Jesus, the Messiah? – John 7: 25-32
By Pastor Lee Hemen
March 15, 2015
We misunderstand sometimes what the term Christ means but it is a Greek form of Messiah, both meaning anointed one. The Messiah would be anointed by God to perform and do his will in the world. He would direct people back to God, rescue them from their oppressors. The term came to refer to a future Jewish king from the Davidic line, who will be “anointed” with holy anointing oil, to be king of God’s earthly kingdom, and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age. In Judaism, the Messiah was and is not considered to be God or a pre-existent divine Son of God as Jesus is. He is considered to be a great political leader that has descended from King David. The Bible plainly teaches us that Messianic prophecies were fulfilled in the mission, death, and resurrection of Jesus and that he will return to fulfill the rest of Messianic prophecy. Still, there are those who ask, “Is Jesus the Messiah?”
When Jesus decided to go up to Jerusalem, he knew the people would begin to discuss his ministry. There would be a lot of talk and speculation about who he was; whether he was simply a good teacher or perhaps the long awaited Messiah. We discover that they began to wonder if Jesus was the Messiah. Let’s see what begins to happen and what occurs…
As Jesus began to appear publicly he naturally began to confront the Jewish leadership and the populace who wondered exactly who he was. We discover that…
I. People were asking who Jesus was! (Vv. 25-27)
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.”
1. As we read the gospel of John we know that the confrontation of Jesus with the ruling authorities would come. So, “At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, ‘Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?'” While Jerusalem was a larger city for the area and the time, it was still a small city by today’s standards whereby the quickest way to get the latest gossip, ah news, was from word of mouth. Kind of like many small towns in our day and age. And, like many towns of that era, news traveled fast, especially when you do not have TV, computers and other electronics to muck things up. And, what baffled them was “Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him.” The general public knew the Jewish authorities. They knew how they responded in the past to any threat to their way of life or what they believed. They had the Romans or others do their dirty work and get rid of the nuisance. So this made the street crowd wonder, “Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?” What they wondered about now became a voiced concern. A voiced concern would become a threat because when people begin to wonder, they begin to formulate opinions, and opinions become dangerous when they are contrary to those in charge. Could it be true and if it is true, what should we do about it? Jesus baffled the crowd, because they thought they knew him. They remark, “But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.” Jesus was a man like themselves. They knew he had to have a mother and a regular father. Some even knew he was from Galilee. But what they thought they knew and the truth were two different things. They only knew what they thought they knew and not the truth itself. It was a popular belief that no one would know where the Messiah would come from. Yet, here was Jesus and people were asking who Jesus was!
EXAMPLE: There is an old saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.” Some would respond, “But satisfaction brought him back.” Then there is the little ditty that goes, “Little Billy played with dynamite, little Billy did not understand it quite. Curiosity never pays, it rained Billy 40 days.” Curiosity can be good or bad depending upon the outcome. Curiosity about Christ in Jesus’ day could bring the wrath of the Jewish leadership down on you. And now the crowds had seen for themselves the miracles and heard the teachings of Jesus and they began to wonder who this man really was. God’s plan was coming to fruition. People were asking who Jesus was!
In all of the hubbub of the marketplace and all the undercurrents of the time and even with all the spiritual confusion of our day, isn’t it wonderful to know that…
II. Jesus knew who he was! (Vv. 28-29)
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.”
1. Evidently Jesus heard the whisperings and the rumor machine as well. “Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, ‘Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from.'” The crowds assumed that Jesus was only a Galilean carpenter from the city of Nazareth. In fact, they were wrong, but this is what they assumed. They also believed that the Messiah would be unknown until his public appearing. This was a popular view, but not connected to Scripture. A reader of the Gospels recognizes the irony. Jesus is more than a Galilean; he is the Logos who was virgin-born in Bethlehem. The crowds thought they knew Jesus. Yet Jesus was exactly who they did not think or assumed he was! Jesus was from God, Jesus is God. This is why he tells them, “I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true.” God is way more reliable than mankind. He is true in everything he does. this is why Jesus would say, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus is the embodiment of truth because he is truth. This why earlier Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. (John 5:19 NIV)” Jesus is God became flesh to dwell among us. While God is true and reliable, his enemies are not. His enemies did not know God, or they thought they did but it was an erroneous view. There are those in our day who think they know God as well, but they only see him as perhaps a good man or at least as someone or something to manipulate and use for their own convenience. Jesus bluntly tells them, “You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” God sent him because he is God! What a wonderful thing to know that Jesus knew who he was!
EXAMPLE: I betcha Jesus got frustrated with folks sometimes. I believe this why he cries out here in John’s gospel. He had heard all the whisperings and rumors and such. Assumptions can get frustrating. I call it the what ifs. The Apostle Paul had his detractors as well. In fact, he often suffered because of the false lies they spread about him and his faith in Jesus. He responded by telling those around him, “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
(2 Timothy 1:12-14 NIV)” Paul’s faith was unshaken because he knew whom he believed in. God is always faithful. I am so glad that Jesus knew who he was!
Why is it folks would often rather believe myth or rumors than the truth? Books, films, and TV special concerning the supposed marriage of Jesus, what Jesus may have taught, or if he really died on the cross have garnered people’s speculation. Sadly, the wrong conclusion can lead to severe consequences. God’s enemies have always wanted to mislead folks and here we discover that…
III. Jesus’ enemies knew what they would do! (Vv. 30-32)
At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, “When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?” The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.
1. Of course folks do not like their own little worlds upset especially when they have a preconceived notion of what they think the truth is. Fanatical Islam is a good example and so is what occurred recently in Ferguson, Missouri. We think we know the truth, but what the truth actually is far from reality and can be upsetting if not downright aggravating to our own notions. This is what occurred here in John’s gospel with Jesus and his detractors. “At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.” No one could fight God’s plan and we still can’t. This why no one could lay a hand on Jesus, his time had not yet come. Jesus’ brothers nor his enemies could thwart the will of God. And in fact, because of this, “many in the crowd put their faith in him.” God knew the time and the place and the circumstances of Jesus death, the crowd had no control of the situation. Their faith was merely tentative because Jesus had not yet died for them. It reflects some of the crowd’s willingness to see Jesus’ miracles and teaching as something special. Far too many in our day do the exact same thing when they say they believe in Jesus, they only believe in the moment. It is not a lasting faith because they have not trusted him completely. Trust in who Jesus is, is foundational to being renewed and changed. In fact, we see that their faith was based on their own faulty understanding, “When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?” It is like someone thinking, “I’ll believe in Jesus if he will do… for me.” However, “The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.” Jesus’ enemies had no such notions, they wanted Jesus dead. Jesus’ enemies knew what they would do!
EXAMPLE: Lucifer, another name for Satan, means “light bearer.” Interestingly we read that Jesus is the Light of the world as well. Satan has always used partial truth to try to confuse or blur people’s conception of who Jesus is. Recently, several ladies came to our door with a pamphlet inviting us to the Heathman Lodge and a seminar about the End Times. They were Jehovah’s Witnesses. They tried to sound “Christian” with the words they used, but nothing could be further from the truth. JWs do not even believe in the deity of Jesus or his atoning death and resurrection. They have fine sounding arguments, but are just messengers of a lie. A distorted truth of who Jesus truly is. They are enemies of the cross. And like the Jewish leadership of Jesus’ day, Jesus’ enemies knew what they would do!
We learned today how people were asking who Jesus was, how Jesus knew who he was, and how Jesus’ enemies knew what they would do!
This article is copyrighted © 2015 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.