Some of the people in the crowd heard him say this and said, ‘This man is really the Prophet!’ Others said, ‘He is the Messiah!’ But others said, ‘The Messiah will not come from Galilee! The scripture says that the Messiah will be a descendant of King David and will be born in Bethlehem, the town where David lived.’ So there was a division in the crowd because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him. (verses 40-44)
Read John 7:37-52
Watching the Pro-Jesus and Anti-Jesus parties trade fire, it’s easy to miss the very important issue on which they both agree. They think different things about Jesus but both agree that he is no ordinary prophet. Either Jesus is the Messiah or he is the ugliest sort of blasphemer. There are no other options, and the people of Jesus’ day could clearly see that.
Today’s popular culture has turned Jesus into a kind of heavenly SNAG – Sensitive New Age Guy – all soft and pliable and comfy. But Jesus never claimed to be a nice guy, a believe-what-you-want-about-me preacher or a feel-good guru. He did claim to be God. And that means either Jesus is God or he was a suicidal Jewish carpenter who knowingly led millions of people to their deaths.
There is no middle ground. Sooner or later you must decide whether Jesus is the living God or is a dead madman. A SNAG is just not an option.
Jesus, you are my Saviour, Lord and Son of the living God! Thank you for saving me. Amen.
by Linda Macqueen, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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