DEAL WITH DIVISION

I. Present the facts

II. Pray for unity


John 7:40-44 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.


In the name of Jesus Christ, the Savior for all of us, dear Christian friends,

A game show I watched when I was a kid and have enjoyed watching again as

they brought it back new is To Tell The Truth. There are three contestants who pretend to

be the same person—a person with a little-known but interesting story or success— but

only one, the real one, has been sworn to tell the truth. A celebrity panel asks questions

to try to figure out who is telling the truth.

If you have ever watched the show, you know that after the famous question has

been asked— “now will the real so-and-so please stand up?”— after the “truth-teller” has

been revealed and video clips or live demonstrations of the person doing what they say

they do— like winning a dance championship or walking on Lego bricks— have been

shown, there are no doubts among the celebrities or the audience that the person is who

he says he is.

Why doesn’t it work that way with Jesus? When the question is asked— “now

will the real Savior please stand up?”— and the words and actions of Jesus are revealed,

then why isn’t there acceptance and unity? Is it because there is no audio recording of his

words or videotape of his works? Why is there only division when it comes to believing

who Jesus is?

That is what happened in the section of Scripture before us today. Let’s set the

scene. Jesus had been in Galilee with his brothers who were trying to convince him to go

to Jerusalem in order that many others could see the miracles he was performing. Jesus

had already been there and healed a man who hadn’t walked for thirty-eight years, but

instead of being welcomed and honored, Jesus was persecuted by his own people, the

Jews! Claiming the time was not right to go back there, Jesus held back while his

brothers went on without him for the Feast of Tabernacles. Shortly after they left, he

joined them in Jerusalem, but secretly.


DEAL WITH DIVISION

I. Present the facts

II. Pray for unity


2 There was a buzz of excitement among the festival-goers as people thought Jesus

would be there because Jews were expected to attend this annual event, and Jesus was a

good Jew. We hear earlier in this chapter: “Among the crowds there was widespread

whispering about him. Some said, ‘He is a good man.’ Others replied, ‘No, he

deceives the people.’” (12-13).

Division! Jesus faced it his entire ministry. Some knew him— his family, his

hometown, his profession; others had no clue about him. Some wanted to chill with him;

others wanted to kill him. Some were convinced he was the Messiah sent from God;

others were convinced he was a magician sent from the devil.

Halfway through the Feast, Jesus came out of hiding and taught in the temple

courts. Again, we hear of division among the crowds as to who Jesus was. Some “were

amazed and asked, ‘How did this man get such learning without having studied?’”

and others called him “demon-possessed” (15,20).

So, Jesus did some more teaching: “stop judging by mere appearances and

make a right judgment” (24); “I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is

true” (28); “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent

me” (33); “if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in

me...streams of living water will flow from within him” (37-38).

Yet, division continued as we heard in today’s reading: On hearing his words,

some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” Others said, “He is the

Christ.” Still others asked, “How can the Christ come from Galilee? Does not the

Scripture say that the Christ will come from David’s family and from Bethlehem,

the town where David lived?” Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some

wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.

Jesus dealt with division by presenting the facts about who he was. Those facts

were not always heard. Those facts were not always fully understood, for example they

knew the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, but only knew Jesus as being from Galilee

because that is where he grew up. Those facts were not always accepted. And

throughout Jesus’ ministry, we hear of his dedicated prayer life which undoubtedly

included prayer for those who did not believe he was the promised Savior.

How do you DEAL WITH DIVISION? As always, we can follow the example of

our Savior and I. Present the facts and II. Pray for unity.

Like the people of Jesus’ day, we still face division about who Jesus is. Like the

ones who called him the prophet, the Jews and Muslims will compare him to a Moses,

from whom we can learn a lot of good things. Like the skeptics who wondered how he

could come from Galilee when Micah said he would come from Bethlehem, the agnostic

will question everything about him because they are not convinced if a God even exists.

Like the ones who wanted to seize Jesus and get rid of him, the atheist will deny him and

want to squash any ideas about him. These people will appear in the face of your

neighbor, in the form of your co-worker and in the person of your closest relative.

Even we are divided internally. We each have a sinful nature that tries to

convince us that Jesus is insignificant, inconsequential, and incapable of saving us. It

conflicts with the new person inside each of us that assures us that only Jesus can be

perfect, forgive and save.

As we face division outside of us and inside of us, how vitally important and

necessary then that we have a Savior who is everything for us— the one who “shared in


3

[our] humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of

death— that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by

their fear of death...that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are

being tempted” (Heb 2:14, 17, 18).

As Satan tempts us and others to doubt who Jesus is or deny him as Savior, let’s

present the facts about Jesus. Know your Bible and use it to undo the false teachings that

rise up. Some people won’t listen, others will misunderstand and misinterpret the

Scriptures, and still others will completely dismiss anything you tell them. Let the Holy

Spirit work through the Word to effect change in hearts as he wills.

Let’s pray for unity. You have tried to tell your co-worker about Jesus, you have

invited your friend to worship with you, you have counselled your family member to

walk away from her wickedness, but with little or no success. So, as you still look for

other ways to reach out, pray for that person. Pray that God work through your past

conversations to work saving faith in that person’s heart. Pray that God will give you

another opportunity to speak of his grace with that person. Pray that God will break

down his ignorance or obstinance so he listens to the Word and its saving message.

Will the real Savior please stand up? He already has! He stood up alive from the

grave after dying your death and mine and he now stands up for us to forgive and

strengthen us as we deal with division in our life and the lives of others by presenting the

facts and praying for unity.

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