Daily Thoughts : February 7th
Jn 4:3 When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee.
Sometimes when we pick out a verse it tells us that we need to see the context. What is the ‘this' of this verse? The first verse of the chapter indicates that, “The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John,” and it doesn't say more than that, but the implication is that Jesus' popularity came to the attention of the Pharisees – and they didn't like it! The implication is that this was about to stir up trouble, and so Jesus simply moves up country to avoid it. The fact was that the Pharisee party would be centred on Jerusalem and therefore anything that went on in the vicinity of Jerusalem might come to their attention. Further afield in Samaria and certainly up north in Galilee, they would not bother.
The point that seems clear here is that Jesus is working to a timetable and he doesn't want to stir up the opposition too early in his ministry. He clearly decided that for three years he would preach and teach and perform signs and wonders, to establish a base of belief for his present and future followers, revealing the love of his Father in heaven. Opposition and confrontation would be a crucial part of what happened at the end of that time, but for the time being, he wants to avoid it. It does actually show that God does tailor his activities in accordance with the activities of men. This doesn't detract from His sovereignty, it emphasizes His wisdom that knows when to act in the light of the state of heart of people. He knows the right time. Trust Him in this!
R.T.Kendall once wrote that wisdom involves sometimes knowing when not to speak. Put another way, we might say that wisdom sometimes decrees that we don't make this present moment an opportunity of a fight. Choose your times. Be wise, we don't have to fight every battle at this very moment. Sometimes it pays to hold back, not be the obvious victor, regain strength, and wait for a better time. Only the Lord knows these things so remember, wisdom comes when we seek Him.
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