It is now six months until the spring Passover when Jesus will be crucified, so as we come to chapter 7, we’re really coming into the last leg of his journey on earth, his ministry leading up to the cross.
And there were three great feasts in the Jewish calendar that were the monumental feasts that were celebrated by everyone. This is one of them called the feast of tabernacles in which they remembered their wilderness wandering and staying in tents for 40 years before they entered the land of promise, having been delivered from Egypt.
That’s where we find Him when we come to our text, which is chapter 7 of John’s gospel and verses 25 to verse 36. What we’re going to see in this passage is a trend continuing to escalate.
It is the trend of rejection.
Progressive rejection marks His whole ministry.
So everyone rejected Him. He had only a meager number of followers. In fact, when it was all over with, there were only 120 in the room on the day of Pentecost, so it’s a story of progressive rejection of the most wonderful person that ever walked this earth, which speaks profoundly of the sinfulness of sin and the wretchedness of the human heart.
In verse 34, Jesus says “You will seek me and will not find me, and where I am, you cannot come.” What does this statement mean?
It means that there will come a time in your life when you will see me, and I won’t be there. That’s not a new idea in Scripture. Genesis 6. “My spirit will not always strive with man. It is possible to seek too late, to seek at a time when the Lord will not hear.” That’s why the prophet Isaiah says, “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He’s near.” There are replete warnings all through the Old Testament and the New about waiting too long.
Hell is, after all, itself truth discovered too late.
That’s why there’s weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in the tormenting darkness. You will seek me. What a horrible reality. You will not find me. Hell is not where Christ is forgotten. It is where He is unavailable.
So this is a warning passage, and I want you to just mark in your mind that the statement is made to two groups. It’s made to the people in general, and it’s made to the leaders.
And the same hell will be the eternal abode of the people who hate Jesus, whether you’re a rejecter or whether you’re a person who is sort of undecided.
The man whom they’re seeking to kill
…it’s really important that you note this, some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is this not the man who they’re seeking to kill?”
John is very careful to say some of the people of Jerusalem understood that the leaders wanted Jesus dead, and so they say, “Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill?” They’re confused. Why? Because He’s in the temple. They know they want Him dead, chapter 7, verse 1. “They were seeking to kill Him. And they’re letting Him teach, and nobody is stopping Him. They know how the rulers feel, and they’re confused as to why they don’t stop His teaching, why they don’t seize Him and execute Him if that’s what they want. It’s their space. It’s their temple. It’s their territory. They’re in charge.” Now the rules don’t say anything, but they know this is the man they’re seeking to kill. They’re just letting Him speak.” “He is,” like Proverbs 28:1 says, “Is bold as a lion.
Why don’t they stop Him? They want Him dead.”
Then in verse 26, they begin to mull over that notion. “The rulers do not really know that this is the Messiah, do they?” This is a thought that comes into their mind. “No, it can’t be.” They haven’t decided he’s the Messiah, have they? Well, you say, “Why would they ever think that?” Well down in verse 31, “No one had ever or would ever or could ever perform more signs than He did. The rulers haven’t decided this is the Messiah, have they?” It requires the construction of the Greek, requires a negative answer, but the question has been raised. It’s a kind of question that carries with it its own denial.
They think they know him
We know His history. We know where He’s from. Yeah, this is the son of a carpenter, a man named Joseph and a girl named Mary…
And of all places, they’re from a town called Nazareth, and as you know the testimony of Scripture, can anything good come out of Nazareth, backwater crossroad town on the slopes of Galilee, out of the main pattern of life, religious life for sure?” No, this can’t be the Messiah. We know Him. We know where He came from. We know His family. We know His town.
They always fell back to the fact that He can’t be the Messiah because we know where He came from.
Then there were some who recognized that the Scripture said the Messiah would come as a descendent from David and from Bethlehem, the village where David was. So a division occurred, verse 43 says.
This is their confusion. Some thought it had to be Bethlehem, and they were right. Micah 5:2 said that He would come from Bethlehem, but not Nazareth.
They failed to check the facts
Oh, they could have checked the records at the temple that He had actually been born in Bethlehem. And He would have had to have been, as far as some knew, a child of the Davidic and they could have checked His genealogy that his mother’s line was Davidic, in both families, He was the son of David.
They could have checked that, but they didn’t check that.
They didn’t check that. All they were looking for was justification for their rejection because He didn’t fit their pattern.
Misinterpreted scripture: there was no grand entrance
…this popular notion had developed that the Messiah would have some kind of a grand entrance. They drew it out of a couple passages. One would be Malachi 3:1, “That He would suddenly come to his temple. That there would be something like a bolt out of heaven. They would come to the temple, and it would be the Messiah.” Or Isaiah 53, “Who shall declare His generation?” In other words, who would know anything about His family?
They misinterpreted both of those passages, came up with this popular kind of notion that the Messiah would have some kind of supernatural arrival at the temple, and not in the normal way, and they wouldn’t know anything about His family. That’s what they decided. This can’t be the Messiah.
Suppressing the truth in unrighteousness
The rulers could have helped them…All the leaders knew Messiah comes from Bethlehem. The records show Jesus had come from Bethlehem. All the leaders knew He would come in the Davidic line. The record of the temple showed that Jesus was born to two Davidic families.
They conveniently didn’t want to help the people with their dilemma.
Holy anger ends with Jesus yelling
“Jesus yells. Jesus cried out in the temple.” Four times in the New Testament, it says that Jesus did this at ekrazen. Four times in the New Testament. It’s yelling at the top of His voice. There’s a stronger word. This is a very strong word for yelling, but there’s a stronger word. The stronger word is anaboaō. It’s only used one time of Jesus. A stronger cry, and it was on the cross. On the cross.. He had enough energy on the cross to cry even louder than He did in the temple to the crowd because no one took his life from Him. He gave it up by Himself.
They don’t know him
Oh, yes, you know the family in Nazareth, the town of Nazareth, but you don’t know me. You know nothing. I have not come of myself. I haven’t risen on my own ambition. I’m not the product of the family or the town of Nazareth. I didn’t reach this position by my own desire, crafting my own way in life. You may know that I’m from Galilee. You may know that I lived in the town of Nazareth. You may know my public deeds. You may have heard my words, but you have no idea who I am. You have no idea where I came from. You have no idea who sent me, and you have no knowledge of the one that you claim to know. You haven’t begun to know anything.”
…You’re caught up in a kingdom of lies. You can’t know the truth. You can’t believe the truth. You can’t comprehend the truth. You’re in a kingdom of lies.”
People nowadays don’t know him
What an indictment of Israel. People destroyed for lack of knowledge. We see it today in a culture where Jesus is a household word. People use His name in vain all the time. Use His name as a swear word.
People could tell you little stories about Jesus. They would even talk about Jesus in some understanding of biblical history. Bibles all over the land, the name of Jesus everywhere. Churches everywhere…You know, I would say maybe in our country, maybe in the western world, this is probably the dominating reality.
From the peoples’ confusion to the rulers’ rejection
But no man lays hands on Him. Nobody touches Him. Why would that be the case?
…He had supernatural power over demons, which means He would have supernatural power of them…
That might be the human explanation, but the divine explanation is the only one the Bible gives us.
The reason no man laid hands on Him to arrest Him was because His hour hadn’t come.
They were restrained by the invisible hand of God. I don’t even know if they thought through the process. They couldn’t act because they were under divine control.
They thirsted for His blood. They were determined to kill Him. Yet, by invisible restraint from above, they were powerless to do anything.
The tide is turning
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him.” The confused crowd is muttering, and if you want to use a contemporary word, the thing is trending, and it’s trending toward, “Hey, we’re going to lose out here if this crowd begins to embrace Him.” So finally, the chief priest and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him.
So they go…
…and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him? We sent you to arrest Him. Why didn’t you bring Him?”
The officers answered, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.”
The final point
This takes us to the final point going from the peoples’ confusion to the leader’s rejection to the Savior’s exclusion.
…with a particular emphasis on the officers who came to arrest Him because of what He says. “For a little while longer, I’m with you. Then I go to Him who sent me.”
…There’s a loneliness here. There’s a sorrow here. Six months, that’s all. Such pathos. God’s son, loving a world that hated Him. Loving a nation that hated Him now starts to count the days, the weeks before He is leaving. This is an infinite agony for Him. His story was so full of sorry. I’m going back to the one who sent me. You don’t have to deal with me much longer. “Sad thing is you will seek me,” – verse 34 – “and will not find me, and where I am, you cannot come.”
Look at chapter 8, and we’ll close with this passage, verse 21
You will die in your sin. You will seek me. You will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come. Shut out of heaven forever.”
Seek the Lord while he may be found
There is no greater warning. There is no stronger warning. There is no more unmistakable warning than that. You will die in your sins unless you believe in me. Seek the Lord while He may be found.