John 7

When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”

“We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded.

Good for the guards!

The Temple guards are open to analyzing the teachings of Jesus for themselves. If you study the teachings of Jesus and apply logic and reason, you can make a case for his teachings being accurate. No one has ever understood the human condition and reflected reality so clearly.

If you try to honestly live out his teachings in your life, any of his teachings, you will know he is right. It will make sense.

In our country, for example, people from all political persuasion, all walks of life- whatever terms you use- conservative, liberal, right, left- most people actually do claim the teachings of Jesus and his followers as their own. How can I say that?

Because from the right to the left people admire the teachings of Jesus, it’s just they don’t know or they ignore it comes from him.

  • Be honest in all you say and do.
  • Care for the needs of all people, not just your own clan.
  • Men and women have equal worth.
  • Have a special sense of compassion for the poor and children.
  • Work against violence and revenge and toward what is good, even for those who are your enemy.
  • Have compassion for those in prison.
  • Give people another chance.
  • Care for all of creation.

Well, if the teaching of Jesus are so admired, why isn’t everyone a Christian, or at least admiring of Christians?

One reason is whenever atheists or other skeptics are critical of the teachings of Jesus, they are generally misinformed or simplistic in their understanding of the Gospels, or they haven’t carefully examined them at all. They haven’t made the connection that Jesus is the source of some of their most cherished beliefs.

Another reason is we Christians are fallen, like everyone else, and we aren’t pure models for Jesus. We aren’t always good ambassadors.

But, even when we do follow the beautiful model of Jesus, those who don’t follow are fallen people, too, and they will choose not to see it. They will underemphasize the good or try to explain it away and overemphasize our fallenness.

The real sorrow of those who deny Jesus is they are influenced by the devil who is helping to hide the good.

And God wants us to freely trust in him and so God allows us to deceive ourselves.


Look for examples of people who deny Jesus but admire his teaching.


John 7

“Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.”

Others said, “He is the Messiah.”

Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?

For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.”

So the crowd was divided about him.

Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him.

In the First Century, during the time of Jesus, when you asked, “Who is Jesus?” here is how you might answer.

Some say, he is the prophet of God.

Yes, he is the prophet of God that you read about in Deuteronomy 18, but he is so much more than that.

Some say he Messiah.

Yes, he is the Messiah.

Some say is not the Messiah, because he is not from Bethlehem.

Yes, he is the Messiah and he was born in Bethlehem, he just moved back to Galilee. You simply aren’t aware of this.

Some, just want him arrested.

In this case, you may or may not think Jesus is the Messiah.

If you think he is the Messiah, but you want him arrested anyway, you are probably corrupt and don’t want Jesus to take away your power and prestige.

If you don’t think he is the Messiah, you probably want him arrested because he could be a troublemaker to the Romans and you don’t want the Romans to go ballistic.

In the 21st Century when we think of this same question, “Who is Jesus?” we get similar responses.

Some say he is a great teacher, he is just not the Savior of the world.

People of many faith families, like Judaism or Islam, or even respectful atheists, might say this.

Some say he the Savior.

About half the world says this and would identify with Jesus as Savior.

Some say he is not the Savior, because he doesn’t fit what you think the Savior should be. You have no proof.

This would be some Jewish people and some skeptics of a variety of worldviews.

Some say he is bad influence and his teachings should be forbidden and his followers silenced!

You are probably a person of ill will who is afraid your power is being threatened by his followers.

It seems everyone has an opinion about Jesus. But, God doesn’t just leave us with opinions, God gives us brains to think and logic and reason to help our thinking. This is why if you have ever given the Gospels a careful, straightforward reading you generally come away amazed.


Who do you say Jesus is?

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The truths of Jesus are admired by almost everyone…To follow those truths and reap the benefits, however, takes trust in him in the power of the Holy Spirit. Human power can’t compete with spiritual power nor be made complete by spiritual power.

God Time John 7:40-52


John 7

10 But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. 11 The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him.

Last week, we heard Jesus say this: “I’m not going to this festival.” The text for today says he did go. So, what gives? Is Jesus wishy washy or is he lying? Is John, the writer, confused? No, to all of this. The Greek word used by John for “not” also means “not yet.” Some of the earliest Bible translations use, “not yet.” OK, what next?

Jesus is concerned about the Jewish leaders wanting to kill him. He goes to the big Feast of Booths festival in Jerusalem secretly. The last time Jesus was in Jerusalem for a festival, he healed the man who couldn’t walk, at the pool of Bethsaida, the one who took up his mat and walked where everyone could see him. The Jewish leaders are upset and they accuse Jesus of breaking the Jewish sabbath law. He is a threat to their power and their understanding of God’s ways. Prior to this we read, ”Jesus (He) wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death.”

Well, now that he has decided to go secretly to Jerusalem we can see why he ought to be concerned. The Jewish leaders are, indeed, looking for him. With an estimated 1-3 million people in Jerusalem during festival time, I don’t know how they plan on finding him! But, they are not going to let it go. He is that much of a threat.


Have you ever sensed the idea you are a threat to others because you follow Jesus?

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Race issues are at the forefront of our nation today. In the light of Jesus being the creator and sustainer of all- some observations…Have a listen


John 7

16 So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me.17 Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. 18 Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.

In the final analysis, what is the life being led by the person who is following a model and set of teachings? God makes it possible for us to know which way to go. We see this as we look to Jesus.

If I say I am a Christian, but am angry and vindictive, for instance, it isn’t Jesus who is at fault for my attitude and actions. It is only if I want to do the will of God that I am seeking the truth. If I know my anger and vindictiveness are ungodly and repent of them, knowing the struggle is real, then I will invite the Spirit of God to cleanse me and seek forgiveness from those whom I wrong. We can follow Jesus without being jerks about it, after all.

Instead we are wise to seek to be more Christlike in the way we live our lives. What is the alternative? It may look like we can cut corners and follow what we want out of life, but we are fooling ourselves. As Jesus said, ‘We can gain all that the world thinks is important and lose our souls.’

Lose that which connects us most to God. Lose his truth.

If we want what Jesus wants for us, this is what life looks like.

Matthew 7:7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”


14 Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. 15 The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked.

Jesus decides to go public on his terms. He teaches directly at the Temple where the Jewish religious teachers, the rabbis, would teach. Rabbis of his day would choose their own students, but some would also share their teachings outside the Temple at a special area by the entrance steps.

Rabbis were always students of rabbis. In the days of Jesus, the best and the brightest young men were chosen to be students by their rabbi. Jesus didn’t have an earthly rabbi. He had the teaching and model of God the Father. Who does he think he is?

We notice this same attitude today. To be considered wise you are a university professor. These are the people who get interviewed on TV. Or an author. Usually they are one and the same.

I don’t trust someone with a credential without testing what they are teaching. You can have all the degrees in the world and be as dumb as a bag of hammers.

You have to remember the savior we follow is the most brilliant man who ever lived. So, I especially have issues with an intellectual who is speaking on ultimate issues of life and reality, whose teachings don’t match those of Jesus. I don’t care what university you went to, you are not a man or woman of wisdom.

Jesus went right to the source.


Pray for wisdom when you are facing difficult problems at work or school. Bring you concerns to Jesus.

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We continue to pray for those affected by the recent hurricanes. If you wish to contribute to financially to those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, our Lutheran denomination is on the ground in the affected areas. Lutheran Disaster Response uses 100% of money raised to directly help people. You can give electronically online by simply clicking here for our online giving site. In the drop-down menu use: “Hurricane Response-United States.”

You can also use offering envelopes for cash and check gifts, again marking them, “Hurricane Response- United States.”

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At our ongoing Prime Time Ministry this fall, Pastor Dana will do four sessions on Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Prime Time meets each Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. for studies, movies, and other activities, followed by a delicious homemade lunch!

Here are the dates when Pastor Dana is teaching:

September 27
October 4
October 18
November 1