Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”
The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”
Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived?
Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”
Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them,
“Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”
[John 7:45-52 NKJV]
‘Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.’
This passage shows the ‘wall of unbelief’ that Jesus encountered among those who considered themselves to be the guardians of faith, (the name ‘Pharisee’ means ‘a separatist’, that is someone who is exclusively religious.) These men say to their ‘officers’ “Are you also deceived?” and to Nicodemus (one of their own, but who had listened and heard what Jesus said), “Are you also from Galilee?”
‘Does our law judge a man before it hears him ... ?’
Thus says Nicodemus, and the answer shows that this is indeed the case and that fear and prejudice is what guides the Pharisees. Fear that Jesus might foment insurrection and undermine their authority, and prejudice against those from Galilee.
Symbolically, in rejecting the idea of any prophet, let alone the Messiah, coming out of Galilee, shows a lack of trust, (‘Galilee’ can represent the idea of trust), and reveals that their adherence to preconceived notions will never see the truth that they purport to believe in.
‘And everyone went to his own house’
Verse 53 concludes chapter 7 with a picture of everyone ‘going their own way’. There is no agreement, no yielding of attitudes, only closed-in stubbornness. These men were stuck; each in ‘his own house’ with the door firmly shut.
PRAYER: Lord, keep us of open hearts to hear in each moment the guiding of Your Holy Spirit. Help us to turn away from hard attitudes which cause strife, persecution and hurt. Our confidence is in You, Lord, and not in our own judgement and attitudes.
Remember whose you are and whom you serve. Provoke yourself by recollection and your affection for God will increase tenfold, your imagination will not be starved any longer, but will be quick and enthusiastic, and your hope will be inexpressibly bright.
Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”
Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee?
Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”
So there was a division among the people because of Him.
Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.
[John 7:40-44 NKJV]
There was division
Ironically enough, the idea that Jesus could cause division is divisive among God’s people. Many will say that Jesus was a unifying presence and others will demur. But as we see here there was division among the people because of Him. The plain fact is that Jesus brings division into the midst. He said he would do so.
Why is this? One would assume that Jesus wanted to unify brothers and sisters into a one-ness in Him; and here we have to see that there are many forces at work; different facets of faith that come into play. Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. [Luke 12:51 NKJV]
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! [Psalm 133:1 NKJV]. For unity in Jesus to prevail there must first be division. We must be divided, or separated from our own lusts, desires and worldly ambitions. There has to be a re-alignment of our inner selves with the person of Jesus; not just in part, but completely. This is impossible for us unless we accept the changing power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus must first divide in order to unify.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. [Romans 12:2]
But rather division
We can see that the first step in this process is being transformed — divided and separated from our former way of behaving...
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. [Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV]
One of the most amazing revelations of God comes when we learn that it is in the commonplace things that the Deity of Jesus Christ is realised.
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
[John 7:37-39 NKJV]
On the last day ...
The last day refers here to the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, which ultimately refers to ‘the last day’, because the Feast of Tabernacles — the Feast of Dwelling In Booths — represents ‘the last day’; the end of the matter; the conclusion of the plan of God.
... that great day of the feast ...
means the feast day itself, and it is significant that Jesus returns to His metaphor “out of His heart will flow rivers of living waters”. Now we can see that He is referring to The Holy Spirit, so that not only does it respond to the verses preceding this (see ‘Where I Am You Cannot Come’), but also links the events in Chapter 7 firmly with the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as (among other names) the Feast of Ingathering.
... Jesus stood
Jesus was deliberately placing Himself as central to the meaning of the Feast; thus proclaiming that He was ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’. By doing so, He is publically declaring Himself as ‘the anointed one’, The Christ. From this point onwards is the outworking of that declaration.
Whenever the insistence is on the point that God answers prayer, we are off the track. The meaning of prayer is that we get hold of God, not of the answer.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART