John 7:40-42 (ESV)
When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”
Have you ever been watching TV and see someone giving an interview on the news and immediately you make a snap judgment about their character? Or have you ever passed someone on the street and just by looking at them you think you know exactly what they are all about? I think we do it all the time. It seems that we have been conditioned to assume or make judgments about people many times before we even get to know the person or have any idea about the circumstances of their lives. I know I do it. It seems far easier to label someone with an assumption rather than actually getting to know them, but there is a danger in this approach. The danger is we might miss out on who the person actually is. Looking at today’s verses we see this idea play out.
The context of John 7 is the Feast of Booths, a Jewish time of worship and celebration, where Jews returned to Jerusalem to sacrifice and honor God. Initially, Jesus was not going to go to this festival because there was concern that those who opposed his ministry might try and kill him and the time for his death had not yet come. However, Jesus does go to the festival and ends up preaching to a crowd in the Temple. The teaching he gives so moves the audience that they begin to question who Jesus really is. The authority with which Jesus taught stirred many to the idea that Jesus was the Christ. Interestingly, as quickly as they entertain the idea of why Jesus was the Christ they dismiss it because of where he was currently living. These people did not have all the information about Jesus, but they had just enough information to dismiss him and reject his claim. They didn’t know about Joseph and Mary returning to Bethlehem around the time of Jesus’ birth. They didn’t know about the manger, the shepherds, or the choir of angels that announced Jesus’ coming. All they knew was this preacher was from Galilee and that no prophet had ever come from there.
So how does this apply to us?
I think as a follower of Jesus the events of John 7 really challenge me to do a better job of proclaiming who Jesus is. So many times we see non-believers dismiss, reject, or even disparage our Savior because they don’t know who he is and what he has done. I don’t want folks getting an idea of who Jesus is from culture or satire and then accepting or rejecting him based on misinformation. As disciples we have to know Jesus accurately and well so that our proclamation may be accurate and well. I think this starts with the Bible. Continually read the Gospels. Read what Jesus said and did and proclaim it to those who don’t know him.
I think the application for the non-believer is to be cautious about dismissing Jesus without first understanding who he is. I know before my conversion I had all kinds of ideas about who Jesus was but yet I had never read the Bible. It was easy for me to dismiss Jesus or at least the idea of Jesus that I had created from culture and other sources. Read the Bible. The truth about Jesus is in there. Additionally, the Bible teaches that all of us will face Jesus at the end of our lives. The ultimate activity for all of us is to consider who Jesus is and what response we will make to him.
Where are you at in your understanding of who Jesus is? I am challenging myself today to seek him and to know him better. Please join me.
Heavenly Father, thank you God that you have not hidden yourself from us. Thank you God that as we seek and knock and ask you are faithful to answer. Help us know you better today. Lord Jesus, we want to know you! We offer you praise. In your name. Amen.