As Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, we see a scene that seems very familiar to me. There is a great amount of confusion in the crowd:
Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.John 7:43
We see that people say this about Jesus or that about Jesus, thus dividing themselves, based primarily upon their misunderstanding or ignorance of him.
For example, the crowds are confused because of their understanding of where the Messiah is from. They say that the Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, but should instead come from Bethlehem, the down where David lived.
Did Jesus come from Bethlehem? Yes, he was born there! But because they were ignorant of this background, they immediately pass judgment and say that he can’t be the one.
Or rather, Jesus says that he will go away for a short time to a place that they can’t find him. Jesus, of course we know now as we look back on it today, is speaking of when he will ascend to the Father in heaven. Those that are here on earth won’t be able to find him as they won’t have the ability to see him. And yet the crowds wonder if he will be going to preach to Jews who are scattered amongst the nations, or even to speak to the Gentiles.
Or furthermore, Jesus asserts that he is here on earth – or there in Jerusalem – not on his own authority, but on the authority of the one who sent him, speaking of course of his Father in heaven.
And even this causes division because the people know that the Jewish leaders want to kill him for “blasphemy” because they are understanding that Jesus is saying that he is, himself, God, but they aren’t arresting him and instead are allowing him to continue to speak.
There is confusion everywhere – all over who Jesus is.
As I mentioned, this is the same confusion that I still see today. Philosophies, religions, and cultures all seek to define him and new ideas come to us on a regular basis, and some insistently. Insistent that their ideas are correct. And yet, similar to what we see in this situation in John 7, they aren’t based on the evidence, the truth, or even who Jesus says that he is. Instead, they are based simply on what someone else says of who Jesus is.
Let us dig into the words and stories of Jesus. Let’s let the truth come in and inform us instead of us attempting to form the truth in our own way, in our ignorance of the facts.
Lord help us to know you as you want us to know you!