#67 “DON’T MISS THE TRUTH” (John 7:10-52)

Have you ever been too stubborn to see that you were wrong? Whether it be in our relationships with others or with God, we can let pride blind us from seeing the truth. On this episode, Jason wraps up John 7 and shows how blinded the Jews were to see that Jesus was the Messiah.

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#67 “DON’T MISS THE TRUTH”

John 7:10-52

As Jesus conducts His Judean ministry (AD 29/31), His brothers challenge Him to prove He is the Messiah (see John 7:1-9). Jesus refuses to comply to their demands; yet challenges His followers to total obedience (see Matthew 8:18-22; Luke 9:57-62). He then heads to Jerusalem to teach at the temple on the Feast of Tabernacles.

  1. 10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private (hidden; in the darkness). 11 The Jews were looking (searching; learning his whereabouts)for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering (to express discontent; to complain)about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good (moral qualities; kind; healthy)man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray (deceive).” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. Jesus was planning to attend the Feast of Tabernacles—not based on the recommendation of His brothers. It was more about subtlety, not popularity (see 7:4). Not to mention, the Jews sought to kill Him.
    1. “This feast occurred in the early autumn (September or early October), and lasted for seven days. Its observance is commanded in Exod. 23:16; 34:22; Lev. 23:39, 42, 43; Deut. 16:13. Its significance was twofold. It was a harvest-home festival, and hence was called the Feast of Ingathering, and it commemorated the dwelling of Israel in tents or booths in the wilderness. Hence the name Feast of Boothsor Tabernacles. The association of the latter event with harvest was designed to remind the people in their prosperity of the days of their homeless wandering, that their hearts might not be lifted up and forget God, who delivered them from bondage (Deut. 8:12–17). Therefore they were commanded to quit their permanent homes and to dwell in booths at the time of harvest. The festival was also known as the Feast of Jehovah, or simply the Festival(Lev. 23:39; 1 Kings 8:2), because of its importance, and of being the most joyful of all festivals. At the celebration of the feast at Jerusalem booths were erected in the streets and squares and on the housetops.”[1]
    2. When Jesus arrives to the feast, many looked for him and were muttering/complaining about Him. In ancient times, there was much debate and discourse on the sayings of the rabbis and scholars of the day. These Jews struggled to figure out who exactly Jesus was: was He good or bad?Making their position seem weak. So, many attempted to charge Jesus with deception—which is death by stoning according to Talmudic law.
  2. 14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled (amazed; astonished), saying, “How is it that this man has learning (educated knowledge; know so much), when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine (self-originated), but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. Despite the opposition, Jesus goes to the temple courts to teach halfway in the week of celebrations. (Note: The first and last days of the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths were Sabbath-like observances).
    1. How is it that this man has learning?—Jesus grew up in an urban area where it was common for Jewish boys not able to read or write. They didn’t have the finances or status to be trained by a Torah teacher. Which explains (in part) why the people were so surprised by His advanced knowledge.
    2. My teaching is not mine—Jesus came to fulfill the will of His Father. The Jews believed they listened and obeyed the law; yet, their traditions blinded them and their hatred towards Jesus was evident.
    3. He will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority—With all the knowledge of the Scriptures, the Jews had no excuse for rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words (John 5:46-47)?”
    4. Jesus authority reflects His obedience in fulfilling the will of God. Had the religious leaders been following God’s will—they would have received Jesus as Messiah.
  3. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
    1. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law—Jesus statement is a profound one. He is telling the religious leaders that they fail to understand the true purpose and meaning of the law. Jesus uses the law to prove His innocence, while exposing the contradictions (circumcision on the Sabbath—Lev. 12:3) and the evil intent of the religious leaders to commit murder.
    2. Jesus is sinless—here to fulfill the law—while the Pharisees are misinterpreting the law and seeking to kill the Messiah.
    3. You have a demon—This was a constant attack used against Jesus.
      • Matthew 12:24, “But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.”
      • John 8:48, “The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
      • John 10:20, “Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?”
    4. Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment—The Jews were too blind and wicked to judge correctly.
  4. 25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” The people were confused as to why the religious leaders failed to act. This creates further debate and rage over whether or not Jesus is the Messiah.
    1. This false belief/tradition no one will know where he comes from blinded the people from accepting the Davidic line of Jesus and His miracles. Many held to a “hidden Messiah” tradition that the Messiah would just appear.
  5. 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”
    1. And him you do not know—To tell a Jewish audience that they truly don’t know God is considered the biggest insult. A hard-hitting fact for the Jews to swallow.
    2. I know him, for I come from him and he sent me—Jesus tells the audience the He knows the Father because He is God (see John 1:1, 14, 18).
  6. 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers (Levite temple guards)to arrest him. 33 Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Pharisee’s attempt to arrest and kill Jesus failed because it wasn’t time for Jesus to die (v. 30).
  7. 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” The Jews didn’t believe Jesus came from heaven because they rejected Him as the Messiah. Jesus’ words were an enigma to the Jews.
    1. “Jesus’ mind was on the cross and his divine mission. He looked beyond this to his glory, an experience through which his hearers could not pursue him. As so often in this gospel, the words of Jesus were misunderstood through being taken too literally. The perplexity of the Jews is understandable (35–36), but shows their incapacity to think in spiritual terms. Their minds went to the dispersion, that is Jews scattered among the Greeks. The irony of the situation is that John records later (12:20–22) that some Greeks sought out Jesus, and his readers would have known how the gospel had spread through the Gentile world.”[2]
  8. 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out (introducing a solemn announcement), “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
    1. On the last day of the feast—The Jews had a special water ritual on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus uses this as an opportunity to announce the coming of the Holy Spirit.
      • “The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated with certain festival rituals. One was a solemn procession each day from the temple to the Gihon Spring. A priest filled a gold pitcher with water while the choir sang Isaiah 12:3. Then they returned to the altar and poured out the water. This ritual reminded them of the water from the rock during the wilderness wanderings (Num. 20:8–11; Ps. 78:15–16). It also spoke prophetically of the coming days of Messiah (cf. Zech. 14:8, 16–19). The Feast’s seventh and lastday was its greatest(cf. Lev. 23:36).”[3]
    2. Jesus stood up and cried out—This final message about salvation came right outside the temple courts in Jerusalem.
    3. If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink—On the eighth and final day no water was poured. This ritual acted as a way to remember the need for God to quench the soul. Just like Moses sought God for water in the wilderness (physical thirst); Jesus is telling the Jews to seek Him to satisfy their soul (spiritual thirst). This was another claim of deity.
  9. 40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee?42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him (wishing to seize him), but no one laid hands on him.
    1. CLAIM #1: This really is the Prophet—Some believed Jesus was the Prophet mentioned by Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15, 18.
      • Acts 3:22, “Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.”
    2. CLAIM #2: This is the Christ (Anointed One)
    3. CLAIM #3:This is nobody important—Notice how ignorant some of the Jews were to the birthplace of Jesus. They knew the prophesy in Micah 5:2; however, neglected to piece together Jesus indeed fulfilled this Messianic prophecy (as well as many others).
      • The chief priests and scribes referenced Micah 5:2 to Herod in Matthew 2:6.
    4. No one laid hands on him—Despite the turmoil over Jesus’ identity; the crowd still withheld any aggression towards Him for fear of Him being the Messiah.
  • 45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”
    1. Why did you not bring him—The chief priests and Pharisees were astonished that Jesus wasn’t arrested and brought to them for questioning after saying what He said at the temple courts. The religious leaders thought the people were on their side and would have had Jesus arrested.
    2. No one ever spoke like this man—Even the temple guards were enamored by the presentation of Jesus. He was no usual speaker.
    3. But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed—The leaders point to the ignorance of the crowd to explain why Jesus wasn’t arrested. Yet, they were too blind to see their own ignorance of the Scriptures.
    4. Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does—Nicodemus stands up for Jesus and for the law. He references Deuteronomy 1:16-17: “And I charged your judges at that time, ‘Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. 17 You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’”
      • Previously, Nicodemus had visited Jesus in John 3:1-15. Although still a member of the Sanhedrin, this statement by Nicodemus implies he was a believer in Jesus as Messiah.
    5. Are you from Galilee too—Nicodemus’ counterparts opposed his defense of Jesus, and attacked his very credentials.

[1]Marvin Richardson Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. 2 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1887), 156.

[2]Donald Guthrie, “John,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1041.

[3]Edwin A. Blum, “John,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 301.