John 7 - Unbelief
Under the backdrop of the first few chapters of John which describe the undeniable miracles that Jesus performed, this chapter is filled with accounts of the unbelief of the religious leaders.
They were intimidated by him and truth be known, jealous of the attention and devotion showed by the popular masses. They continued to talk about the fact that nothing good could come from Galilee and even started connecting the dots to the promise that the Messiah needed to come from Bethlehem and be from the line of David.
Well, as we know from the popular retelling of the Christmas story and from the account in Matthew 1 about Christ's lineage, these things and many other promises from the Old Testament were in fact fulfilled in Jesus. But clearly they didn't have a quick way to validate these claims, so they had to go on what they heard and records passed down from generation to generation.
But the fact is that their hearts were hard and they didn't really want to believe that it was true. They found more satisfaction in criticism and unbelief, yet He still publicly promised again living water to them if they would only believe.
37-39 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says." (He said this in regard to the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were about to receive. The Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.)
If you look back at the beginning of John 7, Jesus said to His brothers, as He had said to His mother at the wedding where He ended up turning water to wine, "It is not yet my time". There would come a day when He would be revealed to them all and at that time they would have to choose whether or not to believe.
Choice -- that is at the heart of Christianity. It is not thrust on us by our birth. We are given a choice. We can believe based on the evidence -- or not. After all, we can't see the wind, but we see its effects daily.
Yesterday there was a story on CNN about a little girl in Oregon that had been suffering from aplastic anemia - a rare form of cancer that attacks the blood system. One day before her bone marrow transplant was scheduled, they did a test and the cancer was GONE. No evidence of the disease. The doctor said that she couldn't explain it. The mother said that it could only be explained by their faith. So many people had prayed for little Victoria and her mom gave the glory to God in front of the millions that would view the video.
Skeptics can choose to refute this current day evidence of the power of prayer and the power of the One sent by God.
As for me and my house -- we believe in the power of prayer and will continue to pray for those that we know that are battling cancer and ALS, for our new friend Mike from the boat club that is having back surgery tomorrow, for those battling hopeless situations in their careers and relationships, those that are facing financial crisis and for those that need direction in their lives - you know who you are! And a special prayer today for my niece Sarah who is going in to check on the progress of her skin grafts on her left arm.
May the power of the owner of the cattle on ten thousand hills be evident in your life, give you faith and give you peace and clarity.