THE KEY TO SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT IS INWARD RIGHTEOUSNESS REFLECTED IN OUR COMMITMENT TO OBEDIENCE AND IN OUR SENSITIVITY TO THE WILL OF GOD
RESULT = TRULY SEEKING THE GLORY OF GOD
Turning point in Gospel of John … increasing opposition and antagonism from this point forward; Entering period of growing conflict and opposition. Note the attempts to kill Him: 7:19, 25; 8:37,59; 11:53
Period of 6 months has gone by since the feeding of the 5000. Shows that John’s account is very selective; not trying to provide a comprehensive biography.
I. (:1-9) THE LACK OF SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT IS DUE TO UNBELIEF REFLECTED IN A SUPERFICIAL SHOW OF OBEDIENCE AND INSENSITIVITY TO THE WILL OF GOD
RESULT = SEEKING THE GLORY OF SELF
(CAMOUFLAGED IN RELIGION)
Spiritual Discernment is not guaranteed by:
– religious activity
– physical bloodlines
– access to truth
All of these were areas in which the Pharisees excelled
A. (:1-5) The Temptation is to Seek Your Own Glory Apart From Obedience and Sensitivity to the Will of God
1. (:1) Judicious Restraint
“And after these things Jesus was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.”
2. (:2) Impressive Festival
“Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand.”
Feast of Booths judging on the basis of outward appearances seemed like an appropriate occasion for Jesus’ public display of glory.
In actuality, the Passover was more appropriate. Feast of Booths will be more prominent in relation to Christ’s 2nd Coming.
3. (:3-4) Natural Challenge to Prove Yourself (Presented by skeptics)
a. (:3) Show Your Stuff to Your Disciples – Cement Your Leadership
“His brothers therefore said to Him, ‘Depart from here, and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may behold Your works, which You are doing.”
b. (:4) Show Your Stuff to the World – Grab the Glory
“For no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”
4. (:5) Underlying Motive of Unbelief
“For not even His brothers were believing in Him.”
Tone of these comments seems to be sarcastic; putting forth a challenge where they did not feel that He could produce; somewhat of a sneer
Deffinbaugh: What our Lord’s brothers said to Him was rooted in unbelief and rejection—not in faith. For this reason, I have chosen to set aside the rendering (“advised”) of the NET Bible and revert to a much more basic rendering (“said to”) of the original text. I do not believe our Lord’s brothers are giving Him a piece of good advice. To sum up the essence of their words to Jesus irreverently (as unbelieving brothers would be inclined to do), “Put up or shut up!” I think our Lord’s brothers were embarrassed by Jesus and fed up with His ministry. I am tempted to believe that these brothers were aware that the Jews in Judea were seeking to kill Jesus. They urged Him to leave Galilee, the place of safety (and also the place where they lived), and to go to Jerusalem, the place of greatest danger
Wiersbe: These men certainly had the world’s point of view: if you want to get a following, use your opportunities to do something spectacular. . . No doubt the brothers knew that the multitude of disciples had deserted Jesus (6:66). This was His opportunity to recoup His losses.
B. (:6) Our Governing Principle Must Be Conformity to the Sovereign Plan of God
1. Sensitivity to the Father’s Plan
“My time is not yet at hand”
2. Vs. Disregard for the Father’s Plan
“but your time is always opportune”
C. (:7-9) Spiritual Discernment (With its Living Out of Righteousness and its Exposure of Wickedness) Will Always Be Hated By an Evil World
1. (:7) The World Hates Exposure of Its Evil
“The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.”
2. (:8-9) Those with Spiritual Discernment Run on a Different Track
“Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come. And having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.”
II. (:10-13) SPIRITUAL CURIOUSITY (APART FROM FAITH AND INWARD RIGHTEOUSNESS) SPARKS LIVELY DEBATES BUT NO TRUE ALLEGIANCE
Without Spiritual Discernment, the Governing Principle remains the Strong Ties of Tradition and Legalism
A. (:10) God’s Ways are Not Man’s Ways
“But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as it were, in secret.”
B. (:11) Curiosity Seekers Never Arrive at the Real Truth
“The Jews therefore were seeking Him at the feast, and were saying, ‘Where is He?’”
C. (:12) Differing Opinions But No Spiritual Discernment
“And there was much grumbling among the multitudes concerning Him”
1. Good Man
“some were saying, ‘He is a good man.’”
“others were saying, ‘No, on the contrary, He leads the multitude astray.’”
D. (:13) Unified in Bondage to Legalistic Tyranny and Intimidation
“Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews”
Wiersbe: The debate began before Jesus even arrived at the city, and centered on His character (vv. 11-13). . . But when Jesus began to teach openly in the temple, the debate shifted to His doctrine (vv. 14-19). Character and doctrine go together, of course.
III. (:14-24) SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT DEPENDS ON INWARD RIGHTEOUSNESS
A. (:14-16) Spiritual Discernment Evidenced in Powerful Teaching
The Source of the Teaching determines its power — not just rabbinical training in the traditions of men, but direct discernment from a relationship with God the Father
1. (:14) Prominent Pulpit
“But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach.”
– Risky Business
– Proper Timing
– Priority of Edification
2. (:15) Powerful Impact
“The Jews therefore were marveling, saying, ‘How has this man become learned, having never been educated?’”
3. (:16) Divine Authority
“My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”
Tasker: The Jews show amazement that a man with no professional training as an interpreter of the law should dare to expound the Scriptures. If He was merely self-taught, then (so they appeared to have argued) His teaching, so far from possessing authority, was boastful and impertinent. Jesus refuted this charge by drawing attention to the divine source both of His claims to be a teacher and of the content of His teaching. He was no upstart, puffed up by His own self-gathered knowledge, nor did He aim at winning honor for Himself; He was sent by God and His supreme object was to reflect the glory of him that sent Him (16). That was the hall-mark of honesty and sincerity.
Pink: Education is an altar which is now thronged by a multitude of idolatrous worshippers. That, no doubt, is one reason why God’s curse has fallen on almost all our seats of learning. He is jealous of His glory, and anything which enters into competition with Himself He blights and withers. An unholy valuation of human learning, which supplants humble dependence upon the Holy Spirit is, perhaps, the chief reason why God’s presence and blessing have long since departed from the vast majority of our centers of Christian education. And in the judgment of the writer, there is an immediate and grave danger that we may shortly witness the same tragedy in connection with our Bible Schools and Bible Institutes.
B. (:17-18) Main Point: Spiritual Discernment Depends on Inward Righteousness
1. (:17) Commitment to Obedience = Key to Discernment
“If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.”
Piper: To receive Christ you must recognize him for who he really is, namely, One whose teaching is God’s teaching and not merely man’s. But, Jesus says in John 7:17, you will never know this about him (and thus never receive him for who he is) unless you have a will that inclines to do the will of God. . .
So Jesus is saying that the basic reason why people do not own up to the truth of what he teaches is not that they lack sufficient evidence, but that their wills — or we could say their hearts — are against God. The fundamental problem is not intellectual but moral. The great obstacle to recognizing the truth of Christ is not deficient resources but deep rebellion against God. People cannot see and recognize the truth of Christ’s teaching because the prevailing tendency of their will is insubordination against the authority of God. . .
the reason we can’t see the truth of Jesus is because he embodies the will of God which we hate, namely, that God’s glory and not ours should be the quest and passion of our lives.
2. (:18) Seeking God’s Glory = Mark of Inward Righteousness
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the one who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
C. (:19-24) OT Illustration Validates Legitimacy of His Sabbath Miracle
1. (:19) As Law Breakers Themselves, They are in no Position to Judge Him
“Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you carries out the
law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”
Morris: It was a favorite cause for self-congratulation among the Jews that they were the recipients of the Law (cf. Rom. 2:17). But now our Lord points out that there is a difference between receiving and keeping the law.
2. (:20) Wickedness Spews Out in Blasphemy and Denials
“The multitude answered, ‘You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?’”
3. (:21-23) Parallel Between Jesus Healing on Sabbath and Circumcision on Sabbath
4. (:24) Supreme Principle of Judgment
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment”
Pink: Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). The connection between this verse and the preceding ones is dear. Christ had been vindicating His act of healing the impotent man on the Sabbath day. To His superficial critics it might have seemed a breach of the Sabbatic law; but in reality it was not so. Their judgment was hasty and partial. They were looking for something they might condemn, and so seized upon this. But their verdict, as is usually the case when hurried and prejudiced, was altogether erroneous. Therefore, did our Lord bid them; “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” He exhorted them to be fair; to take into account all the circumstances; to weigh all that God’s Word revealed about the Sabbath. “In it thou shalt not do any work,” was not to be taken absolutely: other scriptures plainly modified it. The ministrations of the priests in the temple on the Sabbath, and the circumcising of the child on that day when the Law required it, were cases in point. But the Jews had overlooked or ignored these. They had judged by appearances. They had not considered the incident according to its merits, nor in the light of the general tenor of Scripture. Hence, their judgment was unrighteous, because unfair and false.
IV. (:25-29) SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE (WHERE DID CHRIST COME FROM?) CREATES MASS CONFUSION
A. (:25-26) Confusion Regarding the Response of the Religious Rulers
1. (:25) Desire to Kill . . .
“Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill?”
2. (:26a) Yet Decline to Take Action
“And look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him.”
3. (:26b) What to make of it??
“The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?”
B. (:27-28) Spiritual Ignorance Lies at the Heart of Mass Confusion
1. (:27a) Self Deception
“However, we know where this man is from”
2. (:27b) Misconception
“but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from”
3. (:28a) Divine Correction
“You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true”
4. (:28b) No Perception
“whom you do not know.”
C. (:29) Certainty Based on Intimate Knowledge of God the Father
“I know Him; because I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
V. (:30-36) SPIRITUAL IGNORANCE (WHERE IS CHRIST GOING?) CREATES INCREASING ANTAGONISM (ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF MUCH POSITIVE RESPONSE)
A. (:30) Antagonism Frustrated by Divine Immunity
“They were seeking therefore to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.”
B. (:31) Antagonism Frustrated by Incipient Faith
“But many of the multitude believed in Him; and they were saying, ‘When the Christ shall come, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?’”
C. (:32-33) Antagonism Frustrated by Sovereignty of Christ
“the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. Jesus therefore said, ‘For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me.’”
D. (:35-36) Antagonism Frustrated by Spiritual Ignorance
“The Jews therefore said to one another, ‘Where does this man intend to go that we shall not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He? What is this statement that He said, You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come?’”