Summary: Another reaction to Jesus’ claims from the Jewish crowds.
Last Sunday evening we looked at how to overcome any mocking or unbelief when it comes to us being Christians. We looked specifically at the response of Jesus’ half-brothers.
Tonight we look at another reaction to Jesus’ claims from the Jewish crowds. The Jewish crowds including both the religionists and the pilgrims had four false beliefs about Jesus. These beliefs are still prevalent in today’s society. See if you don’t recognize some of them. They include:
1. Jesus was only a good man.
2. Jesus was a deceiver.
3. Jesus was a man not important enough to defend.
4. Jesus was a man unaccredited.
So what we see tonight is that the Jews were seeking something, but they were questioning as well.
Jesus’ brothers had challenged Jesus to go to the Feast in Jerusalem but Jesus told them in verse 8, READ.
READ v. 10. It appears from this verse that Jesus’ brothers left for the Feast, and that Jesus finally, in fact, went up to Jerusalem to attend the Feast as well, but He didn’t go up with His brothers. His brothers had left some time before, probably in a caravan. People traveled in caravans in that day for safety reasons. The caravans of the day were huge expeditions so Jesus went quietly, almost in secret, so as not to attract too much attention.
Jesus is going to step forward to teach publicly, but He needed to be inconspicuous until that moment came. We will see that in v. 14 in a moment. If He had traveled to Jerusalem publicly, the people might have escorted him into the city, proclaiming Him King and causing His arrest before His time. This would have been much like His Triumphal Entry and would have taken place too soon.
READ 11-15. We kind of notice from these verses that the Jews’ response to Jesus was that of seeking Him and of questioning and murmuring about Him. The term “Jews” in this instance probably refers to all Jews, not just the religionist Jews.
Everyone wanted to find Him. The Jewish authorities wanted to entrap and discredit Him before the people. This was an ongoing thing during Jesus’ ministry because they wanted to have Jesus arrested and sentenced to death.
The common people wanted to find Him so they could hear His teaching and see His miracles for themselves.
So the Jews were seeking Jesus but not in the right sense of the word. Everyone should seek Jesus. But the motives of the religionists were evil. They weren’t seeking Jesus to worship and learn of Him but to harm Him. They wanted to discredit Him, otherwise they would lose the loyalty of the people and their own security and position. You see, up until Jesus entered the scene, the Jewish religionists were pretty much the way things were. What they said was the truth as far as anyone else knew. They were the law or at least that’s how it seemed. Jesus threatened all that.
But even the motives of the common people were corrupt. They weren’t seeking Jesus as Savior and Lord, the One to whom they owed their allegiance. They were seeking Him out of curiosity, to see Him perform spectacular miracles. (Not unlike many of the tent revivals and miracle healing evangelists of today.)
So the response of the Jewish crowds was that of whispering and questioning. It wasn’t a discontented whispering, in fact, they were kind of excited. People were quietly asking and discussing their opinions about Him; but in soft voices and off to the side, in the corners and away from strangers. They didn’t want to arouse suspicion that they were followers of Jesus and endanger their own lives. Let’s look at what these people thought for a minute because it’s not unlike people of today.
1. Some thought He was a good man. There are people today that will say the same thing. They think Jesus was a man to be supported, listened to, and heeded. By good they meant a man who was:
• Loving and caring.
• Giving and unselfish
• True and honest
• Just and moral
• Believing and worshipful
But this belief is inadequate and it’s really weak. It sees Jesus only as a man, a good man, but still only as a man. This belief doesn’t believe Jesus is the Son of Man or God’s Son.
2. Some thought Jesus was the exact opposite: a deceiver, a man who was deliberately deceiving and leading the people away from the true religion. And by deceiving they meant that Jesus was:
• Misleading, actually leading the people away from God.
• Boasting about Himself; His own ideas and position.
• Trying to be recognized as a man of new ideas.
• Trying to attract attention and secure a following.