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The Master Over Darkness

John 7:7-11
The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?" (NIV)

Jesus knew that He was in a conflict. He did not hate anyone, but sinful people hated Him because His light exposed their dark secrets. His human brothers were also sinners (unlike the Son of God); they posed no holy threat to the fake righteousness of the religious leaders. So although it was safe for them to go with the crowd from Galilee to the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem, Jesus chose not to be ambushed along the road. Instead, He travelled alone and unrecognised.

The focus of the Feast should have been praising God for His goodness, providing for His people during wilderness wanderings 1,500 years previously. Instead, the religious leaders had their attention on Jesus - not to worship Him but to locate Him and kill Him. Their zeal for God had been replaced by a jealous love of themselves; guarding their dark hearts against the light of God's truth. Their worship was self-centred and, although they read God's Word at the Feast, they refused to submit to what He said. Indeed, their ambition was to destroy Jesus (the Word of God) so that they could eliminate true holiness from their horizon for ever, and live in the delusion of their own 'righteousness'.

Once people understand who Jesus is, He challenges everything we cherish. Those who seek their own glory, or worship idols, do not want Jesus as their Master. Yes, they are content for Him to be a spiritual advisor, good teacher and moral example. But they do not want to submit to Him as God the Son, the Creator, the Life-giver, Saviour and Judge of all. So, to worship Him as King of kings and Lord of lords would require a miracle. That miracle starts when people are willing to hear how the Bible describes Jesus and then respond to His call. If you are a believer, then your task is to tell them the truth about Jesus; encourage them to read the Gospels in their own language. Then pray that they will cooperate with God's Holy Spirit, and be saved. Whatever they have done, they can be forgiven and welcomed into His kingdom. He can still deal with their darkness because He is the Light of the World.

Holy God. I am glad that You do not play religious games, but You expose darkness in order that people will be convicted of their sin, repent and come into Your Light. I am sorry when I have not been serious about holiness and have been more interested in being recognised and applauded than for Your righteousness to be in my heart. And if there is hidden wickedness in my heart, please show me and give me grace to repent. Please help me to reset my focus on Jesus, so that I may worship Him truly and serve Him wholeheartedly. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams