Wednesday 10 August 2022

John 7:1-13

1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him. 6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. 10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” 12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.

There is much in this passage that is interesting and worthy of further reflection. Jesus’ brothers’ perception that Jesus wanted to become a public figure. Jesus’ clear sense of timing with respect to what he did in the world. But what struck me most was Jesus’ awareness that He was not going to be a popularist public figure, precisely because “I testify that its works are evil.”

Jesus was prepared to call it how it was, and that meant calling out evil works amongst His people. He was prepared to tell the truth, no matter what it cost him. And He wasn’t just giving constructive criticism. He was delivering a very clear and uncompromising prophetic verdict – calling evil, evil.

Reflecting on this for me, the question arising from this text that challenges me is – how prepared am I to tell the truth, in love, no matter what it costs me? My answer involves dealing with the complexity of this current cultural moment, without question. Not all subscribe to the same standards of morality, or truth, that I do, and I cannot simply expect of others what I know God requires of me. But at the same time – the moral fibre of our being is not so fluid as to be ignorant of real rights and wrongs in this world.

I would do well to pray – Lord, truth-telling and being bold and clear and unashamed in this life is not optional. It is essential to who we are, in You. This is true integrity, when it comes from a heart that seeks to love, in the truth that is revealed in and by You. Help me live well into this integrity, I pray, in Jesus’ name.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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