Jesus: Messiah or Deceiver?
Good Morning, from the Voices of Hope Evangelistic Team, to all who are reading this message, I welcome each of you gathering today by way of the internet. Once again, it’s a blessing to be able to share from God’s Word and I praise God as we are able to share His Word all over the world.
The title of my message is “Jesus: Messiah or Deceiver?” and the scripture is found in John 7:1-13 which we’ll be reading as we go through the message, if you wish to turn there you can follow along.
Repeating from most all previous messages John’s gospel, is presenting to us very clearly, very relentlessly the person of Jesus Christ. John’s message is Christ … simple, uncluttered, always the same on every page in every chapter in every incident, His message is ever and always this, Jesus Christ is God. You turn the page, and there it is again, Jesus Christ is God, God in a human body. All through this gospel we see that same recurring message. As we come to chapter 7, it is no different.
We also told you that John’s theme has a sub-theme; how men respond to Jesus. So, all through the gospel you have this continual presenting of Jesus Christ and then that constant sub-theme of the reaction of people to that presentation. Christ would make a statement and people would react. Christ would do a miracle and people would react. John presents the claims of Christ and people react. This is the recurring point of John’s gospel.
As we enter into chapters 7 and 8, we are entering into a new section in John’s gospel. And if you were going to title this section you might call it “High intensity hatred,” because these two chapters are the chapters that really bring to a head the smoldering hate that has been going on toward Jesus Christ in Jerusalem and Judea.
Here He returns to Jerusalem and He finds that the hate has not died out. It has been smoldering and it culminates in a plot in chapter 11 to take His life. In these two chapters, Jesus will begin to move back to Jerusalem. This passage is in a great way just setting the scene for us. In these two chapters we’re going to see the antagonism and the strife toward Jesus Christ that happened when He returned. If you want to get a little idea of how these two chapters end, just look at the last of the two chapters, verse 59 of chapter 8, which says, “Then took they of stones to cast at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them and so passed by.” These two chapters culminate in mob violence in an attempt to stone Jesus.
So, Jesus again confronts people and says, “This is who I am, how are you going to react?” He makes the claim to be God and we see the reaction of men. Again, we see the confronting Jesus, Christ walking into the midst of society, walking into the midst of men and saying, “Here I am, here is what I am, here is where I came from, here is what I demand;” then charting the response and the reaction of men. It’s no different today than it was then. He is still confronting men. He confronts our life. He confronts us with Himself and says, “This is who I am, what are you going to do about it?” Pilate said, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?”
Every man who has ever lived has been confronted since the time of Christ with what to do with the person of Christ. And really, though you can categorize a lot of different reactions, they fall into two basic categories. When a man’s ideas and a man’s ideals and a man’s personal goals and a man’s personal attitudes clash with Jesus Christ, one of two things happen … either that man submits and surrenders to Jesus Christ or that man rebels and fights against Jesus Christ. When he does that, he soon wishes to eliminate Jesus Christ from his presence all together. Jesus Himself said, “He that is not with Me is against Me.” There’s no middle ground. Jesus Christ confronts a man and that man decides. Every man then is faced with the same basic, simple alternative.
That’s exactly what happened in Israel. Jesus said, “Here I am, here’s who I am, here’s where I came from, here’s what I want from you,” they said, “Sorry, we don’t buy.” They could not tolerate Him staying in their midst and so they sought to eliminate Him. That’s exactly what will happen as He returns to Judea. We’ll see many varying kinds of reactions, but it all culminated in a desire to eliminate Him as the great mob stood outside that day and said, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” Any other attitude and response except personal faith in Christ ultimately culminates in the desire to eliminate Him. So again, relentlessly, repetitiously Jesus confronts the world and demands a reaction and He gets it. And the reaction will eventually blossom into hatred.
Today we look at the first thirteen verses and they set the stage for the entire section. They record for us Jesus going to the Feast of Tabernacles. It is at this feast and around the season of this feast that all of these events of chapter 7 and 8 take place. It is at the next Passover that He loses His life, so it’s not too far away, maybe only five months. And we’re going to see in these verses many truths and principles woven here.
I want us to see one truth that dominates this whole passage; Jesus operates on schedule with a divine plan, He is operating on a divine timetable at exactly the very split second that God designed, the life of Jesus Christ will intersect the cross, no later, no sooner than God has preordained in eternity past. Paul told the Galatians that Jesus Christ came into this world in the fullness of time when it was exactly the right split second for Him to arrive. And just as He came in the fullness of time, so He acted in the fullness of time, so He died in the fullness of time, so He rose in the fullness of time and so will He return.
There are two main parts. The first nine verses deal with the subject of the wrong time. This is teaching us that Jesus is on a divine timetable, that’s the main lesson we’re learning. The second section, verses 10–13, teach us the right time. Christ only acts at the right time. When He was persuaded to act at the wrong time, He rejected it. When the right time came, He acted. He does things on schedule, God’s time.
He’s still going to stay in Galilee. We see this in verse 1. “After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee.” That’s the picture of journeying through Galilee. The other gospel writers tell us where He walked.
You’ll notice it says, “After these things,” and that would recall chapter 6, after the incident of chapter 6 all of the miracle there and the teaching on the Bread of Life, after that He walked in Galilee. And since that chapter 6 took place around the Passover, and this chapter 7 takes place at the Feast of Tabernacles, we know it was about a seven-month walk. Most of those months He spent with the twelve disciples. He taught them, day in, day out, week in, week out for seven months He taught those disciples.
Second thing, He told them that He was going to be rejected. He told them He was going to die.
The third thing, He took a few selected ones up on a mountain and He showed them His glory in what the Bible calls His transfiguration. For seven months He centered His ministry on twelve people.
That is a great principle, remember in chapter 6 Jesus spent two days with a multitude of thousands of people. He spent seven months with twelve disciples. “So, what’s the lesson?” Discipleship is the priority. Jesus Christ came to make disciples. Jesus Christ before He left said, “Go into the world and have great meetings.” No. He said, “Go into the world and make disciples, teaching them.” That’s what it’s all about. This is what God wants. God is not so concerned with mass meetings as He is with reproduction among disciples.
The success of any church is not how many bodies are jammed into the building. The success of any church is the depth of their discipleship. That’s the key. That’s what it’s all about. To make disciples takes a life poured into another life. That’s how you make a disciple. The Bible never says get a crowd. The Bible just says make disciples. Paul told Timothy the essence of what it’s all about when he said, “Find some faithful men, Timothy, and teach those faithful men that they in turn may teach others also. And you know what will happen? You’ll set off a chain reaction of reproductive disciples who will just keep reproducing themselves.” That’s what it’s all about.
I know there is a ministry to the mass, but the ministry to the mass is never and can never be a substitute for your personal ministry in reproducing yourself in the life of somebody else. If you’re a Christian, you by the very virtue of your Christianity are responsible to be reproducing yourself in somebody else’s life.
Ask yourself, in the years that you’ve been a Christian, who are your disciples? Where are the ones that you reproduced in the faith? Not somebody that you led to Christ and then wandered away. I mean a disciple that you can look at and say, “Look at that life.”
Paul says, “You have followed me as I have followed Jesus Christ, that’s why you are what you are.” That’s the divine pattern. Also, to Timothy, “Be thou an example to the believers,” be a pattern, a copy, reproduce yourself. As Christians in this world today we are suffering because we do not have any depth. In the vast majority of the organized church, quote/unquote, there’s no such thing as reproduction.
We need Christians who count, who know. We need Christians who matter. We need Christians who confront the world, those who really know the Word of God and can reproduce themselves. But what we have are mostly Christians who know nothing, do nothing and cannot reproduce. And that’s the tragedy of today’s church.
Jesus could have gone around the world by divine power and whoosh.… just like that and told everybody. But He didn’t. He spent seven months with twelve people.
If Jesus Christ had done everything, He would have come and gone and that would have been it. So, Jesus Christ had to reproduce His life in the lives of twelve people. When He went away, He could say to them, “It’s your job, men, and I know you’re going to do it.” And they turned around and reproduced themselves and you and I are living reproductions from those original twelve.
Christianity is the heritage of twelve people because Jesus poured His life into twelve who would be around to pour their lives into twelve more, and twenty-four and on it went. That’s what the church is all about; the church is a discipleship station where we are to reproduce ourselves. That’s why I (we) emphasize teaching, knowledge of the Word of God.
Some people have the idea that all the church is supposed to do is evangelize. No, no, no. In fact, primarily the pulpit is not a place of evangelism; we’re to make disciples who will reproduce themselves.
So, Jesus worked with twelve, that’s probably the positive reason why He stayed. The negative is also in verse 1. “For He would not walk in Judea because the Jews sought to kill Him.” Remember back in 5:18 where they sought the more to kill Him, it says, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but He claimed to be equal with God. And so, the Jews were ready to kill Him down in Jerusalem and it wasn’t His time to go back and have that happen.
Verse 2 tells us the Feast of Tabernacles was at hand, which was a remembrance of God’s protection of Israel in keeping them in the wilderness wanderings for forty years when they dwelt in tents or booths. The Feast of Tabernacles happened from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of the month Tishri which is our October and during that time for about a seven-day period they built booths symbolizing God’s faithfulness in the wilderness. And every Jewish male was required to go to the feast.
Verse 3, “His brethren,” by that is meant His brothers, we know Jesus had half-brothers. (Look at Matthew 13:55) They came “And said unto Him,” and here’s their request, “Depart from here,” that is up here in Galilee, “and go into Judea,” that is down there where Jerusalem is, “that Thy disciples
also may see the works that Thou doest.”
They said … Go down to Jerusalem and do these things You’re doing. There’s a lot of speculation about why they asked Him to do this but the Bible doesn’t say.
So, all of His miracles in Galilee seemed beside the point to them. He needed to do something in Jerusalem. Notice that it says, “Thy disciples.” He had probably already gained some disciples; I don’t mean the twelve, just followers that He had gained in Jerusalem the first time He was there. Plus, all the ones in Galilee would have gone there for the Feast of Tabernacles. “Go there that Your disciples can see these fantastic things that You do. This will be the real test.”
After this request they kind of give a reason for it in verse 4. They say, “For no man that doeth anything in secret.” Nobody that’s really got some fantastic announcement does it in secret. “But He seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” In other words, why are You hiding? If You came to be the world’s Savior, then show Yourself to the world. If You came to cure the world’s ills, then show Yourself to the world. What are You doing hiding up here in Galilee? All this secret stuff is inconsistent with Your claims.
This is exactly the wrong way to look at it. Christ was establishing His gospel to the world by building it into twelve people. He was establishing His gospel by pouring it into the lives of these twelve. Infinitely more than He would have ever done by some public manifestation in Jerusalem as
evidenced by the miracles that He did there.
Here’s a key to the attitude of the brothers, if you’ll notice it in verse 4. It’s the word “if,” they didn’t believe. I mean, “If You really do these things, if You’re really for real, if You’ve really got this power, then why are You sneaking around Galilee, why not get down there if You really do these things?” They weren’t really convinced.
Mark this, Jesus never operates on sensation. He never operates on pure emotion. He always operates on teaching, teaching, and teaching, make disciples, make disciples, and make disciples. That has roots. You follow the thrill seekers and you’re going to find that today’s thrill is tomorrow’s drag and you’re going to need another thrill better than the last one.
So, while they thought Jesus was wasting His time, He was indeed spreading the gospel around the world by getting twelve men who would reproduce themselves all over the world. Verse 5 adds, “For neither did His brethren believe in Him.” Kind of an exciting story; they did come to Him because they appear in Acts 1:14 with a group waiting for the Holy Spirit to come and they’re there … Jude wrote that little book, and James became the pastor of the Jerusalem church. They came around all in God’s time.
Now look at the response in verse 8. “Jesus says, Go ye up to this feast, I go not up yet unto this feast.” verse 9, “When He had said these words unto them, He had abode still in Galilee.” His answer is no, I’m not going to go; it’s not time to go. Nobody forces Jesus’ hand, especially unbelief. Remember the principle we’ve learned for three weeks in a row now? Jesus never commits Himself to willful unbelief.
Jesus gives His reasons for not going with them in the rationale. His response was verse 8 and 9, His reasons, verse 6, 7 and part of verse 8. Look at verse 6, “And then Jesus said unto them,” here’s the reason He wouldn’t go, “My time is not yet come.” Jesus says, “I will manifest Myself at the right moment, not any sooner.”
He knew that His manifestation would only end in His death and He said, “I can’t do it, it’s not the right time. I’ve got things to do before then. My time has not yet come.”
Over in verse 30 of chapter 7, “Then they sought to take Him, but no man laid hands on Him.” Why? Because His hour wasn’t come, they couldn’t touch Him. In 8:20, “These words spoke Jesus in the treasury as He taught in the temple, and no man laid hands on Him for His hour was not yet come.” Also in chapter 12 verse 27, “Now is My soul troubled and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour but for this cause came I unto this hour.” Christ says I wish I could get out of it humanly speaking, but I know I came into the world for this hour. Christ had a destiny pre-written in eternity past to intercept the cross in a split second and He had to do it in just exactly the moment that God had ordained it. The climax of history was the cross and it was going to come off on schedule, on time, not a split-second sooner. God operates on time.
Jesus told the disciples in Acts 1:7 He said to them; they were asking about when will all these things come to pass, He said unto them, “It’s not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father has put in His own power,” Acts 1:7. God operates in certain times.
And actually, Paul’s great sermon on Mars Hill in Acts 17 when he was identifying the unknown God, Paul describes God in the character of His relationship to time. In verse 26, “God had made of one blood all nations of men and hath determined the times before appointed.” God has pre-written history on time, on schedule. And it’s zeroing in on the final climax, the return of Jesus Christ which will happen at the split second that God has already ordained in eternity past that it should happen. Everything’s on time. Jesus says, “My time, not yet.”
But then in the next statement, in verse 6, He draws a gulf between Himself and His brothers that’s as wide as infinity, watch it. “But your time is always ready.” He’s saying I am on a divine schedule; you’re not on any schedule. Jesus Christ is on God’s timetable, they could come, go, do anything they wanted to do, they weren’t on any timetable. A person without Jesus Christ, his whole life is random, purposelessness, pointlessness, going nowhere, meaning nothing. You have no divine timetable without Christ. You have only one date with God, Death. That’s already set.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ, that’s the only destiny you have with God, one date, death. Jesus says, “Your time is always ready, you can come and go, it doesn’t even matter.”
To put it simpler the only life that counts is the Christian life. Only the believer, only the one who knows Jesus Christ is on divine time all the time, every moment, every hour counts for eternity. Paul says in Ephesians and Colossians, “We are to redeem the time.” The psalmist said, “My times are in Thy hands.”
If you are a part of Jesus Christ, if you are a believer, then you are a part of God’s divine redemptive schedule. Your life’s not your own. You’re on God’s time. What are you doing with His time? Every moment, every hour, every day counts for God. Yet most Christians dilly-dally away their time, but it’s not their time, its God’s time.
Then Jesus adds another thing in verse 7 in a rationale for why He doesn’t go. He says this, “The world can’t hate you, but Me it hates because I testify of it that its works are evil.” He says … You can come and go; nobody’s going to bother you. If I go to Jerusalem, they’re going to kill Me, because I tell them the truth about themselves. You stand up and rebuke the world system and call it evil and call it what it is and you’re going to get a reaction. That’s what Jesus did. He ran right smack into the system and called it what it was sin, sin, sin. They didn’t like to hear it.
So, Jesus says, “I’m not going for two reasons. Number one, it’s not the right time. Number two, they’ll kill Me and it will be off schedule.” And so we see the wrong time in these verses. We see Him remaining. We see the request, His response and His rationale. Now I want us to see what happens when the right time comes in verses 10–13.
The right time teaches us two things … the return and the reaction. The right time, in His own time He goes. He doesn’t go with His brothers; He’s not ready for a big public display. He knows what that will bring. So, in His own time, in His own way, He goes secretly, the right time. First of all, they return, verse 10, “But when His brothers had gone up, then went He also up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.” This time He goes quietly, secretly.
Remember how He went the first time. He arrived in Jerusalem, walked right in the temple, grabbed a cord, made a whip, and started swinging that whip and wailing on people, flipping over tables and all those people started bailing out. He said, “I’m here, people.” Then the hostility began. The second time He came back to Jerusalem, He just came as a pilgrim to the feast. He was there publicly. He was there but He didn’t do any great dynamic works. The third time He comes, He comes secretly, each time with less and less dynamic action, because the hostility kept growing and growing.
Notice the reactions in verse 11 to 13; we’ll just introduce them because they’re really the content of the rest of these two chapters. The first reaction is that of the Jewish leadership, the Pharisees, the hypocritical rulers of the Jews. Look at their attitude. “Then the Jews sought Him at the feast and said, ‘Where is He?” Don’t tell us all you people came down here from Galilee without Him.” They wanted Him because they wanted to kill Him. Where is He?
The reaction of the Jewish rulers was hatred, open antagonistic hatred. And that’s the reaction of a lot of people even today.
Then we see some different reactions, Verse 12, “And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him.” This is interesting because the word indicates whispers. They were all … psst … psst … psst. They’re all talking about Jesus. Just by virtue of who He was He had so dominated the thoughts and attitudes of those people that all they could talk about was Jesus. Here they all got together … Have you heard about Jesus? They’re all murmuring very quietly, nobody talks out loud. And some one is saying, “He’s a good man, I think He’s a good man.” Somebody else is saying, “No, no, no, He’s a deceiver.”
Look at verse 13. They were all scared to death. “Howbeit no man, or however no man spoke openly of Him, for fear of the Jews.” “Why were they afraid of the Jewish leaders,” because the Jewish leaders had the whole of Judaism in slavery. Nobody would dare stick his neck out on deciding who Jesus was publicly or openly because they were afraid that they would go against the verdict of the Jews. That’s the kind of slavery they had.
So here the reaction begins to start. Jesus has arrived. It begins to try to build. Some are saying He’s a good man. Some are saying He’s a deceiver. And the Jews are openly hostile to Him but nobody is saying anything out loud because they’re afraid that if the Jews come up with a different verdict than what they’ve said, they’ll get thrown out of the synagogue, which means excommunication from all the life and society of Israel. So, nobody says a word.
So, we’re introduced to the subject of the reactions to Jesus Christ. At the right time He went and He stirred reactions. Want to know who He is? Look at verse 69 of chapter 6. Peter said it, “And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ the Son of the living God,” that’s who He is.
Do you know Him? Is your life on a divine schedule? Or do you have only one date with God?
Father, we thank You, this morning, for teaching us Your Word. Thank You for the truths that are herein. Lord, we know that this passage is really kind of a background passage for others yet to come; we’ve learned some things about how Christ operated, about who He was. We know there are probably some people reading this who may be debating the fact of who is He? A good man, deceiver, or the Son of the living God? Lord, we just pray that Your Spirit would overrule doubt and misunderstanding, convict of sin and teach the truth that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of the living God. We’ll thank You in Christ’s precious name. Amen.
When Voices Of Hope Evangelistic Team is ministering in Word and Song, their Fire Choir will sing several songs and then lead the Congregation in singing. Since that isn't possible on-line, please click here and may you be blessed by the song, "There's Something About That Name."