Today's Little Lift
by Jim Bullington
There were times when the speech of Jesus was veiled to one extent or the other. Although people were somewhat ready to accept the moral truths that He taught, there was a greater truth that very, very few were ready to accept. The focus text in today's message sets forth a change in the strategic approach of Jesus during His earthly ministry. Those who were astute listeners could easily and correctly surmise that He was the Christ from His previous messages and actions, but they no longer had to put two and two together to get at this truth; they correctly observed, “He speaks boldly.”
“Now some of them from Jerusalem said, 'Is this not He whom they seek to kill? But look! He [Jesus] speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.' Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, 'You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.' Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. And many of the people believed in Him, and said, 'When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?' The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him.” (John 7.25-32).
The text attributes a significant action to Jesus, an action which we will presently explore, when He heard the people incorrectly say, “We know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.” Their belief that no one would know from whence the Christ came was not in harmony with the prophets nor with the reality of the moment. The significant action which Jesus took in reaction to their erroneous conclusion is spelled out by John with the words, “Jesus cried out!” Up until this time, demons had cried out concerning the Christ, John the Baptist had cried out, blind men had cried out to Him for mercy, and countless others. However, for the first time in the ministry of Jesus, the record says that Jesus cried out. One linguist notes that the Greek phrase used here denotes the vociferous call as of a raven. Even if He had done so before, He could not stand idly by and allow people to miss the fundamental truth of all truths, namely that He was The Christ! The time was past for men to draw their own conclusions without explicit testimony to the fact; Jesus was the Christ and He spoke boldly (cried out) the facts of the matter!
These things were not “done in a corner.” In fact, these events transpired in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles (the third, and according to some, the greatest of the three great feasts of the Jews). “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, 'If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.'” (John 7.37). Once again, John used the phrase cried out. There was no need for secrecy; in fact, just the opposite was true. For those who were going to believe in the Christ, the time for their decision (prior to His death) was fast drawing to a close. His previous work had been unmistakable for those who had a desire for truth, but now it was unmistakable even for those who had no thirst for truth; He spoke boldly and He cried out that truth to all who could hear!
A couple of practical lessons are in order. First, circumstances often dictate the methods we use in attempting to reach the lost. Just as Jesus changed His methods with time and circumstance, so should we when wisdom so dictates. Secondly, the time for eternity shaping choices is totally unsure to us; Jesus knew that His time had not come, but we never know in advance whether ours has come or not!
1. What may have motivated Jesus to speak boldly, where before His speech had been somewhat veiled?
2. What does the term “cry out” mean in today's focus text? What comparison does one language expert make between the meaning of this Greek word and a bird?
3. What false conclusion did some reach which caused Jesus to cry out? Why would that wrong conclusion move Him to such radical measures?
4. Jesus knew that His time had not come? How do we differ in that regard? How should this fact influence the way and time in which we make eternity-shaping decisions?
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