Monday, May 22
John 7 is a key passage as Jesus’ preaching ministry nears the end. They were intrigued by his message and awed by his miracles. Crowds followed him wherever he went. While Jewish leaders remain antagonistic, the common people were debating openly as to who Jesus is. Some were uncertain and some believed. Support for Jesus was mounting and the Sanhedrin was determined to deal with it. They finally took action (v. 12) by sending temple guards to arrest Jesus. This led to even more trouble. Four questions raised by the Sanhedrin tell the story of their unbelief. When the temple guards returned without a prisoner (v. 45), the Pharisees rebuked them with “Why didn’t you bring him in?” Their answer (v. 46): “No one ever spoke like this man does.” Note that they did not defend themselves on the basis of fear of the people, nor were they harassed by the Romans. And obviously they didn’t fear the Sanhedrin enough to carry out their mission. And here comes the second question (v. 47). “You mean he has deceived you also?” They got the source of the problem right. It was Jesus himself that was influencing these temple guards to abandon their mission. How I wish we knew more of that aspect of this account! And the third question (v. 48). “Has any of the rulers of the Pharisees believed in him?” They didn’t wait for an answer; they answered it themselves (v. 49). “No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.” Did they realize how self-incriminating this was? They were supposedly the shepherd of the sheep and responsible for their spiritual welfare, and the people “knew nothing of the Law?” And then they curse their own people! At this critical time, Nicodemus spoke up, suggesting that they follow established judicial guidelines before condemning one of their own. And we come to question four v. 52). “Are you from Galilee, too?” Followed by a false statement, “Look into it and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” Jonah was from Galilee and these Jewish leaders had to know that. Plus, what right did the Sanhedrin have to limit where God’s prophets might come from? I think the curse was pronounced on the wrong people.