You might have noticed that these last few weeks, we are working our way through the book of John. This week, we will look at John 7 & 8, and then next week we will start a series loosely based on my teaching series Making Sense of the Life God Gave You.
One of the things I love about going through a book of the Bible is that it forces us to face things we otherwise wouldn’t. Today, we face the fact that God isn’t linear and doesn’t always do what we expect. In John 7, there is a festival. Jesus’ brothers, being intelligent, business-minded men, point out what a great marketing opportunity the Festival is for Jesus:
“Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” (Verse 2-4)
Jesus reacts as we’ve come to expect him to. In essence, he says “that’s a bad idea, the timing is not right.”
Here’s the kicker – he goes anyway! He doesn’t go when his brothers do, but he goes to the Festival, teaches, and generally irritates everyone.
Mark Batterson wrote a book called Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God. This passage of scripture reminds me of Batterson’s book. God is unpredictable. Just when you think He is going right, he goes left. Even after Jesus says he isn’t going, he goes anyway.
When faced with this reality, we need to let ourselves be challenged:
- The Christian life isn’t about looking for absolutes. When we are looking for absolutes (should I go or not?) we miss the subtle voice of the Holy Spirit who might close a door only to open it a few minutes later.
- The Spirit is dynamic and dependable. I like to have structure in my life. It makes me feel safe. Yet, if I get too much structure, I disallow the one thing that makes this life worth living – the voice of the Holy Spirit. Instead, we need to put in place structures that will ensure that we have the mental and audio space to hear God’s voice.
- My interpretations can be wrong. The Pharisees knew the Scripture. They knew is so much that they could say with certainty “Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” I don’t know for sure if they were speaking culturally or textually, but they were certain that Jesus, being from Galilee, couldn’t be a prophet. They were certain that He couldn’t be from God. If they could be so wrong, then I need to listen carefully to hear what God is saying – it might change my perspective.
What do you do when God doesn’t make sense? Do you search for certainty, or are you able to surf the waves of God’s activity?