I got my Bible-reading-‘high’ if you can say it that way this morning. The feeling of ‘this is SO cool!’ because I discovered some hidden treasure all by myself with no help from any Bible scholars but the Spirit the Master. What follows might be a bit nerdy for most of my dear readers. But I can’t help sharing what I discovered about our Lord and Saviour – this is exciting! I’ll try not to worry too much about ‘is this worth talking about at all’ in a self-conscious way, but to share it and pray that God will use it somehow. This is a lesson I learnt and am still learning, from John Piper and Andrew Peterson.
So here we go:
The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him (Jesus)?” The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” – John 7:45-52
Pharisees have been arguing that they know the law, therefore, Jesus can’t be who he says he is – the divine Son of God who was sent from heaven. Their emphasise is that ‘they know the law’. But Jesus has been saying that, no you don’t. You don’t know the Scripture (5.37-38), you don’t believe Moses’ writing (5.46-47), and you don’t keep the law (7.19). Because, why! If you do guys, you would believe in me because all the Scripture, Moses’ writing and the law are all talking about me! But the Pharisees can’t see or accept the point. So here, in this short conversation, John (the author) proves Jesus’ point in two other ways:
1) one of their own people, a Pharisee, challenge their argument.
2) the Scripture they claim to cling on so close, challenge their argument too.
So 1) is easy to see. Pharisees say they know the law, but they clearly do not know, or do not follow it according to Nicodemus’ challenge.
2) is the most exciting part. Pharisees seem to be winning an argument here because no one argues back. But is that the last word? No! This is what Wikipedia says about Gath-hepher:
“It was the home of the prophet Jonah… and is mentioned twice in the Bible at Joshua 19:13 and 2 Kings 14:25… Today the site, at Latitude 32° 44′ 30″ N and Longitude 35° 19′ 30″ E in the Galilee, is a small set of ruins on a hilltop near the Arab village of el-Meshed five kilometres north of Nazareth and one kilometre from Canna. The supposed tomb of Jonah is still pointed out by locals.”
Amazing what you find on Wikipedia! So the Scripture clearly argues back what Pharisees are saying. Yes search the Scripture and see! Jonah is from Galilee! The Scripture that Pharisees hold so dear proves them wrong completely.
So if the logic is, Pharisees know the law, so Jesus can’t be the Son of God from heaven. Now we have established that they clearly don’t know the law. What are the implications?
– They cannot judge correctly (verse 51) so Jesus is who he says he is.
– They are accursed (verse 49) and they do not have eternal life.
Which is exactly what Jesus said earlier,
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. – John 5:39-40
They have missed the point of having and studying the law. A few verses later, Jesus continues:
“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” – John 5:44-47
So I have plucked up my courage and shared my humble opinion with you, thanks for reading all the way till the end! I hope you find it interesting and exciting as I do. If you do, I would love to know how you think! However, you might have known this already, or you might think this is all wrong, or worse, you might think this is of no significance at all. But it’s a piece of treasure in my eyes. I pray that this is correct and faithful, and pray that it’s mildly helpful to you.
Look forward to digging up the next piece of Bible treasure and holding it up to the sun and be dazzled!