John Chapter 7
By Pastor Alex
Scattered all throughout this seventh chapter of John’s gospel, we see people whose understanding is being opened by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, right alongside other people whose minds are continuing to be darkened and blinded by the evil one. Ultimately, in every instance, the issue of whether their understanding is being opened to the light or staying closed in the darkness boils down to the issue of who they believe Jesus to be. The same principle holds true now, every day of our lives. This is faith versus unbelief. Faith is the work of the Holy Spirit in our minds. Unbelief is from the flesh and is also a tool of the devil to keep us away from God, away from His salvation, and bound for hell.
First, John tells us that “even His own brothers did not believe in Him” (v. 5). At the festival, some say Jesus is a good man, while others claim He is deceiving people (v. 12). This accusation is soon heightened to, “you are demon-possessed” (v. 20). After Jesus preaches, some consider that He may be the Messiah, but quickly reason against this, simply because they know what town he is from (vv. 25-27). After more preaching, we learn that “many in the crowd believed in Him” (v. 31). When Jesus gets up to preach one last time, we read the first declarations of faith: He is the Prophet, He is the Messiah (vv. 40-41). Yet, others cling to their misunderstanding of scripture as an excuse for their unbelief (v.42). The temple guards could not bring themselves to arrest Jesus when they heard the power of His words, and Nicodemus stands up for Jesus’ right to a trial when the Pharisees accuse him. But through all of this, the Pharisees see reality through their own self-righteousness, trusting in their own study and knowledge about the scriptures. Thus, the crowd coming to faith must be cursed...
Jesus had something interesting to say about all this: “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” (v. 17). There you have it; those who really want the truth and are willing to be changed by it come out saying, “This is the Messiah.” For those who have been finding reasons to doubt who Jesus is, the real problem is they are not yet willing to give up their own will and take up God’s will. Ironically, this was most true for the Pharisees, who had much to lose in giving up their spiritual control and prominence to acknowledge the Messiah, the true authority.
In all this mess, one voice rises high above all the noise, if we will hear it: “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (vv. 37-38). Believe on the Lord Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will come in. He will show you everything that cannot be understood by the natural mind.