Faith, Not Discussion

John 7  •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 6
John 7
The feast of tabernacles was celebrated after the harvest and the vintage. In it the children of Israel dwelt in booths, in witness that, once strangers, they were strangers no longer. But then there was in connection with this feast an eighth day, showing that along with the accomplishment of God's purposes in respect to the earth, there would be the introduction of a new period, the commencement of a new week.
Jesus was in Galilee (v. 1). "Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, show Thyself to the world." vv. 2-4. They wanted Him to give a manifestation of Himself adequate to His claims. This was not the time for Christ to show Himself to the world. He will do so, "Every eye shall see Him"; His glory shall be exhibited to the terror of the ungodly. But He is not showing Himself now to the world-and this, to a world lying in wickedness, is mercy, real longsuffering (2 Pet. 3:99The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)). His brethren had no understanding of this, "for neither did His brethren believe on Him." v. 5.
Mark His answer: "My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for My time is not yet full come." When He is manifested in power, it will not be a question of testimony merely against evil; He will say, "Those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me." Luke 19:2727But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me. (Luke 19:27). He takes no such place of vindicating Himself now. Cost what it will, we are to accomplish the will of God while evil is in power; there is no bringing in of power to hinder the evil (Mark 9:1313But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him. (Mark 9:13); Rev. 3:1010Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)).
Having said this, "He abode still in Galilee"; He had gone there on His first rejection. And though we find Him going up to Jerusalem to keep the feasts, etc., He abode in Galilee. "The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." Matt. 4:15, 1615The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. (Matthew 4:15‑16). For judgment was He come into the world, that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind. "Ye say, We see," He told the Pharisees, "therefore your sin remaineth" (chap. 9:41). He was "Jesus of Galilee." The poor despised Galileans had the light when the Jews of Jerusalem had not.
His brethren having gone up, He also goes up (v. 10), "not openly, but as it were in secret."
And now we find what is going on in hearts. There is much murmuring among the people concerning Him; some say, "He is a good man"; others, "Nay; but He deceiveth the people." The Lord might bring blessing out of it, but there are reasoning and discussing, and this is just the proof that they have nothing to do with it as yet.
In another place He asks His disciples, "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?" They tell Him, "Some say that Thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets." (See Matt. 16.) It was all discussion. But when Peter replies (to the question, "But whom say ye that I am?"), "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God," He tells him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." There was personal recognition of Himself, and where there is that, there is no discussion. Discussing Him as subject matter in their own minds, they had not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. Where people's minds are at work discussing the right and the wrong, there is not the mind of the newborn babe; they are not receiving, but judging. "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" asked Nathanael (Nazareth was a despised city, and he thought no good thing could come out of it); but when that which was blessed was presented to him, the Israelite without guile received it.
Further, we get instruction here (vv. 14-17) as to receiving the doctrine of God. About the middle of the feast Jesus goes up into the temple and teaches. The Jews marvel, saying, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" He tells them, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His that sent Me." They thought He had received it from man; therefore He says, It "is not Mine." No matter what we have learned, if we have not learned it from God, it is nothing; there is no faith; if we learned from man, it is mine. Then He adds, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of Myself." Where there is faith, there is the unfeigned desire to do the will of God. Observe, He says, "If any man will [that is, wills to] do," not, "If he have done." "If... thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light"; God will show what His will is. If it be not, what is the good (speaking with reverence) of knowing His will? there is not the intention of doing it. Where the heart is right in the sight of God, He gives the capacity for knowing His will. The heart ought to be, in a certain sense, wary; there is a Christian simplicity, and there is a simplicity not Christian; but there may be this wariness, and yet sincerity of desire to do God's will when known. This is ever the practical test of Christian truthfulness. There may be great ignorance and infirmity, but if the eye be single, if there be the real intention of the heart of doing God's will, he shall know, etc. Very often we do not get light because we are not prepared to walk in the light when known.