11. On the lookout

Short Meditations in John 7:  11.  On the lookout

Jn 7:11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”

So Jesus is going to Jerusalem for the Feast and the Jewish leaders know he normally attends such times, so they see this as an opportunity to check him out and possibly cause trouble for him. Perhaps we shouldn’t imply that from this verse on its own but we know by what has gone before and what follows that that was their inclination. Before long Jesus is going to bring that right out into the open. But for the moment, there is just a question, “Where is he?” but perhaps we might imply that in their critical minds there will also be, “And what is he doing?”

In the previous study we considered the need to listen for the Father’s will. Jesus taught earlier, “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.” (Jn 5:19) That is one side of the equation of the Christian life; the other is learning to recognise what the enemy is doing.

John in his first letter said that, that the whole world is under the control of the evil one,” (1 Jn 5:19) implying that Satan leads unbelievers by the nose to do his bidding. in the next chapter here, we will see Jesus challenging the Jewish unbelievers, You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jn 8:44)

From the temptation of Jesus by Satan, seen at the beginning of the Gospels, we know that Satan’s intent was to throw Jesus off track. It is amazing that Satan was not aware – or if he was, he just didn’t understand – that salvation would come to the world through Jesus’ death. If he had he might have sought to preserve Jesus’ life but that was never an issue. He put wrong thinking into Peter’s mind (see Mt 16:23) and he led Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus (Lk 22:3) and he obviously wanted to bring Peter and the others down (Lk 22:31,32).

The wise believer learns and understands these things and so when Jesus encouraged us to pray, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” (Mt 6:13) he was not being casual about it, there was a very real reason for it. This is not to mean we are looking all the time for demons under the bed, but it does mean we heed Jesus’ counsel: Don’t be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me,” so,be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Mt 10:17,16 – Message & NKJV) To summarize? Be alert and wise.

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