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Who Knows The Truth About Jesus?

John 7:45-53
Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, ‘Why didn’t you bring him in?’ ‘No one ever spoke the way this man does,’ the guards replied. ‘You mean he has deceived you also?’ the Pharisees retorted. ‘Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law – there is a curse on them.’ Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, ‘Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?’ They replied, ‘Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.’ Then they all went home. (NIVUK)

The security guards in the temple had been ordered to arrest Jesus (John 7:32), but they refused.  Pragmatically, they had no appetite for starting a riot in the temple because the people were starting to trust what Jesus said, and would have supported Him.  But, also, the guards were listening to His teaching; they were so impressed with what He said that their consciences would not allow them to seize Him.

Although Jesus’ miracles were amazing, it was His words which struck deep down in their hearts.  What Jesus said carried God’s authority (Matthew 7:28-29).  His teaching was radically different to the instructions of religious lawyers who set rules, which people could not keep, and could never bring peace to sinful hearts.  But the religious leaders, envious of the popular attention Jesus received, believed that the crowd were deluded, cursed by Satan and held in his evil grip.  In fact, it was they who were being used as the devil's toys (John 8:44).

One of those leaders was Nicodemus, who earlier came to Jesus under cover of darkness (John 3:1-15).  Nicodemus had personal experience of Jesus and his conscience was also troubled by the warlike attitude of the other leaders.  At the very least, he said, Jesus should have a proper fair trial.  But they would not listen to Nicodemus either, accusing him of being ignorant of the Scriptures: no prophet ever came from Galilee, they said.  But they ignored the fact that Jonah came from Gath Hepher, close to Nazareth in the same northern area of Zebulun (2 Kings 14:25).
People who fight against the truth will also hate those who want to know the truth.  Those with seared consciences despise people who struggle to keep their conscience clear.  It is particularly true when the 'truth' is all about Jesus.  He told His disciples, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." (John 15:18-19).  So, if you love Him, do not think that you are in the wrong when other people speak badly of Him or are hostile to you when you stand up for Jesus.  Just rejoice that you know the truth about Jesus and are confident that He understands and stands by your side.

Dear Lord God. Thank You that Jesus fully understands the way some people think about me and treat me. I am sorry when I feel sad for myself or angry with them, and do not realise that they treat me badly, because they are resisting Your love and grace. Please help me to forgive those who ill-treat me and love those who despise me, and please help me to continue to publicly affirm my faith in Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams