Relax and clear your head. Listen for the voice of God. What is God saying to you today?
John 7:40-52 (NRSV)
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.”
News reports of conflicting sides arguing without regard for decorum or for the truth is so unnerving…sort of like this passage from John 7. In the chaos of the last day of the Festival of Booths, Jesus was at the center of misinformation and rage worthy of network news. Some said he was the Messiah; others argued that he couldn’t be because there did not seem to be a connection to Bethlehem. Amid calls for his arrest, the impressed police did him no harm.
When Nicodemus defended Jesus, reminding the Pharisees that their law forbid judgment without a hearing, the logic and truth of that statement overwhelmed the incensed Pharisees, who mocked him instead. How often does the truth provoke sarcasm or rock-throwing instead of quiet acquiescence to its revelation?
Look also at the disparaging statements about prophets and Galilee. Are they ignoring Jonah and other prophets from that region? Are they speaking only of future prophets? Are they clinging to alternative facts? Whatever the case, it is clear that the truth can only set us free if we drop our defenses and open our minds to embrace it.
Truthful God, thank you for your Word and for the Word made flesh. Help us to drop our defenses and seek the truth, even when it causes us to trade in our strongly-erected barriers for your all-encompassing grace. Amen.
Go with God.