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David Guzik :: Study Guide for John 7

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At the Feast of Tabernacles

A. Jesus goes up to Jerusalem in secret.

1. (Jhn 7:1-5) The contempt of the brothers of Jesus for Him.

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews' Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world. " For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

a. He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him: It was not a lack of courage that made Jesus stay in Galilee, but an awareness of the Father's perfect timing - and it was not time yet.

b. The Feast of Tabernacles was a joyful, weeklong celebration, when families camped out in "booths" to remember God's faithfulness to Israel during the wilderness wanderings.

c. Go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that you are doing … If you do these things, show Yourself to the world: Essentially, Jesus' brothers are telling Him to "take Your stuff to the big leagues. " They say, "If You really do have all this miracle power, why don't You go to Jerusalem and make Yourself really famous?"

i. The Living Bible gives a good sense of this: You can't be famous when you hide like this! If you're so great, prove it to the world!

d. His brothers therefore said to Him: The brothers of Jesus never seemed to be supportive of His ministry before His death and resurrection, (see also Mark 3:21) but that changed after His resurrection (Acts 1:14).

2. (Jhn 7:6-9) Jesus' reply: we are of different worlds.

Then Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come. " When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.

a. I am not yet going up to the feast: Some compare this statement with what it says in John 7:10 (He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret) as if they caught Jesus in a lie. Schopenhauer, the German philosopher of pessimism, pompously said: "Jesus Christ of set purpose did utter a falsehood. " But Christians have observed for centuries that if Jesus said He would not go publicly as to attract attention (as His brothers wanted), but that did not preclude Him from going up privately.

b. My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready: Because Jesus was completely submitted to the will of the Father, the timing of God the Father was important. But for Jesus' brothers, who were not submitted to God's will in the same way, any time was fine!

i. In Jesus' life as well as our own, the Father's timing is just as important as His will. Many stumble because they sense they know God's will, but they move ahead of His timing. This is a sure recipe for frustration.

3. (Jhn 7:10-13) Jesus goes up to a Jerusalem that is abuzz with rumors concerning who He is.

But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to 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 complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, "He is good"; others said, "No, on the contrary, He deceives the people. " However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

a. Some said, "He is good"; others said, "No, on the contrary": Then as well as now, Jesus divides people. Those who heard Him and knew Him couldn't remain neutral. They decided one way or another regarding who Jesus was, either good or a deceiver.

B. Jesus answers objections and teaches.

1. (Jhn 7:14-18) Objection: Jesus isn't educated; He is His own authority.

Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. And the Jews marveled, saying, "How does this Man know letters, having never studied?" Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him."

a. Jesus went up into the temple and taught: Though Jesus avoided a grand entrance, He now teaches boldly. He never shrank back from proclaiming the truth.

b. How does this Man know letters, having never studied: The Jewish leaders knew that Jesus had not studied or been a disciple under a prominent rabbi (as Paul studied under Gamaliel, Acts 22:3).

c. My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me: Jesus doesn't point to His credentials, but to His doctrine. It is as if He says, "I don't have a seminary degree, but judge Me by My doctrine. " If the Jewish leaders listened carefully to the doctrine of Jesus, they would know that it was all rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures, and that it was from God.

d. My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me: Jesus was an eloquent, gifted teacher, but He was not self taught. He was God taught! His authority was not from any man, but from His Father.

2. (Jhn 7:19-24) Objection: Jesus is a Sabbath breaker.

"Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?" The people answered and said, "You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?" Jesus answered and said to them, "I did one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

a. Why do you seek to kill Me? Because He healed a man on the Sabbath, the rulers wanted to kill Jesus (John 5:16). The multitude didn't know this, but the Jewish leaders did - though they denied it.

b. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken: If it is permitted (even commanded) to do a negative work (such as cutting away the flesh in circumcision) on the Sabbath, why not a work that brings wholeness?

c. Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment: If the rulers and the people would only do this, they would embrace Jesus instead of contesting and rejecting Him.

3. (Jhn 7:25-29) Objection: if the Messiah will appear suddenly and unexpectedly, how can Jesus be the Messiah?

Now some of them from Jerusalem said, "Is this not He whom they seek to kill? But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from. " Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, "You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me."

a. When the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from: The crowd, in their partial knowledge of the Old Testament, was convinced that the Messiah would come suddenly and spectacularly.

b. You both know Me, and you know where I am from: This first sentence of Jesus' reply may well have been sarcastic. They thought they knew where He was from, but they were unaware of His heavenly origin.

c. I am from Him, and He sent Me: The crowds may be confused about where the Messiah comes from, but Jesus knew exactly where He came from. Jesus was not a confused man, wondering if He was really the Son of God.

4. (Jhn 7:30-36) The leaders try to seize Jesus because many believed in Him.

Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 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?" The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. Then Jesus said to them, "I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come. " Then the Jews said among themselves, "Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What is this thing that He said, 'You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come'?"

a. Because His hour had not yet come: Until the time was right, no one could lay a hand on Jesus. There would come a time when Jesus would say that His hour had come (John 12:23). Until that hour, Jesus was protected.

b. I shall be with you a little while longer: Jesus assures the officers that came to take Him that He will go away, but only at the appointed time - at His ascension.

c. Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks: Through His followers, Jesus did in fact go to the Dispersion and teach the Greeks - but the time for that was later.

d. What is this thing He said: Even though His words were misunderstood, they echoed in the mind of His hearers

5. (Jhn 7:37-39) The great invitation: If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. " But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

a. On the last day, that great day of the feast: At the Feast of Tabernacles, water was poured out daily at the altar to remind everyone of the water God miraculously provided for a thirsty Israel in the wilderness.

b. Let him come to Me: Jesus boldly calls people to Himself, claiming that He can satisfy the inner thirst in man.

c. Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water: The water of the Holy Spirit not only goes in, it also comes out. Not only does the believer receive blessing, but he becomes a blessing to others.

i. This is the contrast between two contemporary religious movements of Jesus' day. The Qumran sect had no outflow, becoming stagnant and dead. But Christianity emphasizes outflow, extending life and blessing to others.

d. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given: The word given here is added by translators. More literally it is "for it was not yet Spirit. " John tells us that it was not yet Pentecost and the days of the Spirit.

e. Because Jesus was not yet glorified: John speaks of Jesus' coming ordeal at the cross as being glorified, and that it must come before the power of Pentecost. Calvary is the necessary prelude to Pentecost, and the cross is seen as glory, not shame.

C. Who is Jesus?

1. (Jhn 7:40-43) Jesus brings division among men.

Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, "Truly this is the Prophet. " Others said, "This is the Christ. " But some said, "Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?" So there was a division among the people because of Him.

a. This is the Prophet … This is the Christ: Some say one thing, others say something else about who Jesus is. But everyone had an opinion. One can not be confronted with Jesus and remain neutral; feigned neutrality is rejection, the same as open hostility.

b. Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Their rejection of Jesus was based on their ignorance. They didn't know Jesus really was born in Bethlehem.

c. So there was a division among the people because of Him: There is a real sense in which Jesus is a divider of men. Because we cannot be of two opinions about Jesus, some will be for Him and others will be against Him.

i. Jesus repeated this idea in Matthew 10:34-36: Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to "set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law"; and "a man's enemies will be those of his own household. "

2. (Jhn 7:44-49) An attempted arrest.

Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him. Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why have you not brought Him?" The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this Man!" Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed."

a. Some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him: The arrest was unsuccessful, but it wasn't because the arresting officers were incompetent. It was because the time wasn't right yet.

b. Because the Pharisees hate Jesus, they despise anyone who embraces Him: Are you also deceived? Have any of [us] believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.

3. (Jhn 7:50-52) Nicodemus' small stand for Jesus.

Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, "Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?" They answered and said to him, "Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee."

a. Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing: Nicodemus tries to reason with the Jewish leaders, warning them of judging Jesus hastily.

b. Are you also from Galilee: Galileans were objects of Judean scorn, and the butt of Judean jokes. To the Jewish leaders from Judea, nothing good could come from Galilee.

c. Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee: In fact, a prophet had risen from Galilee. Jonah, who was a type of Jesus Christ came from Gath Hepher, which was three miles north of Nazareth in Lower Galilee (2 Kings 14:25).

© 2000 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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