The agony of defeat! Do those words bring back memories from the past? Has a personal defeat or the defeat of your favorite team ever left you speechless for a few moments? Did you feel shocked, drained emotionally, and at a loss for words? We’ve all experienced times like that, haven’t we? You don’t feel like saying anything, and even if you did, you don’t know what you would say. You’re still trying to process it through your brain so that you can decide what to say and do next. Recently, on June 22nd of this year, one of Argentina’s leading sportscasters, held a minute of silence after their national soccer team was defeated decisively by Croatia, with a final score of 3-0. It was one of those occasions!
The passage of Scripture we are now studying, John 7:25-30, begins on a similar note. After being defeated by Jesus’ arguments in verses 19-24, all is quiet on the Jerusalem front . . . too quiet! Jesus continues to teach in the temple and the rulers of the Jews are doing nothing to stop Him. These rulers who have been trying to kill Him, are now standing there quietly, taking it all in. What’s going on? The people of Jerusalem are trying to come up with an explanation for this phenomenon. That’s the scene as we begin our study of John 7:25-30.
I. THE PEOPLE EXPRESS THEIR THOUGHTS (verses 25-26)
In their amazement and confusion, the people of Jerusalem look at each other and ask themselves, “Could it be?”, or more accurately, “It couldn’t be, could it?” Here are their words in verses 25-26: ” . . . Is this not the man whom they were seeking to kill? And look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?” In their confusion, they are beginning to ask each other, “Is there something the rulers know that we don’t know?” “Is there something they haven’t told us?” “They’ve been seeking to kill Him as an impostor; do they now have evidence that proves that He’s really the Messiah?” They are beginning to come to a conclusion based upon what they see and hear. But that line of reasoning was very short-lived. They dismissed that idea in a hurry. It was an opportunity to reconsider their persuasion about Jesus, and they turned it down. In verse 27 we learn why they quickly answered their own questions and changed their minds.
II. THE PEOPLE CHANGE THEIR MINDS (verse 27)
Verse 27 reads, “However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from.” In their minds, Jesus couldn’t be the Messiah because they knew where He was from – at least, they thought they knew. The rulers surmised that Jesus was born in Nazareth because that’s where He grew up. They didn’t realize, nor did they care to know, that He was actually born in Bethlehem in fulfillment of Micah’s prophesy concerning the birthplace of the Messiah.(Micah 5:2). Little did they know that, by saying those words about Jesus in verse 27, they were fulfilling prophesy. The prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and forsaken of men . . . He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” That’s no way to treat your long-awaited Messiah!
The rest of verse 27 tells us what caused them to change their minds in such a hurry. They reverted back to what they had been taught. But there is much more to their comment than just the physical birthplace of Jesus. They are also referring to the way in which the Messiah is supposed to appear on the scene. The rabbis taught that the Messiah would make Himself known suddenly and without warning. A popular belief was that the immediate ancestry of the Messiah would not be known. In fact, many of them believed that the Messiah Himself wouldn’t know who He was or where He was from. According to the teaching of the rulers, the Messiah would have no identity nor power until the prophet Elijah suddenly appears and anoints Him as King. Justin, a second-century writer, received that same response in a conversation with a Jew. Suddenness was key to their beliefs concerning the coming of the Messiah. Bible commentators, William Barclay and Leon Morris both share a popular saying of the rabbis of that day: “Three things come wholly unexpectedly: the Messiah, a godsend (or windfall), and a scorpion.” In spite of all the prophesies of Scripture that the Lord Jesus has already fulfilled by His birth, His life, His words, and His miracles, these inhabitants of Jerusalem would rather stick with sayings and speculations that aren’t even found in the Scriptures.
(MORE TO FOLLOW SOON)
III. JESUS PROCLAIMS HIS TRUE IDENTITY (verses 28-29)
IV. A MIXED RESPONSE (verse 30)
CONSTRUCTION SITE: A Work In Progress
Welcome to this construction site: John 7:25-30. The outline is more-or-less complete, and I encourage you to help fill the gaps as you study this passage of Scripture along with me. We’re at about the half-way mark in this construction project, so there’s a lot more work to be done. Thank you for coming and taking a look. There are many more completed sermons on this site if you would care to stroll around the block. May God give you insight and draw you closer to Him as you study and apply His Word.