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John24 – certainties in conflict

So, some from the crowd (c. AD 30, Jerusalem, Festival of Pitching of Tents) hearing these words (of Jesus), were stating, “This man is truly the Prophet!” Others were stating, “This man is the Christ!” [John 7: 40]
 
In this extract from John’s first century eye-witness biography of Jesus, this man has just cried out these words, “If someone may thirst, come to me and drink! The one believing into me, just as the scripture said, ‘Out of his interior will flow rivers of living water.’”

Some folk “from the crowd” were certain that the prophet promised through Moses around 1350 BC (as recorded in Israel’s national archives) had amazingly arrived in their lifetime. Others “from the crowd” were certain that Jesus was in fact their Messiah – again, as promised repeatedly in many books in their national archives.

In fact, others were stating, “Not from Galilee does the Christ come. Has not the scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 

Yet “others” state their certainty that this Jesus is not their Messiah. But they made their decision knowing neither that he was in fact descended from King David of Bethlehem (1000 - 970 BC) nor that he was born in Bethlehem.
 
So there came to be a division in the crowd through him. In fact, some among them were wanting to take him, but no one laid hands upon him. So the officials came to the chief priests and Pharisees. And these said to them, “Through what did you not bring him?” 

 
The crowd is divided by certainties but some want to use force to enforce their certainties, to incarcerate this man - just like the crowd wanting to take the US Capitol building in Washington in January 2021.

‘A belief is what you hold; a certainty is what holds you.’ (Anon.)
Among these were these officers paid and instructed by the chief priests and the Pharisees to take him. When they returned without him, they demanded an explanation. 

The officials answered, “Never has a man spoken in this way.” 

How very simple this is. They’d heard him say, “If someone may thirst, come to me and drink! The one believing into me, just as the scripture said, ‘Out of his interior will flow rivers of living water.’” They heard it from one who a few days earlier had fed 5,000 hungry people and cured a man paralysed 38 years, and who showed compassion to all. How could they stop him?

So the Pharisees answered them, “You were not also deceived. Not someone among the rulers or among the Pharisees have believed into him. But this crowd not knowing the law is accursed!” 

The Pharisees were certain that all who do not see tike them were “deceived”. Every person in the whole crowd should take their cue from them. If they do not do so they are cursed - presumably from above as well as below.

Nicodemus, the one who came to him previously—being one of them—stated to them, “Our law does not judge a man if it may not first hear from him and may know what he is doing.”

 
Nicodemus had earlier taken steps to “hear” from Jesus and to know what Jesus was “doing”. His first words when he met Jesus one night were, “Rabbi, we discern that you are a teacher come from God, because no one is able to do these signs that you are doing if God may not be with him.” He now suggests that the Pharisees have a legal duty to do the same prior to reaching such certainty about him. 

‘The real mark of a saint is that he or she makes it easier for others to believe in Jesus.’ (Anon.)
They answered and said to him, “You are not also from Galilee. Search and see that a prophet does not rise up from Galilee!” And each one departed into his own house. In fact Jesus departed into the mountain of olives. 

Clearly the Pharisees are certain about Galilee and anyone coming from there, including Jesus (although they didn’t know that he was from Bethlehem in Judea, not Galilee in Samaria). Despite their certainty about Galilee having no past history of prophets, they also didn’t know their own Scriptures because the prophet Jonah (c. 750 BC) did come from there.  

What do you make of these conflicting certainties and deeds? Are you certain that it’s best to have nothing to do with this man? Or are you a Nicodemus?

 
Sinner Syvret

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