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. (John 7:40-43)
Where Were You Born?
The life of Jesus was an open book. There was nothing hidden from the people about His life if only they would ask. Seeing His miracles proved Him to be the Son of God yet many did not believe in Him. His teaching was with authority and the people had never heard the kind of message Jesus spoke to them but again there was confusion about what He said. The presence of Jesus was in stark contrast to the Jewish leaders bringing Him into constant conflict with them. They sought to trap Him in His teaching failing miserably. The common people more readily believed Jesus to be the Christ than the Jewish elite. Among the multitudes, many believed him to be the Prophet promised by Moses. Others accepted Him as being the Messiah or Christ. But then someone asked a very important question: will the Christ come out of Galilee?
Jesus is often referred to as “Jesus of Nazareth.” Pilate inscribed this on the cross of Jesus. The people were conflicted about how this Jesus could be the Christ and be from Nazareth of Galilee. They were correct and they were mistaken. Jesus was from Galilee but no one thought to ask Jesus where He was born. The prophet Micah taught the Christ would come from Bethlehem of Judea, where David was from. Hosea said the Christ would come from Egypt. Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth but when Caesar Augustus decreed all the world should be registered, the young couple made their way to Bethlehem. Arriving at the city of David, Mary gave birth to Jesus. The young family remained in Bethlehem for about two years before the visit of some wise men from the East. Warned by an angel that Herod sought the life of Jesus, Joseph took his family to Egypt where he remained until the death of Herod. Instead of returning to Bethlehem, Joseph went to Nazareth where Jesus grew up with His brothers and sisters. If anyone inquired about the life of Jesus, they would have learned He was from the tribe of Judah and a Bethlehemite as David was.
There was division among the people about Jesus being the Christ because they could not understand how the Messiah could be from Nazareth. The conclusion was correct. The Christ would not come from Nazareth. What they failed to do was to inquire to the birthplace of Jesus and the confusion is solved immediately. It would have been possible to check the records of the Roman government to see Jesus’ name listed on the census required by Caesar Augustus. Division came among the people because few sought to find out the truth. What is tragic is the answer was so easily found.
Many people are divided about what truth is today. The religious world is divided more than ever with churches on every corner, faith dependent on which way the wind is blowing, and somehow a unity in a diverse philosophical agreement to be different from one another. The so-called Christian faith is a very confusing belief. What is clear is there is division with one saying this is right and others saying something else is right agreeing there is no real unity. Like the people in the days of Jesus, the answer is not far from discovery. If the people would have asked Jesus where He was born it would have cleared up the matter for a lot of truth seekers. Today the question is just as simple: what does the Bible say? Answering this question would clear up a lot of religious confusion for truth seekers.
Everything we need to know about truth is found in the Bible written down in words that can be easily understood. The litmus test is if what we believe, what we call ourselves, how we worship and the organization of the religious group we are associated with is found in the Bible, then it is true. Literally, if we would just ask the question, “What does the Bible say?” few people would accept what they now hold dear as truth. If these questions would be answered by a “thus saith the Lord” there would be very little confusion about truth. It is that simple. Why people believe something to be true when they cannot find it in the Bible is an eternal puzzle. Facing the Lord in the judgment day will erase all that confusion. In the ministry of Jesus, the people had only to ask where He was born. Today, the Bible is available in every language of the world in so many different forms of communication no man is excused from not knowing the truth. Yet the religious world is divided because they refuse to see what the Bible says.
It is always easier to understand what the Bible says than to understand what somebody thinks it meant to say. (Vance Havner; 1901-1988)