A preacher once sat with a brother and sister, both in their forties, who had received news from abroad that a dear aunt’s husband had died. The sister spoke at length about the kindly nature of her uncle, while the brother sat silent. The brother, having not said a word, stood up, expressed his deepest sympathies for his absent aunt, and went home. In a subsequent conversation he apologised for his abrupt departure and explained why he had remained silent. He said that he was glad that his sister had fond memories of their uncle, but he doubted that their aunt and cousins shared her feelings. “He was not a good man,” he concluded.
Such contrasting views of the same person are not uncommon. All of us know of such cases.
Jesus’ teachings and miracles were polarising, to say the least, and his healing of the “Man born Blind” in John chapter nine caused many to divide over his identity. Adding to this was Jesus’ claim to be “The Good Shepherd” (a Messianic claim from Ezekiel 34:23-24), in John chapter ten, and there arose open debate between those who sided with the Jewish leaders and anyone who might believe in Jesus. The argument went thus:
“Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him?” Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”” (John 10:20-21).
Jesus’ enemies had sketched an ugly profile of him and spread it far and wide. It took a brave soul to tell the unbelievers of that day (especially the religious leaders) that they didn’t know the Messiah when he was presenting himself to them.
But let’s face it, it takes a brave soul to tell unbelievers today that they don’t know the Messiah when he is presenting himself to them—through you and me. It’s the same Jesus.