John 7:40-44 (NIV)
On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
Others said, “He is the Christ.”
Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
Even when Jesus was here on earth, his words and actions caused divisions among the people. Many were naturally skeptical of any claims to the Messiahship, having been disappointed before. Some were hopeful and primed to believe in Jesus. And others were just waiting until Jesus took control of the throne of Israel, then they would believe.
In this case, some were ready to receive Jesus as the Prophet that Moses had foretold (Deuteronomy 18:15-19), whom many taught as the forerunner of the Messiah. Still others were already prepared to receive Him as the Messiah Himself on the basis of not only His words, but also on the basis of His actions, His miracles, and the large crowd of followers He had been able to amass.
But the idea of Jesus being the Messiah ran into opposition from those who were educated in Messianic theology. They knew that the Messiah was prophesied to come from Bethlehem, and to be a descendant of King David (Micah 5:2). But, from all that they knew, Jesus was from Nazareth, way up north in Galilee. Therefore, they reasoned, either the very clear prophesies were wrong (unfathomable!), or Jesus was NOT the Messiah. Case closed!
But there was far more to Jesus that they did not know or understand. Yes, Jesus did grow up in Nazareth, but as both Matthew and Luke point out in their gospels, Jesus was actually born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:4-7), and he was definitely in the line of King David, from both Joseph’s and Mary’s side (Matthew 1:6-16; Luke 3:23-31), so he met all of those qualifications (and all of the other scriptural qualifications) to the letter.
But rather than do the required research (which could have been has simple as asking Jesus Himself for His birthplace and genealogy), many, especially those with a bone to pick with Jesus, simply assumed that they knew all that was necessary to make an informed decision as to who Jesus was and where He had come from. And that was their big mistake.
Father, there is a ton of information in Your word, more that we can ever fully digest or retain. It is a big mistake if we ever assume that since we know some of it, we know all that is necessary to determine Your mind on a subject, or Your will for our day, or even our whole life. Help us to always stay open to truths that we have not yet really seen that are clearly contained in Your word, so that we can know them more, and thus know You more. Amen.