- What has the book of John previously told us about Jesus?
- Who do you believe Jesus to be?
In this chapter we see a real division of opinion. We saw in chapter 6 that Jesus' words were hard to swallow, and even some of his disciples left him. Here, some people, such as the guard, believe Jesus to be a good man and an incredible speaker. Others, such as the Pharisees accuse him of being demon-possessed, and a deceiver. These people are so outraged that they make many attempts to seize and kill him.
Jesus is a contentious character. I don't believe he is a person you can be indifferent to. You can either believe his claims, or you can dismiss them. We've seen some of his claims in previous chapters, and they are quite outrageous. He claimed to be the Messiah to the Samaritan woman, and the bread of life who can stop us from dying.
C.S. Lewis, famously proposed that there are three ways to view Jesus: that he is either who he says he was, he was just crazy, or he was a prolific liar. This is sometimes summarised as "liar, lunatic, Lord". Lewis suggests that Jesus doesn't give us room to just treat him as a moral teacher, whose words hold the same weight as a collection of proverbs of the agony aunt column. Somebody who just wanted to be moral wouldn't say that he was the promised Messiah, sent by God. If what he was saying was true, he's more than just a moral teacher; if what he was saying was a lie he could not have been particularly moral.
Jesus is a contentious character. The book of John certainly has a lot to say about him. From the first chapter we learnt that he was eternal, the Son of God, who could atone for our sins and give us eternal life. Who do you believe Jesus to be?