Division

The leaders of the people scrambled to try and get their parade going again.
The people were divided. That was part of the plan—turn those feeble-minded souls against each other and mostly against Jesus. Confusion was the dividing device. The talk was frantic and conflicted:

  • This is the prophet!
  • This is the Christ!
  • Will Messiah come from Galilee?
  • Shouldn’t the Christ be of the House of David?

Everyone wanted to hear more from Jesus but most people were afraid to approach Him.

Hand-tied Soldiers
There were two groups of armed men: Roman soldiers and Temple guards. At this point in the story the Roman soldiers were simply spectators. They chose not to be involved in the religious conflicts of the Jews—who could understand them anyway? How did the belief in just one God create so many conflicting opinions? They were there to keep the peace, even if the peace they kept was a noisy one. The Roman soldiers were amused by all this folderol over religion. To them, power was the only thing that really mattered and they were the ones who wielded it.

The Temple guards were a different matter. They also kept the peace but carried an additional responsibility for the safety and sanctity of the Temple. They guarded both the building and the traditions the building housed. They answered to the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, not the Roman governor. For some reason, the Temple guards acted as if their hands were tied. They had orders to lay hold of Jesus but they did not, a risky disobedience.

An Unexpected Report
Regardless of the outcome of the mission, soldiers have to report to their superiors. When the guards entered the inner chambers of the Temple to give their report, they knew they were in trouble. They did not present Jesus in chains; they were empty handed. The elders demanded an explanation.

“Why have you not brought Him?”

The guards themselves were not sure why they had failed in their mission. Sheepishly they tried to explain. They were not just guards—they were worshipers of Jehovah also! They also harbored hopes for a Messiah to rescue their nation from tyranny. Finally, the officer answered:

“No man ever spoke like this Man!”

The elders could not believe what they were hearing.

“Are you also deceived?”

They expected the guards to follow their lead, not to be swayed by this Jesus of Nazareth. They were supposed to lead the crowd not be led by them.

“Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?
But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

A Lone Voice in Opposition
A single voice complained against the growing mob mentality. Unlike the other leaders, Nicodemus had interviewed Jesus and found it a life-altering experience. He had been a confident leader of leaders before He met Jesus by night. After that meeting, his life was under radical reconstruction. Something powerful stirred deep in him when Jesus spoke. He appealed to the rule of law.

“Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”

Every eye on the council turned to him. This was no time for division in their ranks. The respect they had for Nicodemus served to break the momentum of their meeting.

“Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”

With guards who wouldn’t guard and leaders who failed to lead, the meeting broke up and they all went home.

Scriptures:
John 7:40-8: 1
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. 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.” And everyone went to his own house.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, just as You did not walk through this world without affecting everyone and everything in Your path, You still have that effect on me! There is no thrill like the sensation of Your voice sounding sweetly in my spirit. There is no comfort like Your nearness in times of stress, strain, or stillness. Your life flows through me. Your peace surrounds me. Your will stretches before me. I know that tomorrow will be another day in Your plan for me. Thank You Jesus! Amen.

Song:
All that Thrills My Soul Is Jesus
Words and Music: Thoro Harris

1. Who can cheer the heart like Jesus, By His presence all divine?
True and tender, pure and precious, Oh, how blest to call Him mine!

Refrain:
All that thrills my soul is Jesus;
He is more than life to me; (to me;)
And the fairest of ten thousand,
In my blessed Lord I see.

2. Love of Christ so freely given, Grace of God beyond degree,
Mercy higher than the heaven, Deeper than the deepest sea.

Refrain

3. Every need His hand supplying, Every good in Him I see;
On His strength divine relying, He is All in All to me.

Refrain

4. By the crystal flowing river With the ransomed I will sing,
And forever and forever Praise and glorify the King.

<em>Semper Reformanda!</em>
<em>Stephen Phifer</em>
</div>
<em> © 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved</em>

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