“Why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath?” John 7:23

I’ve often wondered what my own response to Jesus would have been if I was a first century Jewish person. Would I believe He was the Messiah, or would I think He was completely deluded?

In this scene in John 7, we find Jesus attending the Festival of Tabernacles, a time when Jewish people remember God’s provision for them and also look forward to the promised Messianic age to come. At this time, many people had already been considering whether Jesus is the One they were waiting for — the Messiah, the Promised Savior.

But there’s also a large number of people who think He’s a deceiver who is making the whole thing up. Many of the religious leaders are threatened by His teaching and by His boldness — especially to perform miraculous healings on the Sabbath. Doing anything on this holy day was seen as a slight against God Himself; but Jesus sees beyond the rules and appearances and instead looks at the heart. There’s no boundary to His grace.

Consider the irony. The Festival of Tabernacles is a time to anticipate the coming Messiah. Yet many don’t believe that the Promised One stands in front of them, loudly proclaiming, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them” (John 7:37-38).

Are you so caught up the practice of faith, that you have lost sight of the purpose behind it? Perhaps you’ve been praying with empty words, or have been reading the Bible without applying its words to your life. Or maybe you’re caught up in anticipating the joy of family and feasting at Easter and have lost sight of the depth of Christ’s sacrifice. If so, Jesus is standing right in front of you, waiting for you to repent and receive His grace.

Dear Jesus, thank You for Your grace and healing. Thank You that You look beyond appearances to the heart of the matter. And thank You that You are our Savior! Amen.

Take Action

If you have been participating in Lent, by this time in the game, it’s easy for the practice of fasting to become a ritualistic and pious act, void of meaning. Consider the purpose behind your fast. Is this sacrifice causing you to remember what Christ gave up for you? If not, confess and ask God to help you realign your heart towards the cross.

Further Reading: “This Sucks!” And Other Things Jesus Didn’t Say on the Cross.

Tags: questions Jesus asked John 7