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Undercover Jesus

John 7:10



Why is Jesus going incognito?  Is it for fear of His life?  No.  Some might try to kill Him, but He could avoid that.  His hour is not yet come.  Might some try to make Him their King?  Yes.  That hour is not yet come either. 


There are differing factions present at this big Jerusalem festival/feast.  The Jews in v. 11 are made up of Jewish leaders such as Sanhedrin/Pharisees/Sadducees.  They disagreed much with one another but they found unity in their dislike for Jesus.  He became a unifying factor for these guys.  Politics makes strange bedfellows, and these who usually debated each other ad nauseum now team up hoping to find Him that they so wanted to kill!


Then there's the festival crowd in v. 12 ['the people'].  There's a variety of opinions among them as well.  Some say He's good and others say He's a deceiver.  It's a great debate among the people just like the great debate among the religious leaders...just like the great debates in our land today!


Here's a 3rd group in v. 25...

These are regular Jews who aren't in leadership, and aren't travelers in town for the festival.  But they, just like all the other groups, can't get away from the great debate which is -- the centrality of Jesus.  He is what it is all about.  You can't get around it!  Jesus is the overarching theme of all decisions and debates.  Who is Jesus Christ?  All of history is 'His Story.'


Even time itself is divided down the middle into years before Christ and after He came.  [anno Domini]  That's not talking about Allah, Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, or any other god! 


You cannot ignore the centrality of Jesus Christ.  No one can be neutral in this matter.  Every one of us must answer the question, Who is Jesus Christ?  How you answer that question will determine how you live THIS life.  Your attitude, priorities, and world view.  And your answer to that question will determine where you spend the afterlife as well.


And so a great debate rages at the festival...a massive manhunt...and Jesus is somehow disguised from them and in attendance, watching it all!   


3 things Jesus saw in the crowd:

1.     Their argument about Him.  [vv. 11-13]

2.     Their amazement at Him. [14-18]

3.     Their alignment against Him. [19-36]


I.      Their argument about Him. 

        A.    They are discussing His character.

v. 11-13  

Some say He is good.  I like to think these had witnessed some of His miracles, or somehow been touched by Him in a life changing way, or knew someone who had been. 


They were vouching for His character.

The great debate in our nation in the 90s was whether character counts.  "What a man is in private makes no difference so long as he can run the country."  Today's version might say, "What a man is in private makes no difference if the man CAN'T run the country!"


Character counts!  But being a good man isn't enough.  Jesus is the God-Man!  Perfect in thought, word, and deed.


Napoleon said,  "I know men; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not a man. Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist. There is between Christianity and whatever other religions the distance of infinity..."


Think with me of the many bold claims Jesus made while on earth:

1.     That He was worthy of worship.

Matthew 14:33
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

        This is when He calmed the storm, saying peace be still.  He allowed them to worship Him.  He allowed many others, such as the woman who washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair!  Who allows that?


2.     That He could forgive sin.

What a bold claim!

Luke 5:20
And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.

        He had been lowered thru the roof to where Jesus was, and when Jesus saw their faith, He claimed to have forgiven their sins.


3.     That He was an eternal being.

John 8:58
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

        The Jews said, how could you be old enough to know Abraham?  He said, "I am eternal!"  What a bold claim.


4.     That He was co-equal with God. 

John 10:30
I and my Father are one.
John 14:9
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

        "You wanna see God?  You're lookin' at Him!"


Imagine if I made such claims today?  You'd be right to run me out of town!


5.     That He is the only way to heaven.

John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.


These 5 things:  They are either ALL true, or NONE true!


Some at the festival said He was a good man.  Just like many today would say He was a good man, but not God.  Listen now:  Good men don't make such claims.  Men who make such claims aren't good, unless their claims are true...and then they aren't just good...they're God!

        Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or He is LORD!


Next was the crowd that said He was a deceiver or fraud in v. 12.  They charged that He was leading people astray. 

        Some of you have been following Christ for many years.  Question:  Have YOU been led astray?  Do you have more joy or less? [peace/contentment]  Your life is better and your future brighter because of Jesus!


His character...


II.    Their amazement at Him.

They were discussing His content.  [what he said.]

vv. 14-15         'letters' = brilliance

        Without going to seminary, how could He know the things He knows?


ill.--imagine an old country bumpkin with overalls and muddy boots walking around Harvard, taking the professors' chair, making students' heads spin.  That's how it happened on this day.


John 7:50-51 [turn]
50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

Shouldn't He have a fair trial?

John 7:52
They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

Hear the disdain and condescension in their voices?  Not only is He from the wrong side of the tracks…the common people zone of Galilee, but He's a carpenter, a common laborer, and He hasn't gone to school...strike three! 


Back to 7:15 -- hear their amazement?!


Three principles:

1.     Don't follow the mistaken idea that Jesus appealed only to the uneducated.

        Although more likely to recognize their lost condition and be saved [commoners heard Him gladly] this is mainly a tribute to how plainly He spake to their understanding.  It's not a sign of higher intelligence if you speak above people's understanding.  It's just poor preaching / bad leadership.  We've gotta get real! 


"My preacher's so profound he gets things out of the Bible that aren't even there!" 

        We live in a generation that is educated beyond their intelligence!  Our politicians have a gift for saying nothing in a lengthy monologue that no one can understand. 


One of the greatest compliments our online sermon ministry receives is from preachers who state that when they preach our messages their people tell them "We understand what you are saying, and it is helping us!"


It's smart to follow Jesus.  And it takes humility of a child, and simple understanding of very simple good news, that we are sinners, and sin has to be paid for, and Jesus paid so we don't have to if we believe!


Acts 4:13
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Peter and John hadn't been to the Harvard of that day, but in Jesus they were smarter than the intellectual snobs of their day.  And many of the most brilliant minds in history were believers!


And the most intelligent conclusion I can draw about God is that He truly is the Creator, not that it all has just fallen into place by random chance!  Furthermore, the smartest decision I can make is to believe on Jesus Christ and follow Him, not as if He were a good man, but the God man, who isn't a deceiver, and will never lead me astray!


1.     Don't follow the mistaken idea that Jesus appealed only to the uneducated.


2.     When Jesus spoke, it was the authoritative Word of God.

v. 16

Even Jesus recognized that we need absolutes...not just mamby pamby feelings guiding us.  If Jesus needed a ruler of truth, so do we!


"I don't think Jonah really was swallowed by a big fish!"

Matthew 12:40
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

If Jesus can believe it I can believe it!


"I don't think Noah and the flood is for real."

Matthew 24:38
For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,

If Jesus can believe it I can believe it!


3.     We can know the truth best by determining to obey the truth.

v. 17        Very important!  Only those who determine to follow God will have the truth revealed to them. 

        Which comes first?  Deciding or knowing?  Deciding!

        Which comes first?  Choosing to follow God's will or having God's will revealed to us?  Choosing!


The problem:  Today we say, God, show me your will, and then I will consider it.  God, show me truth, help me know it, and I will decide on following you!


The best way to understand the parts of the Bible you don't understand is to obey the parts you DO understand!  And when you decide in advance to obey the parts you do understand you will begin to understand the parts you previously didn't understand.  Understand?

        And so the person waiting for proof will die and go to hell, and then they will have proof.


This principle applies to Christians as well -- some here today know they ought to tithe, for instance, but they don't obey it, and they wonder why they can't make sense out of some area of their life.  Meanwhile, God is saying, "Why should I show you ONE MORE THING until you obey what you already know you are supposed to do?"  [witnessing / morality]


Look again at v. 17 --

The pancreas is the organ that makes insulin.

The heart is the organ that pumps blood.

The lung is the organ that brings oxygen.

And obedience is the organ of spiritual knowledge.  If you want to know more from God, then bless God, OBEY what you already know!


Undercover, Jesus sees it all going down, and now they align against Him...His hour is coming!

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