John 7:1–24: The Judgment of Jesus
By all outward appearances, Jesus’ ministry is in serious jeopardy. Not only has he seen a significant apostasy, with many of his disciples in Galilee falling away from following him (John 6:66), the Jewish leaders in Judea are still seeking to kill him (John 7:1) because he had not only healed a man on the Sabbath, but he made himself equal with God by calling God his own Father (John 5:18). Jesus has been able to escape the authorities by remaining in Galilee so far, but as the Feast of Booths approaches, Jesus must return to Jerusalem, going straight into the danger. Should Jesus attempt a course correction to his ministry at this point after so many defections? Moreover, how does he address the challenges to his ministry with such a serious threat against his life? How does he defend himself against those who seek to kill him?
If Jesus at this point hired a public relations representative, a marketing consultant, a political strategist, or a fundraising expert, he could get the best advice on the smartest, most effective next steps for him to take to turn around these losses that he has suffered and the bad momentum of his campaign. Jesus, however, refuses to do anything of the sort, and not because he wants to do things his way, no matter where it might lead him. In fact, his reasons for rejecting human opinions and wisdom have nothing to do with a lack of humility, since Jesus loves the glory of his Father more than anything else in this world. He is willing to lose everything in his life, so long as he glorifies his Father by accomplishing every bit of the work that his Father sent him to accomplish. He has not come to seek his own, personal, private glory, but to glorify his Father. In this passage, Jesus demonstrates that human glory-seeking is wicked and willful, but ultimately weak.
1. In what ways does the world tell you to “Get yours!”? Where do you see that influence in your work? In your school? In your neighborhood? In your church? In your family? In your own heart?
2. How are you tempted to “Protect yours!”? What areas of your personal glory do you respond to most quickly and strongly when you see threats against them? Your reputation? Your livelihood? Your wealth?
3. Where have you recognized the deceitfulness of your own heart in the way you deal with people? Have you caught yourself justifying behavior you knew to be wrong? Have you noticed white lies you told effortlessly to cover up something you didn’t want others to see?
4. Why does the worldly desire to “Get yours!” and “Protect yours!” necessarily lead to an attitude willing to “Kill anyone who threatens yours!”? Why is it so hard to relinquish control and instead trust the glory that God gives to us as a gift through Jesus Christ?