Contempt. Confusion. Confession.
The person and works of Jesus simply demand a response.
Contempt. I sense it in Jesus’ physical brothers (7:3-5). It is clearly seen in the religious leaders (7:32, 45-52). I once had contempt for Christ. I was also confused.
Confusion. “He is a good man” (7:12). “No, on the contrary, He leads people astray” (7:12). “Where was He educated” (7:15)? “This is certainly the Prophet” (7:40). “This is the Christ” (7:41). “But shouldn’t the Messiah come from Bethlehem” (7:42; TSV)? Everyone was confused. Well, not everyone. Jesus knew Who He was!
Confession. Two confessions jump off the page as I read this chapter. The first is the confession of Jesus when He declared, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water'” (7:37,38). Previously Jesus asserted that He was the Bread of Heaven (chapter six). Now He mentions the other natural element humans need for life–water. His confession is our exhortation. If we want to live spiritually, we need the food and water of Jesus Christ.
The second confession I found in this chapter is that of Nicodemus. Earlier, he had come to Jesus seeking answers to his questions (chapter three). Now we find him defending Jesus before the chief priests and Pharisees (7:49-52). Although we are not given the entire account of all the words spoken at the meeting, the indication is that Nicodemus’ support of Jesus was evident.
As we approach Easter this year, I hope that none of us can be described as having contempt for Christ. I also hope that we are not confused regarding His glorious person or His works. Finally, I hope that our confession is one of faith and love. Jesus deserves no less.
I stated above that I once had contempt for Christ and that I was once confused. That was before I understood the meaning of Easter. That was before I personally experienced a spiritual resurrection that we vocational theologians call regeneration. I was born again. A God-hater was transformed into a God-lover. That’s why I enjoy celebrating the empty cross and tomb and an occupied throne! I hope you do as well!