I while ago I studied John for a long time and one thing that has stood out to me is the question of Jesus identity and the way Jesus relates to people about this.
He isn’t interested in superficial answers, in what people think they should believe or in what they heard other people say. He wants to know their heart…
Why would He ask people certain questions, when He already knows the answers? (He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person. John 2:24,25). Maybe it is because He wants people to make a clear decision about what they believe, to be honest about this with themselves and with Jesus and to built their lives upon that decision.
When Jesus speaks with people He seems to know how to ask those questions that cut through straight to the heart. The following verse comes to mind when thinking about this:
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
When reading about different conversations Jesus had with people I’m also struck by the love He shows for them. He takes the time to talk with them, to listen to them and to draw them out. The people He meets are not just nameless individuals passing by, but he seeks out every person He encounters.
It’s interesting to see the different reactions people have towards Jesus; how some are drawn to him and how others become angry or irritated. How some people are changed and how some people walk away.
From all of this also comes a personal question: “What do I believe about Jesus, who do I think He is, and how does this matter for my life? Do I really know him as well as I think I know him? What questions would Jesus ask me?”
As we see from John 14:9 even if we have been with Jesus for a long time, this is no guarantee that we really know him.
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” 50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.”
19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet.
25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”
14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.
40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
19 Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
19 The Jews who heard these words were again divided. 20 Many of them said, “He is demon-possessed and raving mad. Why listen to him?” 21 But others said, “These are not the sayings of a man possessed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
24 The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me,
33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
For another post about Jesus see: rejected
For another post about Jesus see: rejected