Misunderstood, John 7:1-24, 12 August 2012

Big Idea: Jesus was misunderstood. We will be, too.

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. (John 7:1-6)

“After this” refers to the previous chapter. This was actually about six months following chapter six which was during the Passover Feast. This is the final year of Jesus’ ministry which He focused on Judea.

Today Jesus is easily most controversial, misunderstood Person that ever walked the planet.

He has been avoiding Jerusalem, but now during the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev) which celebrated dwelling in tents in the wilderness. They lived in booths. They camped out. It was a joyful feast with trumpets.

Jesus never took advise, especially from His unbelieving brothers.

“My time is not YET come.” He is following the Father’s schedule.

It is official: Jesus is a wanted man. The people in power were out to get Him, and get Him they did—eventually.

Of course, it’s generally difficult to build an audience while in hiding. Years ago after penning a book called
The Satanic Verses, author Salmon Rushdie went into hiding for fear of his life. To this day I cannot name another book he has written, but he gained notoriety for the price tag placed on his head. Literally.

Jesus, however, lived before texts and Tweets, CNN.com, CNN on TV, any TV, any radio, any newspapers, any periodicals, any telephones, Morse Code, the Pony Express...well, you get the idea.

This is one of many examples of people advising Jesus. Can you imagine telling Jesus what to do? Oddly enough, I do it all of the time. “Jesus, take away my headache, feed all of the starving children in the world, bring about world peace,...”

Notice the last sentence: even His own brothers did not believe in Him. Wow! Imagine that! Surely they must’ve thought something was up with Him.

(funny stories)

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.
You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. (John 7:7-9)

Jesus condemns sin by His very presence.

Whenever we come to a therefore, we must ask what it is there for.

YET. His timing is perfect.

However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” (John 7:10-11)

Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”

Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders. (John 7:12-13)

There was division and discussion about Him. They were afraid of the Jewish leaders.

Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?” (John 7:14-15)

He appears suddenly in the temple. They were surprised that He didn’t have His Master’s degree!

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.
Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” (John 7:16-19)

To reject Jesus is to reject God. He made Himself equal with God.

Love for the Word of God.

Human knowledge must be known to be loved.
Divine knowledge must be loved in order to be understood.
We have knowledge and love and obedience.

“You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” (John 7:20)

They don’t get it! They are clueless! They think He is paranoid.

Jesus said to them,
“I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (John 7:21-24)

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)


People will misunderstand you.

You will misunderstand me.

Please exercise grace.

“Help me understand.”

No gossip...go to the person.

Do you really believe in Jesus? LORD, I believe. Help me in my unbelief. Help me to trust You completely. Help me to avoid judging others and externals and trust You completely with everything and everyone.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Deserting Disciples, John 6:60-71, 5 August 2012

Big Idea: Following Jesus is not easy, but it’s worth it.


Who do you follow, and why?

Who do you follow on Twitter?
Whose blog do you read?
radio or television show do you listen to or watch?
What authors do you read?


I would like to propose that most everything that we do is based upon what we hope to get in return. For example, we eat so we are not hungry. We buy cars that we expect will transport us safely and effectively. Even our generosity has some measure of personal pleasure to it, that good feeling that we are helping someone in need.

One writer put it this way: “We use relationships for what they can do for us and what they can get us, but not for what we give to others and receive from them. We keep our distance from intimacy and trust through our cynicism and calloused hearts.”

Last week we looked at Jesus’ claim to be the Bread of Life.

Jesus feeds thousands of people. They not only enjoy the free lunch, they assume He will overthrow Rome, set them free, and be the ultimate political leader creating a utopian society. Quite simply, they liked Jesus for what they could get from Jesus.

Jesus knows us all too well. Nobody knows the human heart like its Creator. As He is teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum, He tells them

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me.This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever. (John 6:54-58)

Last week each person was offered a generous piece of bread. Would anyone like some of the leftovers? Of course not! Jesus says don’t pursue things that spoil. The bread you ate last week has gone bad. Jesus does not go bad. In fact, He is eternal.

While you may not be here today for physical bread, there are many that pursue fast-food spirituality. Give me a spiritual diet pill, minimize my inconvenience, serve me, feed me, tickle my ears, make me feel good, promise me that I will be blessed and rich and happy.

John 6:60-71

On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. (John 6:60-63)

Deep, authentic relationships are costly. They don’t always taste sweet. In fact, sometimes we have to swallow bitter pills. Sometimes, though, those difficult conversations help us grow. They help us become more like Christ. Sometimes, like a horse pill prescribed by the doctor, we need to take a big gulp and endure the momentary discomfort for long-term health.

The cup for us is sweet, but it was bitter for Jesus.

As we said last week, Jesus isn’t promoting cannibalism or Twilight vampires. He doesn’t mean to actually eat Him for lunch! The words are Spirit. Remember John 1:1, in the beginning was the Word, the logos, Jesus?

Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.” (John 6:64-65)

Whosoever will may come.

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. (John 6:66)

Can you imagine deserting Jesus?

This doesn’t just say the crowds, but disciples. Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Why? Is it because of what Jesus can do for you?

This verse shows that it is not necessarily a permanent condition.

The Bible was not written with chapter and verse numbers. They were added much later to aid study. Nevertheless, notice the reference of this verse—666. This may be the only 6:66 in the Bible!

“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69)

Why did Peter stay? He was chosen. John 6:37, 44, 57.

As a fisherman, Peter had to learn patience. He knows sometimes the net is empty and you endure hunger. He’s also seen Jesus perform miracles, feed crowds, and even instruct him on where and when to fish, to the point of his nets breaking from the weight of the fish!

One author wrote, “Whereas Judas steals form the money bag, Jesus has stolen Peter’s heart. Peter has both torn nets and a torn and broken spirit A broken and contrite heart before God is the most beautiful thing in the world. The true Christ-followers or disciples, like Peter, hold tightly to Jesus’ hard teaching, even if they don’t get what Jesus is saying. No doubt it’s because Jesus holds tightly to them. But it’s also because such followers have come to the end of themselves, the end of their resources, the end of self-sufficiency.”

People are searching today.

Do you want to leave Jesus? Check out the alternatives. We’re the only ones with grace! It’s the best deal in town! Only Jesus has the words of eternal life. Only Jesus died for you and proved His love.

Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) (John 6:70-71)

John gives us a sneak preview of what is to come.

Jesus chose a devil to follow Him!

“I came from heaven. I came to give you life. I want you to surrender your life.”

Are you going to leave Jesus? When God doesn’t make sense, when our understanding of God goes south, are we going to desert Him?

Who are you going to live for? Who are you going to follow?

What areas of your life do you need to surrender to Jesus? He wants everything, not just your scraps and leftovers.

There’s an old expression that says, “You are what you eat.” I like to say that I love fruits and nuts!

We can feed on Jesus or on the things of this world. Think about this past week. How much time did you spend feeding your brain Jesus? How much time did you spend with Him, talking with HIm, reading His world, praising Him, talking about Him? How much time did you spend feeding your brain the things of this world? Music, movies, television, websites, advertising? Some of it is hard to avoid, but we are what we eat. We become what or Whom we follow.

You can listen to the podcast

Bread of Life, John 6:22-59, 29 July 2012

Big Idea: Jesus wants to be everything to us, our all-consuming Bread of Life.

John 6:22-59

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
(John 6:26-28)

We are always seeking to work hard and impress God. It’s not what we do but what He has done.

We don’t have to spend our resources to buy the Bread of life. He comes to us! We just have to receive it...and receiving a gift will almost always prompt a natural response.

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29)

We don’t have to spend our resources to buy the Bread of life. He comes to us! We just have to receive it...and receiving a gift will almost always prompt a natural response.

So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John 6:30-33)

They were fed daily for forty years. They want to be fed. Manna gave physical life in the wilderness. God gives spiritual life.

“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
(John 6:34-35)

The woman at the well wanted water. These people want bread. Jesus is the manna from heaven that gave His life for the world. He is the Bread that we feed on constantly.

But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.
(John 6:36-37)

Election or free will? This is a common theological question—does God choose us or do we choose Him? Verse 37 says yes! You can argue election, but if you come, you will be welcome.

All those the Father gives me will come to me (election), and whoever comes to me I will never drive away (free will).

You can argue election, but if you come, you will be welcome.

For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
(John 6:38)

He mentions the Christmas story, coming down from heaven.

And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
(John 6:39-40)

Do you want to know God’s will? The will of God is for you to come to Him. When a person accepts Christ, whom He justifies, He will glorify.

At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”
(John 6:41)

He’s teaching His virgin birth.

They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

They don’t understand His true Father.

“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
(John 6:42-44)

The word “draw” here means “drag.” Think about that for a moment.

It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”
(John 6:45-51)

Jesus repeatedly declares Himself to be the bread of life.

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
(John 6:52)

He has a following and uses it as an opportunity to teach.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6:53-59)

Jesus is preparing His disciples for the Last Supper, the LORD’s Supper. This is not to be taken literally. He’s not saying they should become vampires and drink HIs blood and eat His flesh. The life of the flesh is in the blood. He will shed His blood and give His life for us.
This is not to sample or taste Jesus, but a full embrace of Him, a total surrender, to die completely and then become fully alive in Him.

Jesus declares Himself to be the Bread of Life. He didn’t mean He’s a bagel or a muffin. His audience understood bread not as a part of a meal but as THE meal. He didn’t say, “I’m the fish of life,” but bread.

The Romans only allowed the people to have 1600 calories/day. Bread was scarce. It was a means of control. The Roman soldiers only ate bread. The attitude of the people was if you can feed us, you can lead us.

What Jesus was really saying is that He wants to be not only the Bread of life, He wants to be our life! He wants to be our food. He will tell us in chapter ten that He gives live—abundant life.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you are aware of the Olympics that started this weekend in London. How many of you like the Olympics?

To prepare for the Olympics, you must be consumed with your sport. It cannot be merely a hobby or even a 9-5 job. It must become your life! For many athletes, that means no TV, no McDonald’s, limited friends and free time.

For Olympic athletes, it’s all about the goal, the medals, the game. Training is everything.

Jesus is saying He wants to be everything. He wants us to be consumed by Him. He doesn’t want to be an afterthought in our lives. He doesn’t want to be a hobby or a last resort when we’re desperate.

He wants you. He wants you to want Him.

We often sample Jesus, but He wants us to experience Him completely.

Taste and see that the LORD is good (Psalm 34:8).

You can listen to the podcast here.