Hi, happy Wednesday! I’m so glad you’re here. It’s Day 7 of our Countdown to Christmas study, and today we walk through John chapter 7 together.
As always, all of the following headings are verses are straight out of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Jesus’ words are in red, and my own commentary is in blue.
I’ve been studying the Bible for years, so much of what I share is from my own tool bank. However, when I’m unsure of the context or meaning behind a passage, I refer to Enduringword.com. Pastor David Guzik dives in to almost every verse with context and clarity and I find it to be incredibly helpful.
If you’d rather follow along to the audio, I will have a video of me reading through this chapter, linked at the bottom of the page.
John Chapter 7
Jesus Goes to the Festival of Tabernacles
7 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
Jesus’ brothers were eager to see if He would receive acceptance on a wider scale. This would determine what they themselves thought of Jesus. Jerusalem was more renowned than Galilee was. They were the trend-setters of the time. So if they accepted Jesus as Messiah, his brothers would consider doing the same.
6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.
These men were people pleasers. They followed the mob mentality and embraced what the world could offer. There wasn’t reason for them to be hated. Jesus, on the other hand, opposed these things. He was radical in his beliefs, and for this reason, he was hated by many.
10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?”
12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, “He is a good man.”
Others replied, “No, he deceives the people.” 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the leaders.
Jesus Teaches at the Festival
14 Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
He had never been officially taught by a Rabbi. Yet, he knew so much of the Word of God. This must’ve been shocking.
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
Jesus lived a life of complete righteousness; he never sinned. His teachings seek not to glorify himself or to appease the people, but to glorify God in truth. Apart from Jesus, a sinless teacher does not exist. But it is possible to seek God’s glory in teaching. This should be the goal.
The religious Jewish leaders of the time were sound guilty of teaching to glorify themselves. If they were for the glory of God, they would be pointing the people to Jesus as the Messiah- much like how John the Baptist did.
20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
The people weren’t aware that the leaders were seeking to kill Jesus. They deemed him crazy.
21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”
The Jews circumcised their children on the day of rest, which was apparently okay in the eyes of the Pharisees. Yet they pursued Jesus to the death for healing on the Sabbath day. How could one be permissible and the other not? Neither instance is specified in the law itself, but Jesus makes it clear that doing good work of the Father does not need a day off.
Division Over Who Jesus Is
25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”
Although those who had traveled for the Feast weren’t aware of the plans to have Jesus killed, the Jerusalem locals were.
There was a belief that the Messiah would appear to the people out of nowhere. This wasn’t a founded belief, yet many expected it to happen this way.
28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”
30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”
When we have entrusted our lives to God, no one can touch us apart from his allowance. Because it wasn’t in the schedule yet, for Jesus to die, the people’s attempts to capture him failed.
Jesus had already done so much to prove himself as something special. Many people wisely wonder if they really need any more proof to believe.
32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.
33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”
41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.”
Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42 Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43 Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44 Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
There is Old Testament prophesies of the Messiah coming from Bethlehem. These people were right. They also were right in considering the scriptures. They were genuine in their wondering if Jesus really could be the Messiah.
What they have heard of this man is that he is a Galilean. Jesus grew up in Galilee, but was in fact born in Bethlehem, and this crowd did not know that.
Unbelief of the Jewish Leaders
45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.
47 “You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted. 48 “Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49 No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law—there is a curse on them.”
The guards sent to capture Jesus came back empty handed. They found no argument against his words, and because of that, let him go.
50 Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51 “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”
52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”
So Jesus is becoming more accepted by day. He is still a huge controversy, but more and more people are finding His teachings and miracles undeniable.
Jesus continues to teach the law out of truth. He breaks apart false teachings that have become widespread in a way that makes sense.
He repeats once more that He is the key to eternal life. It’s compelling news for people who are unsatisfied with their old ways! It’s just as compelling today, in a world that offers so much yet leaves us wanting more.
One week down, two to go! Thanks for coming around! I hope you’ll be back tomorrow for chapter 8. If you missed yesterday’s chapter, you can read it here.
Here is the recording of today’s reading, if you’d prefer to listen!