“Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?” (John 7:25-26)
Why did the Jewish religious leaders hate Jesus so much that they were ready and willing to kill Him (John 5:18; 7:1)? As we have already seen in this chapter, even Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him (Jon 7:5).
One commentator writes, “All four Gospels agree that Jesus’ practice of healing people on the Sabbath was the object of the religious leaders’ condemnation. Whether we are talking about the healing of the man with the withered hand or the healing of the paralyzed man at Bethesda, the Jewish leaders saw His Sabbath healings and His teaching about their lawfulness as a claim of His equality with God (Matt. 12:9–13; Mark 3:1–6; Luke 6:6–11; John 5:1–18).”
We also know that the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, and for that matter today, hated and despised Him because their works were, and are, evil (John 6:7). Even though an individual’s evil intentions is often covered up by politically correct speech, flowery phrases and covert behavior, God knows the heart. Jesus Himself said in Mark 7:14-23 that evil things come from within man and defile him.
Theologian J.C. Ryle explains, “That great Scriptural doctrine, man’s need of preventing and converting grace, stands out here, as if written with a sunbeam. It becomes all who question that doctrine to look at this passage and consider. Let them observe that seeing Christ’s miracles, hearing Christ’s teaching, living in Christ’s own company, were not enough to make men believers. The mere possession of spiritual privileges never yet made any one a Christian. All is useless without the effectual and applying work of God the Holy Spirit. No wonder that our Lord said in another place, “No man can come to me, except the Father who has sent me draw him.” (John 6:44.)
Dr. John MacArthur states, “The question indicates the crowds and the rulers were in great confusion and uncertainty as to who Jesus was and what to do about him. They did not really have any firm convictions regarding Jesus’ identity, for their question reveals their doubt and unbelief. They were also perplexed at the religious leaders’ failure to arrest and silence him if he really were a fraud. Such dense confusion caused the crowd to wonder if the religious authorities in private concluded that he was indeed the Christ. Mass confusion among all groups reigned regarding Jesus.”
When men encounter truth, they may hate it and seek to destroy it, but they often shrink from it when directly confronted with it. Be prepared for the world’s hatred of the truth of Jesus Christ and that this hatred will be directed towards anyone who holds to the truth.
However, remember the promise Jesus gave in Matthew 5:11-12: “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Soli deo Gloria!