John 7:40-53 – No Neutral Ground

Jesus has been teaching his disciples, among many other things, that no one can come to Him unless it is granted to them by the Father.  This truth is borne out again in the first paragraph of today’s quiet time.  Verses 40-44 give us an example of several people hearing the same message and responding in several different ways.  Notice also that the division was not a kind one.  There were some who acknowledged Him as the Christ and others who wanted to arrest Him.  Not much neutral ground there…and there is still not much neutral ground today.

So we should expect two things when we share the Gospel with others:
1.) They will not receive Christ just because of your eloquence and cunning.  Do not let fear of not knowing “all the right things to say” stop you from sharing the truth of the Gospel!  Your willingness to share is a tool that God uses to get His Word to lost people.  Let Him do the miracles, we just need to be faithful and obey.
2.)  People who do not receive Christ will not remain neutral.  You cannot reject Christ and be neutral.  You are either for Him or against Him.  This means that people who do not receive Him will respond with mocking, belittling, some other false religious response, or many other possibilities.  We need to expect that, and keep in mind that we are being rejected because Jesus is being rejected.  We are IN the Body of Christ.  We signed up for this.  And…we are accepted by God.

In verses 45-53, the Pharisees rebuke the officers and Nicodemus with what is called “cavalier arguments.”  This basically means that instead of teaching the men why they should not believe and instead obey them, they just yell at them and say things to intimidate them into submission.  How many of us are guilty of having using this method to coerce obedience a time or two…? (My hand is raised…my poor children)  They even potentially error in their statement.  They asked Nicodemus to search for any prophet that would ever come out of Galilee.  They were either speaking of future prophets (like the people earlier had questioned Jesus not coming from Bethlehem, although he had and they did not know it) or they were forgetting about the prophet Jonah.  Jonah was from a small village called Gath-Hepher which was just a few miles north of Nazareth…in Galilee.  See 2 Kings 14:25.

Let’s be faithful to study and know the Word of God so that people’s intimidation or rejection will never keep us from proclaiming it to the world!

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