Short Meditations in John 7: 46. Testimony
Jn 7:46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.
So these guards return to the Temple to report their failure to the authorities – who are not happy! They have demanded of the guards, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” and all the guards can say is, “No one ever spoke the way this man does.” Wow! As excuses go it’s not very good, and the authorities are going to say that, but actually as a testimony as to who Jesus is, it’s brilliant.
And yet we should not be surprised if we know our Bibles because such things happen more than once. Near the beginning of his ministry in a synagogue in Capernaum we find, “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mk 1:22) and then, “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority!” (v.27) Later, “When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him?” (Mk 6:2) Then, “The disciples were amazed at his words.” (Mk 10:24) Also, “The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.” (Mk 11:18) There are times when the various religious factions came to try to trap him and his answers confounded them and so Luke concludes, “They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public. And astonished by his answer, they became silent.” (Lk 20:26) If you have a concordance look up the words ‘amazed’ and “astonished” you see how both Jesus’ teaching and his miracles stirred and provoked the crowds so often.
As I said, it should not be a surprise therefore that these temple guards return to their masters with this answer. They too have been amazed at the way that Jesus spoke, and they had the integrity at least to recognise that what they had been witnessing was out of this world: “no one ever spoke…” i.e. this man is someone completely different from anyone in our experience. A great testimony and yet one that is not going to satisfy these hard-hearted guardians of the Law and of the Temple.
This incident perhaps should challenge us: have we become so used to the Gospels that the teaching and the actions of Jesus no longer amaze or astonish us? Perhaps we need to pray afresh, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your word.” (Psa 119:18); a necessary prayer if we have grown stale.