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The Divine Citizenship of Jesus
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 “The Divine Citizenship of Jesus” and the scripture is found in John 7:25-36; if you wish to turn there you can follow along.
As we continue our study in John’s gospel, we come to verses 25–36 which we’ll read now. “Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this He, whom they seek to kill? But lo, He speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Nevertheless we know this man from where He is, but when Christ cometh no man knoweth from where He is. Then cried Jesus in the temple as He taught, saying, Ye both know Me and ye know from where I am. And I am not come of Myself, but He that sent Me is true to whom ye know not. But I know Him, for I am from Him and He hath sent Me. Then they sought to take Him but no man laid hands on Him because His hour was not yet come. And many of the people believed on Him and said … When Christ cometh will He do more miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning Him and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you and then I go unto Him that sent Me. Ye shall seek Me and shall not find Me and where I am, there ye cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Where will He go that we shall not find Him? Will He go unto the dispersed among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What manner of saying is this that He said ye shall seek Me and shall not find Me and where I am there ye cannot come?”
May God bless to our hearts this scripture.
In chapter 7 we have come to what really begins John’s account of the final period in the ministry of our Lord and it is only a matter of months until He will die. From John 7 through the end of John’s gospel, chapter 21, is recorded for us the final words and activities of Jesus Christ leading to His death and resurrection. So, He leaves Galilee and goes to Jerusalem.
It's Feast of Tabernacles week, which makes it autumn. Strangers are there, countrymen from many other places mingling in the streets of Jerusalem.
Jesus has come to Jerusalem because it is time to come to Jerusalem. He comes to Jerusalem knowing He will die. He comes to Jerusalem knowing He will be hated and persecuted. But He comes anyway because He had to present His truth, and secondly, His death will mean redemption. And so He comes.
We’ve already seen the progression of rejection that Jesus Christ has met, only this time it’s intensified. This time it reaches kind of a fever pitch and it’s not indifferent hate, it’s violent hate that brings about a plot to murder Him. And though there are varying groups and though there are varying degrees of rejection, it’s all unbelief and it all comes out the same. And eventually it was all these groups who stood together in one voice and cried, “Crucify Him, crucify Him, we will not have this man to reign over us.”
To receive Jesus Christ is the only hope. To stand on the outside and say, “Yeah, He’s a wonderful person, I think I believe some of the things He said. I’m not ready to commit my life to it,” is as blasphemous as the one who stands aside and spits and mocks Him because to know the truth and not to do it is the greatest blasphemy.
To reject is to reject and the point of degree is not an issue. Faith is not a matter of degrees or non degrees. Either you believe and you commit yourself to that belief, or you don’t commit yourself to that belief. So the hostilities begin and the flames of hostilities flame higher than they ever have. Jesus again in verses 25–36 makes the same identical claims as He again talks about His divine citizenship that He came from God.
Everywhere Jesus has gone He has created problems. First problem is the problem of dense confusion, verses 25–29. He has charged the Jewish leaders and the people who follow them, He has charged them with the most disgusting kind of legalistic hypocrisy and inconsistency imaginable. He says, “You hypocrites, you claim to follow the Law of Moses and you don’t even know how to interpret it. Not only that, you disobey it openly, your logic is poor, your insights are worse, your knowledge is terrible and your hypocrisy gross.”
They were dumbfounded, standing there in paralyzed silence as He called them what they were.
Some of the people who live in Jerusalem are looking at these leaders who are just standing there frozen. And they’re kind of looking at each other and some of the people of Jerusalem say, verse 25, “Is not this He whom they seek to kill?”
They are confused about why the leaders are just standing there, taking this when they already know that the leaders want to kill Him. And they are confused as to why these leaders don’t take some moves to shut Jesus Christ up. So they sit there in this kind of confusion … why don’t they act? And the rulers are standing there in confusion saying … what do we do? And nobody moves toward Jesus.
The Jerusalemites further their argument in verse 26. “But lo He speaks boldly and they say nothing unto Him.” He’s just standing there in the middle of this place and He’s just ripping them up one side and down the other and they don’t even say anything. They have their chance, they want to kill Him, why don’t they act right now while He’s giving it to them? If they move now the people will stand behind them. But they don’t move, they stand there speechless, paralyzed.
Jesus says I stand boldly, unashamedly. I don’t worry about anybody confounding Me. I don’t worry about anybody harming Me. God is on My side. Jesus Christ stood in the face of those hostile people ready to kill Him and He was bold; it didn’t matter what they did.
What a tremendous lesson for us. If we’re ever confronted with an antagonistic situation toward Christianity, we tend to crawl in a shell and die. But if we’ll get with Jesus Christ in any kind of constant proximity the boldness of Christ is going to become our boldness. The apostle Paul had something of that same boldness; he told the Ephesians about it when he said, “Pray for me that utterance may be given unto me that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in bonds that in this I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.” We ought to speak boldly.
Then almost like a flash of lightning some of the Jerusalemites evidently got an idea of why the rulers weren’t moving. Verse 26, says, “But lo, He speaketh boldly and they say nothing unto Him,” then this question, “Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?” Do they know something we don’t know? Why aren’t they responding? Maybe they know that this is the Christ.
It’s as if they say, “Well there’s no possibility that they could think this is the Messiah, that would be ridiculous.” And yet they did for a second entertain the thought as a justification for their inaction. So they’re confused.
In verse 27, “We know this man from where He is, but when Christ comes no man knows from where He is.” They know He’s from Nazareth, the son of Joseph and Mary and He’s just a carpenter, they know all that.
Had they known anything about the Old Testament they would have known that Micah told them exactly the city in which He was going to be born. “Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the sons of Judah, out of these shall He come forth who is to be ruler of my people Israel.”
There was a group in verse 42 where some of them piped up and said, “Now wait a minute, we know He’s going to be born in Bethlehem.” And verse 43 says, “That caused a division.”
Now you’ve got two groups, some of them say, “This can’t be the Messiah, He came from Nazareth.” Other ones are saying, “This can’t be the Messiah, He’s got to come from Bethlehem.” They don’t even bother to ask if He was born in Bethlehem. And so they decided it couldn’t be the Messiah. They’re standing there all confused and bewildered, so smug and so arrogant that they had all the answers. This is how Jesus will be. This is where He’ll come from. He’ll fit our little mold.
I suppose you’ve talked to many people like I have that say, “Well let me tell you what I think about Jesus … I want to give you my opinion of Jesus.” Who cares? Don’t tell me your opinion of Jesus. Jesus isn’t up for opinions. Jesus is what He is, either you believe it or you reject it, you don’t change Him.
You don’t make Jesus fit your mold. Paul says, you become conformed to Him. And so these people thought, “Well, this guy just doesn’t quite make it.” They had their opinions about who He’d be and what He’d be and where He’d come from. And as always, Jesus never explains Himself to unbelief. He makes no defense of Himself. He makes no explanation, none at all.
But He does react. In the next verse, He really cuts loose and yells. He has really had it with their willful ignorance. They have despised Him, they have written Him off. They have mocked Him and He yells at them. In verse 28, “Then cried Jesus in the temple as He taught saying,” and the word “cries” is a Greek word which carries with it the idea of crying out, He yelled at them. “You don’t know anything,” He says. They had it all categorized … carpenter, Joseph, Mary, baby, Nazareth. You don’t know anything about Me.
Isn’t that true of so many people today? You present Jesus Christ and every body has their opinion about Him.
Jesus Christ never got angry very many times, but every time He got angry He got angry over spiritual hypocrisy. He took those Pharisees on one occasion and absolutely tore them to shreds. “You whited sepulchers, you smell good on the outside, you stink on the inside. You’re painted white but you’re full of dead-men’s bones, you big phonies.” When He got angry, He got angry over the same things … spiritual hypocrisy.
Verse 28, “I didn’t come here of Myself, I’m not riding My own ambition. I’m not operating on My own whims. I’m not in this thing for My own desire for self-glory. There’s a divine uniqueness to My coming that you haven’t even begun to learn.” Then He indicts them with the most conclusive, dynamic, devastating, thunderous indictment that He ever indicted them with, at the end of verse 28. “But He that sent Me is true whom ye know not.”
These people had spent their life reading the Old Testament. They prided themselves on the knowledge of God. He says, “You don’t even know God.” You don’t know Me, you don’t know God.
And the tragedy of this is that they had all the things that could have truly revealed God to them. To have all the Scripture, all the promise, all the covenants, all the adoption, all that you have and you don’t know anything. They had prided themselves on all their knowledge of the rules and the regulations. You know all the stuff, you just don’t know God. What an indictment.
To know a few external things about God is not to know God. And to know a few external things about Jesus is to know nothing. And double disaster if you have all the truth and still don’t know anything. To those who have it and don’t know it, tremendous judgment because to whom much is given, much is required. In Hosea 4, Hosea qualified the whole problem in Israel in one sentence. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
We see it today. We live in a culture where Jesus is a byword. Everybody knows Jesus. But nobody knows Him. Bibles all over the place and nobody knows what’s in them. Churches everywhere, and people don’t know God. But before you condemn the world, just look at the church. The curse of Christianity today is one word … ignorance. That is the greatest curse that we face in Christianity, trying to educate Christians. They can’t reproduce themselves because they don’t know what or who they are. They can’t teach the Word of God because they don’t know what they believe. They can’t give some help to somebody because they don’t know what the Bible teaches.
At a convention on why young people drop out of church, they came to the conclusion that one of the dominant factors is the fact that they get frustrated over the fact of ignorance; where a kid is brought to church all his life by mom and dad, and then a crisis comes in his life and he says, “Help me, dad or mom, what does the Bible say?” And the parents say, “I don’t know, I’ve only been going to church for 25 years. Ask me what’s on page 198 in the hymnal and I’ll tell you it’s ‘Just as I am.’ ” That is tragedy.
We’re ignorant. That’s why it’s a passion with me to communicate the knowledge of the Word of God. The apostle Paul said in Romans 12:2, you can be transformed from the world by the renewing of your mind, just your brain, just learn the things of God. They’ll take care of the emotion and the motivation if you just learn.
Paul didn’t say, “Timothy, go out and get excited. Go hear a super-challenging speaker.” Paul said to Timothy, “Study … study … study to show yourself approved, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” Ignorance is the curse of Christianity today. We don’t even know what we believe. Remember what Paul said, “That I may know Him.” Knowledge, knowledge and God will transmit it into action.
All right, they’re all standing there fumbling around not knowing what to do. Jesus has shouted at them. They still haven’t moved. They’re frozen there. But they’re about to move and the second problem is the problem of divided conviction.
We’ve already seen the problem of confusion as the crowd stunned just kind of stands there trying to unravel what they’ve just been in. Now the problem of divided conviction is a greater problem to these Jewish leaders, this one really stumps them. Verse 30 to 32, this is again the same thing, Jesus claiming to be from God again. As soon as He started saying, “You don’t know God, but I know Him because He sent Me and I’m going back to Him.”
They just flew off their handles, so in verse 30 you read this, “Then they sought to take Him.” They had had it. “But no man laid hands on Him because His hour was not yet come.” Nobody touched Him. They were going to lay hands on Him, and it wasn’t to ordain Him into the ministry. The irritated leaders of Jerusalem all of a sudden became hostile. They were filled with the desire to get the authorities together and arrest this man who had exposed them and condemned them, and of all things, told them that they didn’t know God. They were infuriated.
You see the constant claims of Jesus Christ are a flowing stream of sweet words to the believer, but to the unbeliever the constant claims of Jesus Christ become maddening words. You don’t just throw off Jesus lightly. He says, “Love Me, receive Me and go to heaven. Refuse Me and go to hell.” That’s either sweet to hear or it’s very bitter. And if you hear it long enough, you’re going to get mad or you’re going to get saved. So in their infuriated, frustrated, confused hearts, they desire to arrest Him. But nobody touched Him.
The real reason nobody touched Him was verse 30, “His hour was not yet come.” There was just an invisible shield. God just said, “Sorry, can’t touch Him, hands off. Not time yet.” That’s a tremendous truth for a Christian to realize. Do you know that the restraining hand of God is on our enemies? What a tremendous truth. Not a hair of your head can be touched without the permission of God.
Men can come up with all the devices they want and they’ll never alter the counsel of the Lord one bit. God had decreed that the Savior would be captured at a certain time and that He would be betrayed by a familiar friend for 30 pieces of silver. And that’s the way it was going to happen, not by an unruly mob at the Feast of Tabernacles. There are still six months before it’s going to happen.
I said it was a divided conviction, look at verse 31. Most of them were trying to lay hands on Him, but here’s a little group that’s kind of interesting. “Many of the people believed on Him.” Some of them had baby faith, simple faith was beginning to spring in their hearts and they said, “When Christ comes will He do more miracles than these which this man hath done?” It’s a no answer; the Messiah couldn’t do anymore than He’s done. Maybe this is the one.
That’s serious, the Jewish leaders were in trouble. Not only have they been shut down, not only have they been ridiculed, not only have they had their character assassinated, not only has their ignorance been exposed, but now He’s winning over some of the people and they’re losing their hold. They were getting panicky. While some of the people were being hardened and bitter, some of them were being softened. Some of them were beginning to think maybe so and the rulers perceived this. Verse 32, “The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning Him.”
So the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers, temple police, to take Him. They said, “We’ve got to get rid of this guy. It’s bad enough we’ve had our character assassinated, now if this guy wins over a group of the people to Himself … we are really in trouble, we lose our hold over the people we’re in trouble.” They were afraid.
Their ignorance had been blasted. Their wisdom had been blasted publicly. There sincerity had been attacked. Their religion was in question. Their intellectual abilities were in question. Their knowledge was in question. And now their power was in question. So we see a divided conviction.
Lastly they faced the severest problem of all, the problem of delayed conversion. Verse 33, “Then said Jesus unto them, yet a little while am I with you and then I go unto Him that sent Me.” He just says, “You won’t have to put up with Me very long, I’ll only be here just a little while and then I’ll be out of your hair.”
All history had waited for the coming of the Son of God. He came and all He could say was, “Well, if you could just put up with Me for a little while, I’ll get out of your way.” Tragic. All they could see in the Son of God was somebody to get rid of. And He says, “Well it will only be till next April and I’ll be out of your way.” He came unto His own and His own received Him not. And all the world could do was to get rid of Him.
Then the tragedy of delayed conversion, verse 34. Shocking words, “Ye shall seek Me and shall not find Me and where I am there ye cannot come.” Jesus says there will come a time you’ll want Me and you won’t find Me. He’s saying exactly what Isaiah said, “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He’s near.” Harden not your hearts as in the day of provocation.
Remember Moody’s sermon, “I want all of you to go home and think about Jesus Christ and come back tomorrow ready to make a decision.” That night the Chicago fire broke out in that same area and 50 percent of his congregation went up in smoke. He said that’s the last time I ever told anybody to go home and think about it. Don’t delay, delayed conversion, the greatest tragedy of all because there may come a day when you’ll seek Him and not find Him.
Those Jews reacted in mockery, verse 35 and 36. “Then said the Jews among themselves, ‘Where will He go that we can’t find Him? “Will He go to the dispersed among the Greeks? He didn’t make it in Jerusalem maybe He’ll try the scattered Jews?” “Or maybe He’ll even go so far as to teach the Gentiles. What manner of saying is this, that He said you shall seek Me and shall not find Me and where I am you can’t come? Who’s He kidding? Who does He think He is?”
In their Christ-less words unwittingly they had prophesied the church. For where did Jesus go when Jerusalem refused Him? He went to the scattered and to the Gentiles. And He built His church. Spewing out their mockeries they have prophesied the truth. That’s exactly what He did.
And so, they stand there confused, divided in their conviction, delaying their conversion until it is tragically too late, mocking the Son of God. So Jesus presents Himself. You’ve heard His claims. What do you decide? If you’re confused, there’s no excuse for it. If you’re conviction is divided and you don’t just quite know, the Word of God reveals the truth, either believe it or you can refuse it. But if you believe don’t delay your conversion because there may come a time when you too will seek Him and you shall not find Him.
Father, we thank You this morning for Your Word. Thank You for teaching us again who the blessed person of Jesus Christ is. Father, You know our grieved hearts. We don’t understand how people can say no to Jesus Christ. We don’t understand how the loveliness of His person does not draw them. God, we understand something of the measure of confusion. God, I pray this morning if there are confused people that the Spirit of God will open their minds, if there is divided conviction that there might be understanding. Father, that there will be no delayed conversion, no one will put off Jesus Christ into some convenient nevermore, but that today might be the day of salvation for some. To this end we pray in Christ’s name.