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10. THE HIDDEN MESSIAH (John 7:40-52)

BACKGROUND: The prophet in verse 40 refers again to the new Moses, the appearance of whom the Jews had been expecting for more than one thousand years (Deut.18:15,18).
  1. What different groups of people appear in this text?
    • What different stands do these people take towards Jesus?
  2. On what grounds should Jesus’ contemporaries have realized that he was the Messiah?
    • Why didn’t Jesus proclaim to everyone: “I was raised in Nazareth, but I am a descendant of David born in Bethlehem” (verses 41-42)?
  3. Do you think it is easier now to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, than while he still was on earth? Give your reasons.
  4. Why did the messiah ship of Jesus have to be hidden? (What would have happened if the fact that Jesus was the Messiah had been obvious from the start?)
  5. What makes it so difficult for an individual to stand against the power of a group (verses 45-48)?
  6. What does verse 49 reveal to us about the Pharisees’ way of thinking?
  7. What had the Pharisees perhaps originally planned to do at the council’s meeting described in verses 45 to 52?
    • Why did the words of Jesus rather than his miracles seem to have impressed the temple guards (verse 46)?
  8. What might have happened if Nicodemus had not kept silent (verses 50-51)?
    • Earlier on, when Nicodemus had come to Jesus during the night, he probably did so because he was afraid of the other Pharisees. How did he now find the courage to say what he had in mind?
    • Do you also have the courage to express your convictions, even when everybody else disagrees with you?
  9. In your opinion, did the words of Nicodemus have their desired effect? If they did, what was it?
    • Ending up by being harshly criticized by others, do you think Nicodemus regretted what he had said (verse 52)? Give your reasons.
  10. (If you have time) What is the responsibility of the individual in a situation where the majority is about to make the wrong decision?
    • Why do you think God didn’t reveal explicitly in front of everybody that Jesus was the Messiah?

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