Jesus of Galilee or Bethlehem?
50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
I am very frustrated and upset with this kind of argument the Pharisees is rejecting the divinity of Christ based on the fact that the promised Messiah is from Bethlehem, however the common knowledge and notion of Jesus is that he’s from Galilee just because he grew up there. But nobody rebutted or clarified that Christ was actually born in Bethlehem (as David was born in Bethlehem), not in Galilee. He just grew up in Galilee. Why didn’t somebody dispute those Pharisees at that time?
I sometimes can’t help but wonder would history have been rewritten to the favor of Jesus in his dispute an argument with the Pharisees who were constantly trying to kill him. There were seeking for a reason to nail him to the cross. And finally they got one confession of the betrayer of one of the 12 disciples of Jesus himself! OK they got it, I guess this is just to fulfill what has been written of Christ he had to die on the cross to pay for the price of the sins of the world.
But my contention is always that for the sake of the Jewish people today that John 7:52 will go down as one of the most misleading words of all time. In fact I would take it that is the stumbling block of the Jewish nation at that time. Because you see in verse 50 Nikodemus, who is himself one of the priests, has contended that “ our law does not judge a person unless he hears from him and what is he doing.” Nicodemus is already speaking up to defend Jesus in a way that he deserves a free trial. But nonetheless the most crucial point is the way the Pharisees shut down Nikodemus is of utmost heresy and scandalous.
You know that applies to today context, we are seeking to establish the true Messiah in this world, who Jesus Christ really is, based on our faith in him through the word of God the holy scripture. However people are using false premises to discredit him. Like the scholastics, and also the enlightenment. In Europe, they completely removed anything supernatural from the gospels that Jesus performed miracles! They tried to de-divinize who Jesus is and call him as a good person, or a good guru. Essentially they tried to humanize the divine.
To change divinity to humanity is the biggest evil in the universe. That’s what the devil did to Eve, tempting her to take the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Eat it, you will be fine, you will be like God. The devil mislabeled the fruit from “you will die” to “you will be like God”. You see the mis-labeling here again? You see the power of education? The power of brain washing?
So in today’s context what do we do with this person Jesus? This question deserves our utmost attention. Folks drop everything you are doing, figure out this question in your life in your family in your city in your country in our world together. Unless this question is settled there is no peace no Shalom in our hearts. We’ve got to get to the bottom of where is Jesus from! The fact that the Pharisees say no prophet rises from Galilee shows such flipping ignorance or intentional denial of the truth. And the most dangerous part of it, that statement in itself is true. No prophet comes from Galilee, but Jesus is born in Bethlehem!
It’s convenient to call him from Galilee in a way to label him and knock him out of the throne of the universe. It is the same way today society we see forces to relabel what is true and reconstruct it to be something else to mislead and to condemn the truth itself. We face a constant struggle and we need to do some soul searching in our society. In our community society, there needs to be a clearer and honest confession and admission that we have missed it, if we have not looked at who Jesus really is in the face. In a metaphoric way, if we look at Jesus as from Galilee and therefore he is not our Messiah, there were missed the whole truth!
We missed everything! Because Jesus is actually born in Bethlehem not in Galilee. He simply grew up in Galilee but he was actually born in the city where David was born. This completely fulfilled the scriptures.
Micah 5:2–3 (ESV)
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
to the people of Israel.
Luke 2:4–7 (ESV)
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
That’s our Christmas story!!
How convenient for the Pharisees to remove that as his birthplace and to nail in his growing up place, this is re-labelling!!
Today we are bombarded with mass media, books, talk shows, they do not honor the reality and the truth of who Jesus is. Our society has made Jesus into a religious guru, devoid of the divinity power and glory that he has. People refuse to talk about his divinity, just like the Pharisees refuse to talk about his birthplace which is Bethlehem. They focus on Galilee. And today we see people focus on the religiosity of Jesus, and the liberals even adopted his good ethics teachings from him. Like helping the poor ,don’t marginalize the deprived and be kind to the refugees. What the world today has done is selectively choose what they like and reject what they don’t like from the Bible.
They don’t like the fact that for example you shall trace your life comes from birth and psalms says “in my mother’s womb you see me in my mother’s womb”.
Psalm 139: For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
You see me! Is me a person? No, it’s not a person? I would debate that according to your conscience.
it’s time for us to go back to the Jesus of Bethlehem. Stop tagging Jesus as a man or prophet from gallery. He is actually from Bethlehem the same birth town of King David. Jesus absolutely fulfilled the scriptures that prophesized the savior come into the world being born in Bethlehem. Jesus fulfilled the scriptures as a Lamb of God who was sacrificed for the nations when he died on the cross. Jesus fulfilled the scripture as he was born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s look at all this with good conscience and honesty and with humility. And to know our God.