Reframing Refreshment | John 7:25-52

February 24, 2019 Speaker: Christopher Rich Series: REFRAMING JESUS | Portraits of Glory from John's Gospel

Topic: Gospel Passage: John 7:25–52

ntroduction | What Refreshes you?

Good Morning Welcome to Damascus Road where we are Saved by Jesus Work,Changed by Jesus’ Grace, and Living on Jesus’s Mission. Today we are continuing our series REFRAMING JESUS: Portraits of Glory from John’s Gospel.In Reframing Jesus, our desire isn’t to reinvent Jesus into someone He is not or make Jesus into an image we are more comfortable with. Instead, we seek to have our portrait of Jesus reframed by John’s Gospel to see Him as accurately and glorious as possible.

Where do we find refreshment? Who are the people you spend time, the places you go, the experience you have, the accomplishment you enjoy, meal you have, trip you take, or activity you enjoy that when you’re done engaging with you realize you’ve go from tired and maybe even tender to energized and encouraged? When is a time that you were encouraged, comforted, cared for and you didn’t realize how discouraged, pained, or isolated you were? We are all in need of refreshment. Why do we need it? Because we live in an imperfect world marked by sin and brokenness corporately, in others, and our own heart. Not all is evil, there is good so our experience in this world can be enjoyable at times. However, the more we journey in life the more we begin to realize we are more like sojourners wondering in a wilderness that we are royal citizens strolling through a utopia wonderland. So as we go we will get tired, fatigued, frustrated, discouraged, and we will wonder how many more steps we can take. When is the next rest area, the next oasis in the desert? What makes you thirsty? What are you going through, or have you gone through that has left you parched? How do you know you’re dry and wilting internally rather than facing adversity of conditions externally? Because, sometimes it’s not simply either/or, it’s both/and.

Needing refreshment is a reality for everyone that reminds us all we are finite and fragile. So the question isn’t going to be do we need to be refreshed, but where are we going to find it? We have souls built to crave eternity, but we have answers for refreshment that are by their nature temporary, when the meal is over, the trip ends, time with friend/family has closed, activities have ran their course what are you going to drink from that will provide the deep soul level refreshment we all crave and need. We need to be fueled and fed by a source that can truly sustain and satisfy. We need to look to an eternal God who provides for His people in all our places of wilderness an unending source eternal living water to sustain us and that can provide true renewal to continue on this journey. In Jesus we are Reframing Refreshment.

PART I | Reframing His Origin | John 7:25-31

John 7:25-31 |25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

The feast of tabernacles continues…. The pinnacle of the religious calendar for God’s people (at least from a feasting and enjoyment standpoint) This was an anticipated time where people would gather not necessarily to cry out to God hoping He would provide, forgive sin, actively work, but instead it was a celebration acknowledging that has been faithful to His people to provide in wilderness and that God has richly blessed them this past year with rain, crops, harvest etc. So this is a time not of thirst but of feasting.It’s in this context that a deeper thirst emerges and bigger existential questions are being asked all focused around who Jesus is, what does who He is mean, and how they should respond? They should be full and happy but they are confused. If Jesus is a blasphemous criminal and stands accused from the leaders why haven’t they done anything? They have doubts about Jesus but also religious leaders because maybe they know he really is the Christ.We think we know about Jesus the man, but people here really wrestled with how the details line up. We see in verse 27 that biblical illiteracy was just as much an issues then as now. People believed “wrongly” that there would be no indication of where the Christ would come from, yet there are OT promises of the line of David and being born in the town/village of Bethlehem.

Jesus knows this question and he knows all your questions and He is there to provide clarity with His identity. Jesus identity is tied to His origin, Jesus is God and Jesus is from God. The question isn’t ‘where is He from’, “you know, I come from God, that’s not the question.” Jesus is who He says He is, the question is what is your response going to be?While there is doubt and direct opposition (some wanted him arrested, but we’ll see later why it didn’t happen) Many actually had their doubts answered with a satisfying question “Is the Christ going to do more that this? What more are we looking for?” We’ve been searching, longing for a God to act and move while we’ve endured 400 years of silence and countless generations of separation. Here is the one from God, who is God we’ve waited for it’s clear in who He is/what he’s done.

PART II |Reframing Destination |John 7:32-36

John 7:32-36 |32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. 33 Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

The reaction to people trusting Jesus for who He is, from the religious leaders is more opposition. People are seeing hope realized, renewed, and refreshed and the religious response is “nope”. They send their temple police to arrest him, but it’s not time for the conflict to come to a head. Again confusion reigns “maybe he’ll go teach the Jewish Greeks or the Greek Greeks, we’d never find him there because we don’t engage past racial lines or beyond our comfort level” Jesus present ministry on the earth, in history, in first century Israel is absolutely significant, so much so that we constantly look back to that time to learn, wonder, and grow. But it is not His only ministry, He is more than a teacher/prophet. Jesus is talking about His death, resurrection, and ascension (glorification) to heaven. You can’t reach where Jesus is going…..

PART III | Reframing Thirst |John 7:37-39

John 7:37-39 |37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

But there is an offer from a God who pursues in the wilderness…. This feast was to celebrate God’s provision to His people in a desert wilderness. It has a great ceremony each day where there is a formal public procession where big bowls of water and wine are poured out over an alter to commemorate God who is was present with His people, God who provides for His people, God who sustains His people. This happens 7 times on the last day and people cry out from the Psalms “Give thanks to the Lord!” They’re remembering what God did in Exodus 17:1-17 Where a rock struck (broken open) to produce fresh water at time when people had been so thirsty, so in need of water, so desirous of refreshment that they began to let confusion and quarreling reign. They were angry with God.They doubted God’s goodness and care. They said “God you took us out of slavery in Egypt to simply let us die in the desert…. of thirst...” God’s answer for their doubt, their discord, their deep thirst was miraculous provision. It was a place and time of great quarreling where they were asking the essential question “is the Lord among us or not?” This question was in the city during the festival, and it’s one each of us we wrestle with in wilderness. Can we trust God, when we thirst?

It’s the great day! Biggest crowds, the epoch of the celebration of who God is and what He’s done. It the culmination of a week of feasting and celebration people have to be pretty full of food, drink, fellowship, etc. Surely a point of most material, emotional, even spiritual “fullness/freshment: You can be so full of xyz and still there is great thirst, there is part of you that is simply not quenched. Even in at the end of a great time of enjoyment or refreshment, there is the shadow we all know is lurking. We know we’ll thirst again.

Where are you thirsty? I ask this again because When you say you need refreshment, you need rest, you thirst, you are admitting you’re in a place of humility where you don’t have “freshment”, you’re not fully rested, you’re not completely satisfied you are in need. We experience thirst relationally in how we engage with and need connection with others, how we crave a settled sense of self, and how much being separated from God because of sin leave us parched for a sense of security. The world gets this concept: 

NY Times article in 2017 defines “Thirsty, describes a graceless need for approval, affection or attention, one so raw that it creeps people out.” 20th century scientist Hans Selye the “father of Stress” : “As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation.” We are saying there is a deep soul level thirst from the fact we live our lives in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Desiring approval and affection is not wrong, having fear of condemnation is not wrong. We are made to reflect God’s approval “He calls us Very Good” and we have sin that has separated us from Him and places us in condemnation. So we thirst for relief. This thirst and how we deal with it on our own as sinners manifest itself in two key ways:

The self-indulgent sinner does has some concept of thirst. (even now it’s slang for desiring sexual intimacy) it is clear there is a longing in their heart for acceptance, approval, affection, the comes from wandering in a spiritual desert weary with dry mouth, cracked lips and even if they see a toilet they’re start drinking deeply anything that will provide a moment satiation to not “feel” thirsty. Even if it’s salt water you can be so thirsty you’ll take a big swig. Your mouth puckers up nothing is satisfied and you’re even more thirsty after and so you keep going back and back. You see this in destructive relationships, addictions, even in more benign ways of constantly pursing comfort, success, entertainment, or distractions. It won’t quench…

The self-righteous sinner also struggles with thirst but it looks a lot different. They’re in the same deep soul level condition of thirst in a place that is dry and weary and they walk around the desert…. Boldly acting and claiming their own self-deception that they’re simply not thirsty. Shame on any self-indulgent person for succumbing to thirst. If only you had more self-discipline you wouldn’t be drinking from the toilet or suffering from salt water. All the while they are wasting away suffering from terminal dehydration of the soul. They’re not any more satisfied than the self-indulgent, and they may even begin to secretly drink from poisonous wells. They resent the self-indulgent as weak, and the self-indulgent resents the them as prideful Both are suffering from this deep thirst.The self-righteous and the self-indulgent will have the same fate, one is drinking what will kill them the other will eventually suffer from dehydration as the fact of both remains their thirst is not quenched. There is hope… Where are we going to go to find this refreshment, where are we going to go to have our thirst quenched? In Jesus! In belief. Belief in Him is quenching to our soul because Jesus is the living water. Jesus has mercy and grace for both!! Jesus offers living water to both. Jesus knows both are thirsty, Jesus knows both have bought a lie that they can quench their thirst without Him either with the brokenness of the world or with themselves. Jesus wants life for both.

Isaiah 12:3-4 |With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. And you will say in that day:

“Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted.

In Jesus we have our thirst for acceptance quenched and our dread for condemnation comforted. This is more than a cognitive belief (but it includes that) but a soul level trust. It is more than we can do because it’s the refreshment that comes from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit arrives after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.What will quench this soul level thirst is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of believers. 

This is a new dispensation, a transition point in how God the Holy Spirit interacts with and is experienced by God’s people. In the OT you see the out pouring and working of the Holy Spirit in the lives of specific individuals for a specific season and reason. What is being talked about here is an out pouring of the Holy Spirit that we end up seeing in Pentecost where it become a necessary and normative part of being born again (from above) and living a life of gracious growth in the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is the presence and power of God in the life of a believer. He has been given and is present in the life of everyone believe in Jesus as their savior and king, not some select crew of varsity believers, or “prayer warriors”. If you are in Christ, if you Trust Jesus then that is a work of the Holy Spirit, that is evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in you. He is given for (as Greg Allison says) for the growth of Christians and of the church. Growth for maturity as we are made more and more in the image of Christ, and growth in mission as we serve as conduits of the Holy Spirit proclaiming and presenting the Gospel to a world with a deep soul level thirst for the living water that can only come from Jesus. So in the festival there is the remembrance of a symbol of God working to meet us in our deep thirst. Jesus is the rock struck so fresh living water would flow to God’s people for God’s people. We can have our souls revived, refreshed, remade 

PART III | Reframing Response |John 7:40-52

John 7:40-52 |40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the villagewhere David was?”43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived?48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Jesus offer, Jesus call, to come and believe in Him to satisfy our deepest thirsts and longings has to be met with a response. Our response to Jesus call matters… How will you respond?

Prophet – Hey these are really good words and Jesus is an encouraging teacher. No, he’s more than the one who points us to where water is found, He is the source of that which can truly refresh us.

Criminal – Rejection: In your court, in your judgment Jesus isn’t worthy. Then keep drinking from the well of self-indulgence or self-righteousness while you wander in the desert sick, dissatisfied, dehydrated spiritually, figure out how long that is going to last for you. If that is your response then repent. As long as you have breath and a heartbeat there is an opportunity to come and drink deeply in the grace of Jesus.

Christ – He is who he says He is. Even those who were sent to engage with condemnation couldn’t contradict who Jesus is “no one has spoken like this man” We’ve been seeking God because we’re thirsty and here we’ve met the God who seeks us to give us the refreshment, the life, we’ve longed for and need. We know Nicodemus, knows he’s thirsty, He knows he needs more than what he has, he needs the refreshment the new birth, birth “from above” by the Holy Spirit. He is considering Jesus, as the answer to His lifelong thirst. 

In Jesus, you can have the assurance of acceptance with God.

You can have your thirst for affection met with a God who says “He’ll never leave you nor forsake you”.

You can have your desire for significance met with remembering your identity as an Image Bearer of God who is worthy of dignity and respect and who God found significant enough to pursue you so he could provided for your thirst in the wilderness of your sin.

You can have your fear of condemnation met knowing your sin has been paid for on the cross and there is therefore now NO condemnation for those in Christ,

So as we navigate this world that can seem at times more like a desert than a garden of delight, We can have comfort, power, and refreshment for our maturity and His mission all empowered by the Holy Spirit who continually answers our thirst by reminding us to Trust Jesus.

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