The Most Important Question Ever
Denise J. Hughes
Day: 8 | Plan: That You May Believe
Today's Reading: John 7:1-31
John 7:26b-27 (ESV) "Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from."
Have you ever played the game "20 Questions"? It's a guessing game where friends try to identify a person or an object with 20 questions or less. The first one to correctly identify the person or object wins.
In John 7, we find 20 questions. Some are asked by Jesus; some are asked by others. Every question surrounded the biggest one of all: Could Jesus really be the Messiah?
The setting for these questions and conversations was the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem, which was similar to a harvest or thanksgiving festival occurring sometime in the fall. (John 7:2) The feast was a celebration of God's provision for their ancestors when they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. To observe this feast, many Israelites traveled to Jerusalem and built temporary booths (sort of like tents) across the city, and they stayed in them for the duration of the seven-day feast.
Jerusalem was abuzz, not only with anticipation for the feast but also with speculation about Jesus. (John 7:11-12) As the crowds poured in, everyone was wondering: Where is Jesus? Will He come to the feast? Is He the Messiah?
The Jewish leaders weren't happy with all this talk about Jesus. They were jealous of His growing popularity and suspicious of the many miracles He performed, so they looked for ways to arrest Him. Jesus' only "crime," however, was that He healed a man on the Sabbath!
Jesus did attend the feast, but quietly at first. Then near the middle of the feast, Jesus went into the temple and began speaking. (John 7:14) The people were amazed at His teaching. They knew Jesus had never attended the esteemed rabbinical schools. Being from Galilee, He was much too poor for that, but there was something undeniably special about Him. This much they knew, so they leaned in to listen.
"Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, 'Is not this the man whom [the Jewish leaders] seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?'" (John 7:25-26)
So many questions. So much speculation.
Some believed. Some did not.
Those who knew Jesus best — His own younger half-brothers who had grown up with Him — did not believe in Him (at least not yet). (John 7:5) And those who knew the Scriptures best — the Pharisees and scribes and other religious leaders — did not believe in Him either.
But those who listened — with a heart seeking to do the will of the Father — believed. (John 7:17)
This entire chapter is about Jesus' real identity. In fact, John's entire Gospel account is about Jesus' real identity. And the ultimate question being posed is the most important question ever: Do we believe Jesus is who He says He is?
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for coming to dwell among us, in the flesh, not only to answer our questions but also to be the answer to all questions. You are the source of all truth because You are truth. In You alone we find everything we've ever looked for and everything we've ever hoped for. Help me, Lord, to reflect Your truth and goodness and beauty to those around me. When people look to me, I pray they see only You. In Jesus' name, amen.
Before diving any deeper into John 7 — which we'll do again tomorrow, because there's so... Read More
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