March 28, 2020 (Saturday) - Divided Opinion - A Reflection on John 7:40-53

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.” Then each of them went home.

People had divided opinions about Jesus. Some believed him to be a prophet because of the things that he said. Some thought he was the Messiah because of what he did. Others felt he was nobody because he came from a nothing town. Based on this some wanted to honor him, some wanted to arrest him, some wanted to kill him. Fascinating, ya?

Now, let me ask you a question. What’s your opinion about me? No, I’m not really interested in finding out what you think of me so you don’t have to let me know; I am just trying to make a point. So, what’s your opinion of me? Keep it to a simple: I like you, or I dislike you. I’ll give you a moment to think about it. Ok, now that you have decided that you like me — or dislike me — what is your opinion based on?

Probably a whole lot of things, right, not just the content of these reflections. My accent, my style, my clothes, my delivery, my looks — they ALL contribute to your opinion of me. If you don’t like white, that would also probably contribute to how you feel. But, at least you have something to go on — these reflections. There are a whole lot of people out there who haven’t seen a single reflection, haven’t heard me preach a single sermon, have never seen me, much less met me, but still don’t like me. How do you explain that?

Well, it is because we love to sit on judgement over people, isn’t it, even people we have never met. We believe we have the right to form opinions about other people, even if it is based only on second hand information. And when the opinion we form is negative, then we believe we have the right to sentence them to some ungodly fate. They wanted to arrest Jesus in this story. At other times other people with other opinions wanted to kill him.

I am sure you will agree that wasn’t right. So, what we do also isn’t right, no? And we have to stop doing this. God is the only one who has the right to judge, because he is the only one who can see into the heart which reveals the truth about a person, and even then, if he sees the heart is evil, he is inclined to mercy, not condemnation. He says he will judge only the ones who have taken it upon themselves to judge.

Seeing how Judgement Day might be close at hand let us clean up this part of our act immediately.