John Chapter 7 Time of Decision
Jesus' Brothers Do Not Believe
"After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him." (John 7:1-5)"Jewry," in most translations, is "Judea." Jesus was avoiding Judea (since He had left in John 4:3), especially Jerusalem and so He spent much of this time in Galilee, the northern part of Palestine. The time here is the fall of the year with the Feast of Tabernacles approaching. "His brethren" was likely a reference to His older brothers (older sons of Joseph) who had not accepted Him as the Messiah They were, however, familiar with His miracles and they wanted Him to be popular perhaps hoping for some personal benefit from their close association with Him.
"Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee." (John 7:6-9)Jesus was saying that the world hated Him Who claimed to be the light which it also hates as in this verse: "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." (John 3:20)
"But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews." (John 7:10-13)Why didn't Jesus just go up with them? - From verse 5, we understand that they did not believe in or trust in Him as the Messiah. They might have affected His ability to lay low until "the midst of the feast" (verse 14). He went "in secret" probably taking a less-popular route to avoid publicity. It sounds like there must have been lots of behind-the-scenes murmuring and debate about Him as we will see again later in this chapter. Here is a probably more accurate version of verse 13: "But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders." (John 7:13, New Living Translation) Notice the distinction between "the people" and "the Jews." "Jews" here refers to leaders as opposed to the common people.
The Source of Jesus' Authority
"Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" (John 7:14-15)Knowing letters was not a reference to being able to write or write. It would have referred to more advanced learning especially within the recognized rabbinical school system. It was the Jews, the Jewish leadership, not the people, who said this. The Jews knew who went through their schools. The common people wouldn't necessarily know that.
"Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him." (John 7:16-18)Doctrine here means teaching. Jesus did not claim to be self-taught but claimed a higher education - much higher. "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine" - is there a problem with that verse as it reads in the KJV? Who does His will? If that means doing His will all the time, no one does that. Here is, I believe, a more accurate translation: "If anyone desires to do His will, he will know whether My teaching is from God or whether I speak on My own." (John 7:17, Berean Study Bible) I think it relates to that factor of belief or trust that John has talked about so much. We have an attitude towards most people that is either positive or negative. If you don't even have an attitude of trust towards someone you are not going to want to do their will. But if we trust God, we will be willing to follow and obey Him and then it is a matter of allowing Him to guide us into a closer walk with Him. It is a matter of our attitude toward God which will affect our perception of Him and His ways and words. "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor 2:14) There are many people who have no desire to do God's will - because they want to do their own - and use the confusion of doctrines within Christianity as an excuse for not even trying to know or understand the teaching. "He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory" - So is it wrong to speak of yourself? It depends on your focus. If you are only promoting yourself, especially when at the expense of others, then there could be a problem. "But he that seeketh his glory" - anyone that is promoting the Father - praising and glorifying Him as Jesus was doing is doing right.
"Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?" (John 7:19)Jesus was still speaking to the Jews, the leaders who were plotting to kill Him. Again, we see that He knew what was in man, knew their thoughts.
"The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?" (John 7:20)The people didn't seem to know about the plotting of the Jews. However, we know that it had been their intent for some time: "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day. ... Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God." (John 5:16,18) Of course, the Jews would hide their plotting because of Jesus' popularity with the people. (Mark 12:12, Luke 20:19, 22:2)
"Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel." (John 7:21)This was a reference especially to the healing of the man by the pool of Bethesda 18 months earlier.
"Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:22-24)"Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised." (Lev 12:2-3)
Jesus Origin From His Father
"Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is." (John 7:25-27)"Whom they seek to kill" (verse 25) is confirmation of v19 where He said "Why go ye about to kill me?" So some of them ("of the common people of Jerusalem") apparently knew of the Jews ("they") plot to kill Him. Some of the people asked "Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?" (since they are no longer seem to be trying to kill Him.) Here is another translation: "But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah?" (John 7:26, New Living Translation) "We know this man whence he is" (v 27) is referring to their knowledge of Him being raised in Nazareth of Galilee but they were unaware that He had been born in Bethlehem. (See verse 42.) There was a popular belief that even the Messiah Himself would not know that he was the Messiah until Elijah was to come and anoint him and make him manifest to all. Much like King Saul or King David who had no thoughts of becoming a king until the day they were anointed by Samuel the prophet. Actually, Jesus was introduced by "Elijah" "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." (Matt 11:13-14) In the prophecy to Zacharias, John's father, the angel said: "And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." (Luke 1:17)
"Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me." (John 7:28-29)He that sent Yahshua, did it to make Himself (the Father) known. In this passage, Jesus was saying that they didn't know the Father, but that He, Who did know the Father, was sent as the Father's representative. They knew Him as a person but not as the Son of God, as the very image of the Father. Here is one quote from a Bible commentary: "The Jews had a greatly distorted picture of the character of the heavenly Father. Centuries of stubbornness and rebellion had prevented them from seeing God as He really was, a kind and merciful Father. They thought of Him as cruel and exacting, and in many respects not too different from the heathen deities worshipped by neighboring nations. Through Jesus, God had chosen to correct this misconception. As men beheld Him whom God had sent they were to obtain a picture of what the Father was like." (SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 p980)
"Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come." (John 7:30)How did they know His hour had not yet come? Well, they didn't. They weren't thinking "we can't arrest Him now, it's not time yet." Rather, while they didn't know it, God was protecting Him.
"And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him." (John 7:31-32)They tried to take Him prisoner because they were afraid of His popularity and because He challenged their authority.
Jesus Speaks of His Departing
"Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come." (John 7:33-34)Jesus may have been urging them to consider Himself and His message and to make a decision regarding Him. "Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:" (Isa 55:6)
"Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?" (John 7:35-36)They obviously didn't understand who Jesus was or His mission. They had the Old Testament scriptures but greatly misunderstood them and the role of the Messiah. We have the tremendous advantage of looking back but need to be careful that we don't misunderstand Second-Coming events just as they misunderstood the first coming.
Jesus Presents Himself as the Living Water
XXX"In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)" (John 7:37-39) The thirst that Jesus referred to was a thirst or desire for the Spirit, a connection with God. He was not just referring to physical thirst or water: "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." (Isa 12:3) Salvation is related to "salve" or healing of our relationship with God. God is working to achieve that: "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:" (Isa 44:3) Waters were literally poured out on dry ground when the rock was smitten by Moses in the wilderness to provide water for the Israelites. On the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, large vats of water from the Pool of Siloam were poured out on the pavement of the temple court as a reminder of God's provision of water in the wilderness. It represented the water that flowed from the rock that Moses struck in the wilderness which represented Christ: "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." (1 Cor 10:4) Another version of the customs of the time says that on the morning of the last day a priest poured water from the Kidron and wine together which then flowed together back to the Kidron and, eventually, to the Dead Sea. This may be related to: "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." (John 19:34) The words "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38) may be referring to the witness of one who has received that living water who can then share it with others. That relates to these verses: "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14) "The words of a man's mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook." (Pro 18:4) "Belly" is used metaphorically for the inner being.
Division of Opinions Over Him
XXX"Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him." (John 7:40-43) In verse 31, the record said that "many believed" and remember Christ urging them to choose (verses 33-34). It sounds like more decided at this point. But many did not and that resulted in "division because of Him." The side favoring Him was thinking of the words He had spoken and the many miracles done always for the benefit of others. The other side was considering the apparently-wrong record of His birth place and the fact that, as a possible Messiah, He was not meeting their expectations. This division was also referred to back in verse 12. It seems that the events of this chapter lead to a real point of decision for many people.
XXX"And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed." (John 7:44-49) The officers take Him prisoner because they were convicted of truth by the truths they heard Him speak. It seems they were more afraid of going against God than the priests. Educated people would sometimes refer to the common people as "people of the dirt." They were looked down upon because, in many cases, they did not still observe the minutiae of the Jewish law.
XXX"Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house." (John 7:50-53) Nicodemus was the Pharisee who had come to Jesus by night (chapter 3). Here, he was either just being a stickler over a point of procedure or he was defending Jesus. By the time of the crucifixion, Nicodemus was clearly a supporter of Jesus. Jesus arose from Bethlehem of Judea which the rulers either didn't know or chose to ignore.
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