Monday, June 17, 2013

In God's Time

"But when His brethren were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.  Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, Where is He?  And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but He deceiveth the people.  Howbeit no man spake openly of Him for fear of the Jews."  
John 7:10-13

The Lord is not subject to man's desires; man is subject to God.  Even the wicked and the unbelieving are being moved to an ultimate end by God.  Jesus Christ was never intimidated by the whims, passions, and threatenings of men.  In accordance with the will of God, He abides for a time in Galilee before going up to Jerusalem.  The time for His triumphal entry had not yet come; therefore, He goes up in secret.  He did not go in secret because He feared man but because it was not yet time for Him to be fully manifested as the Messiah who comes to Jerusalem sitting upon the foal of a donkey (Zech. 9:9); nor was it time for Him to be crucified for the sins of man.

The Lord's good deeds and righteous doctrine caused much stir among the religious crowds.  Some acknowledged His good character but others mocked and called Him a deceiver.  It is hard to imagine how someone could not believe in the Lord Jesus after being a personal witness of His heavenly doctrine and miracles; however, the human heart is a very deceptive thing.  It is desperately wicked according to Jeremiah, and it is never to be trusted.

The text says that no man spoke openly of Him because they were afraid of the Jews.  It is easy to allow the world and its wickedness to intimidate us.  The "fear of man bringeth a snare" but "whosoever putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe."

None of these things moved the Lord.  He went up to Jerusalem when it was time to go.  He did not let the unbelief of others dissuade Him in any way.  It is an encouragement to see the display of Christ's steady, righteous character.  In a world that is in turmoil and torment, the calm, faithful character of the Lord Jesus Christ stands out as a beacon to something far better than what man can offer.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Love or Hatred

"Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.  The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.  Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for My time is not yet full come.  When He had said these words unto them, He abode still in Galilee."  John 7:6-9

   As unbelievers, the brothers of Jesus belonged to the world and the devil.  They were not part of the work that God was doing with His Son and so Jesus says, "...your time is alway ready."  The world is always ready to hear from the unbelieving portion, because no conflict of doctrine exists.

   The Lord continues and says, "The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil."  A sure mark of the unregenerate is a lack of conflict with the world's doctrine.  Anyone can have conflict but only a Christian can have conflict with the world's doctrine.  Those who claim Christianity but do not have a conflict with the world's doctrine are false professors.  Backslidden Christian's will also experience a lack of conflict with the world.  No one wants to hear about their sin.  The world hated Christ because His light of truth shined bright and exposed the sin.  A child of God should have the same affect on the world.  The lost should not feel completely comfortable around the saved.  We ought to be rebuking the world by our thoughts, motives, actions, attitudes and character.  It is a sad thing when some lost folks are more of a rebuke to sinful character than some Christians are.  The Light of Christ ought to shine through us and make sin uncomfortable.  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:16)."  If our lives do not testify that the works of the world are evil, we have failed somewhere.  Perhaps carnality has quenched the Spirit or perhaps true conversion has never taken place.

   Jesus then commands them to go up to Jerusalem.  They could go at any time and experience acceptance and fellowship because their doctrine matched that of their lost family and friends.  Christ on the other hand, had a specific time in which God the Father wanted Him to go up, and that time had not fully arrived.  His righteous life would cause upheaval and friction as it testified that God is on the throne and man is answerable to Him; therefore, He waited in Galilee until the very moment had come for Him to depart.  Christ's earthly sojourn was, to the very minute, in harmony with what God desired for Him.  The Christian's life should be the same.  God's will for every Christian is that he walk according to God's timetable and rebuke a sinful world through his fear of God.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The God of Great Mercy

"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him.  Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.  His brethren therefore said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest.  For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, shew Thyself to the world.  For neither did His brethren believe in Him."  
John 7:1-5

   Knowing that the time of His death had not yet come, and being in control of all things, Christ remains in Galilee because of the violence of the Jews.  Quite often, the most dangerous people are those who claim to be righteous and holy.

   The feast of tabernacles is the last of the feasts given by God, and it occurs in the end of the year around fall time.  The modern day Jews celebrate this feast sometime in September or October depending upon the year.

   This was, and still is, a very important feast for the Jewish people.  It is the last of three feasts in which all Israelite males were to appear before God.  One can just imagine the vast number of people which would have congregated at Jerusalem.  Knowing the setting, the unbelieving brothers of Christ attempt to provoke Him by saying, "...Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest.  For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, shew Thyself to the world."  They were telling Christ that His true motive was to be manifested to the world as some great individual.  One can hear their mocking in this statement.  The pride and arrogance of the human heart is a fearful thing.  These men were outright questioning the motives of the Creator.  They were looking God in the face and saying, "You just want to be popular, so why don't you go and show yourself off!"  God is very patient with us.  The Lord could have ended the life of these people for their arrogance and been perfectly just in doing so and yet He did not.  We all question the motives of God in some way.  Every soul alive has spoken against the things of God in unbelief.  However, the Lord is of great mercy.  He desires for men and women to come to a place of repentance.  He desires that people be restored, not destroyed.  He is a God of judgment, but He gives everyone a chance.  Take the nation of Israel as an example.  How many times does the Bible record Israel's departure from God and yet God continued to call to them?  Consider Malachi 3:7.  The Lord says to Israel, "...Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts...."  The phrase and I will return unto you literally means O let Me return unto you! in Hebrew.  It is a phrase that expresses a sincere desire from the heart.  God strongly desires to walk with His people.  Why should He love us so?  Man has nothing to offer God except a hard heart.  God's longsuffering and merciful character truly are amazing.

   Though His own people sought to kill Him, though His own brothers sought to harm Him, and though we often stray from Him in disbelief, yet He abides faithful and continues to show the world that He is a God of great mercies.