Message: John 7 shows the division between religion and revelation and in chapter 7 it literally starts close to home with his brothers. I found it interesting to see his brothers advising Jesus here because we don’t see a lot of that in the bible. Their advice to him was to show up and blow up at the Jewish festival where everyone would be. They told him “no one does anything in secret while he’s seeking public recognition. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” The big “IF” in that statement is very telling of their questioning suspicion, but verse 5 clarifies to us that not even his brothers believed in him and it seems they were challenging him to prove himself. Chapter 7 gives the impression that the people were buzzing about Jesus everywhere and they were torn between what they saw and what they believed and they couldn’t seem to reconcile the two. They were amazed by the signs and they were amazed by his teaching. He not only knew the scriptures that only their Rabbis were trained to know and memorize, but he interpreted them with so much boldness and authority and he called out their hypocrisy with so much audacity- almost like they were his own words right?? This caused a big rift between them all- some of them calling him divine and others calling him demonic. They liked the Jesus that performed miracles and wowed the crowd, but they were offended by Jesus who used scripture to reveal the condition of their hearts. Not much has changed today! My offense toward God’s word reveals the condition of my own heart, and my desire to ask God to “prove himself” by showing me signs is revealing of my unbelief. The truth is, they had all of the evidence they could have ever needed right in front of them. It was seemingly hiding in plain sight, but their personal biases prevented them from accepting it.
Command: When I struggle to believe God, I need to examine my personal biases.
Promise: God is not hiding. He is hidden in plain sight and I will see him if I am willing to silence my own personal biases and expectations of who I want him to be.
Warning: As long as I filter truth through my own personal biases and expectations, God will remain hidden from me and I won’t be able to see him right in front of me.
Application: It’s so easy to judge the Jews for missing their own Messiah, but how much do I do this in my own life? Because of my own expectations and desires I have often credited the works of God to Satan because it didn’t happen in a way that I wanted it to happen. It may have looked like opposition, adversity or correction, and I wanted a feel-good miracle. When I don’t see or recognize God, it’s not because God is hiding from me, it’s because I am blinded by my own ideas, perceptions, expectations and biases. That’s a lot of camouflage to see through so it’s no wonder when I can’t see God. This reminds me of the importance of laying down my own ideas, perceptions, desires and biases so I can see God who promised he would never leave me or forsake me. Lord, Jesus, please deliver me from myself and the things in my heart that cloud my view of you so that no matter what I am facing, I can see you working in my life. Help me to cooperate with your plans instead of fighting against them!