John 7: In Harmony with God
I have returned from a trip to New York with children and grandchildren and I stumble upon this reflection written after a summertime visit to the beach. It seems appropriate again in this springtime of 2016 when so many hearts grow weary from the news of a troubled world, to return to the basic truth that we will continue to struggle to live together until we agree to live in harmony with God.
After spending a number of days with children and grandchildren who love to vacation at the ocean together in a jumble of towels, wet bathing suits, games, snacks, sleeping bags and favorite toys, I marvel again at how these families can come together to find a common way of approaching life’s small and big obstacles. They do not do my will or their own; they return to what has brought them together in the first place and they act in accord with the values they hold in common. They know their origin and they know their worth. They know that when they live in harmony with a something greater than themselves that sees only good . . . they cannot fail to enjoy one another’s company. As I open scripture today, I am grateful for this gift we hold in common and I am thankful for an opportunity to reflect on how we bloom as humans when we try to live a life of harmony with God.
John 7 is “a discrete literary unit, with a clear beginning point at 7:1 where the locus of Jesus’ activity is discussed. The episode reaches a culmination with the appearance of Nicodemus and the official rejection of Jesus in Jerusalem. Unlike chap. 6, chap. 7 has few points of contact with the Synoptics [Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke] . . . Chapter 7 is a carefully constructed narrative containing dialogue”. In this chapter we see the “deadly intent” of Jesus’ enemies. “The Jews who are there seeking Jesus (v.11) are apparently hostile and to be distinguished from the crowds of people who are divided but for fear of the Jews keep quiet (vv. 12-13); on the motif of the fear of the Jews see 9:22; 12:42; cf. 20:19)”. (Mays 969)
In verses 14 through 31 we see “the characteristic attempt to explain Jesus on the basis of inadequate knowledge of his origin (cf. 1:46; 6:42). Jesus immediately sets matters straight (7:16). That Jesus’ will is in complete harmony with God’s has already been stated (6:38); now the very recognition of the fact is said to depend upon the intention to do God’s will. As Jesus’ unity with God is a unity of will, unity with Jesus depends on a similar unity with God’s will”. (Mays 970)
We see the official response in verses 31 through 52. The authorities, believing that they are the chosen people who have entered into a covenant with God mediated by Moses, do not believe Jesus to be the Messiah. Jesus’ acts and words are viewed as divisive, in this sense, because they do not coincide with the acts and words of the leadership and so . . . “The division over Jesus among the Jewish people falls more or less along the lines between officialdom and general populace”. (Mays 971)
We know how this story ends, with Jesus praying in the garden that his task might pass him by, but with Jesus’ will in complete harmony with God’s.
We know how this story ends, with Jesus suffering as the sacrificial lamb, yet with Jesus’ will in complete harmony with God’s.
We know how this story ends, with Jesus rising from death to live again, and with Jesus’ will in complete harmony with God’s.
We know how this story ends, with Jesus sharing his transformation with those who have eyes to see and ears to listen . . . with those who hope to live as Jesus does . . . striving to bring their will into harmony with God’s.
Mays, James L., ed. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 969-971. Print.
For insight into the connection between science and religion, click on the image above or visit: http://themuslimtimes.info/2016/03/16/six-scientists-on-the-relationship-between-science-and-religion/