In John 7:16-31 Jesus is still at the temple preaching when questions from the crowd begin to arise.
They questioned his education and training because Jesus did not go to seminary. He was never formally trained by man, but he was trained by God. Jesus explained, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me” (John 7:16). This can be confusing since God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one so how can God be teaching Jesus? I don’t necessarily have the answer, but I like Matthew Henry’s explanation:
“They were offended because he undertook to teach though he had never learned, in answer to which he tells them that his doctrine was such as was not to be learned, for it was not the product of human thought and natural powers enlarged and elevated by reading and conversation, but it was a divine revelation. As God, equal with the Father, he might truly have said, ‘My doctrine is mine, and his that sent me’; but being now in his estate of humiliation, and being, as Mediator, God’s servant, it was more congruous to say, ‘My doctrine is not mine, not mine only, nor mine originally, as man and mediator, but his that sent me; it does not centre in myself, nor lead ultimately to myself, but to him that sent me’…Note, It is the comfort of those who embrace Christ’s doctrine, and the condemnation of those who reject it, that it is a divine doctrine: it is of God and not of man.”
Expectations and Pride
They questioned Jesus’s education, and he put them in their place. Then they questioned his doctrine, and again he set them straight. Then they called him crazy and said he was demon-possessed, and finally, they decided he couldn’t be the Messiah because he didn’t appear the way they expected.
These stubborn people did everything they could to keep Jesus at a distance and avoid coming to the conclusion that he was who he said he was. But why? Why were they so stubborn? Why couldn’t God’s chosen people see that the Messiah they had waited for for so long had finally come? Why did they refuse to see?
I think part of the answer is expectations and pride.
They had certain expectations about what their Messiah would look like, how he would behave, and how he would make himself known, and Jesus did not live up to those expectations.
The Jews were known to be a proud people, and they were all so indoctrinated by legalistic behavior. If they were to accept Jesus as the Messiah then they would have to admit they were wrong. And if they were wrong about such an important thing, what else could they be wrong about?
They would rather hold on to their pride and expectations to save face and keep up the facade of being God’s people.
Is it worth it?
Sometimes it is easier for us to stubbornly hold on when we’re wrong because humbly admitting that we were wrong could cause our whole world to crumble around us and that’s scary.
However, our expectations and pride may be what’s keeping us away from our Messiah. Is it worth it?