A story is told of two old ladies who lived together. One summer evening they were sitting on their porch, enjoying the peaceful scene. One woman was listening to the sound of a church choir a few doors away as they practiced. The other woman was listening to the sound of the crickets chirping. The woman listening to the choir said, “Isn’t that a lovely sound?” The woman listening to the crickets replied, “Yes, and I understand that they do it by rubbing their legs together.” Confusion is not typically so funny.
The 7th chapter of the gospel of John can be painful to read. There is so much confusion and division about Jesus. There are the Jewish leaders who want to kill him and his own family who wants to control him. Then, there’s the mixed reviews of the crowd. Among the crowd are those who think he’s a good man. There are those who think he leads the people astray. There are those who think he’s crazy. There are still others who believe that he is the Christ. Merrill Tenney described the situation as “ignorant adulation on one side, and ignorant criticism on the other” (John: The Gospel of Belief, pg. 136). Shallow reasons for believing in Jesus are just as bad as shallow reasons for rejecting Him.
Is there still confusion about Jesus today? Is what we believe about Jesus subjective? Is Jesus whatever you prefer Him to be? Ignorant belief is not much better than ignorant unbelief.
To turn Nicodemus’ question into a statement he said, “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing” (Jn. 7:51). John is writing this gospel because he knows that we need to have a faith built on who Jesus is and why He came. Unbelief can be shallow “being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18). Ignorant unbelief may be the norm, but there must never be ignorant adulation. Faith must be built on knowledge. Paul stated that his goal in life was “that I may know Him” (Phil. 3:10).
The idea that Jesus is fully Divine, and perfectly human may be difficult to grasp. Coming to an understanding of this truth is life changing.