|John 7:11-52||Read Online|
When some from the crowd heard these words, they said, “This really is the Prophet!” Others said, “This is the Messiah!” But some said, “Surely the Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does He?”
John, whose Gospel was probably the latest written, didn’t mistakenly open with these lines: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” and “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.”
Mark opens with Jesus' works, Matthew opens with a genealogy traced to Abraham, and Luke quickly adds a genealogy (by chapter 3) traced to Adam.
But John begins before creation. He leaves no doubt for those in the young Christ-following community that Jesus didn’t come from Galilee or from Bethlehem. Rather Jesus is the I AM who has always been, who was sent from the Father.
If you seek the plight of the youth and young adults in our society, you’ll find voices of anxiety that know Jesus was who He claimed to be, but who also have a sense that their evidence simply isn't good enough to rival that of the secular culture. While one should not be ashamed of simply “having faith,” it would serve the modern Christian well to rest upon Jesus' notion of judgment and knowledge in this passage.
Jesus was an enigma to the people and to the religious leaders. He accomplished amazing and holy things that could only be of God, yet the things He taught and who He claimed to be seemed so radical to their sensibilities that they sought to kill Him on grounds of blasphemy. They were completely befuddled.
“Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him?” (verse 35) and, “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?” (verse 20). Jesus must have seemed like a lunatic to so many of these people.
With one minor adjustment to their basic assumptions, everything Jesus said would’ve made sense.
Jesus said, after defending His choice to heal on the Sabbath, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (verse 24). What in the world does that mean?
Jesus follows up that statement with, “You both know Me and know where I am from; I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, who you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me” (verse 28). They didn’t understand the Son because they didn’t know the Father.
I’m not saying they weren't sincerely seeking the Father, nor am I arguing they weren't doing what they thought was best. Rather, I’m suggesting they sought to analyze and understand Jesus on their own terms instead of embracing Him for who He was and what He was doing.
In short, they desired a knowledge that fit their categories of understanding rather than simply submitting their will to Jesus. Submission of the will precedes both knowledge and understanding.
Note the evidence available to the people and the religious leaders concerning Jesus: “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” (verse 15), “When Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?” (verse 31), and “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks” (verse 46).
Jesus divided the crowd because He understood that tangible knowledge simply isn't enough.
Some heard and believed because they submitted their will to His teaching. Others sought to kill Him because He came out of the wrong city, didn’t follow the Law appropriately, or any host of other apparent indiscretions. As for the religious leaders, they had Nicodemus calling them to account and they rejected him too (verses 50-52)!
Take heed that if you’re waiting for one more sign, one more bit of information, or one more question answered before you repent of your sins and confess Jesus as Savior, you’re missing the Messiah.
Submit your will and trust in Jesus. You’ll be shocked at what has been, for so long, right in front of you, not to mention your new ability to judge with righteous judgment.
- What else do you need to know to seriously commit your life to Jesus? If you’re a believer, what more do you need to know to step out a little further in faith? What extra knowledge do the unbelievers in your life require to submit their will to Jesus?
- What spiritual disciplines could help us hone our ability to judge with righteous judgment?
- What sorts of things should we do, in our minds and in our actions, in order to be more sensitive to the Spirit's conviction so we are not “missing the Messiah” as many of the people and religious leaders did?
- Who are the Nicodemus people in your life that focus your mind and vision toward godly things? Can you think of any recent events that may have been Nicodemus moments in that the event should have caused you to set your focus upon God, whether you did nor not?