March 26, 2011 – Rules of Engagement

March 26, 2011 – Rules of Engagement
Rev. Geoff DeFranca

John 7:1-13

It is obvious they had MBA degrees from Hebrew School of Business and Marketing. They knew how to market their brother. “Come on Jesus. Let’s put your name in lights. Let’s go on tour. We’ll call it, “The Jesus Miracle Tour.’ We can give out little wristbands with the initials JMT!” Well, that is a small exaggeration. But they did see before them (and Jesus) an opportunity. The Feast of Tabernacles was the third and final major feast of the year. “This is your chance,” they reasoned. “You can’t become famous if you hide like this!” (John 7:4 NLT)

We get their thinking. We get their ambition. We even get their wanting to capitalize on the unique “skills” of their brother. But do we really get Jesus’ response? “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime.” (John 7:6 NLT) It is not the first time in John’s Gospel that Jesus questions the timing of the demands and requests of others on His ministry (check out His mother at the wedding at Cana). And we could argue the idea of Messianic fulfillment and the self-awareness of Jesus in all that. But in this passage, could it be much simpler than that? Check it out! The brothers head up to the feast. Jesus says, “No, you go!” But when they are out of sight, he sneaks up there. Why did He wait?

Whenever we use Jesus for our purposes our timing will be off. Jesus played by a whole different set of rules. The rules of engagement were not fame and success, power and position, the spectacular and the fantastic! He engaged the world on His terms in His time for His purposes. Could it be that the timing was bad because the focus was misplaced? Could it be true of me as well?

Lord, I’m not free – but who wants to be?
You’re all that matters in my life.

I don’t want to be free of my hunger for your bread.
I don’t want to be free of my thirst for your word.
I don’t want to be free of my desire to do your will.
I don’t want to be free of my longing for your presence.
I don’t want to be free of my need to be taken up, taken over, joined to you.

Lord, may I never be free from wanting you.
Sue Garmon