What Do You Believe About
The Doctrine of Christ?
Jesus is confronting a confused and angry world. Their anger is so intense that they again attempt to arrest Him. All of their anger grew out of an act of kindness. Jesus performed a miracle which gave a man who had been in a helpless, pitiful condition for 38 years an opportunity to be whole again. He did not do or commit a wicked crime; He only did good. Very partially Jesus had reasoned with the religious crowd, who were comprised mostly of the Jewish officials. These Pharisees were so demanding in their legal requirements that they gave no room for compassion. They even made the law more requiring and demanding than God ever intended, thus the phrase, "they had become a law unto themselves."
The first indication that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus is recorded in chapter 5, verses 16 and 18. "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." Now, as Jesus speaks in the Temple there is still a desire to capture and kill Him but they could not. It was not in God’’s timing. May we consider more carefully the opposition to Jesus.
I. THE OPPOSITION TO JESUS vv. 30-36
The hatred they had for Jesus then is no different than today. When He was here in body, the world wanted to kill His body. Today the world wants to kill His very spirit. A way in which this is being attempted is through the teachings of humanism. The removal of prayer from the schools, the outlawing of manger scenes, and the removal of the ten commandments from our courthouse walls are ways that the Spirit of Christ is being attacked. In the classroom, teachers are told not to teach a Biblical basis for over existence, but to instruct them in believing the teaching of evolution. Students in school are permitted to curse in God’’s name but not to pray in His name.
Several years ago, my brother was asked by a university president to pray at a campus function. The president told my brother as he prayed not to pray in Jesus’’ name, to avoid offending "our Jewish brethren." My brother told him, "I’’m sorry, if I can’’t pray in Jesus’’ name, you will need to call on someone else to pray."
They were disabled in their opposition (v. 30). Even though the offenders were instructed to arrest Jesus, they could not, "because his hour was not yet come." All the armies of Rome could not have permutated the armor of God’’s will and purpose. It was as though God has disabled them. God had a plan for Jesus to be on earth and a time to accomplish His plan. God still has His plan in operation. Every servant of Christ has the same protective blessings of God upon him as he serves. The Psalmist David must have understood this when he said, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is my strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1). We should never be afraid as long as we are operating in the will of the Lord. Joshua knew the protective presence of the Lord. In Joshua 5:14, he worshiped, "…… the captive of the host of the Lord." Yahweh (Joshua 6:2) acknowledging that this was His war and that the Israelites were but a part of the Lord’’s hosts (which also included angels and the forces of nature). (Ryrie)
Even though the officers then were unable to arrest Jesus before His time, God still has his means of protecting His faithful servants. Be assured wherever God sends you into this world, He will take care of all your needs, "Where He leads, He provides."
They were divided in their opposition (vv. 31-32). Verse 31 tells us that, "…… many of the people believed on him ……" From this verse it appears that there were those believing what He had told them, yet not fully realizing, or at all realizing, that He was the Messiah. At this point, their faith is similar to Nicodemus’’ when he came to Jesus by night. Nicodemus, if you recall, said to Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him" (John 1:2). At this time, Nicodemus only saw Jesus as a teacher sent from God. Similarly, those who have heard Jesus’’ testimony are believing the same way. Notice the wording in verse 31, "And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?" "Many believed on him ……" sounds good, but notice the next part of the verse, "…… and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than this man hath done?" They are believing on Him because of His miracles. They are looking for someone to do even more miracles. The phrase, "do more miracles" characterizes many of our religious movements. Sadly, there also seems to be a carnal emphasis today on the sensational rather than the spiritual.
The belief they had, as low-level as it may have been, caused the people to murmur about, "such things concerning him" (v. 32). This gendered fear in the hearts of the Pharisees, causing the chief priest to send officers to take Him.
They were dismayed in their opposition (vv. 33-36). Jesus told them that His time in the earth was only for a little while, for He would go back to the one who sent Him. They were not thinking in terms of Him going back to Heaven. They were only thinking in earthly terms. They could not at all comprehend what Jesus was saying. As Paul told the church at Corinth, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (I Corinthians 2:14). Everything that Jesus had told them made either little or no sense to them. An unregenerate person does not enjoy the things of God, until he is saved, nor can He appreciate and understand them. Such was the condition of the Jews. They would not receive the doctrine of Christ.
II. THE OPPORTUNITY FROM JESUS vv. 37-.39
The Jews are even more perplexed concerning the doctrine of Christ. In their unregenerate state they can only probe and inquire in their searching for truth. If only they were not dull of hearing and blinded by their own traditions. They would recognize that the truth is in front of them. Are not the masses like that today? This is especially true in America. There are very few places where the gospel is not available and being preached, yet few are believing the doctrine of Christ.
A person can be satisfied (v. 37). A spiritual thirst and hunger characterized the Jews who were murmuring about the doctrine of Christ. They were no different from the woman at the well, Nicodemus, the impotent man, not the multitude that was fed. Jesus certainly recognized that thirst and once again offered again to satisfy their thirst. In making His offers He could have been capitalizing on a custom or ceremony associated with the Feast of tabernacles. Though it is not mentioned in the Old Testament, the Jews had a ceremony of carrying water from the Pool of Silo and pouring it into a silver basin by the altar of burnt offerings each day for the first seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles. On the eighth day this was not done, making Christ’’s offer of the water of eternal life from Himself even more startling. (Ryrie)
Christ never once broke the law but He did not mind at all defying tradition. Much of the religious symbolism's today is buried in tradition. The ritual in many cases has become more worshipped than the God that the ritual represents. Once again Christ is attempting to direct their focus on the true and living God. He does this by offering a living water that satisfies. He says in verse 37, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." Only Jesus can satisfy.
A person can be spirit filled (v. 38-39). "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (v. 38). This verse is a word of prophecy and many recognize Jesus to be a prophet when He quoted this Old Testament truth (v. 40). Jesus reveals more concerning the "doctrine of Christ" is the whole body of truth relating to Christ. He is now introducing the work of the Holy Spirit. Christ Jesus did not come only to offer a trickling stream, He came to offer a flowing river. Often commentators who write about this portion of Scripture, who have had the privilege of viewing Niagara Falls, compare the Spirits work to the Falls. I understand why.
I recall standing on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls with in a few feet of the falling, cascading water utterly amazed at what I saw. So much water, and never exhausted, the water kept flowing. If only we would stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ claiming the fullness of God’’s overflowing, abundant spirit. He wants us to be filled. We also can be filled. God’’s filling is an imperative as Ephesians 5:18 tells us, "Speaking of yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." When a person is saved he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to live forever in the believer. But the filling should occur many times and is available to the believer for a serving purpose. Claim it as freely as the water flowing from Niagara.
II. THE OBSERVATIONS ABOUT JESUS vv. 40-53
Jesus did not come to the earth to live a passive and uncomplicated life. He did not come to avoid all conflict, sailing only in placid waters, nor did He come to purposely antagonize those whom He came in contact with. He came delivering Truth and he came as the embodiment of Truth. When truth is presented it always provokes a response. Verse 40 indicates this when it says, "Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the prophet." Even the response of the people showed that to emboss their belief on response on truth. In these next several verses, may we notice the observations made by the different groups here mentioned.
Some may have been delighted (vv. 40-42). "Could this be a prophet sent by God?" they must have asked. "Could this really be the Christ?" Actually, they said, "Of a truth this is the prophet" (v. 41) and others said, "This is the Christ." As skeptical as they may have been, at least some must have been hoping that this indeed was the Christ, the Son of the living God. Relatively speaking, the number may be small, but there are people now who would be very delighted to see the Lord’’s return. I am one of these people.
As it was in the days of the Lord’’s first coming, leading up to His crucifixion, even so it is today leading up to His second return. There is much turmoil and moral decline as we live in these perilous day. The more wicked our world becomes, the more anxious the believer is for His eminent return. Paul spoke this truth in II Timothy 4:6-8; "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
The prophets had predicted the first coming of the Lord which produced a spirit of anticipation among the religious, but Satan in his pervasion would blind the miracles of the hearers. In their confusion, they were as men groping about in darkness. For this reason, some were divided in their opinions about Christ (v. 43).
Some were divided (v. 43). John records three divisions in regards to Christ. There is a division here conceiving His person. In John 9:16, there is a division concerning His power. Thirdly, there is a division concerning His passion. To be divided one must choose. Joshua of old made a choice as recorded in Joshua 24:15, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
The church should be divided from the world, but there should never be divisions in the church. Paul was addressing this problem as found in the church at Corinth. In I Corinthians 1:10-13 note Paul’’s beseeching them not to be divided. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my , by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?"
The division mentioned in our text pertains to the different ways that each group perceived Christ. They were divided in their perception of Him. Today, there are also groups that perceive Christ differently. To some, He is a great example, to others He is no more than a mythological creation. Then to believers, He is God Almighty. Even as there were those divided in their opinion of Him, some were also disturbed because of Him.
Some were disturbed (vv. 44-53). The disturbance that Jesus brought to the religious empire is very noticeable. We have related to this disturbed religious world on numerous occasions. The officers who were commissioned to capture Jesus and bring Him back were unable to do so. "Why have ye not brought him?" they were asked (v. 45). "The officers answered, never man spake like this man" (v. 46). This brought a greater disturbance to the Pharisees, shown when they asked, "Are ye also deceived?" (v. 47). The Pharisees were then questioned by Nicodemus, who called for a fair judgment, thus ends chapter seven (48-53), as every man went unto his own house.
Sermons From Pastor Max Alderman, Ph.D.