Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Colonnade and shops in Bath, England

Friday, October 21, 2016

Chronoogical Reading Plan for Oct 22, Jn 7-8

Today's readings are Jn 7-8. Tomorrow's are Jn 9-10.

In Jn 7, we find Jesus becoming increasingly more vocal about who He is and what He's come to do. He and His disciples made the turning point at Caesarea-Philippi, headed back toward Jerusalem  and are now in what will turn out to be the last six months of His ministry leading up to the cross. 

In Jn 7:10-22 Jesus shows up at the Feast of Booths, a feast that looks back on the temporary home that the Jews had in the wilderness. Jesus, the eternal home for those who believe in Him, comes to the festival that reminds God's people that their home on earth is temporary and a permanent home awaits them.

He begins teaching with amazing power and authority, giving glory to God and openly revealing that there are those who want to kill Him. Some are unaware of who He is and the tension that has risen up between Jesus and the Pharisees. They wonder what's going on.

Those who are aware wonder why the Sanhedrin doesn't stop Him (Jn 7:25-31).  They speculate that there is a conspiracy to hide the truth that He is really the Messiah. Apparently conspiracy theories are not unique to modern times. In reality, there is no conspiracy. Most people simply don't believe Jesus is who He says He is. So, when He teaches with this kind of authority and when He does the things He does, they explain it away, choosing to disregard the truth because it does not conform to their expectations or traditions.

After foiling an attempt to arrest Him by simply speaking truth so powerfully it overwhelms the guards sent to apprehend Him, Jesus addresses the crowd (Jn 37-39). His timing is perfect. It is the last day of the feast, a day when the priests carry water from the Spring of Gihon (Hezekiah's Tunnel) up to the Temple to cleanse the altar. Jesus "cries out", emphatically states that He is the cleansing, living water. One thing that beings to become clear as Jesus stands in the middle of this huge celebration is that the festivals and the rituals the Jews have been observing for nearly two thousand years are about Christ. They are nor merely remembrances. They are precursors and shadows of Him and His arrival. 

Divisions being to arise over who Jesus is, even among the Pharisees (Jn 7:40-52). Another thing becomes clear. Jesus came to unite His church in Him, but will be a point of division and separation from the world (Mt 10:34).

Jn 7:53 - 8:11 does not appear in the earliest and most reliable manuscripts. To read more about this, you can take a look at "What About Those Double Brackets."

Jn 8:12-30 comes at another climactic moment in the feast,
the moment when they light the massive torches inside the temple walls symbolizing the light and glory of God. Jesus says He is that light and prophesies His crucifixion. 

He also teaches that the truth of who He is will set people free, if they believe it. What the Pharisees teach is not only a lie, but it leads to judgment and doom (Jn 8:31-47).

A bold and major step is taken in Jesus' ministry when he proclaims "...before Abraham was, I am" in Jn 8:58. It is nothing less than the revelation of His eternal nature. He was, is and will be all at the same time. He has the evidence of the signs and wonders, the power of His teaching  and the symbolism of the feast to support His claims.

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