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Sermon: John 7:25-36: Who Is The Jesus That You Trust?

Reading of God’s Holy Word

“Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, ‘Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.’ So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, ‘You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.’ So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, ‘When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?’ The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, ‘I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.’ The Jews said to one another, ‘Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?’” (John 7:25–36, ESV)

Introduction

One thing that is abundantly clear in John’s gospel is that it is of utmost importance that we trust in the right Jesus, and for the right reasons. We must know the right Jesus if he is to be of any help to us. In other words, we are not free to use his name as if it were a magical incantation while gutting it of its significance. The name of Jesus is powerful only so long as the real Jesus is behind it. He was a real and particular person who came to accomplish a real and particular work and who is really alive even today. How important it is that we know him really and truly as he is revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you begin to talk about someone else that you think you have in common? Perhaps his name is Steven, or something like that. And so you go on for some time talking about Steven – Steven this, and Steven that – when you begin to sense that perhaps you’re not talking about the same Steven. And so you stop and you say, “wait a minute. Are you talking about Steven – he’s tall and slender and works at whatever place?” And the other person responds saying, “no! The Steven I’m talking about is short and stocky and works at such-and-such a place.” And then there’s that awkward moment when you realize that the conversation you’ve just had was completely lacking in substance. It was the same name, but not the same person.

There are many who claim to be followers of Jesus in this world, just as there were many who claimed to follow Jesus in the days of Jesus. What has become clear as we have studied the gospel of John together is that many who followed Jesus did not follow him truly. And why was that? Because they did not know him truly. They called him Jesus, but their conception of him – their expectation for him – their belief concerning him, was far from true. Though they all beheld the same Jesus with their eyes, and though the same sound proceeded from their lips as they uttered his name, some knew Jesus truly, while many did not.

Tell me church, does it do us any good to call upon the name of Jesus, if the Jesus in whom we trust is in essence the wrong Jesus?

John, in his wonderfully rich gospel, goes to great lengths to present us with the true Jesus. He, like a master painter, paints a detailed portrait of Jesus. His medium is, of course, not paint, but words. His inspiration is the Holy Spirit. The finished product is not an image that can be examined with the eye, but truth to be comprehend with the mind and believed upon from the heart. Little to nothing is said concerning the appearance of Jesus – we don’t know if was tall and slender, or short and stocky – but we are told all about him. John tells who he was; we are told of his essence, or nature; we know where he came from and where he would be going; we know all about his purpose for coming, his mission and his work. The portrait that we have of Jesus in John’s gospel is vivid and bright, full of clarity and detail. Jesus is brought to the fore in a most pronounced way as John masterfully sets him against the backdrop of Old Testament images and themes, prophesies, feasts, and festivals. In the end there is no excuse for walking away from John’s gospel with an inaccurate understanding of Jesus. He is set before us here with great clarity.

Remember the words that John wrote near the end of his gospel. John 20:30-31: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

I’m aware of the fact that I have made reference to this text a number of times throughout this series, but I think it is for good reason. It is here that John directly states his reason for writing this gospel. These two verse, therefore, serve as an anchor. When we are tempted to run off after this detail or that in the text, John 20:30-31 keeps us from going adrift. As it is in life, so it is with the study of the Bible – we ought to keep the main thing the main thing!

And what is John’s main objective? It is to persuade us to believe in Jesus. But is that all he says? No! He is concerned, more specifically, that you and I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing we have life in his name.

You see, while it is true that John’s objective is for us to believe in Jesus, more is said. It does us no good to say that we believe in Jesus unless we believe that he is the Christ, and that he is the Son of God. It is only after believing in this Jesus – Jesus the Christ – Jesus the Son of God – that we have life in his name.

John 7:25-36

Notice the question that is on the forefront of everyones mind in this passage. Verse 25: “Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, ‘Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?’” Verse 31: “Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, ‘When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?’” What is everyone curious about? They want to know, is this Christ? Is this the Anointed One of God? Is this the Savior promised by the Father from long ago? Is this the Christ, the Messiah of Israel?

Two things are mentioned that persuaded some to believe. One, they were astonished that, though Jesus was despised by the religious establishment, no one laid a hand on him. He continued to teach publicly and with great authority. Two, some began to ask the question, when the Christ comes will he do more signs than these? It is interesting that John does not mention many of the miracles of Jesus. He selects only a few. But remember that John’s gospel was the last of the four to be written. It seems that John assumes that his readers knew about all that Jesus did. Perhaps they knew of his deeds through oral tradition – preaching and teaching in the early church. Or perhaps they had read Matthew, Mark, or Luke, which had circulated by this time, and were therefore aware of more of the works of Christ. Whatever the case, John is clear that Jesus had preformed many miracles by this time in his ministry, though he has only mentioned a few. And it is clear that the crowd in Jerusalem at the Feast of Booths was aware of these signs that Jesus had preformed, and they began to reason, saying, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” (John 7:31, ESV) Some grew convinced of Jesus’ claims. They began to think, perhaps this is the Messiah.

 

But what was their hangup? Their hangup is stated in two places, and from two different angles. Their hangup had to do with Jesus’ origin. The people wondered if Jesus came from the right place in order to be qualified as the Christ, the Messiah.

First, look at verse 27 (picking up in the middle of verse 26): “Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” (John 7:26–27, ESV)

It was a common view amongst the Jews that when the Christ did appear, he would appear suddenly. He would live in relative obscurity and then appear all of a sudden.

It would seem that the prophesy of Malachi 3:1 is what motivated this view. Malachi declared the word of the Lord some 500 years before the birth of Christ, saying, “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1, ESV) So the Lord would come suddenly, Malachi says.

Some were puzzled concerning Jesus because they knew all about his earthly origin. They new his mother, and his brothers and sisters. They knew that he grew up in Nazareth. They knew where he came from.

But notice that John does present Jesus and coming suddenly to the temple. Do you remember the interpretive difficulty that we discussed last week? Jesus told his brother that would not go up to Jerusalem (7:8), but after his brothers left he did go up (7:10). I said that the key to understanding this is to observe that Jesus did not say he would never go up, but that he would not go up with is brothers in their way, nor according to their timing. He was on the Father’s schedule, not theirs. And notice, when Jesus did go up, he went in secret. Everyone was looking for him. They wanted to know where he was, but he remained hidden. But what did Jesus do in the middle of the feast? He “went up into the temple and began teaching.” (John 7:14, ESV)

The message is clear. Though it is true that these people knew of Jesus’ background, he did “suddenly come to his temple” in fulfillment of the prophesy of Malachi 3:1.

Secondly, we should peek down into the text that we will be considering in detail next week. Verse 40: “When they heard these words, some of the people said, ‘This really is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.’ But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?’” Again, some are on the right track. They are beginning to wonder if Jesus was indeed the prophet, or the Christ, promised from long ago.

But again, notice their hang up: they wondered if Jesus came from the right place. They wanted to know if he had the correct origin. Jesus is known as Jesus of Nazareth, for that is where he was raised. But the Christ was to come from Bethlehem. He would be the offspring of David, and thus born where David was born.

We could point to a number of Old Testament passages as the source of these expectations. 2 Samuel 7:12–16, Psalm 89:3–4; Isaiah 9:7 and 55:3 would all be good places to turn. But perhaps the clearest passage of all is Micah 5:2 which says,“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” (Micah 5:2, ESV)

Many concluded that Jesus did not possess the proper Messianic credentials because he was Jesus of Nazareth. But there is more to the story, isn’t there? Tell me church, though is true that Jesus’ home town was Nazareth, where was he born? Bethlehem! Matthew 2 and Luke 2 tell us that Jesus was born there.

So Jesus was indeed qualified to be the Messiah. He fit the description. He fulfilled the prophesies. He did indeed appear suddenly in the temple claiming to the be the Christ. And he was indeed born in Bethlehem, the offspring of David.

But notice this – and I think this is most fascinating (I hope you share the same sentiments) –  isn’t it interesting that John does not say, no but wait, he did appear suddenly. Or, no but wait, he was born in Bethlehem. He leaves us to figure that out. Remember that the gospel of John was written last. His readers have at their disposal oral tradition, as well as the the gospel of Matthew, Mark and Luke. And so John did not need to say these things; others already had. Instead he emphasized something else, namely Jesus’ heavenly origin. And that is the theme in John’s gospel.

Tell me church, does John’s gospel contain a birth narrative? What I mean by that is, does John’s gospel record for us the details surrounding Jesus’ birth? No! Where does John begin? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, ESV) “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, ESV) John is concerned to emphasize Jesus’ heavenly origin. Others have emphasized his earthly origin; he wants us to know that Jesus is from above, from the Father.  Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God with us.

The same is true in this passage. John does not explicitly deal with confusion of the Jews. They complain saying, I thought the Messiah would appear suddenly, and, I though the Christ would come from Bethlehem. John leaves it to us to sort all of that out. Instead he records these word’s of Jesus: (7:28) “So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, ‘You know me, and you know where I come from [it’s true you know something of my background]. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true [the Father], and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.”” (John 7:28–29, ESV) So what does John emphasize? Once more he emphasized, not the earthly origin of Jesus, but his heavenly origin. John want’s us to know that Jesus was from the Father – from above. It’s true, Jesus was truly a man. He was born of a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. He was raised in Nazareth. But that is not all! He also had a heavenly origin. He was called Immanuel, which means God with us. He was the Christ, the Son of God.

Believing in Jesus will do us no good unless we come to him as the one who has come from heaven, being sent by the heavenly Father.

And that brings us to the first of two points; John makes it clear in this passage, and his gospel as a whole, that believing in Jesus will do us no good unless we come to him as the one who has come from heaven, being sent by the heavenly Father.

The Jew’s knew exactly what Jesus meant by this. Verse 30 simply says, “So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.” Why were they seeking to arrest him? Because he claimed to have heavenly origins! He claimed to come from the Father. This claim could only fall into one of two categories: either it was true, or it was the hight of blasphemy. There could be no middle ground.

And indeed their is no middle ground when it comes to our opinion of Jesus. Either we agree that he is the Christ, the Son of God, or we must confess that he was a blasphemer, a lier, a hoax. It has been famously said that there are only three possible conclusion to reach concerning Jesus – he was either a lier, a lunatic, or he is Lord.

That Jesus claimed to be divine, the second person of the Trinity, the Eternal Son of God, is most clear in scripture. And perhaps no book of the Bible is more clear and insistent that John’s gospel. The opening verses begins with his assertion: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, ESV) We have discussed this before that in the greek the word order is actually this, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was Word. According to the most basic rules of greek grammar there can be know other interpretation than to see that the word “God”

is functioning as an adjective describing what the Word (who is Jesus Christ) is. The Word existed in the beginning (he was not created). The Word was with God (he was in union with God and yet somehow distinct). And the Word was God (what God was the Word was, in essence). And it was the Word – the second person of the Trinity, the Eternal Son of God – who became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the God man.

Many other passages in John could be sited in support of this.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58, ESV)

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9, ESV)

“I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30, ESV)

“Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God”” (John 20:28, ESV)

“This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18, ESV)

And this not even to mention the nine times in John in which the phrase “Son of God” is attributed to Jesus.

The evidence is overwhelming. Jesus claimed to be more than a man. He was God come in the flesh. He was from above – from the heavenly Father.

It is interesting to me how many will claim to believe in Jesus – to know Jesus, and to serve Jesus – while maintaining an utterly unbiblical view concerning him. We say Jesus, and they say Jesus, but a brief conversation reveals that we are not talking about the same Jesus – we do not know the same Jesus. 

Some believe in Jesus, but that was noting more than a man with a brilliant religious mind. This is not my Jesus.

Some believe that in Jesus, but that he was nothing more than good man, a moral example for us to follow, the epitome of love. This is not my Jesus – he is more than that.

Some believe in Jesus, but they say that he was an ordinary man made, at some point, into the Son of God. This is not my Jesus. My Jesus is God with us – the eternal Son of God, without beginning or end.

Some believe in Jesus, but they say that he was only an angel. Others specify that he was the brother of Lucifer. This is not my Jesus.

Why? Because this is not who the Jesus of history claimed to be; this is not the Jesus preached by the Apostles; this is not the Jesus confessed by the Church; this is not the Jesus of the Holy Scriptures!

To believe in anyone other than Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, is vain, futile, empty, and void.

You see, this is about more than getting the facts right – it’s about knowing the right person. This about more than right doctrine – it’s about having the right relationship. This is about more than knowing the truth – it’s about trusting in the right person. And the bottom line is this, were Jesus a mere man, or a mere angel, then he would not be trustworthy, for no ordinary angel or mere man could ever effectively atone for the sins man and rise from he dead for our salvation.

Believing in Jesus will do us no good unless we come to him as the one who has come from heaven, being sent by the heavenly Father.

Believing in Jesus will do us no good unless we come to him as the one who has ascended to heaven, and is seated with the heavenly Father even now.

The second point is this, believing in Jesus will do us no good unless we come to him as the one who has ascended to heaven, and is seated with the heavenly Father even now. 

Notice that Jesus makes two claims concerning himself in this passage. First, he makes a claim concerning his origin – he has come, not ultimately from Nazareth, nor Bethlehem, but from the Father. Secondly, he makes a claim concerning is final destination. He has come from the Father to earth, and to the Father he would one day return.

Listen to Jesus words to the Pharisees in verse 33: “Jesus then said, ‘I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.’” (John 7:33–34, ESV) The Jews were puzzled about this. They said,“Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” (John 7:35–36, ESV)

This is typical in John. Jesus reveals something spiritual – that he would one day ascend to the Father from where he came – and the worldly, fleshly, spiritually blind people do not understand. They ask. will he go to the Dispersion among the Greeks (that is, away from Jerusalem, off into heathen territory)? In their minds that was the only place where he could go where they would not be able to follow. After all they were to holy to travel amongst the heathens!

No, Jesus came from the Father, and to the Father he would return. The unbelieving Jews (there were some who believed) could not go to the Father if they remained in their worldly, earthly, sensual, unbelief. But for those who believed, Jesus prayed this way: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17:24, ESV)

Just as their are many who would claim to believe in Jesus while denying the full deity of Christ, so too there are those who, while acknowledging that Jesus Christ was real historical person, deny his resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father.

Conclusion

So who is the Jesus that you trust?

What was his origin? And where is now?

To believe that he is anything less than the Christ, the Eternal Son of God, is to trust in something other than the Christ of history, the Christ of the Apostles, the Christ of the early Church, and ultimately the Christ of the Holy Scriptures.  Though you may utter his name, you do know him truly.

A few months back we established the practice of reciting the Apostles Creed, or the Nicene Creed before we partake of the Lord’s Supper. Both of these ancient creeds are useful in that they, in a relatively brief space give an overview of basic Christian doctrine. The Nicene Creed is especially helpful in when it comes to the doctrine of Christ that we have been discussing today.

Follow along as I read the Nicene Creed to you. If you agree with what us stated I would invite you to say Amen at the end. In this way we will conclude the sermon for today.

“We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. AMEN.”

(Nicene Creed)

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warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

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