy at the end of this passage though because it appears that what Jesus said to him had some effect. When the other leaders are angry and want to kill Jesus he asks them Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing? (v. 51) It's too late though, they are set in their ways. They basically tell him to get lost. You're wrong Nicodemus, check your references. Nothing good comes out of Galilee. Definitely not a Messiah, not even a prophet. Boy, how wrong were they?
I love that this circles back to a person we had already met. I love that he stands up for Jesus against the other leaders. I think it's cool that even though everyone is all riled up and want to seize him no one lays a hand on him. It's just a cool chapter. I really enjoyed reading it.
I didn't get to read this chapter in a quiet place like I've been meaning to do. I can't complain though. I read it at church in the library while the congregation was worshipping. Don't worry, it was the second service, I didn't skip out on my time in church.
Thanks for reading along with me. Tell me how your challenge is going in the comments section.
You know the saying, the grass is always greener on the other side? This is my attempt to find greener grass right where I am in my life.
BTW - I'm the one on the right, just in case you didn't already know that.