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.