I have noticed that the very mention of the name of Jesus will bring many different reactions. For some, thinking of Jesus brings anger. They are opposed to Jesus Christ, and anyone who will stand for Him. Some have even made it their goal in life to destroy Christianity and the God we serve. Others hear the name of Jesus and respond with apathy. It’s almost like their heart has become numb to the thought of who Jesus Christ was and what He did.
When other think about Jesus, they celebrate his life as one of the great people on the earth. They would applaud his teachings on love and kindness. Yet, they would not agree that Jesus was divine, God in the flesh who dwelt among us. And there are others who would believe that Christianity is one of many ways to get to God. In fact, they would say, if Jesus is your route to God, great! Go for it. But others might choose Hinduism, or Islam. And eventually we all are moving toward the same God, just in our own way. So there is nothing real special about Jesus.
Funny how some things don’t change. When Jesus lived on the earth, the people around Him reacted in so many ways as well. This chapter shows us how many of the people responded to Jesus life and ministry. Some claimed Jesus was a great prophet, sent by God to teach His people. Others declared that Jesus was the promised Messiah, sent to Israel to make her a great nation again and lead in a political revolt. Still others were so angry at Jesus that they wanted to kill Him and remove any thought of Him from the people’s conscionce. Some realized that Jesus is the way, and some thought He was in the way. In John 7, we find so many people who respond in so many ways. Even Jesus own earthly brothers refuse to believe in Him, and think He is some sort of freak show (John 7:2-5).
There is one other group of people, people whom the very thought of the name of Jesus brings a deep response in the heart. People who think about Jesus and His sacrifice in such a way that their thoughts lead to gratitude and belief. These people understand the true Jesus, and know that He is the only way to God. They realize the incredible price paid for them by the Messiah. And they realize that He alone is the true God to be followed and worshipped.
So what is the difference? Why do some respond with doubt, anger, apathy, or tolerance, while others respond to Jesus with total love and devotion? Belief! When a person places his or her trust in Christ for life and salvation, God does a work in that person’s life that cannot be explained. Jesus describes that work as the flow of a river from the heart of the person. The Holy Spirit moves in the life of a believer in such a way that their love for Jesus and gratitude cannot be dammed or stopped. The thought of His name will move that person to tears, and the person will commit all of life to their Lord.
How do you respond to Jesus?