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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Unbelief – John 7:45-52

            We have learned that Jesus is the One who will pour out the “living water” of the Holy Spirit. Jesus promises an endless supply of water and light through Him. Endless because He is endless. We can not only drink of His living water, we become channels of that living water to a dry and spiritually thirsty world. Jesus’ living water will fill the empty parts of our soul with His love, grace and truth. The inner working of the Holy Spirit is God’s new way of working and communing with His people. The water-pouring ceremony at the Feast of Tabernacles couldn’t satisfy the soul, but Jesus’ eternal, living water of the Holy Spirit and Truth can. Without God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we are dry and unfruitful. With the Godhead, we are developing into the Godhead’s spiritual nature. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul said, “Be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And in Colossians 3:16, Paul said we are to “Let the Word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom.” These two things in willing, obedient hearts will transform us into the image and nature of the Godhead.

Temple Guards, Pharisees and the Chief Priests

         “Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring Him in?” The guards responded, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.” The Pharisees retorted, “You mean He has deceived you also.” John 7:45-46 The temple guards were sent to arrest Jesus but came back without Him. Jesus’ words had such power and authority that the temple guards would not touch Him. Notice they said “no man.” Jesus is far more than an ordinary man. He is the Eternal Word of God in human flesh. He is the Teacher above all others!
            The next statement made by the Pharisees and Chief Priests showed their arrogance and superior attitude. “You mean He has deceived you also? Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in Him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the Law – there is a curse on them.” John 7:47-49 First, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of being a deceiver. Satan is the deceiver. Jesus is the One who reveals Truth. The Pharisees then proceed to denigrate the temple guards and the crowd by accusing them of being ignorant of the Law. This reveals their superior attitude toward others. The Pharisees and chief priests also believed that anyone ignorant of the Law was under a curse according to Deuteronomy 28:15.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin Council

            Nicodemus is one of them! However, Nicodemus had gone to Jesus previously in the dark of night to question Him. He is being drawn to Jesus by His words and miraculous works. Jesus said that His works would be one way that showed His deity. Obviously, Nicodemus is not completely convinced that Jesus is a deceiver and at this point isn't fully convinced that Jesus is the Messiah.
            Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, “Does our Law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?”  John 7:50-51 Nicodemus will be the voice of reason. Nicodemus is reminding Jesus’ accusers that they would be breaking the very Law that they are defending if they judged Jesus without a hearing. He is convicting his fellow religious leaders of not following their own Law. Deuteronomy 1:17: Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Do not be afraid of any man, for judgment belongs to God. Bring me any case too hard for you, and I will hear it." This was Moses speaking. And in Exodus 23:1, the bible says, “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor man in his lawsuit.” God wants just judgment based on facts and a hearing. They must hear the evidence and the accused before judging a man, but the Pharisees and chief priests were condemning Jesus without a hearing or proving His words and works wrong.
            The superior attitude and arrogance of the condemners is illustrated again by their next statement to Nicodemus. “Are you from Galilee too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” V52 The Pharisees had an arrogant prejudice against anyone not of Judah. In other words, they were xenophobes! They did not believe that those from Galilee were true Jews. They showed their disdain for Galileans. Their argument was without merit. They told Nicodemus to search the scriptures and he would find that no prophet came out of Galilee. This is not true -- Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Elijah and Elisha came out of Galilee. These religious leaders believed their argument would prove that Jesus was not the prophet Moses wrote about because that prophet was to come from Bethlehem. Jesus did come out of Bethlehem. He was born there.
            The unbelief and misinterpreted scripture of the religious leadership caused division among the leadership and the people. This is true also in today’s Church. Only pure Truth will bring unity. This is also true in today's world. Denominations are the result of different understandings of Truth. Jesus said that we could know the Truth and the Truth will set us free. When pure Truth is spoken, unity will be the result.

            Jesus had already given the solution to a lack of understanding of Truth – Living Water. Jesus and the Holy Spirit will bring those with hungry and thirsty hearts to the pure Truth.

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