John 7:40-52

When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But some asked, “Surely the Messiah does not come from Galilee, does he? Has not the scripture said that the Messiah is descended from David and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So there was a division in the crowd because of him. Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. 

Then the temple police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not arrest him?” The police answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!” Then the Pharisees replied, “Surely you have not been deceived too, have you? Has any one of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law—they are accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus before, and who was one of them, asked, “Our law does not judge people without first giving them a hearing to find out what they are doing, does it?” They replied, “Surely you are not also from Galilee, are you? Search and you will see that no prophet is to arise from Galilee.” John 7:40-52

Just who is this Jesus?

Once again the Bible takes us into stories of flesh and blood people trying to figure out just who Jesus is and what he is all about. Today’s reading is full of characters all wrestling with that question. Characters we recognize even though our lives are so far removed from ancient Israel.

We understand “temple police” as the protectors and enforcers for those who protect and enforce religious ritual laws and practices. Just seeing the words “temple police”, even without understanding anything about their roles or identities, is surprising to us as all we have known is a Christianity that is free from coercion.

We see “the chief priests and Pharisees” and again we recognize people who have dedicated themselves to protecting the tradition (and their powerful and privileged positions within it) while forgetting what that tradition is all about.

We hear the questioning voices of the “crowd”, all busy with the business of their daily lives, all wondering just who Jesus is and what he is about. So divided between themselves – do we arrest Jesus or follow him? Is he or isn’t he?

And then we hear from Nicodemus. Perhaps he is closest to us. Intrigued by Jesus but afraid of what his friends would think. Willing to defend Jesus without being unduly offensive to others. Reaching back into the tradition for help, even as the one whom he is helping seems intent on turning the whole system upside down.

Just who is Jesus? Who is Jesus to you?

Let us pray: Dear Lord, still the voices clamor and argue about who you were and who you are.   Still voices want to drown out your voice lest your words upset what they want. We hear those voices. Sometimes they are our voices. Today we recognize you. You are our Savior, our Redeemer, our Friend, our deepest hope, our most challenging leader. May our lives bear witness to your Lordship. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “John 7:40-52”

  1. Carolee Groux Says:

    Whose side would we take? Would we stand on the side of the scribes, pharisees, and chief priests, or would we stand up for Jesus? Today we have the knowledge that Jesus was and is our Savior, our Redeemer, but still we don’t always trust in Him. We may harbor doubts, we may let others’ voices and actions drown out our own. Lord keep us your faithful and humble servants.

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