Jesus is relentless in His focus.
Over and over and over and over again, He hammers home two truths:
- He knows who He is and where His focus lies:
- Of the Father
- All about doing God’s will
- Judges rightly
- In relationship with God
- Living Water
- From Above
- Not of this world
- Focused on the Father’s will
2. He knows who we are and where our focus lies.
In speaking to the Jews who believed,
He says about them:
He says about them:
following their own will
judging by appearances
not in a relationship with God
of this world
dead in their sins
not of God
of the devil
In chapter 7, He is at what is analogous to a huge modern day revival or spiritual conference. All the Jews are gathering together to celebrate the Feast of Booths. In chapter 8, verse 37, it says that Jesus is specifically addressing the Jews who believed in Him!
The bulleted words above are directed to those people who believed in Him. Can we imagine listening to the preacher saying these same things that Jesus says? I am reminded about the words of Revelation that are directed specifically to the churches.
There He says, “I am about to spit you out!”
If someone comes into our lives, be it from the pulpit, or one-on-one, how do we
react if we are spoken to like this? How do we expect them to speak to us?
- never tries to make His words palatable
- never gets sidetracked
- never changes His message.
- doesn’t slow down even when people don’t get it.
- is not concerned with popularity
- boldly speaks about what is real and true
- doesn’t come up with some kind of nifty slogan or appealing outreach program in order to attract and keep followers.
Yet again, I ask myself, is this how I am?
Are there“believers” among us today that need to hear these same words? Obviously, believing is not enough. Even the demons believe. Jesus clearly says in 8:22 “whoever follows me will not walk in darkness.” In 8:31, He says, “if you hold to my teachings, you are truly my disciples.” Do I walk as Jesus walked? Do I talk as Jesus talked? Am I bold? Am I relentless in my focus? Am I willing to speak truth because my goal is to point people to the Father? Or do I fear losing popularity? Do I fear offending others? Am I willing to love others enough to speak the truth?
On the other hand, when I hear or read the words of God, am I open to correction? If someone were to speak with me this way, would I listen or would I find a way to “kill the messenger?” There are many ways to tune out a messenger, but I think the biggest way we tend to do it, is to say that because they are not Jesus, they have no right to tell us or show us what we personally need to repent of. We somehow think that if Jesus were the one talking to us, we would hear it and accept it. But that wasn’t the case with these folks. They had Jesus in the flesh and yet they were looking for ways to kill Him because they didn’t like what He was saying.
Wow, I hope we aren’t like this. I hope that if we find ourselves turning off or tuning out or getting angry at someone’s words, we would make an extra effort to hear the truth of the message and let it pierce our hearts and change our lives.
I pray that we will all be relentless in our focus and relentless in rooting out sin; in ourselves, in others, in our congregations. The world teaches political correctness. Jesus doesn’t.