As we live in this temporary tent of a body, let’s choose to remember that his methods and his message are what bring true freedom.
My husband and I lived in a little town in Colorado for the first few years of our marriage. In the summer, it was quite normal for us to get to the end of the work week and decide on the spur of the moment to go camping. We’d throw a few necessities in the back of the car and drive about an hour to Freeman Lake. It was heavenly. Peanut butter and honey sandwiches taste like the fare of kings when eaten in the mountains.
After Colorado we lived in Nebraska and we tried a couple of times to go camping. It just wasn’t the same. The humidity and bugs were overwhelming to me and I no longer enjoyed the camping experience. Peanut butter turns liquid in heat and bugs are attracted to honey. Give me a cabin instead! I don’t enjoy being uncomfortable!
The text in John 7:2-24 opens up by talking about the Jewish festival of Tabernacles or some versions say booths (tents). This festival is joyous and is to commemorate God’s act of freeing the Israelites from bondage to Egypt. God established it for the Israelites to remember when they lived in tents in the wilderness following their escape from Pharaoh. Jewish families leave the comforts of home and build little tents made from branches to live in for eight days. Picture it as one big camping trip!
Jesus is with his brothers when it’s time to go to this festival and they have this wonderful plan for him. They have it all lined out how he could become famous. All he had to do was to go and show himself and do miracles and then he would become a great public figure. If only Jesus would just do what they wanted, then their world would be right. Jesus tells them that he has a different plan and it’s not yet time.
After they left, Jesus did go to the festival, but in secret, and he began to teach. Right away the Jewish leaders questioned his teaching and his identity. Everyone had their own idea about who he was and what message he was teaching.
In essence, his brothers questioned his methods and the Jewish leaders questioned his message. Do I ever do this? In all honesty, I have said, “Jesus if you’d just follow my plan, everything would be right in my world!” He lovingly tells me that he has a better plan and that his timetable is different than mine.
Have I ever questioned his message? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. “Jesus, do I really have to love my neighbor as myself? Do I really have to pray for and forgive those who have hurt me?” His answer is yes because his message is straight from the heart of God who wants the very best for us.
As we live in this temporary tent of a body, let’s choose to remember that his methods and his message are what bring true freedom. God did not call us to comfort, but we can choose to be joyous regardless of our circumstances. Let’s celebrate that we are free from the slavery of sin!