This week, as we read quietly through John’s gospel we come to a long dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees. In this exchange Jesus claims that He gives living water (John 7:37-39), that He is the light of the world (John 8:12), and that He is the great I AM (John 8:58). The religious leaders grow furious and attempt to kill Him.
Day 1 John 7:1-24
Day 2 John 7:25-44
Day 3 John 7:45-8:12
Day 4 John 8:13-36
Day 5 John 8:37-59
Back in chapter 6 we read about how many “were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king” (v 15), but this week, as we read chapters 7 and 8, we will read how many sought to kill Jesus. What a drastic change! What happened or what was said to cause so much hate?
The answer is simple. Glory.
Jesus came to earth to reveal the glory of God the Father (John 7:18), but many people refused to accept Him. They refused to believe that He was the Son of God. They would not believe, despite the words that He spoke and the miracles that He performed, that He was sent by God (v 27-28).
Why? The answer lies in the words of Jesus.
“My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority,” (John 7:16-17).
The Jews knew the will of God. It was summed up nicely in just a few verses that any “good” Jew would know. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind (Deuteronomy 6:5) and you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). Jesus kept these command beautifully — perfectly — and in doing so revealed the glory of God. And this is where the hang-up was for so many people, where the hang-up is for so many of us today.
We don’t want Gods glory. We want our own.
Yes, the religious leaders read and studied the Scriptures, but it was for the wrong reason. They were known for making public and lofty prayers (Matthew 6:5), and for showing-off their discomfort while fasting. (Matthew 6:16) They were willing to neglect the wounded and beaten to maintain their cleanliness (Luke 10:30-31) and stand accusing others of sin while neglecting to deal with their own (John 8:1-9).
Their actions revealed their study of God’s Word was not to know Him and make Him known, but rather to make themselves known and appear better to those they were suppose to serve. They were in it for their own glory.
Had they studied God’s Word to know His will, they would have immediately recognized Jesus as the Christ. They would have believed and followed Him. Instead, they wanted Him dead because His very existence threatened to reveal their selfish and evil pursuit of personal glory.
It is easy for me to judge these religious leaders, but by doing so I fall into the same evil thought patterns that I judge them for. They loved themselves because they thought they were better than others. As a Christian, if I’m not careful, I can find myself doing the same thing.
Jesus was perfect and chose not to judge the adulteress woman (John 8:1-12). He forgave her and instructed her to sin no more. He was frustrated with those who questioned and doubted Him (John 7:28), but he still offered them living water (John 7:37-39). He sees my judgemental heart, allows the Holy Spirit to convict me, and offers me grace as well.
When this happens I have one of two choice: 1) Be like the religious elite and refuse to admit that I need His mercy and grace; or 2) be like the adulteress woman, offer no argument for my sin and accept what Jesus freely gives — salvation. One of these choice promotes self glory. The other lets His glory shine.
Lord, helps us to seek Your glory above all else. Show us the small and big ways that we seek our own glory and attempt to negate our need for You. We are each sinner. Helps us not to stand in judgement of others. Help us to love You with all that we have and love others as much as we love ourselves. In the name of your Son I pray. Amen.