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 officers answered, “Never has anyone spoken like this!”
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Judges 13:2-24; John 7:40-52
John 7:40-52 paints the picture of the crowds early in Jesus’ ministry. In this passage, half of the crowd is amazed at his teachings, proclaiming that he was the long-awaited Messiah; the other half refused to believe this since the Messiah was prophesied to come from Bethlehem (while they believed Jesus to have originated from Galilee). Many people were resistant to recognize Jesus for who he was because he was not what they expected. The most interesting part of this story (to me at least) is that the crowd knew the scripture which prophesied the birth of the Messiah to reject this prophet from Galilee, and they knew that the prophecy must be true, regardless of the stories and miracles surrounding Jesus. They were right in knowing the Scripture, but they were wrong about Jesus’s history and where he was born.
I wonder if the crowd that rejected Jesus would have responded differently if they learned that Jesus was, in fact, born in Bethlehem, the town of King David. Would they have changed their minds and pronounced him the Messiah or would they have found a different reason to dismiss him because Jesus was not what they expected? Was the prejudice in their hearts too strong for them to hear the teachings of God?
What biases or prejudices exist in your life that could keep you from listening to God? What have you rejected simply because it was not what you expected? What have you put aside because it didn’t fit into your predestined plans?
How can you be more open today, even if things come unexpectedly?