40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.”41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee?42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” (John 7:40-52)
Division among people over Jesus
A lot can be disputed about our world’s history, but the fact that the Jesus of the bible truly existed is not one of them. No reasonable historian would deny his actual existence; there’s just too much evidence. So, scholars, regardless of religious persuasion, agree that Jesus of Nazareth really existed. Unfortunately, that’s where the agreement ends.
Form the time Jesus began his ministry people have been divided over Jesus. Today, people are still divided over their beliefs about Jesus.
40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. (John 7:40-44)
What People say about Jesus
In today’s text, some people said Jesus was the prophet written about by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15 which says: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—”
Others believed he was the Christ, which was the long awaited Jewish Messiah. Some said he couldn’t be the Christ, because the Christ was to come from Bethlehem and not Galilee and was to be the descendent of king David. The were not aware of his ancestry or the fact that he was born in Bethlehem.
Today, people are still making conflicting claims about Jesus. From biblical Christianity, Mormonism or Islam, all make very unique arguments about who Jesus is. But we know this for sure, no one ever spoke like this man.
No one ever spoke like this man
That’s the dilemma – no one ever spoke like this man! You see, men were sent from the religious authorities to arrest Jesus, but they returned empty handed.
The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:45-46)
Remember last week’s text? John 7:37-38: On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” No one ever spoke that way. People were amazed by his kindness, his wisdom and his miracles but it was the breathtaking claims he made about himself that really left people in awe. He made some pretty outrageous claims about himself.
Who did he claim to be?
1. He claimed to be God.
God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” (Exodus 3:14)
I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. (John 13:19)
I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
2. He claimed to exist before Abraham.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)
3. He claimed to be the good shepherd that dies for his sheep.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:10-11)
4. He claimed to be the only way to God.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
5. He claimed to be the bread of life and living water.
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
6. He claimed to be the light of the world.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
6. He claimed we can do nothing apart form him.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:1,5)
7. He claimed to be the one who will raise the dead at the end of time and give eternal life.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, (John 11:25)
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40)
What the religious leaders said:
Your are deceived –
The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? (John 7:47)
You are cursed –
Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” (John 7:48-49)
You are biased –
Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” (John 7:50-52)
So, the Pharisees said that the officers were caught up in deception, the crowds were blinded by a cursed and Nicodemus was misled by Galilean bias. The point, I believe, John is making is this: The Pharisees were the ones who were deceived, cursed and biased.
Who is Jesus?
The question remains: who is Jesus? Some say he was a religious leader. Others think of him a s a great moral figure. Some see him as our spiritual brother. Still others view him as a partial savior while others call him simply a good teacher. C.S. Lewis says that Jesus didn’t give us room to dismiss him as God or to accept him as a mere moral teacher.
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 55–56)
Will you believe Jesus?
Will you accept him as God? Will you accept his eternal existence? Will you accept him as the good shepherd that died for you? Will you accept that he is the only way to God? Will you receive him as the bread of life and living water? Will you allow him to light you way in this dark world? Will you be believe that you can do nothing apart form him. Will you trust him to raise you from the dead at the end of time and give you eternal life?