Day 63: The Problem of Opinion

John 7:40-52 : Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, “This is truly the prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “What, does the Christ come out of Galilee? Hasn’t the Scripture said that the Christ comes of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” So there arose a division in the multitude because of him. Some of them would have arrested him, but no one laid hands on him. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why didn’t you bring him?” The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!” The Pharisees therefore answered them, “You aren’t also led astray, are you? Have any of the rulers believed in him, or of the Pharisees? But this multitude that doesn’t know the law is accursed.” Nicodemus (he who came to him by night, being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does?” They answered him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search, and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”

I used to talk a lot about what I thought. This never seemed to work very well for me. I found that I was often wrong, even when I felt the most confident. I have discovered that I don’t really care what I think and I don’t think it is wise to follow anyone’s opinions.

It only maters what God says and what the truth is. The opinion of a man is not only questionable, it can be deadly according to the Bible:

Proverbs 14:12 : There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Our passage of the Bible today illustrates this. Many people in this record were ignorant of the fact that Jesus not only didn’t come from Galilee but was indeed born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-5). This passage also illustrates how a failure to seek out the truth can lead to very serious consequences.

Many things in the Bible require us to do a little (or a lot of) research. I have had my questions and after seeking them out, found amazing truths as a result. It is important to seek out the truth and not make assumptions. I have been burned by assumptions as well.

At least the officers had enough real experience to realize that this guy was different. I think that experience can give you a degree of truth, but not necessarily enough to understand God’s intent. The Bible gives us something we can use to understand the truth in depth.

It isn’t uncommon for someone to claim the true opinion simply because they are a ruler, are educated, or simply popular! The problem with an opinion is that it is still just an opinion, no matter how educated or popular the opinionated one is. In this case they were clearly wrong on at least one thing. First, they implied that Jesus was not the messiah. Second, they implied here that none of the Pharisees believed that Jesus was the messiah. But John, as if to remind us, mentions Nicodemus, the Pharisee who visited Jesus at night in chapter 3. He said the only sensible thing about opinion: “Does our law judge a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does?” In other words, it’s the truth that matters, not your opinion! It is quite likely that Nicodemus believed that Jesus was the messiah.

These “experts” continued to spread the false rumor that Jesus was from Galilee. Just a little bit of research for these smart people with means would have revealed the fact that Jesus was born during the time of Caesar Augustus and that a census was even taken! They would have discovered that Joseph was not only from the city of David but was in direct lineage of King David. Not only that, so was Mary! (Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 2:23-38).

Not only did these experts not do their research, they were misleading the people by telling them to do research in the wrong area. They told the people to go look up if a prophet comes from Galilee. This would be a useless and wasteful thing to do since Jesus wasn’t even from Galilee! This same distracting technique is alive and well today. Why worry about Darwin’s theory, if you don’t even know how matter started in the first place? These opinions serve as a sober reminder to all of us to make sure and do our research and not rely on what seems right to a man. This was quite a contrast from how Jesus taught the people. He spoke as one who knew the facts and didn’t rely on opinion at all.