Division Over Who Jesus is

At that point, some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” At this, they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?” The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.” John 7:25-32


Observation: What are the passage’s basic facts, such as the meaning of the words? It is not surprising that some of the people from Jerusalem at the festival were asking, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?” They knew how the religious felt about Jesus. Those who did not reside in Jerusalem may not have known about the hatred of the religious leaders for Jesus. Jesus made this very point at the temple courts to expose the Pharisees’ desire to kill Him.


The Jews from Jerusalem expected Jesus to be arrested by the religious leaders at once since Jesus was accessible to be arrested at the temple courts while He was teaching. They were surprised and confused that Jesus was not arrested. Therefore, some of them began to wonder if the religious authorities have concluded that Jesus is the Messiah and allowed Him to teach.


As farfetched as this may sound, this was a relevant question because Jesus was permitted to teach at the festival by the religious leaders. Therefore, the same people wondered aloud how that could be since they knew Jesus to be just another Jew who lived in the region of Galilee. According to the prophecy about the Messiah, his origin would not be known to anyone. But they knew where Jesus came from.


Interpretation: What did the author mean in his historical setting? Jesus’ response to the statement by those who wondered whether he was the Messiah or not demonstrates His frustration with the biases and ignorance of the Jews. Verse 28 said, “He cried out.” This shows that He was exasperated with their incredulity. Evidently, they did not know anything about Jesus’ heavenly origin, though they knew about His earthly origin.


Jesus, however, did not scold them for their ignorance. He took the opportunity to teach them, yet again, that He represented the God of heaven. Jesus reiterated His connection with the Father and emphasized that He came from Him. This must have been both confusing and frustrating to the Jews. How can a human being claim that he is from the God of heaven? This was the type of blasphemy the Jews wanted to prevent from speculating, and it is one of the main reasons the religious leaders wanted to kill Jesus.


Verse 30 says, “At this, they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.” Why did they try to seize Jesus if they were not sure whether He was the Messiah? This further reveals the Jews’ ambiguity about Jesus. Because of His many miracles, many of the Jews believed that Jesus was the Messiah. Yet, there were many who thought He was an erratic who needed to be imprisoned or killed.


Evaluation: What does this passage mean in today’s culture? The heart of the meaning of this passage for today’s culture is captured in verse 31. Though many rejected Jesus and even tried to seize him so they can kill Him, there were those who believed in Him. That is precisely why believers must preach the gospel despite the rejection and resistance they may encounter. Indeed, not everyone will accept Jesus as the Savior of the world. Many will reject the truth of the gospel and deny the identity of Jesus as the Redeemer of the world. However, there are those who will hear and believe. Therefore, we should continue to preach the name of Jesus until His return.


As the gospel is preached, people will continue to believe Jesus, even in countries where Christianity is outlawed. Today, there are many people in prison in North Korea, China, the Middle East, Russia, and other parts of the Arab world because they were proclaiming the name of Jesus. Nevertheless, souls are still being saved as people continue to give their lives to Jesus.


People are still wondering who Jesus is in today’s culture. They see the changes that Jesus has made in us, and they want to have a similar experience. Yet, they are discouraged from giving their lives to Jesus because of the culture of secularism that is growing in many countries throughout the world. Even in Israel, more than 75 percent of the people claim to be non-religious. Indeed, the whole world has turned into a mission field. The passage encourages us to share the gospel for the salvation of those who will hear and believe.


Application: How can I apply what I learned to how I live my life? In verse 31, many believed in Jesus because He stood His ground against the criticism of the Jews from Jerusalem. In the same way, believers must proclaim the gospel with conviction and stand their ground against criticisms. The passage also highlights the cost of discipleship as the religious leaders set plans to arrest Jesus after He challenged their lack of understanding about His relationship with the Father.


In this passage, Jesus teaches us to be fearless in our efforts to proclaim the gospel. Our lives must reflect our commitment to radical discipleship and willingness to pay the ultimate price for sharing the gospel of truth. The Jews tried to seize Jesus so they can harm Him, yet they were not able to do so because His hour had not yet come. Whereas the world is becoming more averse to the proclamation of the gospel, believers are to persist in preaching Jesus and reminding the world of the gift of salvation He alone offers.


Prayer- Holy Father, please help me to remain steadfast in proclaiming the gospel when I face challenges and rejection by the world. May your Holy Spirit encourage and empower me to be bold and courageous in doing the work of the great commission of Jesus Christ. I pray for the salvation of the loss. Sensitize their hearts and ears to your truth so you can reap a bountiful harvest of souls for your kingdom.

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