Sermon #53 John’s Gospel
Title: Why was Christ so hated?
Text: John 7:1-13
Subject: The World’s Hatred of Christ
Date: Sunday Morning — June 21, 2009
Tape: John #53
Reading: Song of Solomon 4:16-5:16
Why was Christ so hated? The fact that our Lord Jesus Christ, while he walked through this world was utterly hated by men is obvious. — As soon as opportunity was given them the princes of this world crucified the Lord of Glory. Why? That is the question I want to answer in this message. — Why was Christ so hated? Turn with me to the 7th chapter of the Gospel of John, and you will see the answer given very plainly by the Lord Jesus himself.
(John 7:1-13) After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. (2) Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. (3) His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. (4) For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. (5) For neither did his brethren believe in him.
(6) Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. (7) The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. (8) Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come. (9) When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
(10) But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. (11) Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? (12) And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. (13) Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
This chapter opens with John’s declaration that the Jews sought to kill the Lord Jesus. He was so hated, so viciously despised that the Jews, that is the religious leaders among the Jews (the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the priests, the elders, etc.) were looking for a way to murder him, without appearing to have done anything contrary to the law of God.
The Jews’ Feast
The first thing that is obvious in this passage is the fact that multitudes have a form of godliness, who have no knowledge of God. Multitudes are religious, but lost. We read in verse 2 — “Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand” (v.2).
What scathing words of condemnation those are! The Divinely ordained Feast of Tabernacles is here referred to by the Spirit of God as “the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles!” This blessed ordinance of Divine worship had so degenerated that it was no longer observed as an ordinance of Divine worship, but as a custom of Jewish religious tradition.
The Feast of Tabernacles was a feast God commanded the children of Israel to keep on the 15th day of the seventh month of every year, to celebrate His goodness to His people. After they had gathered in the fruits of the land, they were to dwell in tents for seven days in remembrance of the forty years spent in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:34-36, 39-44). The feast was the grand harvest festival, when the Lord of harvest was praised for his mercies.
(Leviticus 23:34-36) Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. (35) On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (36) Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
(Leviticus 23:39-44) Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (40) And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. (41) And ye shall keep it a feast unto the LORD seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. (42) Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: (43) That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. (44) And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD.
This Feast of Tabernacles was a time when Israel was reminded that they dwelt in booths in the wilderness and God dwelt with them in the cloudy and fiery pillar. But it spoke of more than that. It foreshadowed that time when God came here and tabernacled in human flesh that He might at last bring God and man together in eternal glory and perfect fellowship, with sin and every evil consequence of it forever expiated, put away, purged, gone, and forgotten forever!
(John 1:14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
(Psalms 72:16-19) There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. (17) His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. (18) Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. (19) And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
(Revelation 21:1-7) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (2) And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (6) And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (7) He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
How sad, how horribly, horribly sad it is to see multitudes today doing exactly what the Jews in our Lord’s day had done — clinging to a form of godliness while denying the power thereof — clinging to outward ceremonies while despising spiritual worship!
Let us ever seek grace for God the Holy Spirit to pray with the spirit and pray with the understanding also, — to sing with the spirit and sing with the understanding also, — to read with the spirit and read with the understanding also, — to hear with the spirit and hear with the understanding also, — to worship with the spirit and worship with the understanding also!
Second, we see in our Savior’s brethren a glaring declaration of the fact that it is impossible for anyone to believe on the Son of God except by the call, gift, operation and power of God the Holy Spirit. So obstinate, so desperately wicked, so great is the hardness and unbelief of human nature that we are plainly told — “Neither did His brethren believe in Him” (v. 5). Holy and harmless and blameless as He was in life, our Lord’s nearest relatives, according to the flesh, did not receive Him as the Messiah, did not trust Him as their Savior, and did not worship Him as the God-man Mediator. It was bad enough that His own people, “the Jews sought to kill Him.” But it was even worse that “His brethren did not believe.”
(John 7:3-5) His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. (4) For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. (5) For neither did his brethren believe in him.
These “brethren” were our Savior’s earthly kinsmen (Matthew 12:46-47; 13:55). These “brethren” urged the Lord Jesus to go to Jerusalem, the center of Judaism, and let His followers there see the mighty works and miracles He was doing. They thought that the Feast of Tabernacles would be a good time for Him to demonstrate His powers, since multitudes of Jews would be in Jerusalem for the feast.
“His brethren” wanted the Lord Jesus to obtain fame; but cared nothing for the glory of God. They thought his fame would be their advantage. They said, “If you want fame and notoriety you’ve got to put yourself in the lime light. Go to Jerusalem. Nobody will ever know who you are, if you only preach in these small country villages! — You’ve got to go to Jerusalem and there ‘shew Thyself unto the world’” (v. 4). These are the same “His brethren” who said, in Mark 3:21, “He is beside himself!”
The fact is, with men, faith in Christ is an utter impossibility. So hard, so depraved, is the heart of fallen man that our Lord’s own kinsmen, though they lived constantly in His company, observed His day by day conduct, watched perfection live before them, saw His miracles and heard every word He spoke, — His own kinsmen did not believe!
The mere possession of spiritual advantages and privileges has no saving efficacy. All is useless without the irresistible grace and power of God the Holy Spirit. In John 6, our Lord Jesus said, — “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him…No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father who has sent me draw him” (John 6:44, 65).
We often hear people assigning blame to preachers and preachers assigning blame to church members for the lack of conversions in a place, as though we might be able to increase the number of God’s elect, if we just did things differently! Do not be so foolish! Salvation is God’s prerogative. — “Salvation is of the Lord!”
Third, we are reminded that everything comes to pass at God’s appointed time. — “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Without question, everything connected with the incarnation, life, obedience, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was accomplished at His own Divinely appointed time.
(John 7:6-8) Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. (7) The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. (8) Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come.
The Lord Jesus refused to go up to the feast with His brethren at this particular time, because the time or hour was not yet come for Him to publicly display His miracles in Jerusalem, to have a head-on confrontation with the religious leaders, to reveal Himself as the Messiah and King, and so to stir up their enmity and fears of Him which would lead them to crucify Him in open shame. He said to these brethren, “Your time is always ready,” or anytime is suitable for you; for you are of the world, and the world does not hate you. They had in mind, like everyone else, an earthly kingdom, great favor and the applause of the world. But our Lord came to redeem a people, to condemn the social, political and religious world in general. Therefore, He incurred the wrath of all. When the appointed time came, He showed Himself and accomplished His death at Jerusalem.
(Romans 5:6-8) For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (7) For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. (8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
And everything connected with the salvation of His people is accomplished at His own appointed time of love (Galatians 4:4-6).
(Galatians 4:4-6) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, (5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
The World’s Hatred
Fourth, our Lord Jesus tells us plainly in verse seven that He was hated by the world in which He lived simply because He showed that its works are evil.
(John 7:7) The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
He says to “His brethren,” his own kinsmen after the flesh, “The world cannot hate you.” That makes it obvious that He is talking to men who are themselves very religious. They are discussing religious, theological, prophetic issues in this chapter. These are not drunks, profligate and morally degenerate derelicts. These men were, themselves, upstanding, conservative religious people. Yet, He says, to them, “The world cannot hate you.”
Obviously, “the world,” in this context, refers to the religious people of this world, or the religion of this world. He is referring to the self-righteous, works religion that is embraced, promoted, loved and (to a greater or lesser degree) practiced by men everywhere. It may be called Islam, or Judaism, or Christianity, Animism, or Hinduism, or Atheism; but it is the religion of the world. It is embraced by men and women everywhere. And they are enraged when it is shown to be evil (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
(Proverbs 14:12) There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Our Savior here declares that the reason the world hated Him so was “because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” And that which was true then is true today. It was so even from the beginning. Those things that men call good works, by which they hope they have God’s favor, our God and Savior declares to be evil. That was the reason Cain murdered Abel.
The fact is, as Calvin put it, “the Gospel cannot be faithfully preached without summoning the whole world, as guilty, to the judgment-seat of God, that flesh and blood may thus be crushed and reduced to nothing.”
Exactly how did the Lord Jesus testify against these men, that their works were evil?
The world loves religion. It will embrace and be tolerant of every form of religion. It will demand respect for all religions, except the Gospel of Christ. That the world cannot receive. The Gospel…
Fifth, we see in verses 10-13 that men everywhere are divided from one another by three very strong opinions about the Lord Jesus Christ.
(John 7:10-13) But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. (11) Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? (12) And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. (13) Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
1. Some say that He is a good man.
2. Others say He is a deceiver of men.
Those two groups of people will always find some way or other to get along, like conservative and liberal politicians. But the third group they will not embrace.
3. Believers know and are sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the only Savior of fallen men.
What think ye of Christ?
“Though all the world my choice deride,
Yet Jesus shall my portion be;
For I am pleased with none beside ;
The fairest of the fair is He.”
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