Summary: The leaders of the Jews failed to recognize the Christ because of three obstacles to their hearing: Presumptions, Prejudice, and Pride.
John 7:40-52 (NKJV)
* (Funny hearing illustration)
* How do you listen to God? How would you have listened to Jesus when He taught?
Vs.40Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the Prophet." 41 Others said, "This is the Christ."
But some said, "Will the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 "Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" 43 So there was a division among the people because of Him. 44 Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.
* Three choices are listed.
* A great man in history.
* A phony.
* The Messiah, God in the flesh.
Vss. 45Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why have you not brought Him?" 46 The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this Man!"
* What a testimony from the enemies of Christ.
* Sometimes our testimony is strongest by what our enemies say.
Vss. 47 Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived? 48 "Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? 49 "But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed."
* The ones who thought they knew the law most were the ones who missed the Christ.
* Their arrogance caused them to not only miss the Christ, but look down on those who were accepting the Christ.
Vss. 50 Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?"
* One of the leaders, Nicodemus, called for patience.
* He speaks up for Christ.
* Remember Nic from John 3.
* Remember, Jesus told the "experts" to look at the scriptures again.
* John 5:39 - "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me."
52 They answered and said to him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee."
* We have seen prejudice before. Note prejudice is linked with ignorance.
* Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The religious leaders were ignorant of Jesus’ history.
* They could not see past their prejudice.
How do you hear Jesus?
I. Can you set aside presumptions?
* "This is a great prophet. A great man," they said.
* They viewed Jesus with previously presumed opinions.
* There are things we have heard all our lives and have chosen to believe.
* These things may or may not be true.
* If they are not true, they will block you from the truth.
* If they are true, if you set them aside and listen to the Spirit, they will be confirmed.
* People are afraid to set aside presumed beliefs.
* Because of this fear, people fail to grow.
* One of two things is true: You are either perfect or you have some false assumptions.
* We say, "Yes, I know my belief system is not perfect, but I certainly don’t know where it could possibly be wrong."
* If these people would have the courage to set aside presumed beliefs and look at Jesus afresh, they would have found the Messiah.
* The truth they held would have been verified. Some of the error would have been erased.
* The Holy Spirit has not misled anyone.
* 2 Peter 1:20-21- knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,a21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
* I challenge you, set aside everything and listen to God afresh today.
* Can you join me in this prayer? "Father, let me hear you afresh today."
II. Can you set aside Prejudice?
* "Will the Christ come from Galilee?"
* Do you remember what Nathaniel said to Phillip when Phillip said he found the Christ?
* "What good thing ever came from Nazareth?"
* Prejudice is coming to conclusions about a person based upon what we think we know about someone else or other people.
* It actually comes from to root words that means to judge someone ahead of the facts.
* If you can say, "I don’t like someone because of (blank), that may be prejudice.
* It could be their family, place of residence, color of skin.
* Their since of humor may remind you of uncle Joe.
* The Bible teaches against prejudice.
* Besides all the commands that we love one another and forgive one another, there is this...