“So that in this spiritual warfare we do not contend like the warriors of this world for a triumphal wreath that will wither upon our brows, or for fame and renown which is nothing but the breath of a company of talking people, or for the enlarging of our empire over the next handful of turf; but we are contending with enemies that are pursuing us to Hell, and binding us in chains of everlasting darkness.”
John Scott, Christian Life (1683)
I am picking my way through John’s gospel and in this morning’s portion read the account of Jesus’ appearance in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles. I have since been chewing rather sourly on what I have decided to call the Appalling Question. This is the question asked by “some of them of Jerusalem” in John 7, verses 25-26.
25: Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?
26: But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing to him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?
The Appalling Question is the question in verse 26. Jesus was indeed the man that the rulers (the chief priests and Pharisees) sought to kill, and as a simple violation of the law against murder, this was appalling enough. Jesus had just said as much in John 7: 19-20. But the truly Appalling Question is in verse 26, where “some of them of Jerusalem” ask, do our rulers seek to kill Jesus because they do not know he is “the very Christ,” or do our rulers know he is “the very Christ” and seek to kill him for that very reason? Continue reading