Short Meditations in John 7: 21. Easy Believers?
Jn 7:21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed.
I said back in v.19 that Jesus is unpredictable. We think we know where he’s going or what he’s saying, but then he suddenly seems to change direction and say something completely different. Back in v.19 he said, “Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?” And now he turns back to the subject of doing miracles and their response to what he had done, which appears to be exactly opposite. What is going on?
Well, I think there are two things here. The first is a matter of contrast. On one hand the Jews said one thing about themselves but did something different, and on the other hand they say bad things about Jesus and are yet amazed at what he was doing. They said they were followers of Moses – but didn’t follow the law- and then they said Jesus was bad yet had to acknowledge the miracles he did.
The second thing is seeing the flow of what had happened. Yes Jesus had performed healings in Jerusalem, e.g. “while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name,” (2:23, also 4:45) but in fact it was the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda on a sabbath which had angered the Jews and set them plotting against him: “because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him,” (5:16) but then, “In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (17,18) That was what had really triggered it off.
So we have this almost funny situation where Jesus asked the question, “why are you trying to kill me,” and of course the answer is, “Because you claim to be God,” and yet they refuse to actually be honest and speak that out because behind it is the truth of the works that Jesus has been doing which surely point to the truth of his identity. I used the word ingenuous in the previous study about Jesus and it applies here also. It means appearing completely innocent of guile and yet there is this underlying sense that Jesus is delightfully herding them back towards that truth which they do not want to verbalize. You really don’t want to spar verbally with the Son of God!
Do we find Jesus herding us towards the truth about who we are, about our need of him, of about who he truly is? He is constantly working to get us to face the truth.