Some truths area not meant to be grasped easily. The wisdom of one fad ideology or general philosophy seems sweet to the taste but the less substantive it is in what matters the more easily it will collapse under its own weight.
I heard it said that the best lens by which one should read through the gospels is through the comments of John the Baptist (Bishop Robert Barron, Word on Fire). John the Baptist pointed Jesus out and said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Is it a fact that Jesus was an ex-carpenter from Nazareth not formally trained? Yes. What about a miracle worker? Of course. But for someone then or now to not integrate faith is to miss out a transcendent understanding of Jesus in his divinity as I will build on from the text below on how someone will be drawn to Jesus for the wrong reasons.
So some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Messiah? But we know where he is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come. But many of the crowd began to believe in him, and said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man has done?” (John 7:25-31)
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Messiah?— These are not the elites but they are reliant on the buzz of those that purport to be. It is like they would argue for Jesus to be the Messiah based on a celebrity endorsement which is really more like a fallacy.
When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from- But here are their own prejudices that have been adopted or maybe already assumed in expectations of God that they don’t know better. God can be mysterious, no doubt, but does God have to be? God’s ways can sometimes be less than mysterious by giving use wisdom if we are humble to see the meaning of his love. And God can speak to us with things that are tangible and just make sense. In the deliberations of the people they are thinking out of assumptions but feeling out of spiritual hunger which Jesus wants to satisfy first with an appetizer for their souls.
You know me and also know where I am from- Jesus grants that their knowing him as a rabbi from Nazareth and who his earthly parents were could rightfully be a valid perception. Jesus meets them there in the middle of their reason though the longer standing truth is that “faith and reason are two wings by which man takes flight” (Fides Et Ratio, Pope John Paul II, 1994).
Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true- This is loaded in meaning. Jesus is opening up the opportunity to a meal of revelation. In the fullness of lives that are enlightened by the gospel Paul later urges that, “Consequently, from now on we regard no one according to the flesh; even if we once knew Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know him so no longer (2 Corinthians 5:16).
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me— He is pointing to how the “Word [logos- reason] became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). A recurring theme in the New Testament and in Church history is that sending in God’s kingdom is a seed concept. Jesus always points back to the Father. They are a community in Trinity in consubstantiality. The invitation of the gospel includes the illumination of that fact so that when one partake of that divine nature in communion that love is complete.
When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man has done?- They are looking for a circumstantial harvest where Jesus wants to be their savior. Harvests in a field happen because seeds die. Jesus was born to die with purpose and not performance. This is what he told the religious leaders that wanted him to perform a special seats miracle show that He said to them in reply, “An evil and unfaithful generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah the prophet” (Matthew 12:39). In full context it was about the death, burial and resurrection of The Passion. They wanted signs from Jesus. But Jesus is the Sign.