40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “He is the Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? 42 Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him. 45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” 46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared. 47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law–there is a curse on them.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.” 53 Then each went to his own home. (John 7:40-53 NIV)
Jesus was a lightning rod of controversy in His day. John tells us that “…the people were divided because of Jesus.” (vs.43) They weren’t divided because Jesus was unsure of who He was or because He was sending mixed messages to the people. Thirty times in John’s Gospel we read where Jesus said He was sent by God, He was sent by the Father to do the Father’s will. Even though the religious leaders seethed with anger each and every time Jesus spoke those words, He would not back off, He would not stand down, He would not soften His message. Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34 NIV) In John 6:38 we read, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38 NIV) Jesus had come to do the will of the One who sent Him and because of that He would not alter His message or His mission regardless of how others responded to Him.
How different are we when we compare “who we are” and “what we do to try and fit in with the crowd” to Jesus’ unflinching commitment to do His Father’s will? We adults counsel our children to steer clear of peer pressure. We tell them to know who they are, to be true to themselves, and not allow others to lead them astray. Yet, my experience as an adult is that we do the very thing that we tell our children not to do. We need a greater motivation than “being true to ourselves,” we need to know who we are “in Christ,” we need to know the Father’s will for our lives with certainty, and we need to seek to live solely for the One who has given us life.
If I take the time to learn God’s Word then I will discover that God has called me to live for Him above all else, God desires to use me to make Him known to others, and God desires to lead me and guide me through this life so that my life will be a visible demonstration of God’s purpose, grace, and mercy for all people. I fall far short of the focus and intentionality that Jesus demonstrated while walking the planet, but I desire for God to draw me ever closer to Himself and use me to a greater degree.
My prayer today, Lord, is that I will let go of the things that keep me from walking with You in such a way that others will know that My life is a result of Your purpose, plan, mercy, and grace.