Let’s look at John 7 through the lenses of labor…as in working, not works. The big picture here is that Jesus performed a miracle on the sabbath.
I’m Not Going, but I’m Going (vv. 1-13)
John 7 opens with the approaching Feast of Tabernacles observance. This festival lasted seven days and was to give thanks for the harvest and commemorate the exodus from Egypt. Jesus could not go because the Jews were looking for a chance to kill him. Jesus’ brothers challenge Jesus to make his ministry works known publicly and to show himself at the feast. Jesus claimed it wasn’t his time, and so he would not go.
Then, Jesus went secretly to the feast. The Jews were looking for Jesus. The people were divided concerning Jesus; to each other some spoke with hostility while others defended Jesus.
I’m Here, Here’s the Word (vv. 14-18)
Jesus waited until the middle of the feast to go to the Temple and teach. The Jews, who could not validate Jesus’ education, questioned how he could be so learned. Jesus declared boldly that his teaching was from God and for God’s glory. Going further, Jesus said that anyone who resolves to know God will recognize the teaching is from God. Then the challenge: there are those who seek their own glory and those who seek the glory of the one who sent them. The former speak for themselves.
Why Are You Mad? (vv. 19-24)
Jesus got bolder. The Jews had the law from Moses, but none of them kept it. “Why then are you all looking to kill me,” Jesus asked. The crowd claps back: You’re crazy. Who’s trying to kill you?! Jesus healed a man on the sabbath and provoked the anger of the people. Yet the people received instructions to circumcise from Moses through the patriarchs, and circumcised on the sabbath. Let’s read John 7:22-23.
Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?John 7:22-23 ESV
The latter clause of verse 23 in the King James Version says this: are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
If the work of circumcision can be completed on the sabbath to keep from breaking the law of Moses, then why be angry when a broken man is made completely well? Or, every whit whole?
There is another theme here, how no harm could come to Jesus before the set time. He showed himself, spoke boldly, taught the people, introduced a new thought paradigm, pointed people to seeking God’s glory, caused a massive disruption, and still, could not be touched.
Dear Ones, I pray John 7 reminds us that if we are willing to do things to not break rules, that there is a greater supernatural standard that makes people whole. Rules matter, as do people. Broken rules can create issues. Broken people perpetuate issues. We can hallow the sabbath as well as the other days of the week when we minister to brokenness. The reality is that brokenness is everywhere. Now, let’s go be like Jesus and seek the glory of the one who sends us. Selah, and amen.
Educator - Advocate - Writer
"In the darkness of night, I wait expectantly for understanding and knowledge for your people."
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