Short Meditations in John 7: 41. Speculation (2)
Jn 7:41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee?
In the previous study I noted about the prophetic scriptures found in the Old Testament, it wasn’t all neatly packaged in an orderly way, and so that presented problems for those trying to understand what it meant. Perhaps we can boil these difficulties down to four things.
First, there was this shadowy figure that, using shorthand, we call the Messiah. Having taken this word for granted for many decades, I looked it up on the internet: Messiah. c.1300, Messias, from Late Latin Messias, from Greek Messias, from Aramaic meshiha and Hebrew mashiah “the anointed” (of the Lord), from mashah “anoint.” This is the word rendered in Septuagint as Greek Khristos (see Christ).” It is only when you pick up a book such as “What the Bible Teaches about The Promised Messiah” by Dr. James Smith, do you realise there are so many verses that seem to point to this messianic figure. He suggests 73. There may be more or less depending on your perspective.
And that leads us to the second thing: there are lots of these verses that could point towards this figure, but you have to accept them by faith because not all specifically say they are, although the best way to check is to find the verse and see if there is a New Testament application (e.g. Isa 7:14 applied by Matthew – Matt 1:22,23)
The third thing is that, at first sight – and certainly for the scribes and teachers of Jesus’ day – there appear to be contradictions, so on one hand he appears as a mighty ruler (e.g. Isa 9:6,7) but on the other as a despised servant (e.g. Isa 52:13,14 & 53:3-). The result was that you had different ‘schools’ of thought. No one had managed to synthesize the two views. For that we had to wait until after his death, resurrection and ascension.
To these we should add a fourth fact – that of the confusion from only partial teaching or only partial knowledge. For instance in our verse above, some accepted he was the Messiah or Christ, while others said, hold on, he comes from Galilee and that seems to conflict with what the Scriptures say. Now we’ll wait until tomorrow to pick up on this one as we look at the alternative they were putting up.
What does this all say to us? It must say, surely, if you want to understand Scripture you need to read it – all of it, and often. Only then will you grasp the overall picture and the details that go to make up that picture. I keep hearing people say, “I don’t really know my Bible very well,” as if there was some hidden mystery here. There isn’t! It is very simple: read your Bible, not just these notes. I have recently starting reading a chapter or two out loud, every morning. Difference!