John Chapter 7:1-36

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The Gospel Of John Chapter 7:1-36

I. Outline Of Chapter 7: I. Discourse With His Unbelieving Brothers: 7:1-9 II. Jesus At the Feast Of Tabernacles: 7:10-53 III. Sabbath Controversy Renewed: 7:14-24 IV. Mixed Feelings About Jesus: 7:25-36 V. Sermon On Living Water: 7:37-39 VI. More Mixed Feelings In The Multitude: 7:40-44 VII. Jewish Rulers Argue Among Themselves: 7:45-53

II. Introductory Comments: The time period between the events in chapter 6 and chapter 7 is six months. In chapter 6 the Passover was at hand (6:4), the spring of 29 or 32 A.D. In this chapter the feast of Tabernacles was at hand (7:2). This feast happened in the fall (Sept-Oct). The reader should note that from the events in chapter 7 to the death of Jesus will only be another six months. John chapters 7-21 happen between the feast of tabernacles and the next Passover at which Jesus will be crucified. Especially from this point on, the Jewish leaders are trying to find a way to get rid of Jesus, in their minds He is living on borrowed time.

III. Commentary: John 7:1 ‘And after these things Jesus was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.’ ‘after these things’-the events described in the previous chapter. ‘Jesus was walking in Galilee’-‘Walking’ is in an imperfect tense, denoting continuous action. Between John chapter 6 and this chapter, Jesus has spent 6 months in Galilee. The events during these months are described in Matthew chapters 15-18, Mark 7-9 and Luke 9:18-50. These events included the healing of the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman in the land of Tyre and Sidon, the deaf and dumb man in 1

Decapolis, the feeding of the four thousand, the transfiguration and several conversations with the disciples. Hendriksen notes, ‘the Lord went from Capernaum in Galilee to the borders of Tyre and Sidon, traversing a large section of Galilee; then departing from Galilee in crossing over to Decapolis; went back again to Galilee…left it again for the region of Cesarea Philippi (Matthew 16); and finally, covering another large stretch of Galilean territory, went on his way back to Capernaum.’ (p. 3) 1

‘because the Jews were seeking to kill Him’-This goes back to John 5:18. ‘It was no longer a debate among them as to what should be done about Jesus, for they concluded that He must be destroyed. For this point on to the crisis at the close of chapter 11, Jesus was living on borrowed time as far as His enemies were concerned. To them it was a matter of catching Him in some unguarded moment.’ (Tenney p. 129) The word ‘seeking’ denotes continuous action. Carefully note that Jesus wasn’t trying to die as soon as possible. There was a definite time-table of events.

John 7:2 ‘Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand.’ ‘Feast of Booths’-One of the three annual feasts at which every Jewish male had to be present. It was celebrated on the fifteen day of the seventh month (our late Sept., early Oct.) This feast lasted eight days and the people were to dwell in booths (tabernacles) made entirely of fresh cut branches of fruit and palm trees. This was to remember their fathers dwelling in booths (temporary dwelling places) after their deliverance from Egyptian bondage. It was also called the Feast of Tabernacles, Feast of Tents, and Feast of Ingathering (see Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:33-44; Numbers 29; Deut. 16:13-16). It was a time of joyous celebration. Butler notes, ‘trumpets were blown each day of the feast..the great candelabras (four of them so large that ladders were used to light them) were lighted and the light from these lamps illuminated the whole city at night…What a sight it must have been to enter the city at this period of the year and see over a million Jews living in these booths. They would be crowded into the courts, streets, public squares and on housetops. Then to see the smoke from the great altar in the Temple as hundreds of animals were sacrificed in burnt offerings.’ (p. 16)

John 7:3 ‘His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here, and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may behold Your works which You are doing.”’ ‘His brothers’-Evidently, even during His earthly ministry, Jesus still kept in close contact with His physical family. This brothers are mentioned by name in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3.

“that Your disciples also may behold Your works”-John will tell us that the motive behind this statement wasn’t faith, rather, it was a lack of faith (7:5). It seems clear that as the brothers were packing for the festival, Jesus hadn’t begun to pack. Lenski 1

See the map at the end of this handout. 2

notes, ‘They think that Jesus is largely wasting his efforts in these remote parts of Galilee.’ (p. 529) Tenney notes, ‘The brethren felt that He should make an open bid for the kingdom. If He had any miracles on which He could trade, why not display them? Their level of thought was, “It pays to advertise.”’ (p. 130) Jerusalem was the big stage, in Jerusalem Jesus would be in the limelight! And everyone was going to be there. Like the multitude that tried make Jesus a king by force (John 6:15), these brothers seemed to have the same materialistic ideals. To them it seemed like Jesus was wasting his time in Galilee, and also wasting his ‘power’. This power needs to be displayed in Jerusalem. They don’t deny the miracles of Jesus, but presently they view His miracles as only a path of earthly glory for Himself (and probably themselves, after all, He is their brother) and earthly power.

John 7:4 “For no one does anything in secret, when he himself seeks to be known publicly, If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”’ “anything in secret”-Jesus hadn’t worked His miracles in secret. ‘But Galilee was far from the capital, and anything done there would be “secret” as far as the dwellers in the metropolis were concerned.’ (Morris p. 396)

“when he himself seeks to be known publicly”-it just seems like the brothers looked upon Jesus and His ‘career’ in selfish terms. That they viewed Jesus as someone looking for personal glory, as someone wanting the limelight.

“If You do these things, show Yourself to the world”-If you have the power then use it!’ ‘If his aim was to attract attention, he should go where the greatest possible attention would be upon him—Jerusalem, and during the great feast.’ (Woods p. 143) I don’t think that the brothers were denying His miracles—for even the enemies of Jesus didn’t deny them. Points To Note: Jesus knew what opposition from family felt like. These brothers are manifesting the same type of misunderstanding and lack of faith that the unbelieving family members of Christians manifest. So often non-Christian family members can’t understand why the Church isn’t run more like a secular business. ‘Hey, if you want people to attend your Church they offer them discounts, free tickets to local attractions, free stuff (first 100 people get a free bible) and so on.’ And like these brothers, often non-Christian family members don’t realize that the Church will never be popular with the world. Morris notes, ‘They had no idea that Jesus’ mission, in its very nature, must be unpopular.’ (p. 396)

John 7:5 ‘For not even His brothers were believing in Him.’ ‘not even’-One more pain and temptation which Jesus was willing to endure for our salvation. Jesus knows what it feels like to have friends and family who completely


misunderstand what you are trying to accomplish as a Christian. Jesus can also support anyone in that situation (Hebrews 2:18; 4:14-16).

John 7:6 ‘Jesus therefore said to them, “My time is not yet at hand, but your time is always opportune.”’ “My time is not yet at hand”-Jesus’ point is that His brothers could go up to the feast at any time, they weren’t in any danger. But in view of the hostility on the part of the Jews, He had to carefully plan His arrival. In the context “My time” must refer to His time of arrival at the feast, for He did attend (7:10). The word “time” here means the suitable time, the right time, the favorable opportunity. Barclay notes, ‘It made no difference when Jesus’ brothers went to Jerusalem. Any day would do for them, for no one would notice that they were there. Nothing whatever depended on their going to Jerusalem.’ (p. 241) Remember the Jews in Judea were seeking to kill Him (7:1). Therefore, it would be unwise for Jesus to travel with friends and family, where He could be arrested. And it would have been unwise for Him to arrive early in Jerusalem. Rather, when He would go, He would travel through Samaritan territory (7:10-Luke 9), and He would arrive when the multitudes and crowds had already assembled, which would make it very difficult for the Jewish leaders to arrest Him. ‘So He delayed His going …with the crowds all assembled and expectant gave Him a far better opportunity than to go at the very beginning. This simply shows us Jesus choosing His time with careful prudence in order to get the most effective results.’ (Barclay p. 240)

John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you; but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” “The world cannot hate you”-Which means that his brothers were going along with the status-quo. They seemed completely comfortable and content with the abuses of the Pharisees and Sadducees. This statement doesn’t mean that His brothers were filled with hate, like those trying to kill Him. But they were silent accomplices. Jesus was exposing the errors of the world, the Jewish world included. His brothers were saying nothing. One can be guilty of being a friend of the world, of loving the world, by simply accepting what the world does, without any vocal opposition. (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16; Romans 12:2) Not saying anything is another way of conforming to the world. And the world is quite happy to accept professed Christians which simply keep quiet and don’t bother anyone.

“that its deeds are evil”-Evil must be exposed (Eph. 5:11; 2 Tim. 4:2). The world is often amused by religion, and intrigued by Biblical discussions. Like people who only like to have the preacher around to match wits with him. Barclay notes, ‘There are still people who tolerate religion and who forget that religion is a matter of life and death.’ (p. 243) The Christian must realize that part of the package in serving God means that you will make some enemies (John 15:18; Luke 6:26). The world will basically allow you to believe what you want to believe, until you start making some personal applications. I am


always amused that people cry out for sermons that are relevant, with plenty of practical application, and the moment the preacher starts making some applications, he is accused of meddling, preaching his personal opinion, or he is getting so concerned about the details that he is missing the overall picture. What the world often labels as ‘legalism’ is simply someone making an application from Scripture.

John 7:8 “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” “I do not go up”-The critics of the Bible have really jumped all over this verse, in fact the German philosopher Schopenhauer claimed, ‘Jesus Christ did of set purpose utter a falsehood.’ A little bit of research could have prevented the above philosopher from making such a statement. The KJV supplies ‘yet’, in the text which seems like the best reading and agrees with the context, for Jesus did go up. And nothing is said about Jesus changing His mind. Clearly the context bears out that Jesus is not going to travel with them, and go up at this time. He will travel with His disciples and He will arrive only when the city is packed with people. A strategy that is designed to keep Him from dying until the time appointed by the Father.

John 7:9 ‘And having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.’ Points To Note: Jesus will not allow His hand to be forced. Jesus will do things in the Father’s time and not man’s time. This is a lesson that we also must learn. God is not on our time schedule. This section also reveals that Jesus is the master of every situation. Nothing ever catches Him by surprise and there is not situation which He cannot handle.

Jesus At The Feast: John 7:10 ‘But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as it were, in secret.’ ‘not publicly, but as it were, in secret’-‘as though he did not wish to be observed’ (Gspd). John 5:18 and 7:25 give us the reason for such privacy. ‘The Jewish rulers were constantly dispatching officers to search Him out to arrest Him…He took a road through Samaria that would not be traveled by Jews on their way to the feast. Luke 9:51ff, informs us that Jesus went through Samaria on His way to Jerusalem at this particular time. It also shows the hostility of the Samaritans toward the Jewish worshippers.’ (Butler p. 18) ‘He took care to avoid undue publicity…What John is saying is that Jesus did not go up with the pilgrim caravan. We see how large such a group might be from the incident


in Luke 2 wherein Joseph and Mary looked for the child Jesus throughout an entire day. Nothing could be more public than to journey in such a company.’ (Morris pp. 401-402)

John 7:11 ‘The Jews therefore were seeking Him at the feast, and were saying, “Where is He?”’ “seeking Him”-Others shared the attitude of the brothers. The ‘Jews’ in this verse are probably the Jewish leaders, i.e. those seeking to kill Him (7:1). The Jewish rulers had been well informed regarding his activities in Galilee during the past year. They fully expected him at this festival and even started looking for Him.

John 7:12 ‘And there was much grumbling among the multitudes concerning Him; some were saying, “He is a good man”; others were saying, “No, on the contrary, He leads the multitude astray.”’ ‘much grumbling among the multitudes’-Notice that it is impossible to treat Jesus with indifference. ‘The hundreds of thousands of worshippers were also on the tip-toes of expectancy concerning the man of Galilee.’ (Butler p. 19) John describes the widespread private discussions that were taking place concerning Jesus. He was “the topic” in Jerusalem. ‘”Murmuring” usually indicates discontent, but here it probably denotes rather quiet discussion, “whispering”, suppressed discussion in low tones, in corners, and among friends’ (Morris p. 402)

“He is a good man”-aiming to do good, morally upright, not one who is deceiving the people. But believing that Jesus is a good man doesn’t save you (Romans 10:9-10). ‘There are always many such friends of Jesus in the world who are desirous of saying something good about Him, but who, from fear or shame, refuse to make a full acknowledgment of Him. Many will praise His morals, His precepts, and His holy life, while they are ashamed to speak of His divinity or His atonement, and still more to acknowledge that they are dependent upon Him for salvation.’ (Barnes)

“No, on the contrary, He leads the multitude astray”-There was a sharp disagreement. Others viewed Jesus as a false prophet.

John 7:13 “Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews.” John explains why this discussion never rose above a subdued murmured. Fear of the Jewish rulers prevented a free and open discussion. ‘Everyone preferred to remain in the good graces of the hierarchy. To say the wrong thing would mean excommunication from the synagogue which would in turn ostracize one from all other social contacts.’ (Butler p. 19) See John 9:22. No one dared to stick their neck out in reference to Jesus.


Jesus Begins To Teach: John 7:14 ‘But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach.’ “midst of the feast”-Jesus kept a low profile until the feast was about half-way over. He found a convenient place in the temple area and began to teach.

John 7:15 ‘The Jews therefore were marveling, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?”’ “having never been educated”-it appears that this isn’t the marveling of the common people, but rather some thing the Jewish leadership said. ‘What surprises them, they say, is that a man who has no proper education should presume to teach in public and palm himself off as one who is versed in Scriptural learning. Their question is a general exclamation addressed not to Jesus but to the multitudes. It charges Jesus with incompetency, with utter lack of proper qualifications for being a great religious teacher. The purpose of the rulers is to discredit Jesus before his audience. The force of their question is: “This fellow does not know what he is talking about because he has never studied in any of our Jewish schools.”’ (Lenski p. 541) They could of also been surprised that Jesus was able to carry on a sustained discourse on spiritual subjects, and perhaps also with the amount of Scripture Jesus could quote. Points To Note: 1.

Be impressed with the irony! This is God in the flesh (1:1,14) and people are complaining that He is uneducated! And yet, to this day people accuse God of being ignorant or uneducated anytime they criticize the Scriptures. 2. According to their records Jesus had never attended any of their official theological schools. 3. ‘In present day language, one might say that he had failed to receive his degree at an accredited institution. Therefore, whatever he said must be wrong!’ (Hendriksen p. 9) 4. Barclay notes, ‘Here is the reaction of academic snobbery… That is not for one moment to say that technical qualifications and study and culture and education are to be despised and abandoned; but it is to say that we must have a care that we never wave a man away and usher him out and consign him to the company who do not matter because he lacks the technical equipment of the schools.’ (p. 244)

John 7:16 ‘Jesus therefore answered them, and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”’


“My teaching is not Mine”-Jesus nips their objection in the bud. He wasn’t taught by man, and neither was He simply a man who had taught Himself. ‘He disclaimed originally, and affirmed His dependence upon the Father.’ (Tenney p. 132)

“His who sent Me”-Be impressed with the complete unity in the Godhead. Each member (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) doesn’t have their own view of the truth. The truth is so absolute, that three beings who are equally divine, equal in power, knowledge, and so on-- see only one truth!

John 7:17 “If any man is willing to do His will, He shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.” “If any man”-No predestination or Calvinism here. Any person can understand and observe the will of God. The Bible is within the understanding of all.

“is willing to do His will”-The key to serving God and understanding the Bible isn’t wholly intellectual. A willingness to do God’s will is the more important ingredient. This statement by Jesus answers the question, ‘But how may one really know what is the will of the Father?’ (Woods p. 147) In other words, Jesus is saying that the honest and good heart, whose only motivation is to serve God, will find the truth, will discover whether Jesus is speaking His own human opinion or whether He is speaking the words from the Father.

“he shall know of the teaching”-know the source or true nature of what Jesus is teaching.

“whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself”-Only two possible sources for any teaching exist. Either it is something that originates from God or something that is of human origin (Matthew 21:25). Jesus is saying that someone willing to do the will of the Father will know whether I am making all this up or whether I do speak the Words of God. Points To Note: 1.

‘Being a follower of God is more than mere knowledge of what the Scriptures say. There must be that surrender of one’s stubborn will to the point where we desire to do God’s will. It is a disposition to do God’s will. The man who “willeth to do His will” is the man of a “good and honest heart” (Luke 8:15).’ (Butler p. 22) 2. A lifetime of Bible study will be of little profit for the person who never really brings their will into line with God’s will. 3. With so much today being said about man’s inability to understand the Bible or see the Bible alike, Jesus says the exact opposite. Jesus has tremendous confidence in one type of person, i.e. the person who wants to do the will of the Father. 4. Even more important that the


schooling which the Jewish leaders had under their belts, is the sincere desire to completely submit oneself to the will of God. 5. This passage is the same as John 14:15, love will naturally obey God. 6. This response goes back to their criticism that He was uneducated. Jesus points out that He is sent from God, and that this ‘is not something that can be learned only by those who are expert in the theological niceties. Any man who really wills to do the will of God (i.e. whose whole will is bent in this direction; it is the set of the life that is meant)…His hearers had raised the question of His competence as a teacher. He raises the question of their competence as hearers.’ (Morris pp. 405-406)

John 7:18 “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the one who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” “seeks his own glory”-‘He who talks on his own authority aims at his own credit’ (Mof); ‘is seeking glory for himself’ (Rieu). Jesus cuts to the heart of the matter. Those who are pushing their own opinions in the religious world, are seeking praise for themselves, rather than praise for God. Selfishness leads us away from God’s will, selflessness leads us to the true knowledge of God. Let the reader note the vital importance of motive! I believe that some think they can continue to understand the will of God, even though their motives are becoming tarnished. (2 Thess. 2:10-12)

“seeking the glory of the one who sent Him”-Describing the selflessness of Jesus. Complete and total dedication to seeing the Father glorified. I am afraid at times that many professed Christians are more interested in the praise that they might get instead of the praise that God deserves. This verse should convict the hearts of those who are bowing under peer pressure. Or those who are more interested in what people think about them, than what God thinks, of staying in favor with man, instead of staying in favor with God, or pleasing men, instead of pleasing God.

“He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him”-No falsehood can be found in Jesus, contrary to what some in the crowd were saying (7:12). ‘Notice that Jesus does not merely say that He speaks the truth, but that He is true (John 14:6).’ (Morris p. 406) Here we have a claim of complete innocence, of One whose motives were completely pure.

Sabbath Controversy Renewed: In the following verses Jesus will point out: 1. While the Jewish rulers claimed to be keeping the Law, they were actually violating it (7:19). 2. Their persecution of Him was


hypocritical, and based on a faulty interpretation of what constituted work on the Sabbath day (7:21-23). 3. Their judgment of Him was superficial (7:24).

John 7:19 “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you carries out the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” “Did not Moses give you the law”-Jesus has little use for those schools of thought which argue that Moses wasn’t the human instrument who wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. ‘It was a favorite cause for self-congratulation among the Jews that they were the recipients of the Law (Romans 2:17). But now our Lord points out that there is a difference between receiving the law and keeping the law.’ (Morris p. 406)

“and yet none of you carries out the law?”-Not only did their human traditions prevent them from carrying out various aspects of the law (Matthew 15:1-9), but at the moment they were plotting to kill Jesus, which was a clear violation of the law (Exodus 20:13). Both Stephen and Paul made similar arguments (Acts 7:51-53; Romans 2:25).

John 7:20 ‘The multitude answered, “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?”’ “Who seeks to kill You?”-Many in the audience that was listening to Jesus’ discourse with the Jewish rulers were obviously ignorant of what their leadership was plotting. It seems that only the Jewish officials were seriously hostile to Him. Many in the crowd, unaware of what was really going on behind the schemes accuse Jesus of being paranoid or having a persecution complex.

John 7:21 ‘Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one deed, and you all marvel.”’ “I did one deed”-In the context this deed appears to be the man that Jesus had healed in John 5:1-9, which sparked the Sabbath controversy with the Jews (5:16-19).

John 7:22 “On this account Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man.” “not because it is from Moses”-Note the historical accuracy. Circumcision actually started with Abraham (Genesis 17), and yet it was incorporated into the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12:3).


“on the Sabbath you circumcise a man”-Obviously the eight day (the day to circumcise) would often fall on a Sabbath. This should of taught the Jews something about the Sabbath day! Good deeds, works which were necessary to fulfill the law of God were never contrary to the Sabbath command. If they could see by their own practice that circumcising a man didn’t violate the Sabbath, they why couldn’t they see that healing a man didn’t violate the Sabbath either?

John 7:23 “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath that the Law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?” “that the Law of Moses may not be broken”-Let the reader be impressed that Jesus is not arguing that one law of God takes precedence over or overrides another. The laws of God never conflict with each other. Morris aptly notes, ‘He was not arguing simply that a repressive law be liberalized. Nor did He adopt an anti-sabbatarian attitude…He pointed out that His action fulfilled the purpose of the original institution. Had they understood the implications of the Mosaic provision for circumcision on the sabbath they would have seen that deeds of mercy such as He had just done were not merely permissible but obligatory.’ (p. 409) The reader must realize that Jesus is not arguing that one law takes precedence over another. Rather, both laws harmonize, circumcision or other religious and good works had always been acceptable on the Sabbath day. Whereas the Law commanded circumcision to be performed on the Sabbath day, if that was indeed the eighth day, in contrast these Jewish rulers are wanting to kill Jesus for healing an entire man on the Sabbath.

John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” “Do not judge according to appearance”-‘Stop judging superficially; you must judge fairly’ (Wms). Clearly judgments are necessary, if fact commanded. We are called on to ‘judge’ whether Jesus speaks the words of God. In the context, ‘righteous judgment’ is judgment that harmonizes with the revealed will of God. For that is what Jesus has used to justify His actions in verses 22-23.

Jesus Continues To Teach: ‘The threats of the Jews to kill Jesus do not deter Him, and He continues to teach unmolested. Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem are so astonished at this that they begin to wonder whether some of the authorities may not have accepted Him as the Christ.’ (Tasker p. 105)


John 7:25 ‘Therefore some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill?”’ John 7:26 “And look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?” “some of the people”-It appears that Jesus continued to teach publicly in Jerusalem after the confrontation described in the previous verses. It also seems clear that the word was getting out that the rulers wanted to kill Him. The relative silence and inaction of the Jewish rulers was causing some confusion among the people. The people were astonished with the courage of Jesus, but probably more astonished to ‘see that He was allowed to teach unchecked and unmolested.’ (Barclay p. 254)

“The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?”-‘Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is the Christ’ (ASV); ‘Perhaps our elders have found out’ (Lam). The rulers had keep the multitudes in the dark about other things (7:19-20). Here is a man, despite the rumors of the plans to kill Him, Who is openly opposing the religious authorities, and they aren’t even taking Him in for questioning! ‘He was apparently immune from arrest.’ (Morris p. 411)

John 7:27 “However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from.” “However, we know where this man is from”-And yet, this group of people quickly resort to a common Jewish opinion. There was a common Jewish belief that the Messiah was waiting in concealment and that some day He would burst forth suddenly upon the world and no one would know where He had came from. ‘All popular Jewish belief believed in the sudden appearance of the Messiah. He would burst upon the world mysteriously, no man knew from where.’ (Barclay p. 255) Yet with Jesus, they knew about His home in Nazareth, they knew His parents, and His brothers and sisters. ‘From Daniel 7:13 and Malachi 3:1, they thought the Christ would made a sudden and spectacular appearance at the temple, arriving on the clouds without previous announcement.’ (Woods p. 150) This belief demonstrated an ignorance of many other Scriptures (Gen. 49:10; Isaiah 40:3; 9:1; Micah 4:1-5; Zechariah 9:1).

John 7:28 ‘Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.”’ “cried out”-with a loud voice.


“You both know Me”-Jesus knew what they were saying. Be impressed at how Jesus at every point tries to help these people. An objection surfaces and immediately He answers it. There is probably some irony in this expression. On the one hand, yes, they did know about His earthly background, in that sense, and only in that sense did they know Him. But on the other hand, they knew nothing about His true origin. The Jews did not know His true origin, because they didn’t know His Father (John 8:19, 42-44, 5559).

“whom you do not know”-What an accusation! That the Jews did not know God! Jesus will repeat this claim (8:19,55). For all practical purposes, people stumble over Jesus, they stumble over the Bible, because primarily, they are stumbling over God. Like so many skeptics today, even those who claim to be religious, they can accept Jesus is a religious teacher, and even a good one at that, but they can’t accept His Deity---because they can’t accept the existence of an almighty and all-powerful God to whom every man and woman is accountable. ‘In contrast to the popular confusion about Him, John presented Jesus as being very sure of Himself.’ (Tenney p. 134) He was sent from the Father, He was doing the will of the Father, He was to return to the Father.

John 7:29 “I know Him; because I am from Him, and He sent Me.” Jesus only gave us two choices. ‘He is either what He claimed to be and can be described in no other terms than the Son of God. Jesus leaves us with the definite choice—we must accept Him fully or reject Him absolutely.’ (Barclay p. 256) There is no half-way point or middle ground in reference to the above claim. It is either 100% true or it is complete and utter blasphemy.

Believers In The Crowd: John 7:30 ‘They were seeking therefore to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.’ ‘They were seeking therefore to seize Him’-‘The rulers wanted to seize Him but the circumstances which were controlled by God, prevented them from being successful.’ (Harkrider p. 54) ‘God is over all. His purpose is worked out. Man cannot interfere with it. The time for Jesus’ death was not yet and His enemies could not bring that time forward no matter how they might try.’ (Morris p. 414) Let the reader be impressed that God doesn’t have to perform the miraculous to protect His Son. The Father was protecting His Son on this occasion through purely providential means. The same Father watches over you Christian! (Hebrews 13:5-6)


John 7:31 ‘But many of the multitude believed in Him; and they were saying, “When the Christ shall come, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?” “more signs that those which this man has, will He?”-They asked a good question! Note that many of the common people were asking this question. Even people outside of Christ can see various truths. Jesus had used the same type of argument concerning a question that came from John the Baptist (Matthew 11:1-6). The text also infers that the miracles of Jesus had been many, they were performed before many witnesses and were well known among the common people. The question they asked, is still a very good question. If Jesus is not the Messiah, then what did Jesus leave undone? The person who rejects Jesus, must explain ‘what did Jesus not do?’ What teaching did He not deliver? What truth did He not proclaim? And in what realm did He fail to demonstrate His power? If Jesus is the Messiah, then please detail how the true Messiah will differ from Him.

John 7:32 ‘The Pharisees heard the multitude muttering these things about Him; and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him.’ ‘Pharisees heard’-‘The Pharisees would have their finger on the public pulse more than the chief priests who were more remote.’ (Morris p. 415) ‘The argument (that the people were making) was an impressive one and the authorities knew that the conclusion would spread like wildfire among the people if it were allowed to stand. They acted quickly to counteract it.’ (Woods p. 152)

‘and the chief priests and the Pharisees’-mutual enemies (for most of the priestly families were from the party of the Sadducees) now unite in their efforts to have Jesus arrested and silenced.

John 7:33 ‘Jesus therefore said, “For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me.”’ “For a little while longer”-some six months from this point Jesus will be put to death. Note, Jesus clearly knew the time-table of events, nothing took Him by surprise. The word ‘therefore’ infers that Jesus knows all about their plans to arrest Him.

John 7:34 “You shall seek Me, and shall not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come.” “You shall seek Me”-This doesn’t mean that forgiveness would be impossible for these Jews. For that will be offered (Acts 2:38). Butler believes that Jesus is referring to a time of great hardship and sorrow when the Jewish people would search desperately for the Messiah to lead, deliver and comfort them. Such a time happened during the 14

destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Woods notes, ‘The time came when adversity, like a mighty river, overwhelmed them and they longed to experience and to share in deliverance of Messiah’s reign. But, it was then too late; they had already crucified the Lord of glory when their sorrows engulfed them and their sins had brought destruction upon themselves and their nation.’ (p. 153) Compare to Proverbs 1:24-28 and Isaiah 55:6.

“you cannot come”-They will only be able to hound Jesus and persecute Him for a limited amount of time.

John 7:35 ‘The Jews therefore said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we shall not find Him? He is not intending to go the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He?” “Dispersion among the Greeks”-The Jews that had been dispersed among the Gentiles, especially those who lived outside of Palestine in predominantly Gentile nations. It seems that they are saying this with an element of ridicule. ‘After He fails among us, will He try to teach the Jews in other parts of the world?’ As in other places, the Jews here are unconsciously saying something that has an element of truth. One day, through His apostles Jesus will not only speak to the dispersed Jews in Gentile lands, but the Gentiles as well!

“teach the Greeks?”-Was Jesus going to use the Jewish synagogue structure in Gentile lands as a spring-board in teaching non-Jewish people? And yet this is exactly, what Jesus did through the apostles (Acts 17:1-3).

John 7:36 “What is this statement that He said, “You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come?”’ “What is this statement”-‘What can it mean’ (Knox) ‘In spite of all, Christ’s words cannot be shaken off. They are not to be explained away. A vague sense remains that there is in them some unfathomed meaning….”Sarcasm, however, often conceals a deep perplexity. The speakers are still haunted by Jesus’ words.”’ (Morris p. 419)


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