Do Not Delay, Trust Him Today
Read John 7:32-36 (ESV)
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me’ and ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”
What do you think Jesus meant by “You will seek me and you will not find me”? Who was He talking to?
Over 700 years before Jesus was even born, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). The implication being that, at some point, it will be too late to call upon the Lord. This runs counter to popular ideas in our culture. Many voices say that all roads lead to God so all of us will find Him in the end. But that view is clearly not supported by Scripture.
In today’s passage, Jesus echoed Isaiah’s warning. He was teaching in the temple at the Feast of Booths. At some point, it was going to be too late to find Him. Many people in the crowd were really starting to think that maybe Jesus was the Messiah and they were murmuring about the possibility in the crowd. This caused the Jewish rulers to panic. They knew He had generated quite a following but now, the crowd was actually starting to wonder if He was the Messiah out loud. The Pharisees weren’t going to have this sinful blasphemy so they sent the temple police to arrest Him. They weren’t successful though because no one can thwart God’s plans or change His timeline.
But, in response, Jesus gave a warning that all of us should heed. At some point, time will run out. It will be too late. He was only going to minister among them for a few more months. Then, at Passover, God would give the wicked leaders what they wanted—they would get to kill Jesus of Nazareth. But we, of course, know that isn’t the end of the story.
Jesus warned them that when He left, He would be going back to His Father, the One who sent Him. Which is exactly where Jesus went following His crucifixion and resurrection. We know that He is now seated at the right hand of the Father. He was warning them that if they delayed their decision about whether or not He was the Messiah or if they continued to outright reject Him, it would soon be too late. They wouldn’t be able to follow Him no matter how hard they looked for Him.
But the Jewish rulers misinterpreted this as well. They thought He meant that He was going to minister to the Greeks, so they mocked Him. Where did He think He could go where they couldn’t find Him? As usual, they weren’t thinking spiritually. But, they wanted Him gone and that’s what they were going to get. Those who reject Christ don’t want Christ, and tragically, they will get what they want forever. They may come to regret their decision, but they will not be able to come to Jesus at that point.
But what about those who believed that Jesus was the Messiah? What did Jesus say to them? When we get to John 13:33-36, we’ll see that Jesus told His disciples that they couldn’t come with Him right away but promised that they would follow Him afterward. In John 14:1-4, He explained that He was going to prepare a place for them so that they could be with Him forever.
Scripture is clear that not everyone gets to heaven. Only those who trust and confess that Jesus is Christ the Lord who died in their place. It’s not a decision to put off. We aren’t promised tomorrow and though the Lord has been so patient with mankind, time will run out. “As it is said, ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts’” (Hebrews 4:7). Do it today.
Jesus, thank You for being my Savior and my God. I have placed my trust in You and I am looking forward to being where You are forever. I pray for those I love who have not placed their faith in You. Open their eyes to the truth and soften their hearts. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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