I am always amazed at the lengths that people will go to not to believe in Jesus. The bulk of the eighth chapter of John is a discussion between Jesus and the teachers of the law concerning who Jesus is. Let me set the stage for you.
If you look at a harmony of the gospels, a book designed to take all of the verses in the gospels and arrange them in chronological order, by this time the miracles of Jesus that have been seen by the people is amazing. Here’s a partial list:
Turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana
Healed a sick child at Capernaum while he was in Cana
Healed a demon possessed man
Healed Peter’s Mother-in-law
Cleansed a leper with much publicity
Forgave and healed the paralytic man
Healed a lame man on the Sabbath
Healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath
Healed the centurion’s servant from a distance
Raised from the dead the son of the widow from Nain
All of these are not recorded in John but in the other gospels. It’s an impressive list! So by now the crowds of people and the teachers of the law have seen Jesus do some amazing things. Remember also, that the entire nation of Israel is crying out for the arrival of their messiah. Every man, woman, and child knows the stories about a future Jewish messiah who will deliver them. It is central to their faith.
So why do they reject Jesus?
Sitting before them is a man who in every way fulfills the prophetic description of the messiah. No man in their history has every done the miracles that Jesus does and no man has ever taught as he teaches. Why will they simply not believe?
Perhaps a clue is found in the first few verses of chapter eight. Jesus is brought the woman that has been caught in sin and rather than follow what the teachers of the law want, Jesus forgives her, instructs her to stop her sin, and releases her. We could spend weeks talking about just this one aspect of the ministry of Jesus but here’s what I want you to see. Jesus is doing things that make it easy for people to believe.
The Jewish people have a very specific thing that they believe the messiah will be. How he will behave, what he will say, and perhaps ultimately what kind of man he will be. Personally, I think they wanted a King David type who would destroy all their enemies and exalt the nation to the top of the heap. You see everybody had their impression about what their messiah would be and do. Jesus simply did what God had called him to do. When he spoke, it was God speaking. What he did was what God would do. Ultimately, I think people wanted an easier messiah. Jesus however, called each individual to live a life in which they picked up a cross and followed him.
How about us? Do we refuse a faith that calls us to sacrifice? Are we looking for a Jesus that will come into our lives, fix all the problems, and require little? Sometimes following Christ is hard.
But I’m up for a little hard. How about you?