Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Reflections and outline of John 7:1-51

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John 7:6-10  "So Jesus *said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. 8 Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” 9 Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. 10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret."

Today's post will attempt to offer an outline of Jesus' activities and teachings in John 7:1-52. Several key themes emerge in this chapter. First, we find reference to the setting of John 7: the Feast of Tabernacles. In the Jewish calendar, seven feasts were celebrated to commemorate major events in Israel's history and to remind the people of God's faithfulness to them. Of these seven feasts or times celebration - three were required by God to be annually attended by the people in Jerusalem: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Of these three - we find Tabernacles commemorating how God provided the people food and water in their wilderness wanderings in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. 

In as much as the Feast of Tabernacles pointed to God's faithfulness to Israel in times past, it also signified the near completion of another year in Israel's calendar life and at the same time a new start. Following on the heels of the sixth feast (the Day of Atonement), Israel's sacrificial and temple system were ritually cleansed. Now the people could celebrate, preparing themselves for another year of life with God. The Feast of Tabernacles was a week long celebration of victory and prayers to God to provide salvation and further victories ahead. 

We don't want to belabor the details here, since much more could be said. All we will say for now is this atmosphere of anticipation, celebration and looking back all converged in the Feast of Tabernacles, and thus giving us our first theme in John 7 - that of joyful anticipation. 

The second theme we could say that emerges in John 7 is the need for change. Change was needed. The people felt the need for renewal. Jesus' arrival in the temple was to offer them that opportunity. As Jesus ministered, did miracles and preached messages throughout Galilee, Samaria and Judea, He was announcing the fact that God's Kingdom was breaking into history. He was, afterall, God in human flesh. John 7 functions to us how Jesus Christ is the joyful fulfillment of humanity's deepest longings for joy, satisfaction and the longing of the soul to be at peace. On Christ can offer change. Only Christ can fulfill our deepest longings.

Outlining John 7

We can divide John 7 up into three sub-sections. Below I will offer a proposed outline of this chapter with summaries for each of three sections.  

I. John 7:1-14 "Higher & Deeper With Jesus"

Summary: In our journey through John’s Gospel, we’ve explored Jesus’ declarations about Himself, signs and conversations that unfold His identity as the Son of  God. This section will take us into John 7 to see what is required for you and I to have a greater appetite for more of Jesus in our lives. In other words, what is necessary to go higher and deeper with Jesus?

A. Trust.  John 7:1-5

B. Timing. John 7:6-10,14

C. Truth. John 7:11-13

II. John 7:15-39 "Why We Need The Holy Spirit". 

Summary: Jesus will demonstrate what needs to be done to understand His mission identity, and yet can’t be done alone by man’s strength. We will see in this section why we need the Holy Spirit to rightly respond to Jesus, receive Him and run to Him.

We need the Holy Spirit to….

A. To respond correctly to God.       John 7:14-24

B. To receive the truth about Jesus. John 7:25-31

C. To run to Jesus.                          John 7:32-39 

III. John 7:37-52 "Flourishing for Christ in a hostile world"

Summary: What is necessary in order for you and I to have a greater capacity to enjoy Jesus? How can we flourish in a world dominated by human opinion, the flesh, spiritual darkness and dryness of the soul? Following from Jesus' statements concerning the the Holy Spirit, we find a recipe for the flourishing Christian life. In this section the people in the background are thrust into the foreground, uncovering their thoughts and responses to Jesus' words and actions. In this section, we will discover how the disciple's life with Christ is designed to flourish amidst a hostile environment. 

Oftentimes in scripture we can learn the truths of God's Word by considering an opposite action, attitude or response in the context. The people here in John 7:37-51 were not drinking of the living water offered by Jesus; weren't relying on God's Word but rather the layer of human tradition surrounding it; and finally, we find unwillingess to wait on God. 

A. Water of the Spirit. John 7:37-39

B. Word of God. John 7:40-49

C. Willingness to Wait on God. John 7:50-52

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