John 7:7: temptation to conform the gospel to the world

The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. (NIV)

context: John 7:1-24

Jesus' family was trying to get Him to go to the feast with them. They thought that Jesus should be the kind of Messiah that convinced the people with many miracles (John 7:2-5). Their view was that of Satan's temptation to jump from the highest point of the temple to dazzle the people. Jesus had offended the Jewish leaders with his preaching. He avoided going to Jerusalem because the leaders sought to kill Him (John 7:1). Jesus' family couldn't understand why Jesus wasn't doing what would make Him popular and win over the Jews to His leadership. He was not like an earthly king.

In the push to reach larger numbers of people with the gospel, the temptation is to remove the part of the gospel that confronts people with their sins. The temptation is to remove the world's objections to the gospel to make it easier to accept. However, the whole point of the gospel is to rescue us from our sins, not to ignore them. If people are not sinners, then there is no point to the gospel and Christ died in vain (Galatians 2:21).

As imperfect sinful human beings, God's message to us is painful (Hebrews 4:12-13) and contrary to our nature (Romans 8:5-8). Naturally people seek to dull its cutting edge by glazing over the simple straightforward meaning of the Scriptures to avoid the pain. It is only when we desire to do God's will more than anything else that we understand God's Word (John 7:17).

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