Jesus is Divisive


A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 7:

Jesus said hard things.  Some things were very difficult to understand.

“Whoever acknowledges Me before people, I will acknowledge before My Father in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before people, I will deny him also before My Father in heaven.  Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword.”  ~Matthew 10:32,3

Jesus said some very hard things.  Some things we don’t want to understand.

“For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.  

“Whoever loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life because of Me will find it.”   ~Matthew 10:34-39

These are, perhaps, too difficult for some to understand.

So, what’s happening in John 7? 

Some people are beginning to get it.  The Pharisees are understanding what Jesus is proclaiming —  He is One with the Father — and they are ready to kill Him (v.1).  Of course, His hour has not come (v.6).  The plan of God will be done in His time…as He has purposed (v.8).  Jesus remains out of reach of the Jewish leaders schemes while He continues to teach (v.30).  He has gone to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) (vs.2,10).

Jesus is divisive (v.43).  He is not warm and fuzzy (v.7).  He tells it like it is (vs.33-34).  He raises His voice (vs.37-38).  He is God and knows all things (v.29).  Jesus speaks the Father’s words which are true (vs.16-18).

The people talk amongst themselves:

“He is a good man.” (v.12)

No,…He leads the people astray.” (v.12 He’s a liar.)

“This certainly is the Prophet.” (v.40 He’s a prophet.)

“This is the Christ” (v.41 He’s the Messiah.)

“Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” (v.46 He’s a great teacher.)

The Jewish leaders hear them and come to their own conclusions:

“No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed Him, has he?  But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed.” (vs.48-49 Only the uneducated fall for Him.)

“Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?” (v.52 He needs to be evaluated.)

Jesus’ own brothers didn’t believe in Him (v.5).

He brought a sword and not peace among men.  We must decide who He is, based upon what He said about Himself.  All of our arguments are nothing new.  They were being said while He walked the earth. 

Jesus brings division.  The Word of God is sharper than a two-edged sword.  He cuts through, dividing the soul and the spirit.  He knows our innermost thoughts and the attitudes of our hearts. 

He judges (divides) with a righteous judgment (vs.18,24).

Have you judged Him correctly?


39 responses »

  1. Good stuff, Michelle!!

    “Jesus is divisive (v.43). He is not warm and fuzzy (v.7). He tells it like it is (vs.33-34). He raises His voice (vs.37-38).”

    Fantastic. People think that Jesus was one big warm fuzzy. His compassion and love drove Him … but sometimes love looks like war. And many people (then and now) have a hard time wrapping their minds around that. I love that you’ve pulled this out. Thanks!!

  2. Thanks Michelle…Wonderful insight.

    As I was reading I started thinking about one of my memeory verses and was set to add it to my comment. But you didn’t miss a beat, God’s word is sharp and will cut and divide.

    I will am on my way to Chicago..I will come back and comment more later.

  3. “Have you judged Him correctly?”

    My best answer to that can only be, “I hope so.” Simply because there is so much about Him that I do not understand. I feel as though I see “but through a glass darkly.”

    So the picture isn’t clear, but I like what I see. (Even though it hurts my eyes most of the time.)

  4. Some of what Jesus said caused many to walk away. Not exactly the model of today’s ‘sekker friendliness’ that would omit that which might upset someone and cause them to leave the ‘entertainment’ Considering the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting of sin, righteousness and judgment are we showing the third person of the Trinity the door?

  5. Good thoughts Michelle, I am kind of stuck with the fact that from that time to this time, nothing changed…stilll so many think so many different things…I am thinking that it will be that way til HE returns…aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh Heaven!

  6. Good morning, Annie. We really do need to let Him be who He says He is. We’ve “packaged” Him for the world to feel comfortable. He wasn’t very concerned about the world being comfortable:

    The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I am testifying about it that its deeds are evil. ~Jesus

    Hey, Carl! Do you travel all the time? It sure seems like you’re always on the run. Yeah, that verse at the end was certainly the Spirit’s move. It’s exciting when the Spirit within reminds us of what has been said so clearly before…for our instruction. Please do come back, if time allows. 😉

    Hey, Bear. Your comment made me think of 2 Peter 1. It’s full of truth and may be helpful. Also, John 14…some amazing teaching there too. For any of us to think we understand fully, well, not until Heaven will that be possible. But we have been given enough to know He is Lord, He is God, He is Truth. But, I have a feeling you know that much already… 😉

  7. Yeah, Darla. Heaven will be wonderful. It is amazing how nothing has changed and yet we think we’ve “evolved” so much. We really are a prideful bunch, aren’t we?

    Hope you’re feeling well, handling your new schedule with grace. Somehow, I do know the answer to that — you are so full of grace, love and mercy! Have a great day, Darla. 🙂

  8. The spam monster got you, Dan. Sorry about that…

    We don’t think we’re showing Him the door because we’re constantly referring to Him, “I’m so filled with His Spirit right now!” I know that sounds heretical, but I get so frustrated with hearing that phrase when, in actuality, the truth that has been revealed is ignored. We think if we throw in a phrase about the Spirit’s leading, then we can say or do whatever we want. It’s disgraceful when what we choose to do doesn’t line up with scripture and yet we sanction it with Him. We have been given enough to know many answers, but will we seek them out?

    I might have just gone down a rabbit trail…

  9. Great post michelle…
    You are right…we always want to gloss over the seeming contradictions, paradoxes, and politically incorrect/intolerant stuff in the Bible.

    The loving Jesus has been giving authority to judge.

    Great last comment too. It didn’t sound heretical at all. Using “the Spirit,” as a free ticket to licentiousness and often immorality is truly disgusting. I feel that most believers have NO IDEA what the Holy Spirit is.

  10. Thanks, Nate. It isn’t easy to say the words Jesus said. We just might get crucified for it. But if we don’t, then we’re preaching “another Jesus” and for that we will be “accursed.”

    You know your last statement…Holy Spirit…yeah, we tend to only want to talk about the Spirit..forgetting His holiness. And whatever He has called us to do, if it’s truly Him, will lead to holiness.

    Have a great day, Nate!

  11. One of my favorite scriptures is the one about taking up the cross and following HIm; leaving mother, father, sister, brother, etc. behind. I have had to do that and it was well worth it praise God. There have been other crosses since and will be to come that I may not know how to handle as well but I praise Him that even in that, His plan is perfect and He will never allow us to lift a cross in vain.

    I agree that we have to align our thoughts and the unctions in our spirits with the Word. I don’t believe the Holy Spirit will give us counsel that contradicts His Word. Personally, I haven’t met people who claim to be filled with the Spirit and it not be the truth; somehow, “faking” that seems ridiculous to me. I haven’t experienced being filled with the Spirit or being led by the Spirit and it being contradictory to scripture nor have I used it as an excuse to justify something that is not aligned with His Word. I do agree that He has given us enough in His Word for us to know the truth but He did say that He would send a helper and sometimes the Spirit unctions us and speaks to us when we are not able to “cross-check” it with the Word. For example, when I was in Pakistan, God’s Spirit was what led me through my time there. I didn’t have a Bible in front of me to align whatever the Spirit was telling me but in general, I had peace and I knew that it was Him.

    I don’t know if that made sense? Love you!

  12. Michelle: I love how you put all of these scriptures together….The Lord does divide…..

    This caught me…. “Have you judged Him correctly?” Do we have the right to even entertain such a notion? He is…that’s it….it’s His way or the wrong way….

    Thank you for your willingness to just lay it out there…we just don’t have a choice in the matter….

    Love you!

  13. Yes, Gch, you certainly do know the meaning of that text! When I typed it I was thinking of you. 😉
    The part about following after the Spirit’s lead…As we’ve discussed before, if the Spirit is leading away from holiness or righteousness…well, then, it’s not the Holy Spirit. That’s the final answer to our questions about seeking His will and understanding His Words. He will lead us to bring glory to His name.

    Hope that helps, I love you!!

    Amen, Debs!! It’s His way or the wrong way.

    We do judge God. We do determine if His Words are truth. They are…no matter what we may believe…but, yes, as puny humans we are audacious enough to believe we can make a determination and it be correct, based upon ourselves. That’s why I asked the question. Is your judgment correct? If it’s not what He has said, then the answer is no. You have not judged correctly.

    What do you think? I ain’t gonna cuss…calling us puny and audacious…that’s about as harsh as I can get. Maybe Jason will come around and throw in a few choice words. hee-hee.

    Love you, Debs!! And you too, Jason!!

  14. Hey Michelle,
    awesome words. It’s like the what C.S. Lewis wrote about Aslan, “He’s not a tame lion.” God’s not tame, he’s not capricious, but he is wild and dangerous and lovely and wonderful and joyous and, well I could go on but it would wind up taking me the rest of my life to list everything God is. All I know is that, like you said, Jesus is divisive but he also heals. And somehow that comforts me immensely. “He’s not a tame lion.” So yeah, just thought I’d throw my two cents into the ring……………yeah.

  15. Yes, He does, Tracy. Amen. 🙂

    Hey, Goth!! It seems like FOREVER since I’ve seen you here. Hope that means you’re settled and school has started. Thank you for throwing in your two cents. I love that description from Lewis. And I love the way you added that He heals. When we bow down to the truth of Him, man, the healing begins….yeah.

    Love you two!! (That would be the both of you 😉 )

  16. gothiquefae- I love that!!! I love the CS Lewis, talking about Aslan.. “HE is not safe, but HE is good”… loved your view..really made me smile!! Thanks!

    Love you michelle!!! Glad you had a belly laugh today. 😉

  17. I am doing well tonight..and catching up on some blogs, and digging my faith family! you all are fantabulous!!! I miss you so much when I can’t be here.

  18. 🙂

    I definitely haven’t judged Him correctly.. I think we won’t fully know who He is until we’re on the other side. I think our present understanding is so filtered/skewed/distorted.

    So, I’m thankful for those moments when I read His Word or whatever, and I feel like I’ve been given a glimpse…

  19. So I got to thinking about Jesus being divisive. Michelle is spot on.

    I see sin as the ultimate divider. Sin puts us directly at odds with God’s will. It separates us from a relationship with him
    This is the ultimate division. Jesus will be the one to Judge the living and the dead, and he will render a verdict and condemn those whose sin divided them from him.

    The only way to avoid that division is to fall in love with the Son of God, who was sent to repair the divide. Jesus the Christ.

    II Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

  20. Darla,
    Your welcome and thank you as well for the kind words. That C.S. Lewis quote is one that for whatever reason has just really stuck with me, I like it….:)

    Yes, Thank God, (literally) I am finally settled, finally. School’s back in session and I’ve gotten off the lazy summer train I was on…whooohooo!! 😀

    I agree with you we only get glimpes and our view of Him is distorted because He lives outside of the paramaters of our world, but those glimpses are beautiful and priceless and totally worth it huh? 🙂

  21. Hey, Mandy! I understand what you’re saying and I agree, we’ve only had a glimpse of all that He is. He is so much bigger and greater than what we’ve been given. Like John said:

    There are many other things that Jesus did. If every one of them were written down, I suppose the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. ~John 21:25

    My question could have been better put, “Have you decided who He is?” He truly is the Son of God. What He came to do and say, have we judged that correctly, or do we fall on the side of so much of the world, “He was a good man.” “He was just a prophet.” “He was a great moral teacher.”

    We all do have a decision (judgment) to make concerning who He is. Don’tcha think?

    Good morning, Carl. Yes, our sin separates us from God and Jesus is the only way to the Father. Amen. When He says just that, it causes division. People don’t like the exclusiveness of the gospel. But He did teach, “it’s all or nothin’ with Me.” (Michelle’s paraphrase)

    😆 Goth, you sound upbeat and ready for life. I could use some of your enthusiasm today. Hope school is good for you this semester. What are you studying?? Let me guess…creative writing…English…literature…journalism???

  22. Michelle,
    Yeah…ok I’m going to try to put this into intelligible human speak; I am in an incredibly good mood, it took me a while but I think I’ve finally figured out that I can’t let fear rule my life and I’ve embraced life and living…oh and here…*tosses pixie-like dust on Michelle,* there now you have some of my enthusiasm and gaeity. 😀

    You got me pegged, I’m an English major. In fact that’s really funny because I started out as a journalism major but switched to English, oh and creative writing is a definite emphasis for me in my studies. Lol, you really got me pegged 😉


  23. Yeah, Goth, I’m insightful that way. (pegging people)

    Thanks for the pixie-like dust. 😉

    I’m so glad you aren’t letting fear rule…let’s hope some of you, rubs off on me. 🙄 Or was that what the dust was suppose to do? 😆

  24. I had read this in my RSS reader and thought “Wow, great post!”… Then I thought, Ok, when I have time later go tell Michelle that…

    Then I forgot.

    So anyways, yeah, thanks for this. I know some of the division Jesus speaks of. I’ve been one of the ones walking away and I’ve watched helplessly as those I love walk away. Life was simple before I died.

  25. Ric- I hear you! Life was simple before I died too…or maybe i was just ignorant to it…HE really doesn’t promise us an easy road here, but HE does promise us rest, and also an eternity without the curse, and wonderful life there. love you man!

  26. Hey, Ric! Thanks for coming over to tell me you liked the post.

    It is hard when the division occurs among friends and in families. I do find it encouraging, in a strange way, that Jesus understands what it is to have family not get Him. He truly is a High Priest who understands our sorrows.

    It’s good to see you here, Ric. 🙂

    Amen, Darla. 😉

  27. “Have you judged Him correctly?”

    My answer: Probably not. How can I, a finite little worm fully understand The Word? All I can do is seek to know Him more and more rightly and intimately and trust that the Holy Spirit will correct me where I fall short in my understanding.

  28. And yet that answer, Joe, is a correct assessment. You do know to seek Him more and more, not deciding He’s less than He is, but that He’s more than we will ever comprehend.

    All that He said is…and then…more!!! We’ve only caught a glimpse of His robe. 🙂

  29. I’m not sure I understand your comment, Ted. I’d like to respond better, just not sure what to say.

    You’ve got a great blog, sir. 🙂

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