Lesson 44


The Gospel of John

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

7:40 Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, "This is truly the prophet." 7:41 Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "What, does the Christ come out of Galilee? 7:42 Hasn't the scripture said that the Christ comes of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" 7:43 So there arose a division in the multitude because of him. 7:44 Some of them would have taken him, but no one laid hands on him. 7:45 The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, "Why didn't you bring him?"

7:46 The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!"

7:47 The Pharisees therefore answered them, "Are you also led astray? 7:48 Has any of the rulers believed in him, or of the Pharisees? 7:49 But this cursed multitude doesn't know the law." 7:50 Nicodemus (he who came to him by night, being one of them) said to them, 7:51 "Does our law judge a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does?"

7:52 They answered him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search, and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galilee."


 Today's Lesson

Jesus' declaration had an immediate impact on the people around Him. In the context of the water-pouring ceremony (see Lesson 43) He had declared that "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water." The people and the rulers knew what a bold statement this was. Here was a man claiming one of their most sacred rituals for Himself. Such a man is either a madman or of God.

 

Again, a division arose among the people. Some claimed Him to be a prophet (one who spoke the words of God); others claimed Him to be the Christ (the unique "Anointed One, the Messiah). Others debated that the Christ had been prophesied to come from the line of King David and that he was supposed to be born in Bethlehem. Oddly enough, the Gospel of John never tells us that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Either the writer of the Gospel felt that this fact was unimportant or believed that by the time that this work was written that it was common knowledge. There are no stories about the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of John.

 

In any case, there was great dissension in the people because of what Jesus was teaching. However, His teaching was provoking people's opinions, not inciting them to riot or overthrow the government. As such, the Roman authorities would not have cared at all about this kind of commotion within the Jewish religion. The chief priest and Pharisees had sent armed men to lay hold of Jesus and arrest Him, but these men did not arrest Him. Perhaps they believed that had they arrested Him in public that there would have been a confrontation between those that believed His message and the others. Or perhaps they were so stricken by His teaching that they could not arrest Him.

 

The Pharisees were incensed that He had not been arrested. They declared that none of the rulers or the Pharisees had believed in what Jesus had preached. Only those unschooled in the law would be fooled. But, there was one who was willing to at least tentatively question their tactics. There was one, a person who was knowledgeable of the law, who's mind was beginning to believe that what Jesus was saying may be true.

 

Nicodemus reappears here with this questioning of the rulers and the Pharisees. They were violating one of the tenets of their laws. They were accusing a man without hearing from Him. The law does not accuse a man unless two or more witnesses are willing to stand openly and testify against him.

 

Nicodemus had met with Jesus. He had spoken to Him. The words of Jesus had begun to work in his heart. Nicodemus was not yet willing to stand up and follow Jesus regardless of the cost, but he was beginning to question what there was about this man that provoked such resentment that religious people would break their own rules to silence Him.

 

Such small steps are the beginnings of faith. When we begin to see that the world does not make sense God speaks to us and our hearts begin to turn toward Him. Our understanding of the world begins to shift and alter. Is this really true? Can God really be speaking through this man called Jesus of Nazareth?

 

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