The people in Jesus’ time had many disputations about who He was. The same is true today. Some recognize Him as merely a good moral teacher. Others see Him as a great prophet, but not divine. Some people try to cut against the grain of history and deny that the person of Jesus from the pages of Scripture really walked the earth. How do we eventually settle the matter? I think it comes down to whether we take God at His word. If He has spoken to us through the pages of the Bible, then the decision point is brought into sharp focus.
The recorded arguments among the Jewish people, the religious leaders, and even the civic leaders about the identity of Christ have always been very convincing for me when it comes to the veracity of the Gospel accounts. The raising of possible doubt and lack of consensus is exactly what we would not expect from a propaganda piece. When we read about the people in the passage today expressing their thoughts of where Christ would come from, what He would do, and so forth, we can easily place ourselves in the situation. This is real life. We are not unfamiliar with these types of discourse. I love the way Jesus speaks in these passages. It seems cryptic until we realize the authority of His speech and the deep truths conveyed.
What also interests me about today’s passages in St. John’s Gospel is the tension lurking around practically every corner between Jesus and those seeking His demise. Jesus is of course aware of this, and deftly navigates His mission as guided by the hand of providence. As the Lord teaches later in the Farewell Discourse (John 13-17), if the world hated Him, it will hate those who follow Him. Thus, those who follow Christ face dangers and temptations lurking around the corner. We should not be paranoid about this fact. Rather, in recognizing it and forging ahead toward the light, we can move beyond fear. The Christian life is not a ‘safe’ life. God often calls us to take a journey or work in the most challenging circumstances. He calls us to face our lives with the attitude of Christ. There are always repercussions. The example of Christ as He walks confidently amid imminent danger is an amazing example for us.