Lesson 64

The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

10:40 He went away again beyond the Jordan into the place where John was at the first baptizing, and there he stayed. 10:41 Many came to him. They said, "John indeed did no sign, but everything whatever that John said about this man is true." 10:42 Many believed in him there.

 Today's Lesson 

Jesus departs Jerusalem for a season. We do not know how long a time He was gone. We do know that he left because the Jews that were opposed to Him were threatening to kill Him and it was not yet His time to die. He goes to the place where His mission began, back to the area of the Jordan River valley that John the Baptist had baptized Him.


It is tempting to rush through sections such as Today's Scripture. We lead such hurried lives today that it is tempting to think that everyone's life has always been this cluttered and rushed. We sometimes think that we must push on through the difficult times without even a break. We must show determination and endurance.


But, Today's Scripture reminds us that there is also a time to take a break. There are times when it's okay to ease off and allow the tension to subside for a time. Even Jesus grew weary and took a break to rejuvenate. Let's take a moment to see how He accomplishes this.


First, Jesus goes back to the place where His ministry began. Sometimes it's good to return to the beginning and re-evaluate how things are progressing. It was a secure place for Jesus. There was not the clamoring crowds of Galilee or the antagonist of Jerusalem with which He must contend. It was a place where He could begin to prepare Himself for what lay ahead.


Second, even though He went to take a break, He did not cease to be who He was. People still came to Him. He still talked to them and taught. He was still the Son of God, even when He was taking a break. Sometimes when the pressure is off of us, when we go where fewer people know us, we become different people. Many times we "reward" ourselves by doing things that we shouldn't. But, Jesus continued to live the same type of life even when the pressure was eased off of Him.


Third, without the daily confrontations, more people came to believe in His message. Jesus' confrontations with authorities and Pharisees were not necessarily to persuade them, though some were persuaded. They were necessary. Necessary because of His own character. God cannot abide sin and the attitude of His opponents and their beliefs definitely fit into that category. But, the tension between the Son of God and those who claimed to speak for God was important as well. His death was no accident. He confronted their unbelief directly. He forced them into the position in which they found themselves. He could have spent His days in the wilderness of the Jordan, telling people about God. But, it was necessary that He die the type of death that He did. If He had just wanted to be believed and accepted, He could have stayed here.


It must have been a temptation at least to stay here. There is a part of me that whenever I read this part, wants to yell out to Him to stay here, don't leave. It reminds me of people in horror movies when you know that if someone opens the door something bad is going to happen. But, it's written in the script and so the actor opens the door anyway, no matter how much your scream for him not to.


And, in a sense, Jesus has a script as well. He has a date with His destiny to fulfill. He must go to Jerusalem for one final confrontation. I'm glad that He resisted the temptation to stay, that He was willing to choose the path that only He could walk. But, I also wish that He could have had a few more days to spend in the Jordan River valley.


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