John 7:25-30 (NIV)
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 Christ? But we know where this man is from; when the Christ 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, 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 time had not yet come.
The people in the crowd noticed that the Jewish leaders were not responding to Jesus at all. What they couldn’t see was the anger seething beneath their placid expressions. Jesus was calling them out, and every one of His statements had hit its mark. They were more determined than ever to see Jesus done away with.
But the people saw the silence of the religious leaders as acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah, as the miracles He had been doing clearly attested. But still, the people were troubled about Jesus. Many of them had been taught a version of the Messiah that was based mostly on man’s ideas rather than on Scripture. In that theology, the Messiah would be a mysterious stranger, an invincible heavenly messenger that would suddenly appear on earth, take up the throne of Israel, and return God’s people to the pomp and splendor of Solomon’s time.
Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t match that description very well. He could do miracles, sure. But He hadn’t just appeared out of nowhere. He was from Nazareth, up north in Galilee. And He didn’t look superhuman or invincible. His feet and the hem of His robe were just as dusty from the dirt roads as anyone else’s, His skin was darkened by the sun, and His hands had more the look of those of a tradesman than of a nobleman or a scholar. So how could He really be the Messiah?
Their discussion was cut short by Jesus’ answer. The fact that they knew where He had come from made Him no less a messenger of God, or the Messiah. In fact, Jesus claimed that He knew God in ways that were impossible for even the religious leaders to know Him. They had information about God that had been transmitted to them via the prophets and the Scriptures. But that was just head knowledge. He, on the other hand, claimed to know God relationally, to have come from His very presence.
That was too much for some of the leaders who wanted to take Him away right then and stone Him for blasphemy, for claiming to have come directly from God’s presence. But they couldn’t get past the crowd whose circle around Jesus suddenly seemed to be impenetrable. God was not going to let them get to Jesus before His time. So they just continued to stand there and seethe.
Father, it is still quite common today for us to believe that we know more about You than we really do, based on traditions and teachings that we have received that are not based on Scripture, but on human reasoning. Some of these traditions and teachings are true, and some are not. But we would do much better to simply allow the Holy Spirit to open our minds and hearts to the truth in Your word, so that we can more fully understand what You have actually revealed to us, and leave speculation alone so that we don’t become misled ourselves, and in turn mislead others. Thank You that You do let Yourself be known through Your word to ALL who seek You wholeheartedly. Amen.