The murmurings about Jesus continue in the Gospel of John, chapter 7. Some people believed him, some didn’t, some refused even to admit he was believable. In the midst of all this controversy, a few asked a relevant question, “Will the Messiah do more than this man?” Skepticism abounded, anger surfaced, faith blossomed, and the critics brought out their usual critiques.


Many began to ask where Jesus had been educated and how he obtained his knowledge. The voice of condescension may be barely audible, but the educated elite are prone to look down their noses at anyone who doesn’t have the appropriate credentials attached to his name. We aren’t far afield to assume the same attitude of Jesus’ detractors.

This critique was probably directed toward the prophet Amos in the Old Testament. Amos was sent from the southern tribes of Israel to prophesy against the northern tribes. A southerner, he also had no prophetic credentials except that God appointed him to the task, and to make matters worse, he admits to being only a farmer. If the term had been around at that time, no doubt he would have been dubbed an “ignorant hick.”

Lost His Marbles

Another fallback criticism is to suggest your opponent is crazy. In the New Testament this takes the form of calling the person demon-possessed. The critic finds nothing in his bag of tricks to contradict the object of his criticism, so he resorts to assuming the person has lost touch with reality. Perhaps demon-possession implies heinous evil, but the implication of such a criticism for today is the same: this person doesn’t know what he is saying. (See a previous post about this here.)

In other Gospels, name-calling becomes part of the critics’ arsenal. Jesus is called a Samaritan. Even if this were not a racial epithet—it probably was—calling Jesus a Samaritan might suggest that his teachings did not go along with Israelite orthodoxy. Either way, the critic insults his opponent by using an ad hominem attack. When critics have no way to refute an argument, they often resort to impugning the person’s character. 

No One Spoke Like Him

In the midst of the controversy and murmurings, the Jewish leaders send temple police to bring Jesus to them. To the chagrin of the leaders, they return empty-handed. When asked why they didn’t bring him in, they revealed that Jesus had disarmed them, “No one ever spoke the way he does.”

Apparently, something happened to them and the crowds that they didn’t fully grasp. Intuitively they sensed that Jesus just might be saying some truthful things. Some asked, “Will the Messiah do more than this man?” Forced to look at Jesus’ miracles and to listen carefully to his words, many in the crowd saw something in Him they couldn’t explain away.

Video Conversation on John 7