John 7:13-15 WEB
Yet no one spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews.  But when it was now the middle of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught.  The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How does this man know letters, having never been educated?”
Surely the Father equipped Jesus for ministry. Jesus was from a family of tradesmen (Mark 6:3). He was from Galilee (John 7:52). More, he had a grasp of scripture that was uncommon. Jesus is recorded as quoting 23 different scriptures from the Old Testament. In addition, he referenced 17 stories from the Old Testament (1).
Jesus was almost certainly educated (2). However, the prejudice of those judging Jesus in the above passage caused them to assume he was unable to understand scripture. Ironically, the evidence he knew the Word of God was right in front of their eyes. They had heard him teach and preach (Mat 7:28) and still, they could not get beyond their prejudice (John 7:52).
The Judeans were disgusted by Galileans. Judeans were educated. Many of them probably studied with a rabbi. Consequently, they viewed tradesmen as having lower status. Even though Jesus was surely a brilliant craftsman, all they could see was he wasn’t like them. And for that, he was ridiculed as foolish (Mat 9:11, 34, 12:2, 14, 24.)
Jesus was also ridiculed for coming from Galilee. Judeans despise Galileans (3). They had their own accents, clothing styles, and values which offended Judeans. Practically all Pharisees were from Judea. Anyone from Galilee would be instantly recognized by their speech and clothes (Mark 14:69-70). And, due to prejudice, they were not chosen as disciples. The prejudice of the Pharisees had the power to divide the two people groups causing one to have a significant disadvantage.
Jesus did not let his demographics define him or his ministry. Being from Galilee, he would not be chosen to follow a rabbi. However, Jesus clearly wanted to serve God and he likely tried the path of the disciple. We cannot know for sure, but the evidence we have from his childhood reveals a deep hunger for the things of God (Luke 2:44-46). The path of a rabbi would be a normal path. For Judeans. Not Galileans. This surely gave the Lord compassion and mercy on those rejected for things out of their control.
Lord, please forgive me for pridefully comparing myself to others, especially those who are different than me. Forgive me for discounting people and help me see others as you see them. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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