Day 31: Inflexible Framework

Read: John 7:25-36 

Have you ever found yourself completely and utterly confused while trying to learn something new? Working at a local farm this summer, my boss tried to teach me how to drive a stick-shift tractor. I had no framework from which to understand how a manual vehicle works, even though I can drive an automatic car. It took me weeks to figure out what the different gears were for and to get the hang of the three pedals. If you stuck me on a tractor today, I guarantee that I still wouldn’t be able to get it to go very far.

Similarly, the Jewish people wrestled with their idea of the Messiah and the man standing in front of them, Jesus. They had an idea in their heads of who to look for, but were unwilling to accept the Messiah who stood before them.  

Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah prophesied that the Savior of Israel would come offering rest, but that Israel would be offended by Him and would reject Him (Isaiah 53:3). This is exactly what takes place in John 7:25-36. Jesus’ authority is challenged by the crowds who assumed that His humble birth and early life in a poor region of Israel meant He couldn’t be significant. Confident in their interpretation of the signs of the Messiah, they again misunderstand who Jesus is.  

“But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know.” Jesus challenges them to understand that He is also from Someone greater. This claim only further infuriates the crowds though, drawing attention from the Jewish religious authorities. For the third time in this chapter, Jesus is almost arrested. 

He speaks once more, this time to the Jewish authorities. He says, “You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am going, you cannot come.”(v. 34).Jesus is communicating a level of relationship with God the Father that the unbelieving Jews cannot have, precisely because of their unbelief. 

The Jewish crowds in this passage reject Jesus because He doesn’t fit their expectations of the One who they thought would deliver them, and not without consequences. They didn’t get to join in the relationship with God, the most valuable of all relationships, because of their unbelief. Let us not let our unbelief keeps us from knowing God!

In continuation with yesterday’s devotion, reflect on what God spoke to you about who He really is. How have you created a framework of expectations for Him to fit into? Where do you need to let Him define His own identity, as well as yours? 

“I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jer 31:31-33).

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