John 7:40-53

There are some things in life that you can be neutral about, but when it comes to the Lordship, Deity, and ministry of Jesus, this is not one of them. Yet many people around the globe are still trying to be neutral about Jesus. They claim that Jesus was a good man, maybe even a great man, but that was a long time ago; and in another time, and it has nothing to do with how we live our lives today. But you will find in Luke 11:23 and in Matt 12:30 Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” James said, “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”

 James 4:4


See we need to understand that faith in Jesus always has been, and will continue to be, a dividing line in this world. In parts of the world today where Christianity is not the major religion, the gospel is still very hostile, even as I preach this message. In countries in which Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, are the predominant religions, coming to faith in Christ, often means being disowned or killed by their families. You may be saying how does that concern me in Canada in the year 2024? Kent Hughes in his commentary states, “Christ brings division to everyday life. We all have experienced this. Maybe we are at the store, in school, or at work, and we are talking animatedly with someone about any number of things – maybe politics or education or sports or even the weather. Then someone says something like, ‘My life has really been different lately because of Christ.’ Suddenly there is a silence and a shuffling of the feet. Someone coughs. Someone else looks at his watch and says, ‘I’ve got an appointment to get to or I’ll be late.’ Another says, ‘Oh, yes I have to go feed the dog. I must be going.’ But in reality the man who said he had to feed the dog did not have a dog to feed and the other person’s appointment was the next day. Yet the mere mention of Christ brings division to life.”


Think about this statement for a moment? Did Jesus come to divide? The answer to that question is “Yes” Before you lynch me this morning, listen to what the scriptures say! Again, the question is, “Did Jesus come to divide?” YES!



John wrote, “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.” 1 John 5:10. In John 3:18 Jesus said this to Nicodemus "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”




John also wrote, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12. Paul penned these words “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Eph 5:8




Jesus said, “All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.” Matt 25:32-33



John states, “In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” 1 John 3:10. Why did Jesus come to divide? The answer to this question can be found in Matt 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.” Jesus also said these powerful words, “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." Luke 12:5-53. 

Jesus also said “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” Matt 10:34. What does a sword usually do? It usually cuts, or severs, whatever it touches with its blade. By the word "sword" most likely means The Gospel, which is the means of dividing, and separating the people of Christ, from the men of the world. The Gospel confession separates mankind because from their…. principles and practices, and one relation from another; as also of divisions, discords, and persecutions arising from it.


What a picture of what the gospel does to a person who

is converted out of a family who isn’t!


Ask a Muslim convert or Buddhist convert what happens when their family finds out they have converted to Christianity; usually a sword comes upon them. At the least, excommunication from the family, disowned by their parents, disowned by close relatives, and friends. All because of their confession in Jesus, The Christ. See our cultures; especially in religious circles, are greatly divided when it comes to Jesus as a person, and His ministry. We see 4 different groups of people who are divided by the presence and name of Jesus! My question for you is…………………Which group do you fit into?



The Persuaded


These are the thirsty, these are the convicted people who listened and were drew to Christ’s invitation by coming to Him. (v37-v39). When they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the Prophet." They were at least convinced that He came from God. Just as Nicodemus said when he met Jesus privately. John 3:2 “… come from God” Others said, "This is the Christ." (v40) which was bold to say considering they were intimidated earlier into silence by the fear of the Jewish authorities. John 7:13


Later will see the same intimidation by the Jewish authorities over the parents of the blind man that Jesus healed. “(His parents said these things because they feared the Jews, for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone should confess Jesus to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.)” John 9:22


We see this when the religious elites were exposed to what was truly in their hearts. “Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.” Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.” John 12:37-43

These people were convicted by the words of Jesus, just you were convicted by the words of Jesus when He drew you to Himself. It’s that drinking of the Living Water that only Jesus can provide, as the Feast of Booth/Tabernacle was coming to a close. These are possibly the people who are the believing remnant of Israel. “……..I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, Like a flock in the midst of their pasture; They shall make a loud noise because of so many people.” Micah 2:12

The Opposed


They wilfully refuse to believe the claims of Jesus, even when the truth was right before their very eyes. Why? Look what they said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" (v41) See, they identified Jesus with Galilee, when in reality He was born in BethlehemSo sad to see the natural ignorance, and laziness of mankind on display here in this passage.

Sadly, these people would rather argue about Jesus, origin story. Secured in their smug unbelief, they failed to examine the situation fully. See, if they had done the research or did a goggle search, they would have discovered that Jesus met both of those requirements in their questioning.

Jesus was a descendent of David “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.” Luke 1:32. Jesus was born in Bethlehem “Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:4-7


But, being content in their ignorance, like most of our culture today, they chose not to believe this truth about Jesus, nevertheless. So, what was the result of their unbelief? “So there was a division among the people because of Him.” (v43) Some said “Truly this is the Prophet” or “This is the Christ” while others said, “no He is not” We still have this problem today when Jesus is mentioned to a crowd or small group of people.


Most people like Jesus, but that doesn’t mean

they see themselves as needing him.


Religion is not a happy topic in our culture. It’s the target of immense skepticism and the source of deep division, people all the time debating on who Jesus was and is.


Talk to a…. Jehovah Witness, Mormon, Muslim, a devote catholic, even some who claim Jesus in evangelical circles; they all will speak much differently about Jesus, and oppose what is revealed in Holy Scripture.


This is what divides the true believer, from the false

Profession, and false religion.

And its not because we are better than them, or we deserve His grace more than them. It’s because we believe what the Scriptures say about Jesus, and the gospel that saves sinners. See if we speak the truth in love to a lost person, they will either become receptive to the message, or they become hostile, and violent, with their words or actions. What was their response? As we see here for the third time since Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, they unsuccessfully attempted to arrest Him. (This leads me to the next two groups of people.)




The Captivated


The men who were supposed to arrest Jesus were stunned, or fascinated, with what He had to say. Look what they said as they returned empty handed “No man ever spoke like this man!” (v46) What they were saying was “This Jesus is more than just a man” These men were arrested, taken back, by the word of God spoken to them by Jesus. Just as the crowd was when He preached the greatest sermon ever preached. “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” Matt 7:28-29. The people were astonished at His doctrine; it was something new, and unheard of, compared to what they have been taught by their leaders.


And rightfully so, all true believers

can attest to that truth.


The Word of God spoken clearly, pierces the deepest parts of your heart. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” Heb 4:12-13

Isn’t that true in your life or mine? You read a passage of scripture and your heart melts, or comes under conviction by what you just read. Remember what the two individuals said to each other after they met Jesus on the road to Emmaus. “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:30-32. The Word of God is so powerful, it effectually changes even the hardest and most stubborn of hearts. Evidence of that is found in you and me. The Word of God is so powerful, it even divides your heart, to what is right and wrong, from flesh to spiritual truth.


That’s a battle we face everyday as we walk in this Christian life. Remember what Paul said “but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Rom 7:23-25


These men were under conviction over what was the right thing to do,

as opposed to what they were told to do.


Very similar convictions, when Herad summoned the wise men seeking The Christ, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” Matt 2:7. But what did these men do after presenting their gifts to Jesus? “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.” Matt 2:11-12


The is the power of God through the Word of God; but sadly, this wasn’t good enough for the religious elite crowd, because it only frustrated them more. So, what do the religious leaders say about this, “Have you also been deceived” Literally “Have you been laid astray”, “Have you been duped by this Jesus, this religious charlatan?” This accusation, was an insulting one, because it places them at the level of the uneducated crowd. (v49) This arrogant implication was that if Jesus were really the Messiah, the religious experts would have been the first to recognize Him. But we know that not true if you went back to Luke’ account of His birth and no one cared about Him; except the uncommon and lowly shepherds who the angels sought that night.


Not these deceived men or the

uneducated crowd.

The Confused


Jesus caused a great division in the religious circle especially among the leaders. These confused leaders complained, and used the excuse, that the people don’t understand like we do; using the Law as their pillar for their case against Jesus. As they insulted the common man or woman. “But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed." (v49) John MacArthur in his commentary explained what this means according to the religious elites of that day. “The people were considered damned because they did not belong to the elite group, nor follow their beliefs regarding the Law.


These were religiously trained Levites and Jesus left them stunned and confused. This truth is no different than today! Many people [even ones who claim to be religious] are confused, or stunned, by the scriptures. Take for example, a devote Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, they don’t know what to really do with Jesus; that’s why they have concocted their own idea as the religious leaders did some 2000 years ago. This is why the leaders are so hostile towards Jesus, because they couldn’t rebuke, or explain His claims; so, they made up their own to accuse Him. All because they couldn’t see the truth that Jesus spoke of, in their religious ignorance they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. It’s the idea that they would rather follow after their own hearts to get them into Heaven, then to trust the words, and confession, of Jesus, The Christ.

But as Nate Pickowicz said, “Follow your heart” had ended more marriages, mutilated more bodies, destroyed more souls, and ended more lives than the devil could have ever imagined. It is hell’s most effective slogan yet.” This so true, and sadly, it’s not usually the religious who see Jesus first. It’s the lost soul who desperately needs a Saviour. Again, did Jesus come to divide? Yes, Jesus said “………..I did not come to bring peace but a sword (the gospel, the Word of God).” 

Matt 10:34


No matter how you look at Jesus He came to divide,

but in a good way, in the gospel way.


To show us the only way we can attain eternal life.

To show us how we can be reconciled to a holy God through repentance and faith.

To show us how we can live as His children.

To show us how we can treat and love others no matter the circumstance.

To show us how we can love our enemies who hate and oppose the name of Jesus.


He divided us for a good reason! To save you our wretched souls from Judgement and Hell. Remember! You’re either for Him or you’re against Him. So, stand your ground in regard to your faith in Christ, but be loving about it. Continue to go up stream against the current, when the culture wants to just go with the flow of things. Continue going up the down escalator, where its hard and pressing. Continue to follow Jesus when everyone else walks away to live for self, and this fallen world. Continue to serve and love Him even if it means your family disowns you for it. Remember what Jesus said, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." Luke 9:62


But blessed are those who persevere to the end. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. “

Matt 24:7-14


Jesus is speaking of those who are truly born again, whose lives are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. True followers of Jesus Christ will withstand the onslaught of wickedness, recognize and reject false teaching, and cling fast to the truth of God’s Word.

Let me ask you something!


Are you a true disciple of Christ and have you counted the cost?


Are you seeking to imitate Him or are you trying to fit in?


Do you fear God more than the world, what your family and friends might think?


Are you openly confessing and identifying yourself with Him to others no matter how they think about you?


Have or will you forsake your family for Him and the gospel?


Are you willing to follow your call even to death?

He came to divide you for your good 

and His glory.


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