Daily Devotional – Tuesday, September 14, 2021
“When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, ‘Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.’ Others said, ‘He is the Messiah.’ Still others said, ‘But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.’” (John 7:40-42, NLT)
Is it possible to be too smart for our own good when it comes to understanding God? Absolutely! Look at the example of the religious leaders in Jesus’ day. They had spent their lifetimes studying the Scriptures and teaching about the Messiah; they were experts in the Law, yet when God showed up in the flesh, they didn’t recognize Him. It begs the question of us, “How well do we know God?” Jesus caused quite the stir in His day, but mostly because many of the religious leaders refused to give credence to the fact of who He was. They stared God in the face and decided that it couldn’t possibly be Him. Why? Because they thought they held all the pieces to the puzzle for being able to recognize the Messiah, but they did not.
Despite the miracles Jesus did—feeding 5,000 with just two fish and five loaves, causing a man born blind to see and even raising a dead man back to life (to name but a few)—those who had spent their lives studying God’s word and teaching it to others, could not recognize or simply refused to acknowledge their own ignorance.
What they thought they knew stood in their way of truly understanding the person and work of the Messiah: “The Messiah isn’t going to come from Galilee, but will be born in Bethlehem” (John 7:42). “When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from” (John 7:27). “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained” (John 7:15)? “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas” (Matthew 13:55). Instead of allowing Jesus to reveal Himself and the Father to them, they adamantly rejected Him…even attempting to stone and arrest Him on multiple occasions!
But, before we judge them too harshly, we really must consider how well we ourselves know God. Are there things we ‘know’ that stand in the way of truly understanding the heart of God? Some of us err on the side of demanding that all adhere to what we have determined to be the marks of a good Christian—all the while refusing to extend the love of God to others. Others of us err on the side of unquestioning tolerance—and water down the fact that, while God is most definitely love, grace and mercy, He is also just and expects His children to adhere to His commands. The religious leaders serve as a warning for us. Will we too miss out on knowing God because He doesn’t show up in the way we expect or will we acknowledge that it is impossible to know God entirely? That we may in fact be blind and incapable of understanding who He really is until we set aside what we think we already know?
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!