34 Then the crowd answered Him: “We have heard from the Law that the Christ remains for ever, how is it that You say it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?”
The people who were listening to Jesus were perplexed, because He spoke of His dying, and the manner of His dying.
Their perplexity was in the fact that they did not expect the Son of Man to die. Also it was inconceivable to them that the Son of Man should die on a cross, because that carried with it a curse. As we have already seen it is written in the Law: the body must never remain on the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone hanging on a tree is cursed of God – Deuteronomy 21.23.
In the light of this they were completely bemused, they could not understand how the Son of Man could die and be under the curse of God.
Their minds were completely governed by what has been revealed by God in the Old Testament. There is nothing wrong by having our minds conformed to the word of God; indeed it is essential for us. Having a mind and spirit that has the word of God living deep within us is essential for us in discovering and knowing the will of God for us.
However, those listening to Jesus were only concentrating on some of the things revealed in the Old Testament.
They may have been thinking of Isaiah 9.6: His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the LORD Almighty will guarantee this! – (NLT).
Just as likely they may have had in mind Psalm 45.6: Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal power is expressed in justice – (NLT).
Their only thought was that the Son of Man is to live forever, reigning in the everlasting Kingdom of God.
As we have seen they based their thinking on the word of God, yet they also missed other parts of the Old Testament which spoke about the death of Jesus, such as Isaiah 53.7: He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth – (NLT).
The verse in this chapter clearly prophesied what was going to happen to Jesus, the Son of Man.
Perplexity gains a foothold when we only take account of parts of God’s word.
Let the whole word of God live in us richly (Colossians 3.16)