The Prophet and the Christ
John 7:40-44 continues the narrative from our prior lesson:
"Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, 'Truly this is the Prophet.' Others said, 'This is the Christ.' But some said, 'Will the Christ come out of Galilee?' 'Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?' So there was a division among the people because of Him. Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him."

The boldness of Jesus' words pertaining to coming to Him to drink and the benefit of believing in Him prompted some Jews to assert that He was the Prophet spoken of in Deuteronomy 18:18,19 - "I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him" (cf. John 6:14). These people, of course, viewed Jesus favorably. Interestingly, they seemed to be of the opinion that Jesus was a predecessor for the Messiah.

There were others of the multitude, however, who went further in their claims and stated that Jesus was the Christ. He was the Messiah! Those who held this belief were questioned by another group - "Will the Christ come out of Galilee?" These Jews (as opposed to those in John 7:27) were evidently familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures that foretold the Messiah's birthplace and ancestry (cf. I Sam. 16:1,4; Micah 5:2; II Sam. 7:12ff). They disbelieved in Jesus as the Christ because they mistakenly believed that He was born in Galilee. The Jewish people in general didn't seem to understand that the Prophet Moses spoke of would also be the Messiah. Thus, technically both statements about Jesus are correct: Jesus is the Prophet Moses spoke of and He is also the Christ!

According to John 7:43 - "There was a division among the people because of Him"(cf. 7:12). This should not be surprising since Jesus affirmed such would happen - "Do you suppose that I came to give peace on Earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division" (Luke 12:51). Mankind is still divided regarding Jesus today. Some view Him as a liar, others as a lunatic, and still others as the Lord.

Those who viewed Jesus' teachings in a negative light wanted to destroy Him, but no action was taken against Him at that time. Disciples of the Lord today should expect similar reactions when they boldly stand for the truth and against sin in all its forms. Those who are walking in the light will support you, but those who love the darkness despise the light and desire to put it out.