Jesus continues to try to convince the crowds of who He is. “You are of this world” but “I AM not”. Then He said to them because you refuse to believe you will die in your sins. The people repeated their demand, “tell us who you are”. Jesus said “I AM”. He tells them that He only says what He hears from the one who sent Him. You would have thought that hearing “I AM” would have reminded these Old Testament scholars of what God told Moses when Moses asked Him, “Who shall I say sent me and God replied “tell them that “I AM” sent you”. But just as Pharaoh refused to believe and his heart grew harder, so it was with the religious leaders and Pharisees of that day in Jerusalem. Let us speak the words that we hear the Holy Spirit say to us and pray that those words will fall on listening ears and the seeds of faith will be planted in the hearts of those that hear. When we are questioned, we too, can say that “I AM” has sent us.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
The religious leaders and the Pharisees, the very ones that God had entrusted to shepherd His flock, were the ones that refused to believe that this man, Jesus, was the Messiah. They were well versed in the Old Testament and should have known all the prophecies. It would have been fairly easy for them to find out exactly where Jesus was born and how many of those prophecies His birth and life, up to this point, had fulfilled. The problem was this; if they acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah while He refused to set up an earthly Kingdom, then they would lose their positions and authority to rule over the people. The flesh is stubborn, even in the presence of overwhelming evidence, the flesh wants to hang onto the old ways, so they allow themselves to be deceived.. Accepting Jesus as the Messiah would have turned their society upside down. Our flesh is the same today. We want a better life but we don’t want to give up fleshly pleasures. We cannot allow ourselves and those around us to be deceived. It is our responsibility to spread the Good News. Jesus died for our sins and we can be set free.
13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?–Romans 10:13-14 (NLT)
Today, tell somebody about Jesus!!“
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 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.” 43 So the crowd was divided in their opinion about him. 44 And some wanted him arrested, but no one touched him. 45 The Temple guards who had been sent to arrest him returned to the leading priests and Pharisees. “Why didn’t you bring him in?” they demanded. 46 “We have never heard anyone talk like this!” the guards responded..—John 7:41-46 (NLT)
Although Jesus spent a lot of time in Galilee, He had fulfilled the prophecy by being born in Bethlehem, as well as being born in the lineage of King David. While the crowd continued to discuss whether or not Jesus was the Messiah, the leaders and the Pharisees sent the temple guards to arrest Jesus. They wanted to silence Him because more and more people were beginning to believe His story. But the guards came back empty-handed. When they were questioned as to why they had not arrested Jesus, their reply was that they “had never heard anyone talk like this”. The guards had been touched by the words that Jesus spoke, so much so, that they refused to follow the orders they had been given. The Temple guards, which were the ones that the leaders and Pharisees commanded, were Jewish.They realized that this man was different from any they had heard speak. They would also have been familiar with the Old Testament and would have known about the powerful prophets, such as Moses, Elijah, Isaiah and others. Still, nothing they had heard affected them like the words of Jesus. The words were so powerful, it required them to make a difficult decision.
It is still the same today, when the name of Jesus is mentioned, we have to make a decision. It is “I accept” or it is “I reject”. There is no middle ground. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,
‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.
12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.”–Acts 4:11, 12 (NLT) What decision have you made? Who do you say Jesus is?
45 Many of the Jews, who had come to visit Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the leading priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the Jewish council. They asked, “What should we do? This man is doing many miracles. 48 If we let him continue doing these things, everyone will believe in him. Then the Romans will come and take away our Temple and our nation.” 49 One of the men there was Caiaphas, the high priest that year. He said, “You people know nothing! 50 You don’t realize that it is better for one man to die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” 51 Caiaphas did not think of this himself. As high priest that year, he was really prophesying that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation 52 and for God’s scattered children to bring them all together and make them one.—John 11:45-52 (NCV)
After seeing Lazarus come out of the tomb, some of the people believed and others went to tell what they had seen. When they told the Pharisees and the leading priests, this group called a meeting of the whole Jewish council. The council was afraid that if Jesus kept doing miracles, He and His followers might become too powerful and upset the Romans. Then the Romans would remove them from the Temple and take away the authority they had been allowed to exercise over the Jewish people. Without realizing what he was saying, Caiaphas, the high priest for that year, prophesied that Jesus would die for the redemption of the Jews and other nations to make them into one body, the Church. But, since they could not sentence anyone to death, they needed the Romans to do that for them. God uses people to fulfill His plans and He has a purpose for every life. Some are willing agents. Isaiah, Moses, Daniel, David and the apostles are good examples. Others are used by God, even if it is unwillingly and unwittingly, to accomplish His purpose. Pharaoh, Caiaphas, Judas and Pilate are examples of this type of agent. 16 It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes. 17 He has always been! It is His hand that holds everything together. 18 He is the head of this body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything—He is first.—- Colossians 1:16-18 (THE VOICE). Which will we be, willing or unwilling agents?
16 So don’t let anyone make rules for you about eating and drinking or about Jewish customs (festivals, New Moon celebrations, or Sabbath days). 17 In the past these things were like a shadow that showed what was coming. But the new things that were coming are found in Christ. 18 Some people enjoy acting as if they are humble and love to worship angels.[b] They always talk about the visions they have seen. Don’t listen to them when they say you are wrong because you don’t do these things. It is so foolish for them to feel such pride, because it is all based on their own human ideas.–Col 2:16-18 (ETR)
In the Old Testament, God established certain traditions and feasts for His people to observe at specific times of the year. He had very specific rules as to how the sacrifices were to be prepared and offered. These things were shadows of the sacrificial work of Jesus in the New Testament. But as time went by, the ruling religious class added thousand of rules to what God had given. These additional rules are why Jesus rebuked the Sadducees and the Pharisees. They laid too heavy a burden on the people. Jesus fulfilled the law and many of the prophecies of the Old Testament. We are no longer required to observe all the feasts and traditions. Jesus gave us a very simple plan of salvation. But, just as corruption came into the old law because of prideful humans, it has crept into the plan that Jesus gave us. False prophets have arisen and they go about preaching all kinds of requirements that Jesus does not place on us. Study and meditate on the Scriptures daily so that you are not taken captive by such drivel. The path is narrow and the way is straight, stay on the true path guided by God’s Holy Spirit.