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Despising the Little Guy
The elite looks down their nose at the little guy. They have more education, they know better, so the lower classes are the dummies who can't get it straight. Arrogant and strutting, the upper crust refuses to admit the masses might be right now and again.
The Pharisees heard the multitude was wowed by Jesus' signs and teachings. They can't take any more, so "the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him" (John 7:23, NASB). Politicians taking measures to guarantee their status and power.
But their little plot backfires. The officers return empty-handed. The big wigs demand, "Why did you not bring him?"
I would love to have seen the officers' expression. Sheepish? Disturbed? Perhaps even calmed by their proximity to the Master? We'll never know in this life, but they answer, "Never did a man speak the way this man speaks" (v. 46).
After hrumping and stomping about, no doubt, the religious right pooches out their chest and trumpet, "You have not also been led astray, have you? No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? But this multitude which does not know the Law is accursed" (vv. 47-49).
They are to shortly discover, through Nicodemus's words, that there are among their own number secret admirers of the Savior. Probably knew all along, if they would have admitted it. But don't let evidence muddy your argument.
If none of those who are in the know don't go for this man's charismatic ways, well, you've got to be out of it to let him snow you. I can hear them spit as they mention how the multitudes were accursed. How ignorant can you get?! rant and rave the know-it-alls.
Listen to the preachers in the pulpits. Watch the college professors behind their desks. Keep your ears keen to the elders' posture. If you hear attitudes that demean the sheep, run! You can be sure they don't have a love for the rank and file that caused a loving God to send a dying Son.
I love education. I enjoy learning. Books and teachers and classes are right up my alley. But when the biting words peel the paint off the walls when the guys on the inside start running down the brotherhood, you can pretty well be sure you have a prime specimen of puffy knowledge (1 Cor. 8:1).
After all, everybody knows that no prophet ever came from Galilee.
-- A. A. Neale (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 14, 2001