John 7:25-36, NIV

25 The people of Jerusalem began to ask, "Isn't this the
man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly,
and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities
really concluded that he is the Christ? 27 But we know
where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one
will know where he is from."

28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out,
"Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am
not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not
know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and
he sent me." 30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one
laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.

31 Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They
said, "When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous
signs than this man?" 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd
whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests
and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.

33 Jesus said, "I am with you for only a short time, and
then I go to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me,
but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot
come." 35 The Jews said to one another, "Where does
this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he
go where our people live scattered among the Greeks,
and teach the Greeks?"

 

June 25, 2011
Jesus said he was from God. In the presence of these
temple-goers in Jerusalem, he proclaimed that God had sent
him. Jesus knew where he came from, knew where he was
headed and had a real sense of purpose for his life and a vital
mission to fulfill.

Maybe we should all re-program our minds and echo his
words. Faith 
allows us to think that way. I am a child of my
heavenly Father; therefore 
I am from God. God is my Maker.
For the time being, I may live in 
Manheim, PA, but that's just a
temporary address. My real home is 
with my Father in heaven.

Our goal is not personal happiness; life is much bigger than
that. When we get to know the One who sent Jesus and the
One who knit each of us together in our mother's womb, then
we can begin to understand the purpose and direction of our
lives, too. Like Jesus, we too can claim to be sent by God,
each of us with objectives to fulfill. We claim these words,
not in arrogance, but with a steady commitment to the
task God has for us.

According to John, Jesus also knew his mission would
get him killed. Which puts him in a league with very few
participants over the centuries, most of whom we call
heroes.


                                                               More journal entries


July 2, 2011
The people are confused. Who is this man? Where did Jesus
come from and where is he going. As in all crowds, people
talk and pass on what they heard someone else say. All
hearsay; no one knows for sure what is going on.

Hence the question, "If the authorities are trying to kill
Jesus, why is he speaking openly and unhindered? Jesus said
nothing to add clarity for he people in this crowd, just words
that would provoke the religious leadership.

Despite the contentious atmosphere, some people did put
their faith in Jesus. Why? Because they couldn't conceive of
anyone doing anything more miraculous than what they had
seen Jesus do.

Then Jesus told them he was going away to some place to
which they could not follow. This was another way of saying
that Jesus was in control of his own life and no one could
have any power over him unless his Father in heaven permitted
it. The temple authorities and their henchmen will not arrest
Jesus. When the time is right, Jesus will give up his life.

In the meantime here's a riddle you can try to solve -- I will
return soon to the one who sent me; you will look for me but
will not be able to find me because where I go you cannot
follow.


July 19, 1983
So far in John's gospel the town of Sychar believed in Jesus,
also his mother, John the Baptist, the disciples and those who
experienced his miracles. Disbelief is mentioned among the
brothers of Jesus and impliedcontinually on the part of the
Jewish leaders.

People suspected Jesus' life was in danger. Unless they had
a sick loved one who needed healing, it probably didn't
matter much to most of them.

They thought they knew who he was and where he came from.
He was the man currently at odds with their temple leaders.
The man most talked about and discussed. The most
interesting and controversial person on the scene. But they
didn't really know him. Jesus talked; they listened, but they
didn't really hear him. Not a problem peculiar to that
generation, but one persisting into the present time.

Jesus is the way to the Father. It's like a carousel but how
does one get on? Simply by believing in Jesus. Believing
with the heart. Deciding to believe and holding firm to that
decision. Loving him. It must be a combination of love and
will directed toward God through Jesus. Love and will
makes for wholehearted devotion.


June 30, 2011
Which comes first? Loving someone or knowing them? What
is the connection between loving and knowing? Between
knowing and loving our friends and neighbors and knowing
and loving God?

During a teaching session in the temple courtyard, Jesus told
the festival crowd they did not know God. These were the
faithful who returned to Jerusalem, maybe annually, to
celebrate the faith of their ancestors as they had journeyed
from slavery in Egypt to the freedom of their Promised Land.
They were people who performed all the religious rites and
rituals at the right times.

Yet they did not know God. Sometimes I wonder what exactly
we are missing, what it is that we do not get right, as we
worship God and claim to follow the teachings of Jesus.
Do we "know God" any better today than the people in this
gospel story?


February 3, 2002
Jesus said he came from heaven and was sent by God. In
the natural he came from Nazareth and the home of Joseph
and Mary.

Still today we form opinions about people based on where
they are from--what region of the world, what section of the
country, what part of the city. When our daughter wanted to
rent a room in Pittsburgh for a semester of study, the first
question the landlady asked was, "Where are you from?"
Lancaster County must have been a safe bet, Becky got
the room.

"Where are you from?" is a common question. I often ask
new people I meet in town where they lived before moving
here; it's a good conversation starter.

Many people believed in Jesus because of his miracles. Which
is perfectly logical and natural. But the Sabbath miracles
caused a problem--mixing a right with a wrong. It stirred up
the debate of which overrides the other. Did the good of the
miracle outweigh the sin of breaking the commandment to
not work on the Sabbath? Jesus declared his works good; not
everyone was convinced.


July 20, 1983
Jesus was teaching in the Temple during the festival, and he
stopped in the middle of his discourse to address the concerns
at hand. Who was he? The people were misinformed. They
didn't even have their head knowledge right or the facts straight.
How could they believe in him for salvation when they had
wrong impressions as to who he was!

Knowing--oh the bliss of knowing, really knowing, anything.
Knowing so well that no one and nothing can undermine and
cause doubts. Did Jesus ever doubt his sent-ness? Did he
wake up some mornings and just want to quit? I don't think so.
His was a life of faith, not backed up by earthly values or
standards, but supported by wisdom gained through walking
with God. We are made for God and by God, so the sacred
realities of heaven are not really foreign to us, they are just
not programmed into us by the world we live in.

Jesus talking with assurance about his sent-ness--that's where
his authority came from. Help me develop more assurance of
my relatedness to God, and then maybe I'll have the confidence
and power to speak, witness, and to get my faith off the page
and into the realities of my life.


July 21, 1983
They tried to stop Jesus from influencing the people, but the
moment wasn't right.
That's the Gospel writer's interpretation
of the event. God is in charge. When Jesus was arrested, his
time had arrived. Everything caused by God. Everything
happening in God's own time. Examples from the Bible show
that prayer can change God's timing. Yet in Jesus' case, no
amount of prayer could change God's plan for his eventual
arrest and death. This was set.

So when is it right to pray for deliverance, and when is it
right to pray for courage to endure the cross? I've asked the
same question in reference to healing in general and my
healing in particular.


July 23, 1983
If someone accepted by faith that Jesus was the Messiah,
what did that mean? What effect did that have on an individual
person, on the community of the faithful? If this is the Messiah
among us, what shall we do? Would anything change?

Regarding the command to arrest Jesus--If something
threatens you, fight to get rid of it. If you don't like something,
oppose it. It's the role of leaders to protect and defend their
followers. These leaders were protecting the people from the
dangers of Jesus' words, from the mistake of believing in Jesus.
Someone had to control these fickle people, they were bound
to believe anything!

Everybody was just doing their job, similar to Paul persecuting
the Christians. They were so busy doing their jobs, they were
blind, deaf, and probably dumb to God. People haven't changed
a bit. It still seems like people are being controlled by those
who are blind, deaf, and dumb toward God. It's so easy to be
cynical. Where is the ray of hope? Where does the light shine?


July 15, 1983
These Pharisees and other religious leaders in Jerusalem
were considering murder in the name of their religion!--a
religion which forbids murder. When you do it, it's wrong;
when I do it, it's OK because I have good reasons!

How beautifully Jesus and the Jewish leaders could have
gotten along . . . . if only they really knew Moses and the law,
if only they understood the heart of God, if only they would
have allowed/desired God to remove the blindness from their
eyes. We have to be willing. We have to see a vision of how
things could be and then be willing to let God change us.
And we need to cooperate and be an active participant in
that change.


July 25, 1983
Where is Jesus going? Do I detect jealousy--leaving us and
going to someone else? The best way to make a person want
something is to tell them they can't have it! People don't
appreciate what they have until it is denied to them. Is that
what Jesus is doing? I'm going away where you can't find me.
All of a sudden that causes concern. They didn't want him
present, but they didn't want him mysteriously absent either.

The Greeks--you're not going to them, are you? To the
Greek-speaking Jews scattered in faraway places,
intermingling with Gentiles. The ones who ought to come
to Jerusalem for the annuals festivals. Surely Jesus won't go
beyond our borders, would he?

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