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John 7: 40-53
Some in the crowd who heard Jesus speak said, "This
is truly the Prophet." Others said, "This is the Messiah."
But others said, "The Messiah will not come from Galilee,
will he? Does not scripture say that the Messiah will
be of David´s family and come from Bethlehem, the village
where David lived?" So a division occurred in the crowd
because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest
him, but no one laid hands on him. So the
guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked
them, "Why did you not bring him?" The guards answered,
"Never before has anyone spoken like this one." So the
Pharisees answered them, "Have you also been deceived? Have any
of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But
this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed."
Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him
earlier, said to them, "Does our law condemn a person
before it first hears him and finds out what he
is doing?" They answered and said to him, "You are
not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that
no prophet arises from Galilee." Then each went
to his own house,
Introductory Prayer: Christ, you are the most open-spirited person in
history. You are open to all who sincerely
seek you. So I seek you now, Lord, through this
meditation. I hunger for your friendship and grace. I love
you, but I long for my love to grow so
I can be ever closer to you and more and
more like you.
Petition: Lord, open my heart to you
who are truth itself.
1. The Openness and Sincerity are Convincing: Just some
moments prior, Christ has spoken of himself as living water
(John 7:38), and some in the crowd react much the
same way as did the Samaritan woman at the well. At first they thought of him as a
prophet, but now they begin to believe that he is
the Messiah. “Everything that the Father gives me
will come to me, and I will not reject anyone
who comes to me…” (John 6:37). Even the
temple guards could not bring themselves to arrest him, so
compelling were his words. Christ tells his apostles
not to prepare any words in their defense when they
are dragged before judges and magistrates (Cf. Mark 13:11). Living in the truth is our best preparation for
communicating it in a compelling way.
2. Willful Blindness: The leaders however, as
Nicodemus points out, are not even willing to encounter Christ
and hear him out. Their obstinacy leads them
to error: “Look and see that no prophet
arises from Galilee.” (What about Jonah and Hosea?)
It also leads them to malice . They are not
even willing to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt
that he simply might have been delusional about his identity;
instead, pushed by jealousy, they have already made up their
minds to accuse him of willful deception. Do
I knowingly and willingly shy away from the truth, any
truth? Do I realize where this could and
will lead me?
3. The Truth Will Set You Free: The truth is
often difficult to swallow. In particular, the truth about Christ
in relation to my life—he is my Lord, he is
my Redeemer, he deserves my all––seems somehow fanatic, irrational, and
unnatural in a world which values technological progress, political correctness,
and looking-out-for-number-one. But Christians worthy of the name, in all
centuries and in all walks of life, have discovered that
believing in the person of Jesus Christ, who meant every
word he said, is an experience of real freedom. It
is a freedom from the dead-end world of materialism, sin
and death. It is a freedom to live a life
of love, truly human and divine, a love like Christ’s
love for me, up to death on a Cross!
Conversation with Christ:
Lord, no one has ever spoken like you.
You have given us your Word in the gospels. I realize that I need to have much more
frequent contact with your words so as to free me
from my blindness. Let my understanding of your
Word never serve me as an occasion of vainglory or
arrogance, rather as a tool to help others come to
know you better.
Resolution: I will break down a prejudice that I still
harbor in my heart against some aspect of Christ’s message.