A Vital Question

                “They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too?  Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.””

                                                                                                                                                                                John 7:52

                Sometimes the most marvellous truths can be found in the seeming innocent questions which are asked in the Scriptures.  Lloyd-Jones once commented that whenever he read the Scriptures he did so with a note pad and a pen or pencil at his side.  He recognised that there would come those marvellous moments when a truth jumps off the page of the Bible and into our minds and hearts and our lives with never be the same as a result.

                This is surely what we encounter at the end of the seventh chapter of John’s Gospel when we read about the response that the leaders of the Jews made to Nicodemus’ reminder to them that they needed to follow the teaching of the law in regard to their relationship with Jesus of Nazareth.  In a somewhat mocking tone they give Nicodemus some advice that turns out to be of critical importance for us today.  Perhaps this is John’s intention as he includes this event in his Gospel.  Their advice is this.  “Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”  This is of critical importance for us today because it leads us to the only sure way to come to faith in the truth of the Gospel.  This is truth a diligent and careful examination of all that the Word of God says about Him.  It is said that Augustine’s conversion was brought about when in a time of despair in his life he overheard some children singing a song that had as its refrain “Take and Read.”  His response was to flee from the annoyance of the children’s song into his home where he discovered a copy of the New Testament which he picked up, read, and discovered Christ in its message.

                We must follow the advice given here in John 7:52.  “Look into it!”  Examine the Scriptures on this subject.  Now the leaders believed that what would be discovered would be that no prophet would ever come out of Galilee.  Commentators tell us that there are two possibilities as to their meaning here.  On both counts the leaders were wrong.  The first is that they were referring to their belief that no prophet would ever come out of Galilee.  The book of 2 Kings 14:25 tells us that Jonah was of a village in Galilee.  So they were wrong on that point.  The second is that they were referring to the promise of the great Prophet, the Messiah that He would not come out of Galilee.  In this they again were incorrect as Isaiah 9:1-2 tells us, “Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress.  In the past He humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future He will honour Galilee of the Gentile, by way of the sea, along the Jordan – the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned.”  Not only was this a clear answer to their error but the question of the leaders also betrays their ignorance regarding Jesus’ origins.  He was from Galilee but He was born in Bethlehem as both Mathew and Luke make clear to us.

                The advice given however is tremendously helpful as it points us to the only way we can discover for ourselves the truth about the LORD Jesus Christ.  We are told to look into it!  To turn to the Word of God as the only sure means by which we can find out for ourselves what the truth is.  With our eternity at stake we owe it to ourselves to discover the truth about Him.  Nothing else will do.  Martyn Lloyd-Jones comments on this in his book Living Water.

                “I suggest that the following tests be applied, and as we do this, they should strengthen our faith and give us a great certainty and assurance concerning our whole position.  How do I know that He is the Christ?  What do I insist upon before I come to this conclusion?  Well, the first answer is this: He must fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament.  I put that as my first test because that is what is done in the New Testament itself.  In practically every book of the New Testament this point is made strongly.  The Apostle Paul, for instance, in a very typical manner, puts it like this in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians: “For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him are Amen, unto the glory of God by us” (1:20).”

(Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn, Living Water, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill., 2009, p. 639)

                Look into it!  That is God’s call upon us.  Check out the evidence God has given us in His Word.  In this day and age when Bibles can be had in such abundance we have no excuse for not examining the Biblical evidence for ourselves.  We must be assured that there will be no excuse when we stand before God’s judgment throne if we have not examined and believed God’s own testimony about these things.

By retir158

I am a retired Baptist Pastor living in Leamington Ontario. I am a husband, a father to three and a grandfather to eight.

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