ONE OR THE OTHER.
Intro. Jesus came to unite men to God, but He has brought division to man.
I. THE DIVISION THAT JESUS BRINGS TO MEN. VERSE 43, "SO THERE WAS A DIVISION AMONG THE PEOPLE BECAUSE OF HIM."
A. Some said, "He is a good man."
B. Others said, "No, He deceiveth the people."
C. He has to be one or the other, He cannot be both.
II. THOSE WHO WERE SAYING THAT HE DECEIVED THE PEOPLE, WERE BASING THEIR JUDGMENT ON FALSE INFORMATION.
A. Verse 41, 42. They thought He has come out of Galilee. They knew the scriptures that the Messiah would be of the seed of David and be born in Bethlehem.
1. They may have known that He was of the seed of David, but they did not know that He was born in Bethlehem.
2. They must have just assumed that He was born in Nazareth because He grew up there. But it was a false assumption.
3. Can you imagine the tragedy, of making a judgment concerning Jesus that was to determine their eternal destiny, on false information.
4. They thought they knew the facts, but they didn't. Vs. 27, "We know this man, whence He is."
5. It is so tragic to see people who think they know all the facts, making their judgments on false information.
B. Should they not be excused for their mistake?
1. They had every opportunity to search out the truth but they did not avail themselves that opportunity.
2. Can you imagine people making up their minds on something so important that their eternal destiny is being determined by their decision, without thoroughly investigating the facts?
3. That raises a question, "Have you thoroughly studied all the facts concerning Jesus?"
4. I must always question the good judgment of a man who salts his food before he tastes it.
a. How do you know it needs salt?
b. Maybe the cook has already over salted the food.
c. If a person has taken a bite of food and then asks that I pass the salt, I can accept that.
d. It is the same as the child that says, "I don't like that," without even trying a bite.
C. In verse 24 Jesus said, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
1. It is not righteous judgment to judge a man without hearing him out.
2. Nicodemus brought up this legal point at the meeting of the religious leaders who were condemning Jesus. Vs. 51.
D. These who said that He was deceiving the people were guilty of bias. They hated Jesus, and thus their judgment could not be relied upon.
1. In verse 7 Jesus said they hated Him because He testified of them that their works were evil.
2. How can you be true in your judgment of a person if you hate him?
3. Many people today hate Jesus. If they were pressed to explain their hatred, they would find great difficulty in doing so.
4. They may not even realize why they hate Him.
5. Jesus gave the reason, because He testified against their evil works.
6. Jesus said that everyone that doeth evil hateth the light.
III. THOSE WHO WERE SAYING THAT HE WAS A GOOD MAN HAD GREAT CAUSE TO DO SO.
A. The words that He spoke touched their hearts.
1. His words were simply profound. That was the beauty of them:
a. They were so simple that a child could understand Him.
b. Yet so profound that the scholars were baffled by them.
2. John tells us that they were amazed at His teaching, wondering how He knew all these things without the formal college education. Vs. 15.
3. When the officers who were sent to arrest Him came back empty handed, they were asked, "Why have you not brought Him?" to which they replied, "Never has a man spoken like this man."
B. His works were marvelous. Vs. 21, "I did one work and you all marvel." This is a reference to the healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.
1. They were questioning "When the Messiah comes will He do more miracles than He?"
2. Many were convinced that He had come from God because of many miracles.
a. Nicodemus said to Him, "We know that you have come from God for no man can do the works that you do unless God is with Him."
b. Jesus said that His works testified of Him.
c. To Philip He said, "Believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me, or else believe for the very works' sake."
C. Many believed on Him because of His words, and many believed because of His miracles.
1. John 8:30
: "As He spake these words, many believed on Him."
2. JOH 2:23
: Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast [day], many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.
3. His words and works that caused men to believe also caused others to seek to kill Him.
a. In the next chapter we will find them so angry at what He was saying that they took up stones to stone Him.
b. In verse 19 He spoke of them going about to kill Him, and in verse 23 He explains why they wanted to kill Him, "You are angry with Me because I made a man completely whole on the Sabbath day."
D. Today we still have His words, and He is still working miracles in the lives of people. His words and works still cause a division among men.
1. Some hate His words, while others live by His word.
2. Some are touched and amazed by His works, and others try to explain away His works with lame arguments.
IV. IN THE DIVIDED CROWD, WHERE DO YOU STAND? DO YOU THINK THAT HE IS THE SON OF GOD, OR DO YOU THINK THAT HE DECEIVED THE PEOPLE?
A. You ask, "What difference does it make?"
1. All the difference in the world.
2. It is the difference between light and darkness, life and death.
3. What you believe concerning Him will determine your eternal destiny. "He that believeth on the Son of God has everlasting life, he that believeth not the Son of God shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him."
B. If you believe that He was a good man, and all that He said He was and you do not surrender your life to Him as your Lord, you are in worse shape than those who said, "He deceiveth the people." Theirs could be a sin of ignorance, yours is a deliberate rejection of the light.