Do You Really Know Jesus?

Translated by Dr. Jerry Cai


John 7:25-36


Question 4 of Westminster Shorter Catechism: What is God?


Answer: God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power,

holiness, justice, goodness and truth.


The Westminster Shorter Catechism is a concise teaching material on Christianity designed for


children. Three years ago, the Children’s Sunday School of our church taught the children of youth group to recite the Shorter Catechism. Even if it is a teaching material for children, the answer to the question of “what is God” is still very abstract, and it is still difficult for children and even adults to truly understand the meaning.


When Tom Wright, the British Bible scholar and theologian, was asked what he would say to his children when he is about to die, Wright replied: "Look at Jesus!" Then he explained:


“If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what it means to be human, look at Jesus. If you want to know what love is, look at Jesus. And go on looking until you're not just a spectator, but part of the drama that has Him as the central character.”


But the question is, does one really know Jesus? Even as a christian, do I really know Jesus?


The three repetitive discussions about the identity of Jesus in Chapter 7 of the Gospel of John mainly include the following questions:


1. Where is he? (7:10-13)

2. How does he get such learning? (7:14-19)

3. Who wants to kill you? (7:20-24)

4. Is he the Messiah? (7:25-32)

5. Where is he going? (7:33-36)

6. The promise of Jesus! (7:37-39)

7. The confusion of everyone! (7:40-44)


We are trying to answer questions 4 and 5.


1. Is He the Messiah?


At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” (John 7:25-27)


The people who came to Jerusalem on the Feast of Tabernacles can be roughly divided into the following categories: the first category was the chief priests and Pharisees who opposed Jesus.


They were deliberately trying to arrest and kill Jesus. The second category was the people in Jerusalem. They knew the scheming of the chief priests and the Pharisees, but they were confused and not sure about the identity of Jesus. The other type is the crowds who came to Jerusalem from other places to celebrate the festival. They looked forward to the appearance of Jesus and were amazed by his teachings, and some of them believed and accepted Jesus.


The people in Jerusalem knew that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus because their plot to kill Jesus was almost universally known. In John 5, when Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed for thirty-eight years on the Sabbath, the Jews wanted to kill him, not only because Jesus violated the Sabbath, but also because Jesus called God his Father and regarded himself as equal to God. At the beginning of John 7, it is written that the Jewish leaders “were looking for a way to kill him." (John 7:1)


But strangely no one did anything to Jesus. He still preached in public, no one started to arrest him and harm him. This is puzzling: Did the rulers change their minds and accept that Jesus is the Messiah?


Then, they seemed to ask and answer by themselves, inferring, “But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” (John 7:27)

Do they really know who Jesus is, and where he came from?


On the surface, they seemed to know: Jesus came from Galilee, he was a Nazarene, son of a carpenter, his mother was Mary, and his brothers and sisters were among them.

Speaking of Nazareth, people immediately remembered Nathanael’s famous saying,


"Nazareth! Can anything good come from there" (John 1:46)


What they didn't know was that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He was conceived by a virgin. When He was born, angels told the good news to the shepherds, and the wise man from the east came to worship and offered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Also, when his parents took him to the temple in Jerusalem to present him to the Lord in observance of Jewish law, two prophets, Simeon and Anna, gave thanks to, and praised, God for him.


But they have at least heard the teachings of Jesus' authority, and they have seen or heard of the miracles of Jesus did.


But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from. (John 7:27)


According to the oral tradition, they took it for granted that when Christ came, no one knew where Christ came from, but the Bible has never recorded such. They may have misinterpreted the verse of Malachi 3:1,


“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty. (Malachi 3:1)


The first half of this verse emphasizes the first coming of Christ, and the second half

emphasizes the second coming of Christ.


If they study the Bible carefully, they should know that there are many verses in the Old

Testament that prophesied Christ, just as Jesus himself testified, "These are the very Scriptures that testify about me. " (John 5:39)


They should understand that Christ will be the descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Judah, the son of David, that he will be born in Bethlehem by a virgin. In fact, almost every book of the Old Testament is preparing and witnessing the coming of Christ.


The notion that "When Christ comes, no one knows where he will come from" is a Jewish

tradition, not from the Bible, and contrary to the truth of the Bible. This is the same error of the Jewish tradition that generally believes that Christ must be the political and military leader who rescued them from Roman rule.


Sometimes people often take human traditions as the truth of the Bible. For example, "God helps those who help themselves." Many people often say this, and Christians often quote it, but it does not come from the Bible, and it is inconsistent with the truth of the Bible.


There is also a saying in Chinese that people often quote, "Money is not everything, but without money it is absolutely impossible." Similarly, many Christians always quote this, but it does not come from the Bible. On the contrary, it is against the truth of the Bible.


Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” (John 7:28-29)


Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. This verse in some English translations is interrogative, because the original manuscript of the Bible did not have punctuation marks.


Jesus continued on the Jewish topic of "We know where this man came from". The words of the Lord Jesus were obviously ironic: Yes, you know me and I am Jesus of Nazareth; you also know where I came from, you know that I am from Galilee. You think you know me very clearly, but do you really know me? Do you really know where I come from?


The Lord says, “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” (John 7:24)


They are judging right and wrong based on their appearance, rather than on fairness and truth.


The Lord Jesus repeated many times that He comes not because of Himself, but does so

according to the will of the one who sent Him. "But He who sent Me is true." (John 7:28)

Therefore, the Lord Jesus clearly and unmistakably told the Jews that his roots came from God the Father in heaven.


“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”(John 1:1;14)


"You do not know him, but I know him." (John 28-29)


“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” (John 8:19)


So, how do we get to know God? Know Jesus Christ! The Jews do not know God because they do not know Jesus Christ.


"No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known." (John 1:18)


Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9)


"The Son is the image of the invisible God. " (Cor 1:15)


"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. " (Matt 11:27)


The Hebrews of the Bible has a perfect description of Jesus Christ:


"In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (Heb 1:1-3)


If people want to know God, they must know Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ is the

only-begotten Son of God, the true image of God, and He expresses what God is.


"At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?” The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him." (John 7:30-32)


They wanted to arrest Jesus, but no one did. It's not that they don't want to, but they can't, because the time of the Lord Jesus has not yet arrived.


The Lord Jesus acted according to God's time and will. Before the Lord’s timing, God's invisible and mighty hands were guiding and protecting him, and no one could do any harm to Him.


Many of the people believed in him because of the teaching of his authority, because of his marvelous miracles, and because of his mighty doings.


"“When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?” The Pharisees were so angry when they heard the crowd were talking about Jesus like this. They wanted to find a way to get rid of Jesus as soon as possible to avoid their power being threatened. The chief priests nd the Pharisees are two opposing groups, but in the plot to get rid of Jesus, they came together for the common good---they worked together to send an army of servants to arrest Jesus. The sinister and selfish nature of the world has never changed.


The controversy between the people on the positives and negatives of the identity of Jesus:


1. "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill? …Have the authorities really concluded that He is the Christ?”(John 7:25-26)(Positive)


“But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where

He is from."”(John 7:27)(Negative)


2. Many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he

perform more signs than this man?”(John 7:31)(Positive)


The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests

and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. (John 7:32) (Negative)


Amidst the doubts of the people in Jerusalem and the resistance of Jewish religious leaders, there are still a small number of people who believe in and accept Jesus Christ. In the face of Jesus, this is true of any group. Some people doubt, some resist, and some believe. But in the end, it is inevitable to make a decision between one of the two choices: reject or accept Jesus Christ!


Not making a choice is also a choice, there is no middle ground!


If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24, NKJV)


2. Where will He go?


Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” (John 7:33-34)


Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father to come into the world in the flesh, preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, and shed his blood on the cross to achieve the forgiveness of sins. He died, was buried, rose from the dead on the third day, and then ascended to heaven and returned to God the Father who sent him.


In John 17, Lord Jesus Christ himself prayed to God the Father:


I will remain in the world no longer, ... and I am coming to you. (John 17:11)


"The first chapter of Acts records the resurrection and ascension of Jesus: After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight." (Acts 1:9)


"It is mentioned multiple times in the New Testament that the Lord Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of God. Who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." (1 Pet 3:22)


"After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." (Heb 1:3)


"You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come." (John 7:34)


The Jews later looked for the Lord Jesus but couldn’t find him, because the Lord Jesus had been resurrected and then ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of God the Father.


People could no longer find Him on earth. More importantly, the Jews tried to find Christ with the wrong mentality, motivation, and methods to find Christ. They could never find Him!


The Lord Jesus himself once talked about these two situations in which people tried to find Him but couldn’t.


"The time is coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it." (Luke 17:22)


"How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44)


The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?” (John 7:35-36)


This is another example of the dialogue between the spirit and the flesh in John.


Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” (John 7:33-34)


The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? (John 7:35)


The Lord Jesus said that he was going to die and be resurrected, ascending to heaven and returning to God the Father; the Jews said that he was going to teach the Greeks of the Gentiles?


The discussion between the Jews has become another example of the irony in John 7.

Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? (John 7:35)


What the Jews said is clearly out of ignorance: they did not understand that Jesus Christ was the incarnation of Son of God; they did not know that Jesus was about to die and rose again; They did not understand that the gospel would one day be preached to Gentiles.


This sentence became an unconscious prophecy of the Jews, just as the high priest Caiaphas prophesied out of evil but did not know it.


"Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation." (John 11:49-51)


After the Lord Jesus died and was resurrected, the apostles and believers of the ages followed the call of the Lord Jesus’ Great Commission and shared the gospel to the end of the world.


"Repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47)


The message of the gospel was preached not only to the Jews scattered around, but also to the Gentiles to the ends of the earth. The Jewish prophecy out of ignorance became a fulfilled historical fact after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus.


"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:28)


Finally, let us consider two questions: Do I know Jesus? what should I do?


1. Do I know Jesus?


Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time” (John 7:33)


The door of salvation is not permanently open. It is written in the Bible, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” (Isa 55:6)


Paul the Apostle once said, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of

salvation.” (2 Cor 6:2)


The Lord Jesus promised that “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7)


How do we seek the Lord Jesus?


If the goal in your life is to pursue wealth, fame, status, and success, you probably have no motivation to seek the Lord Jesus, and like the Jews, you cannot find Jesus. As the Lord Jesus said, "You will look for Me, but you will not find Me." (John 7:34)


"How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44)


The words of the Lord Jesus are a warning bell to anyone, whether Christian or non-Christian!


Especially for Christians who have already believed in the Lord, "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph 3:8) is worthy of our lifelong desire, pursuit, learn, and worship.


Robert C. Moyer wrote,


In Jesus divine omnipotence moved in a human arm.

In Jesus divine wisdom was cradled in a human brain.

In Jesus divine love throbbed in a human heart.

In Jesus divine compassion glistened in a human eye.

In Jesus divine grace poured forth from human lips.


2. What should I do?


We live in "a wicked and adulterous generation." (Matt 16:4) These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. Two thousand years later, the situation became worse. It is extremely evil, extremely depraved, and extremely dangerous in the current generation.


Recently in the church parent group, brothers and sisters shared an article written by a

Christian, the title is "Wake up, Sleeping Parents!" An excerpt of several paragraphs is as

follows:


"Many parents who claim to be Christians in this era are actually sleeping. They lie in a

burning house dreaming, and dancing on the edge of a cliff. Their eyes are blind and

their ears are deaf. They live in religion, but are atheists -- they can neither see the

activities of the devil nor can hear the voice of God."


"Dear parents, if we don’t know what era we are at, and if we cannot see the

environment we are in, we will watch our children stepping toward hell even though they are growing up in the church."


"These words are not alarmist. Looking at the entire human history and the

enlightenment of the entire Bible, God is using circumstances to warn us: This is the age

of the pharaoh's killing of infants!”


"There is no era of prosperity that is comparable to today -- advanced modern

technology, excellent media information, convenient transportation network... But there is no era of degradation that is comparable to today -- family disputes, school violence,

internet cancer, social unrest, plagues, etc., all have swept people's hearts like never

before."


"The devil is not only slaughtering children's bodies through human sins and harsh

environments, but also through atheist education, degraded entertainment culture,

rampant online games...all are poisoning children's minds. How can our hearts not be

shaken when sexual crimes, depression, suicide and abortion continues to fall in age?"


Thank God, the parents of the church children have united and organized the children to recite the Bible every day. These five or six-year-old children have amazing memories. The number of verses they recite and the Bible stories they read is likely larger than that of many of our adult Christians who have believed in the Lord for many years.


Three years ago, the church children’s Sunday school gave the children of the upper class, which is currently the youth group, to recite the Westminster Shorter Catechism, hoping that these basic Christian doctrines can take root in their hearts. Now there are brothers and sisters who are actively teaching the children of the youth group to prepare them for their faith before entering university and society.


Fortunately, we adults are not far behind. Now the Ellicott City Love Fellowship is organizing everyone to read the Bible. Since the beginning of this year, sisters in various groups in the church have also sent out scripture reading every other day. Please make good use of these opportunities.


The current external environment is becoming more difficult to preach the gospel, but Paul said that “preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season”. If we don't do enough to preach the gospel to others, at least we should start from ourselves and at home. We are especially grateful to the brothers and sisters of the church who have spared no effort to teach the children.


Finally I will share a quote by a puritan Cotton Mather:


My children, even if covered with ragged clothes, are better than their souls not covered

with the righteousness of Christ. My children, even if becoming despised beggars, are

better than those despising Christ and His salvation. My children, even if becoming blind, are better than those who do not see the value of Christ. Even if they become lame, it is better than hearing Christ's call and not running towards Him. Even if they were taken into captivity by the Turks, Moors, and Indians, it is better than not being servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.


4/8/2021


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