The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)


Lesson 18

THE WORLD’S ATTITUDE TOWARD JESUS

(John 7:1-13)



INTRODUCTION:


1.     The Gospel of John, chapter 7 begins with our Lord walking in Galilee (7:1).  John tells us our Lord would not travel in “Jewry” (Judea) “because the Jews sought to kill Him” (7:1).

2.     John 7:10 tells us that our Lord did eventually go into Judea, to Jerusalem for the feast of tabernacles, referred to in verse 2 as “the Jews’ feast of tabernacles.” 

3.     We have already noted that the phrase is significant.  It was originally called “the feast of the LORD” (cf. Lev. 23).  But now it was no longer a feast of the LORD, but merely a feast of the Jews. Like the Passover and the other feasts it had deteriorated into a lifeless routine and ritual (cf. John 2:13; 5:1; 6:4).

4.     The Jews had missed the true meaning of these feasts, just as most nominal Christians miss the true meaning of Christmas, Easter, etc.  By the way, God established the OT feasts, but none of the so-called Christian holy days are taught in the Bible.

5.     The feast of tabernacles provides the background of the narrative from here till the middle of chapter 10, just as the Passover supplied the background to the events and the teaching recorded in chapters 5 & 6.

6.     The feast of tabernacles was a kind of harvest or thanksgiving festival.  It was about midway between Passovers.  Along with Passover and Pentecost, this was one of three pilgrimages in the Hebrew calendar.

7.     As an obedient Jew, our Lord was expected to attend (cf. John 7:3-11).

8.     At the feast of tabernacles the Jews commemorated with thanksgiving the Lord’s protection during their forefathers’ long sojourn through the wilderness.  During the wilderness journeying, God tabernacled with Israel in the tent as they traveled from one place to another.

9.     During the reign of King Solomon, the focus became the temple in Jerusalem.  It was at the temple that God’s presence was encountered.  All devout Jews revered the temple.  Even the Samaritan woman recognized this (cf. John 4:20).

10. Our Lord’s response to the woman at the well is interesting.  He was not only telling her that her man-made Samaritan religion was unacceptable to God; he was also stressing that an exaggerated emphasis on a place to worship misses the point of true worship (John 4:21-24).

11. Roman Catholics, Muslims, Mormons and others place a big emphasis on so-called holy places and holy buildings.   Once in a while some lost sinner will drop by here during the day and ask if they can pray in our auditorium.  I allow them to do so but I have noticed that whenever I try and give them the Gospel they seem uninterested.

12. Our Lord said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

13. The Jews of our Lord’s day did not understand that the divine presence was not fully or finally manifested in either the tabernacle in the wilderness or in the magnificent temple in Jerusalem.

14. Both structures were shadows of something better to come.  When the Jews failed to grasp this, and when they crucified their Messiah, the Lord allowed the Romans to destroy the temple in AD 70.  Today the Wailing Wall is left as a monument to their stubborn unbelief.

15. Both the tabernacle and the temple pointed forward to the day when God would dwell not only in the midst of the congregation of Israel, but in the hearts of all genuine believers.  This is brought out in the very first chapter of John’s Gospel (cf. 1:14).

16. But this new covenant could not be enacted until our Lord first went to the cross to die for our sins.  Everything in the Gospel of John is leading up to that event (cf. 1:29; 2:19-21; 3:14, 15; 6:51; 7:6).

17. The Jews were already eager to kill our Lord (7:1), but it wasn’t time yet (7:6).  Everything was going according to God’s perfect schedule (cf. Gal. 4:4).

18. It has been pointed out that in John 1-6 we see the development of belief, but in John 7-12 we see the development of unbelief.   And I think that this development of unbelief actually begins at the end of chapter 6 (6:66-71).

19. My message tonight is entitled, “The World’s Attitude Toward Jesus.”

 

I.      THE JEWS HATED JESUS (7:1, 11-13, 19, 20, 25).

II.  THE WORLD HATES JESUS (7:7).

III.     THERE IS MUCH CONFUSION OVER JESUS (7:12).

 

I.    THE JEWS HATED JESUS (7:1, 11-13, 19, 20, 25).

1.     Many Jews and other unbelievers despise the Gospel of John because they allege that John was anti-Semitic.  This is a rather strange accusation considering that John himself was Jewish.

2.     Some critics go further and claim the entire NT is anti-Semitic (cf. Matt. 27:24, 25; Acts 23:12, 13; I Thess. 2:14-16).

3.     This is one of the reasons why the NT is a forbidden book for most Jews.

4.     But the NT is the Word of God and it shows men (both Jews and Gentiles) the way they really are, the same way the OT shows men the way they are (cf. Exodus 32:9; 33:3, 5; 34:9).

5.     The Bible is the inerrant Word of God.  And here in the Gospel of John we see the way the Jews hated the Lord Jesus Christ.

6.     John 1:11 says, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”

7.     In John 2 we see that our Lord had a conflict in the temple with the moneychangers.  I believe the Jewish leaders were determined to kill Him from that point on.

8.     John 5:18 says, “Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill Him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.”

 

II.    THE WORLD HATES JESUS (7:7).

1.     Before I elaborate on this, I will quote from John Phillips:

2.     “This world and its system is the enemy of God.  It is the devil’s lair for sinners, it is his lure for saints.  As the word is used here (in 7:7), and in many other places in the NT, the “world” is simply human life and society as opposed to God.  Its science, politics, economic and social systems, philosophies, pleasures, religions, goals, and organizations are opposed to God, indifferent to the world to come.  Its prince is Satan; its motivating factors are the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life…When we are tempted to compromise with the world we need to remember that the hand it reaches out to us is stained with the blood of Christ” (Exploring the Gospel of John, p. 142).

3.     There is a popular philosophy today that insists churches will grow if we simply follow certain worldly principles.  I do not have the time to refute this worldly philosophy tonight, but I will just say this: this world has always hated Jesus (7:7).

4.     And since this world hates Jesus, we must separate from the world (James 4:4).

5.     And the Lord was very clear as to why this world hates Him.  This world hates Him because He testified against the sins of this wicked world (7:7; cf. 15:18-25).

6.     Therefore, we should not be surprised when the world mistreats us, slanders us, persecutes us, or even kills us.

7.     If our Lord had been willing to condone the world’s sins and look kindly upon their evil doings and false doctrine, they would have accepted Him, but of course He could not do that and neither must we.

8.     A few weeks ago the pope of Rome died and all over the world people were exalting him as the greatest pope of all time, a true saint, a great man of God, etc.  The president of the US, the prime minister of England, and many other political and religious leaders all rushed to Rome for his funeral.

9.     Why was he so popular?  Because he taught that just about everyone was going to heaven.  But when Jesus said that He was the only way to heaven, and that the Jewish religious leaders were children of the devil they hated Him and they killed Him.

10.When the pope spoke at Aqueduct Racetrack a few years ago, we handed out Gospel tracts underneath a big banner that read, “JESUS SAVES, BUT THE POPE DECEIVES.”

11.Why do people love the pope so much (as well as Princess Dianna, Elvis Presley, and other celebrities)?  Because they are blinded by the devil (cf. II Cor. 4:3, 4). 

12.And why do they hate the Lord Jesus Christ?  Because His holiness and purity stands in stark contrast to their wicked sins.

 

III.    THERE IS MUCH CONFUSION OVER JESUS (7:12).

1.     John 7:12 says, “And there was much murmuring among the people” concerning Jesus.  Some believed He was a “good man” but others said he was a deceiver.

2.     Of course we know that a good man will not deceive others, and a deceiver is not a good man.  But there was much confusion over Jesus.

3.     And so it is today.  Many of those who say Jesus was a “good man” are being disingenuous.  For example, in John 6 our Lord claimed to be “the bread of life” (6:35, 47, 48, etc.).   For any mortal man to make such statements he would have to be insane or a false prophet (or both). 

4.     Even our Lord’s own brothers did not believe in him (7:3-5).  This is incredible when you consider that they knew His spotless character, witnessed His wonderful miracles, and heard His matchless teaching.

5.     And yet they did not believe in Him. I have four brothers and none of them is saved.  Whenever I get despondent about that I remember our Lord’s brothers.

6.     Fortunately we know that after our Lord’s resurrection at least two of these brothers believed in Jesus.  James and Jude wrote two of our NT epistles (Gal. 1:19).  We know very little about our Lord’s other brothers (cf. Matt. 13:55, 56).

 

CONCLUSION:


1.     The world has always been divided over Jesus.

2.     Our Lord said to the Pharisees, “What think ye of Christ?”  He is still asking that question today?

3.     The world is divided over this question.  Which side are you on?

4.     Some of the people were too fearful to declare their faith in Jesus (7:13).  Is there some one like that here tonight



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