As I was preparing for this session of journaling, I somehow ended up with 2 post for chapter 7. I could not decide which to post, so I put them both here! Enjoy!
John 7: Not Always As It Appears
“Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” John 7:24 (NLT)
People are gathering and talking. They are questioning Jesus. Even His brothers don’t believe Him. There is a lot of talking and division. Those who do believe won’t speak up, they are afraid of the Jewish leaders. They are looking for Him and wondering why He isn’t there at the festival. Then Jesus shows up at the temple and begins teaching.
Earlier in the chapter, in verse 7, Jesus says the world hates Him because He accuses it of doing evil. And then in the temple He begins to speak directly to the pharisees, those who accuse Him of not obeying the law. He calls them out for doing the same thing they accuse Him of doing. then He says in verse 24, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”
It can be so easy to judge other’s actions simply by what I can see. And how quickly I can jump to conclusions based on such little information. And oh, how rampant is it today to call out others simply because of something we see or a comment that is made. The reality is there is so much more beneath the surface. My thoughts, beliefs, actions, convictions, opinions, responses are all based on my processes, journey and circumstances. I must also recognize that about others. I can’t let myself assume I know or understand why someone says or does something.
I must look beneath the surface. This means I have to go deeper in my relationships to know their heart. It’s in intentional, real relationship that I can get to the core of any issue. There are definitely times where I need correction and to be called out on my actions, but I won’t always respond to those who haven’t taken the time to really know me, to go deeper. So, why would I expect that others would hear my heart when I just spout off my thoughts and opinions. If I want to make a difference in n people’s lives I must be willing to put in the work of relationship. AND, I must also look deeper into my own heart and motives, allowing the Holy Spirit to purify and cleanse my heart of malice, un-forgiveness, offense, selfish ambitions, critical judgement and whatever other junk is hardening my heart to Jesus and toward people.
Lord, I pray today for a heart like yours. A heart that loves people right where they are. I desire for real, authentic relationships where I allow others to speak into my life. Teach me to respect others journey not always jumping to judgments. I want to see people like you see them. Teach me to love like you love. Amen.
John 7: Thirsty
“Anyone who is thirsty may come to me. Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, rivers of living water will flow from His heart.” John 7:37-38 (NLT)
Jesus is speaking at the temple during a Jewish festival. The religious leaders have and continue to question who he is. He shows up and begins speaking to them of His work and their doubt of who He is..
Jesus says, “anyone who is thirsty may come to me.” (V37). And my heart responds, yes, I am thirsty! The weight of everything leaves me feeling parched and desperate for a fresh drink. What I see in the news, the things I hear in politics, the conversations on social media and the brokenness of it all can leave me depleted, heavy and longing for refreshing.
Jesus, I am thirsty. Fill me with a fresh outpouring of your Holy Spirit. Refresh and fill my soul. Allow your living water to cleanse and refresh every part of my soul. I pray for more and more of your Spirit, let it flow through me and out of me.
In verse 38 Jesus says that for anyone who believes and drinks, rivers of living water will flow from their heart. The thirst is for His Spirit and it is for me, but it will flow out of me. I know that the world needs Jesus. Those in my life need His presence and the hope He offers. I pray today that the filling and refreshing I experience would flow over and reach those in my life.
Today I pray for a deeper understanding of my responsibility. Where can I offer hope? My desire is that wherever I go, His peace will be present. Lord, teach me to just lead those around me to you. I pray my life would reflect your heart for all people. Amen.
What is God speaking to you today through John 7? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.