You Had To Act
David C. McCasland
No man ever spoke like this Man! —John 7:46
A US congressman, John Lewis, was 23 years old when he participated in the historic 1963 civil rights “March on Washington” led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Half a century later, journalist Bill Moyers asked Lewis how he was affected by Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech that day. Mr. Lewis replied, “You couldn’t leave after hearing him speak and go back to business as usual. You had to do something, you had to act. You had to move. You had to go out and spread the good news.”
Many who encountered Jesus found it impossible to remain neutral about Him. John 7:25-46 records two different reactions to Jesus. While “many of the people believed in Him” (v.31), the religious leaders tried to silence Him by sending temple guards to arrest Him (v.32). The guards were likely present when Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (vv.37-38). The guards returned without Jesus and were asked, “Why have you not brought Him?” (v.45). They answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (v.46).
The words of Jesus compel us to act, and to move, beyond business as usual.
So let our lips and lives express
The holy gospel we profess;
So let our works and virtues shine,
To prove the doctrine all divine. —Watts
Jesus’ death forgave my past sins and inspires my present obedience.
Jesus was in Jerusalem at the temple when He gave the teaching of John 7. Observant Jews came to the temple to celebrate three annual harvest festivals (Ex. 23:14-17; Deut. 16:1-17): Passover (together with the Feast of Unleavened Bread), Feast of Harvest (Weeks or Pentecost), and Feast of Ingathering (Tabernacles or Booths). As a devout Jew, Jesus faithfully kept these annual feasts (v.37; Luke 2:41-42; John 2:23).
Bible in a Year:
Genesis 46-48; Matthew 13:1-30