Different Drum

Opening Prayer

Lord Jesus, I wait on You today. Still my heart as I seek to hear Your voice.

Read John 7:1–13

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.

Reflect

How well do you cope with waiting for God to act in your life?

The Festival of Tabernacles celebrates God’s care for the Israelites in the desert after the Exodus. In the Promised Land it was celebrated as an annual feast celebrating both God’s deliverance and provision; it is fitting, then, that Jesus should appear. Despite keeping a low profile he dominates as a result of the crowd’s curiosity (12,13). How do you address the matter
of your faith to curious non-believers?

God’s timing can seem slow to us as our culture has trained us to expect instant gratification. It’s only that our ways are not his, but thankfully his ways are perfect, too! Because he is both good and unchanging, he’ll never forget us. How do we reconcile ourselves to not receiving everything we want when we want it (see Psa. 131)?

If Jesus had been seeking the limelight as his brothers incorrectly suspected, their advice would have been sound: get yourself seen at a big red carpet event (2–5)! But he has no need for public acclaim, for he commands the praise of all creation! How does he resist compromise? He knows who he is and what he’s here to do (5:20,30)!

Apply

Do you feel pressured to conform to others’ expectations or to seek popularity? Take time to study Jesus’ character in this passage.

Closing prayer

Get alone with Jesus and discover what it is to walk in step with his “unforced rhythms of grace” (Matt. 11:28–30, The Message).

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Terry Schneider