Never man spake like this man

Scripture Reading

The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

John 7:75

A consistent response

While this verse represents the rendition from the Authorized Version, more contemporary versions do not necessarily shed further light on it. Take for example this interpretation from the English Standard Version, “No one ever spoke like this man” or the New Living Translation, “We have never heard anyone speak like this”. The point of this verse is that the so-called officers who were sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees to take Jesus came back astonished by the words of Jesus. This should have come as no surprise to the religious leaders since their response was similar earlier on after hearing him teach in the temple, “And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” [John 7:15]

A rock of offence

Many of the people saw Jesus though as just someone whom they knew within the community, but he was clearly no ordinary man among them, “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.” [Mark 6:3] But why did people react to Jesus in this manner, what caused such an offence? Consider how the religious leaders reacted to him when they could not overcome his preaching and teaching to the multitudes and became envious of him, “Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” [John 8:48] Instead of seeking to learn and understand from Jesus they cast a blasphemous accusation against him in a veiled cloak of their envy of him and their own ignorance of his message to the people.

How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

John 7:15b

Speaking in parables

Jesus often spoke in something called parables which were allegorical stories to convey a deeper meaning and message to the multitudes. In the preaching of Jesus he shared several parables during his earthly ministry but quite often even his closest disciples did not understand his messages. Jesus also used seemingly simple metaphors to describe himself but the multitudes were confused by their wrongful interpretation of them. Take for example when Jesus said he was the bread which came down from heaven and then later stated, ” Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” [John 6:53] On the surface, one would think he was speaking about cannibalism or some other bizarre message of this nature but Jesus was quick to dispel any notion of this magnitude.

A spiritual meaning

Shortly thereafter, Jesus sought to clarify his message by illustrating that it had nothing to do with the physical realm, rather it was merely a figurative example of the spirit world in which he lived, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [John 6:63] Quickeneth is an older phrase meaning to bring to life and in this case it is the Greek word for life, zoe, meaning spiritual life. This is why Jesus stated unequivocally that the flesh profits nothing since his message pertained to spiritual life in him. But this was still a very difficult message for people to hear, comprehend and accept which led to many of his very own disciples leaving him and walking no more with him (John 6:66). This was astonishing to learn that people departed from the one described by many who said, never man spake like this man.

The great I am

Jesus often spoke in great statements of proclamations, often called the I am from the scriptures. In other words, when questioned by the Jews over his assertion that he existed even before Abraham who lived centuries before him, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” [John 8:58} This was clear to the Jews that Jesus was making a claim of deity and eternal existence since they sought to stone him over this claim. Jesus also claimed such statements as, I am the bread of life, I am the light of the world, I am the door, I am the good shepherd, I am the resurrection and the life, and I am the way, the truth and the life. All of these I am statements had an underlying and synonymous theme that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God, or rather the unique one who came from God.

Let us expound on this phrase a little more due to its importance. Jesus spoke to the Jews shortly before this and proclaimed, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” [John 8:24] For those who have an Authorized Version or King James Bible they will note how the translators carefully placed the word “he” in italics, which meant that it was not included in the original manuscripts but was added merely for grammatical purposes. Therefore, the verse would read, “… for if ye believe not that I am…” and with this there is a key reference to the Old Testament claim of deity. When Moses asked the Lord God who he should tell the Israelites it was who sent him, the Lord responded by saying, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” [Ex. 3:14] Putting this correlation together gives strong biblical evidence that Jesus Christ is the great I am in the scriptures, the Jehovah from the Old Testament!

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

John 6:63

Born from above

It is no wonder then, when the officers sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees returned after hearing the words of Jesus, they could only respond by saying in awesome wonder, “never man spake like this man.” Let us now look at one last example before drawing this Bible study to a close for seekers of faith. One of the Pharisees once came to Jesus under the cloak of darkness to speak with him and started out by stating that he knew Jesus came from God given the miracles that he performed upon the people. But Jesus did not acknowledge this patronizing comment from the man named Nicodemus. Instead he started preaching to him about the importance of something far more profound. This started out by Jesus saying to Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [John 3:3] Clearly, never man spoke like this man.

With this statement, Nicodemus was completely bewildered and confused and flippantly responded by questioning whether a grown man could enter again into his mother’s womb, despite its seeming impossibility. Jesus then continued to respond to him by saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” [John 3:5-7] Jesus made it very clear that a person must be born again or born spiritually from above in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven. But as previously noted, Jesus was speaking of a spiritual nature, he was not referring to a physical rebirth, it was a spiritual rebirth; that which is born of the spirit is spirit!

Our redeemer lives

For seekers of faith, this starts out with repentance of your sins before a holy God for it was Jesus who died on the cross for your sins. His atoning sacrifice is the only way to come before God, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” [2 Cor. 5:21] This means that when you come to God in repentance and believe in him for his atoning sacrifice for your sins, he will forgive you of your sins. In turn, he will place his righteousness upon you! To think that we can exchange our filthy sin in place for his holy righteousness. As the apostle John proclaimed in one of his letters to the early church, this is truly the message of conversion in the Lord Jesus Christ, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” [1 John 1:9]

If it is your desire to be cleansed from all of your unrighteousness, why not come to Jesus now, confess your sins, believe in his atoning provision and in turn receive his righteousness so that you can stand in the presence of God! Make this decision today for eternity in the Lord for no one will be able to stand in his presence in their own self-righteousness as proclaimed by the prophet Isaiah, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” [Is. 64:6]. It is only God’s mercy and grace that redeems us from our sins and it is only his righteousness upon us that gives us any merit of standing in his presence. Never has a man spoken like this man!

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 8:58

Bible Study Questions

  1. In this study called, never man spake like this man, why do you think the chief priest and Pharisees became so envious of Jesus during his earthly ministry?
  2. In Mark 6:3, what caused the confusion among the people over Jesus resulting in them being offended in him?
  3. Why did Jesus speak to the multitudes in parables when conveying important message about the kingdom? Hint Matt. 13:10.
  4. In John 6:63, Jesus explains that he is speaking about spiritual things. How would you explain the difference between spiritual and physical things?
  5. Can you recall the verse from the Old Testament that matches what Jesus proclaimed when he said, “I am” in John 8:58?
  6. Describe the key message that Jesus taught to the Pharisee named Nicodemus. Hint John 3:3.
  7. How would you explain to someone that claims they have not sinned or that their sins are not that bad? Hint 1 John 1:9.

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