The Jews at the time of Jesus were in a quandary. Here was this man doing all kinds of signs and wonders and good things, and yet the authorities wanted him arrested and put to death. They were divided as to what to think.
The authorities who they expected to know the truth, especially the teachers of Judaism, gave no credence to Jesus at all. And yet the works he was doing were so astounding, so incomprehensible that they believed he just had to be a prophet or man of God. Here is a great lesson for all of us.
The leaders of the people believed Jesus was opposed to what Moses and the prophets taught. And yet everything Jesus did was in full accord with what was written of him in those writings and the Holy Scriptures.
So why did they make such assumptions? Because they didn’t bother to listen to him. They didn’t spend the time seeking the truth of what he was saying. They only sought to prop up their own position for fear of losing face or losing influence. They didn’t want to admit to being wrong.
How many people today are in the same position? How many people will defend a wrong conclusion, decision or belief “to the death” rather than admit to being wrong and thus learning something new?
What causes such thinking in the first place? Pride! Pride and arrogance. A proud person cannot learn because they believe they know it all. Add arrogance into the mix and they get worse because they get their backs up and will argue the point even when the evidence proves they are wrong.
The people in Jesus’ time knew about the coming Messiah or the Christ. They knew where He was to appear from and because they did not bother to check, they believed Jesus just could not be the Christ. Look at what they were saying here, “Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” (Verse 42)
In this we can see that they knew the Christ was to be descended from King David and would come from the village where King David was born. Well we know that Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem, and if they checked the records they would be able to prove it.
Now the people could have just asked him, which they didn’t. They could have just said, “So Jesus, where were you born?” But they didn’t and due to their ignorance, wrong assumptions were being made. Perhaps they though he may have lied about where He was born, but there was an even better proof of this important fact.
At the time He was born, all the people had to return to their home cities as Caesar Augustus had proclaimed a census of the whole Roman Empire. In this census the names of all the people were recorded and they were enrolled. This was the first census that had occurred and so the record would clearly show that Jesus was indeed born in Bethlehem. (Luke 2:1-7)
So how could the wrong assumptions be resolved? Get the facts! Find out! Ask the right questions! If you don’t know or are not sure, check with someone that knows and you will find the knowledge that you need so that what you believe is based upon fact rather than assumptions.
In spite of this lack of knowledge some believed anyway for they said, “When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This is really the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” (Verse 40-41) The facts could have been checked, but in the end it all comes down to faith, for even when some people have the facts staring them in the face, they still do not believe.
Consider the discussion described in the story of the rich man and Lazarus. When they both died, the rich man speaking to Abraham from afar asked him to send Lazarus back to warn his brothers so they would not suffer as the rich man did. But look at Abraham’s response to him in Luke 16:29-31.
29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'”
You see here that even if these men were to be warned by someone returning from the grave, they still would not listen. These people who would not accept the Old Covenant would likewise not accept the New Covenant. Why? Because they did not have faith.
It is through faith that we grow and are transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. And our faith is strengthened and improved through increasing our knowledge of the truth. As Paul showed, “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
Faith is based upon knowledge of the truth. And when your knowledge of the truth increases, the assumptions and wrong thinking disappear because you know what is right from what is wrong.
So test your own thinking. Is what you know based on the knowledge of the truth of the New Covenant or not? Are you relying on the words of other men rather than the words of God? Test what you know against the gospel of Jesus Christ to see whether it really stacks up or is a house of cards built upon the sand with no real foundation.
Either way, what you believe will be tested and tried. And whether you go through the tests relatively unscathed or you fall in a heap will be determined by whether your beliefs are based upon knowledge of the truth or assumptions.
(Photo sourced from stock.xchng taken by Thomas Römer)