Sunday, January 15, 2023
By Nichole Easterling, Journey Middle School Ministry Resident
Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you anytime will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” – John 7:6-8
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” How often do we look around us and make assumptions about others initially by what they are doing before we ever hear them speak from the heart? Do these assumptions about people ever cause you to avoid relationships with someone? How are YOUR own personal actions speaking to who you are? Are your actions matching up with your words? And how does it feel when people make assumptions about you that are incorrect?
These are questions I feel followers of Christ can find themselves struggling with. There are so many outside blanket assumptions that people make about Christians, and many of them (rightly so) are based on some Christian’s less than Christ-like actions. The result is that we are now having to battle against these assumptions in order to shine the true light of Christ.
If you connect with this struggle, you are not alone. Christ did too. In John 7, we see Jesus battling assumptions from those around him, while also being bombarded with constant questions about his actions. Some were questioning Him directly. Others were questioning behind His back. It says in verses 3-5 that Jesus’ own brothers were questioning him and trying to tell Jesus what to do…”even his own brothers did not believe in him.” (vs. 5) Jesus is the perfect example of what a bold faith looks like through actions and speech.
Read Jesus’ response to his brothers: “Therefore Jesus told them, ‘My time is not yet here; for you anytime will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.’” (John 7:6-8)
Christ knew who he was. He didn’t let the outside assumptions of those around take away from his ministry and His goal for the Kingdom. Look to Christ’s example when you’re facing wrongful assumptions about who you are as a follower of Christ. React in love and continue to do what’s right. Christians will always be under scrutiny, but know that God is on your side. He knows your heart. Stay faithful in those moments, just as Christ did in the midst of adversity.
“Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for sending us the perfect example of your son. Lord, I pray that you keep my eyes and ears focused on you and not to let the lies and negative assumptions around me take away from the bigger picture inside the body of Christ. Thank you God for your faithfulness in our lives. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.