16 January 2010

John 7 - Organism or organisation?

< John 6 | Index | John 8 >

Now we get to the root of things. John 7 describes how Yahshua goes up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (an autumnal feast). It seems he remains there right through to the winter. Real and artificial rosesAt the Passover he will die and three days later he will rise again. Even in the autumn he is clearly aware the authorities are planning to kill him. He travels and arrives incognito (verse 10).

Halfway through the feast he went to the Temple and started teaching, amazing the scribes and Pharisees by his knowledge (verses 14-15). Slowly it dawned on people that this really was the man the authorities had wanted to kill. But because he was teaching openly and they'd done nothing to him, the crowd began to wonder if the authorities were now convinced he was the Messiah. (verses 25-26).

They believed that when the Messiah came, nobody would know where he came from. Yahshua was known to come from Nazareth in Galilee, so this ruled him out. Knowing what they were thinking he said, 'Yes, you know where I'm from. But the One who sent me is true. You don't know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.' (verses 27-29) They knew where he was from (Nazareth) yet they didn't know where he was from (heaven). We are all too capable of making similar mistakes. In very many cases, church is run as a earthly organisation, not a heavenly organism. Our rules tend to be about structures, Father's rules are always about life. What a contrast!

Chapter 7 of John reveals the Son living according to everything the Father shows him in the moment. And it also shows religious authority trying to impose 'correct' structure and behaviour. As Yahshua told them clearly, 'My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me.' (verse 16)

And they tried to arrest him but no-one took hold of him. Four times in the space of a few seconds he has used the phrase 'I am'. That is almost certainly what enraged them. They tried to take him, but the crowd was dense, many had put their faith in him and nobody in the crowd would take hold of him and hand him over. How infuriating!

'I am' might sound like an inoffensive phrase, but it sounds very similar to the name of the Most High, Yahweh or Jehovah. It was probably pronounced something like 'Yah-Veh'. To the Jewish authorities it was an affront of the worst kind, he had uttered the name of the Most High, the name that must not be spoken except once a year by the High Priest inside the Holy of Holies. This was an outrage. To this day devout Jews say 'Ha-Shem' instead of 'Yah-Veh'. Ha-Shem simply means 'the Name'. To see this outrage in action again later, read John 8:58-59, John 18:4-6 and Mark 14:61-64 (if the name was uttered in his presence, the High Priest was required to tear his robes).

The important thing for us to understand is that earthly rules don't apply to Yahshua because he comes from the Father. He does not live according to the world but according to heaven. He was not playing by the rules laid down by the Jewish authorities, he was playing by the rules laid down by his Father. Suppose that a rugby team and a cricket team decided to play a match. Would it work? No! It would be chaos, everyone would be confused. Even the referee and the umpire would be at a total loss.

We, as Yahshua's followers, have to play by his rules, not by the world's rules. This has a massive impact on our daily lives (or at least, it should). Church is a living organism (the body, the Bride) not an organisation. Christ died so that we might have life - not structure! He gave us one way, love, not law. He came to make us free, not so that we could tie one another down with dos and don'ts. A living rose can grow and reproduce with no effort on our part, a paper rose cannot. Praise him!

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