Updated: Aug 11, 2021
“. . . the Jews were seeking to kill him” (7:1). The rest of John’s Gospel is colored by this reality, that of Jesus’ enemies constantly looking for opportunities to do him harm and to kill him. They tried to wield the law, particularly the commandment about the Sabbath, against Jesus. He replied, “If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (7:23,24).
Jesus’ enemies were constantly referencing the law, but they were applying it according to their own faulty understanding. Their actions and words seemed to display little or no compassion or love. On the other hand, Nicodemus “got it.” The officers “got it” – “No one ever spoke like this man!” (7:46). The crowds “got it.” The woman caught in adultery “got it.” Lazarus and Mary and Martha “got it.” Even the high priest Caiaphas seemed to “get it.”
The Pharisees continued, “This crowd that does not know the law is accursed” (7:49). Oh, the crowds did not know the deadening law of the Pharisees, but they understood about Jesus, thus they ran to him. Representative of those who went to Jesus was the man born blind, but given sight by Jesus: “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (9:25). He had been touched by the One who said to Martha, the sister of Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (11:25,26). How great was Jesus’ compassion! How he loved! How he saves! And, so, what joy is ours!
I heard the voice of Jesus say,
“Come unto me and rest.
Lay down, O weary one,
lay down your head upon my breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was,
so weary, worn, and sad.
I found in him a resting place,
and he has made me glad. –Horatius Bonar (1846)