A Voice in the
Wilderness

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" Where is He From? "
- John 7 -

"Therefore many from the crowd..said, Truly this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Christ does not come out of Galilee. Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" And the pharisees answer Nicodemus, "Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee." (Jn7:40-42,52)

We shouldn't judge these people too harshly, after all, Nathanael, the one whom Jesus labeled as being "without deceit", retorted, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (1:46-47)

Of course, it's been 30 years since the Roman census, and the fantastical account of the shepherds who were visited by angels just outside Bethlehem. It's been 28 years since the evil king went on a rampage and killed all those little babies. It's been 30 years since Simeon and Anna in the temple prophesied all those wonderful things about that little Baby (Lk2:25,36), and they are now long-since dead. Considering the typical life expectancy of those days, those shepherds who worshipped Him in the stable are likely long-dead by now, too. But even if they are still alive, why would they make a connection? After all, it's been 30 years. That's a long time. Many things happen. People and the political landscape of the nation come and go. Those events were in Bethlehem. -This- "Jesus" is from Nazareth. After all, there's been many different charlatans leading little cults here and there. Amongst them was also "Judas of -Galilee-" who deceived people right around the time Jesus was born. (Ac5:37) How do we know this isn't just another in a string of crack-pots?

After all, His own brothers don't believe in Him. If anybody was to know Him, one would have thought it would be 'faaaamly'. C'mon Jesus, what are You sitting around the house for? Get out there, take out TV ads, put up billboards, take out full-page articles in the newspapers; go on Oprah, Charlie Rose, and be interviewed by Tom Brokaw... Let people know who You are! Don't you realize... if you want to get something 'big' going, you've gotta invest a little in promotional campaigns? What you need is a PR 'manager'. Don't hide your talents under a bushel. Let them shine so people can see just how great you are. They won't know if you don't razzle dazzle them with some pizzazz. (vs3-4)

"My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready." (vs6)

"MY time...YOUR time"... What do You mean? What are You talking about? Are You making a 'difference' between us?

Exactly! The difference between the Kingdom of Heaven and the world.

"The world cannot hate you..." (vs7a)

There is a 'love' amongst those of companionship and fellowship. Those being 'from' the same place, and having the same outlooks, have a camaraderie. If a 'city slicker' walks into a cafe in a 'hick' town, the locals will tend to stare at the stranger. In some other surroundings, the more rowdy types of the locals might even pick a fight with the stranger. Why? Because he's "different" from them. Of course, city dwellers are more "suave" if a country 'hick' comes around them, and snub their noses the other direction. These different ones might even 'tolerate' each other and their differences.

But just let one start condemning the other, and what happens? Everything ranging from politics to actual physical confrontation and harrassment. "You think you're -better- than us! Well, we'll show you!"

"..but it hates Me because I bear witness of it that its works are evil." (vs7b)

OK... a quick little 'application' here, before we continue. Christians are exhorted, "..have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Eph5:11) Hmmm! Is this the reason Jesus promised, "..in the world you have affliction.." (Jn16:33)? Indeed!

"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you." (Jn15:18-19) Remember, "..our citizenship is in Heaven.." (Php3:20), NOT the world.

So, why is it that we see so many so-called "christians" being so popular with the world? Why is it that so many so-called "christians" are living as though they 'belonged' in the world? If the world respects and honors some famous so-called "christian" leader/preacher or other celebrity... could it be that the so-called "christian" in question isn't -really- a "[C]hristian"? (Rom9:6, 2:28-29)

Well... Jesus' brothers have gone ahead to the Feast, and then later Jesus also goes "..not openly, but as it were in secret." (vs10) And then...

"..My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me..." (vs16)

Whoa there, Jesus! Weren't You listening? You've gotta promote 'yourself'! You can't go sneaking around, and then be self-demeaning in front of people. If You want to be their leader, You've gotta portray an image of self-confidence and self-esteem. After all, how are You going to lift their self-esteem, if You aren't showing any of Your own?

Well, here is the difference between a true servant of God and a servant of the world...

"If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak out of Myself. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and unrighteousness is not in Him." (vs17-18) You see, Jesus came to do "the will of Him who sent Me" (4:34, 6:38,40) And so, anyone who makes claims to "name the name of Christ" (2Tm2:19), will be characterized by this same 'will'; the will of God. Anyone who would try to promote 'self' is not a true "servant" of -the- "Master". (15:20)

Notice: this is Jesus, the Son of God, taking this attitude. He didn't go "clinging" after the Father's grandeur, but took on the form of a "servant". (Php2:6-7) So, where do today's charlatans get off, claiming big things for themselves?

So now, Jesus addresses their primary complaint about Him. He was continually healing on the Sabbath. He was demonstrating His Deity by doing works that no mere 'man' could do. (vs21-23) But, He was not keeping 'their' concept of Sabbath; and this, to them, was reason enough why He could not possibly be "from God". (Jn9:16)

But Jesus is 'setting up' the dialogue by which He will be proclaiming (next chapter) that He is, indeed, Deity. But He starts out by reasoning with them about their own practices. They condemn Him for doing good in healing the sick on Sabbath, but they do something of even less consequence on the Sabbath... circumcision. A male baby was to be circumcised on the "eighth day" after birth. (Gen17:12, Lev12:3) If that "eighth day" happened to fall on the Sabbath, they performed the circumcision...on the Sabbath.

Well, Jesus was proclaiming to them about the "beams" in their own eyes, such that they could not see the mere "twigs" in the eyes of those they condemned. (Mt7:3~) He chides them, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (vs24)

In the past we have used the example of a Believing wife, married to an unbelieving husband. Some from the 'First Church of the Pharisees" see her walking into a night club on the arm of her husband. Of course, they've never met the husband, because only 'she' ever goes to their church. But she is always dressed so "worldly", with nice fashionable clothes, jewelry and makeup. And so, when somebody spies her walking into the nightclub, a corporate 'gasp' ascends. "Do you know what I saw -her- doing the other night???" Well, that was her 'husband', and he wanted her to accompany him. After all, we know from Paul's writings that the wife is to be submissive and obedient to her husband. And if you don't trust Paul, Peter says that "without a word" the husband might be won, by the submission of their wives. (1Pt3:1-6) And see how Peter's example is of Sarah, who on one occasion almost could have lost her marital purity, because of being obedient to her husband. (Gen ch12)

Yes, you see that lady entering the night club? That's -your- concept of the "appearance of evil" (1Th5:22 KJV) It doesn't fit with your twisted theology of 'keeping up appearances'. But when you realize that Paul is really saying, "abstain from every -FORM/KIND- of evil" (1Th5:22), then perhaps Jesus' words can be better understood, and one will then "judge righteous judgment". The woman is being "obedient" to her husband, and is "not leaving him". (1Cor7:13)

The peoples' concept of just 'who' Jesus is, is clouded by their inability to "judge righteous judgment". But as they hear Him speak, they are convinced that He 'surely must be' the great prophet or the Messiah. (vs26)

BUT... He doesn't come from the right place. "..we know where this Man is from.." (vs27) They, of course, don't realize that He was born in Bethlehem. All they see, is where He is from 'now'.

So, since they are struggling with Jesus' 'roots', He begins to explain to them where He is -really- from. They think the Messiah should be coming from Bethlehem; but they see someone from Galilee. (vs42) But Jesus explains how He is from "..Him who sent Me.." (vs33) He speaks of "..where I am you are not able to come.." (vs34)

They still don't get it. All they can see is this world. If He is "going" -somewhere-, all they can think of is, to the "Dispersion among the Greeks" (vs35), because He is a "Jew", and a Jew would 'obviously' not go to just anyone. The only other Jews they knew of were those of the dispersion.

And yet, His speaking is so powerful, that the officers sent to arrest him, presumably tough and unflappable, come back to the rulers WITHOUT Jesus: "No man ever spoke like this Man!" (vs46)

Jesus is not following the advice of His 'siblings'; but is, nevertheless, reaching hearts. "Perhaps the rulers truly know that this is truly the Christ?" (vs26) "And many out of the crowd believed into Him, and said, When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?" (vs31) In other words, what this Man is doing, are not they the words and deeds of the Messiah?

Oh, but... He comes from Galilee..!

Nicodemus... (remember him? ch3) tries to reason, "Does our Law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he does?" (vs51) Everybody is trying to figure out "where" Jesus is "from", but Nicodemus, like many who are believing in Jesus, exhorts them to see the fruit of Jesus. Who is He? What is He teaching? What is He doing. He is doing and teaching things that no one could do, "unless God is with him". (3:2) This Man is from God. He is from Heaven.

"Are you also..." a Christian?? "Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee." (vs52)

Well, even if the question -was- about Bethlehem or Galilee, and not whether He was God-in-the-flesh, Himself; there was a prophecy they all apparently missed...

"For afterwards He will glorify the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light has shined." (Is9:1-2)

Amen!

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