You don't have the right to determine how God operates in the world!

You don't have the right to determine how God operates in the world!
Photo by Tim Marshall / Unsplash

Welcome to the Odd Verse of the Day series.

Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? - John 7:48

This has become an ongoing theme for this series of reading random verses like this and wondering what you should get from them.

Pause. Read it again. There is more punched in this verse than you realize. 

Let's start with the context.

The crowds gathering around Jesus are beginning to put two together; there is something special about this Jesus guy. Really special.

"Is he a prophet?" 

"No, I think he's the Messiah that was promised!"

"He can't be the Messiah. This guy is from Galilee."

This speculation gets so big that even a Roman officer is skeptical about bringing Jesus in for questioning. Not good. This ticks off the religious leaders (Pharisees) who respond with our verse of the day.

All that and a bag of chips.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." 

Written in 1887, the words of Lord Acton ring proverbial by the witness of history and experience. On a grand scale, great power creates great tyrants. 

But as our verse reminds us, even church leaders and religious folks fall victim to the elusive pull of power toward corruption. Power corrupts. Period.

Essentially, the church leaders tell those who are curious about Jesus: "If we don't give you permission to believe Jesus, then you have no right." As if they have the right to determine how God operates in the world!

That's what makes Jesus so radical.

Sit in the opening of Jesus' famous Sermon on the Mount.

Matthew 5:1-10

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called children of God.

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Based on this, who really is in control?

Today's takeaway

Instead of viewing faith as a tradition-driven, hierarchy-structured order of operation, we should find ourselves where Jesus often found himself. 

With broken people.

You might find that Jesus doesn't wait on the shoreline yelling at those to swim to the edge, but wades into the raging waters to rescue the most vulnerable. 

  • That may be where you are. 
  • Maybe that's where you need to go. 

Let's pray about that!

Father, you would leave the 99 to go after the 1. We don't need others to tell us how to find you. You have shown us already. Amen. 


Today's verse comes from my video series, Roll For Verse. In this series, I roll dice to pick a random Bible verse each day. Then, I spent a few minutes sharing devotional thoughts on the verse. If you'd like to join the fun and explore the Bible differently, come check us out on TikTok or YouTube.

@pastor.payton Episode 5 of Roll for Verse takes us to Jesus beyong the borders of tradition. This video is based on the fun format of Roll for Sandwich by @Adventures In Aardia Come back for more just like this. #rollforsandwich #rollforinitiative #d20 #d20games #biblestudy #verseoftheday #christiantiktok #rollforverse #rollforseries #boardgamegeek #dndtiktok #fyp ♬ night fade - Like Saturn