31 And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?” 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him.
We have reached a point in the gospel of John where belief and non-belief were locked in a struggle of truth. Some people responded in faith and others sought to kill Jesus.
And many of the people believed in Him,
In the midst of hostility to Jesus, “many” believed in Him. However, this faith was tentative because faith based on miracles is inadequate (Jn 2:23-25). These people were open to following Jesus, but they were not sure that He was the Messiah.
and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”
The Greek expects a negative answer to this question. The people did not believe that anyone could perform more miracles than Jesus.
The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him,
The Pharisees were guardians of Jewish tradition. These adversaries of Jesus grew concerned that people were opening to Jesus and His message.
and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him.
The Pharisees were the most influential group in Palestine. However, the “chief priests” were mostly Sadducees who were politically as well as religiously oriented. Only the chief priests had the authority to arrest Jesus. The Pharisees could not.
These two parties were mutual archenemies but both made up the Sanhedrin. These groups quickly called the Sanhedrin together to issue a warrant for Jesus’ arrest. Temple guard authority was limited to the temple area.
They were alarmed that Jesus might create a movement to follow Him. The word “take” means arrest. Later we learn that the temple guards did not arrest Jesus right away because they said to the chief priests, “No one ever spoke like this man” (Jn 7:45-46).
Believers should expect opposition to what they believe.
Jesus faced opposition through His ministry. As His followers, we should expect opposition to what we believe and who we are.
Jn 15: 18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.”