43. Division

Short Meditations in John 7:  43.  Division

Jn 7:43  Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.

What a verse that sums up history – people are divided because of Jesus. But why? For the people in our account in this chapter, it is because they have only partial information. They know what Jesus is doing and saying in the present, and that seems to point towards him being the Messiah – which is what some would like to believe – and yet the partial information about his background is confusing. In fact it was going to get more confusing for his disciples as events unfurled and he was arrested, tried and killed. That was going to drive them to despair and fear.

But Jesus himself said he had come to create divided opinion. It’s not what he wanted but it is what will happen (see Lk 12:52,53) with families divided in their beliefs. Indeed at another time he spoke of peace being replaced by a sword (Mt 10:34) as families would turn against each other because of him (v.35,36). It is a strange thing that can only be understood as a spiritual battle, that results in members of the family betraying one another and even having one another killed (see Lk 21:16)

You would think that such a thing is not possible, but when you understand the spiritual dynamics of what goes on in the world you can see it: “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one,” (1 Jn 5:19) and, he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” (Col 1:13) It is an uncomfortable truth that there are two rulers – Jesus and Satan – and you either submit to Jesus or you submit to Satan, two rulers with two different objectives and yet so similar.

Satan wants to destroy the children of God – literally if not in any other way. Jesus wants people to die to themselves and to their past as they surrender to him and let him remake their lives. Each wants death to the other, but for the kingdom of God that ‘death’ is so that life may pour forth. No wonder there is this division. When people submit to the kingdom of God they come to experience love and goodness in ways they could never have imagined.

Those in the dominion of darkness refuse to surrender their self-sovereignty, and self so often harms others, and experiences self-harm, but that is the currency of the enemy. In that darkness they are blinded and cannot see the truth and are threatened by those who espouse it. When they are delivered from the dominion of the enemy they are delivered into light, into love, into goodness. Light versus darkness; no wonder there is this division.

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