John 7- Life out of Doubt
It is worthwhile to live my life by giving the benefit of the doubt in every situation. There is so much in life in which we only know part of the story. It can be tempting to imagine the worst case scenario or assume someone has it out to get us, but we live freer lives when we give grace to others while calling out their potential to choose well.
In the Gospel of John chapter 7, a lot of people are confused about or outright disbelieve the identity of Jesus. Included in the group of doubters are Jesus’ own brothers.
Jesus’ brothers sarcastically infer that if Jesus is in fact a somebody, then he should prove it to everybody at an opportune time, at the Feast of Booths for instance. They assume that the following Jesus is incurring, stems from a desire for mainstream recognition. Jesus instead makes it clear that there is a lot more at stake than a popularity contest, which is why he goes to the feast in secret.
The religious leaders also had their doubts about Jesus. They took it so far as wanting to arrest and kill him. They kept out a keen eye as they heard the murmurings of the people. The crowds were divided in their discussions. Some thought Jesus was a good man while others thought he was leading people astray.
Jesus begins to teach openly in the temple. He shares about who sent him and why he does what he does. Jesus’s teaching is from God because he has come from the Father and he heals on the Sabbath because it is right to. The crowd is still divided and the Pharisees send officers to arrest Jesus. But it is not Jesus’ time to go, and the officers are amazed by Jesus’ teaching.
In John 7:37-38, Jesus makes a powerful statement, maybe the most powerful, regarding faith in himself up to this point: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of their heart will flow rivers of living water.” What makes the statement so powerful? In a few short words, Jesus puts to bed the games we all play with doubt about him. While there are many times we may find ourselves doubting, the one thing Jesus encourages us not to doubt is who He claims to be.
Giving Jesus the benefit of the doubt leaves the door open to rivers of living water. It opens up a world of refreshing by acknowledging that Jesus is exactly who he says he is. If he says he is worthy of all our trust and if that is true, then it must mean that all our plans and are steps are best left in his hands.
Jesus displays this in the next chapter when he provides hope to a woman caught in the act of adultery. In that instance it was a matter of life or death; fortunately, for humanity Jesus’ offer is always life.