The Book of John is unique among the Gospel accounts. You may read it when you are yet in shallow waters near the shore, and you will find Jesus there. You may read it and find yourself totally immersed in deep truths about God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I will go deep, and if it is too much, don’t worry! Stay in the shallow waters for a bit. He will take you deeper, as you get to know Him!
In John 7, opposition against Jesus intensifies. He goes to Jerusalem to publicly reveal the hearts of the Jewish elite, and reveals that for all who believe in Him, they will become sources of living water, just as He is!
Verse 1 — Jesus was in Galilee, settled and steadfast in not going to Judea, because the Jewish elite were trying to kill Him. It was not yet His time, the divinely appointed time when He would give His life for the world.
His steadfastness in not going to Judea wasn’t because He was afraid of those who wanted to kill Him. When it was the divinely appointed time, He readily and peacefully surrendered Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane, where it was commonly known that He and His disciples gathered at night to sleep.
Verse 2 — It was the time of the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths, one of the three that required attendance by all Jewish men. This feast was a remembrance of God’s provision as the Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years, and a celebration of the bounty of the Promised Land.
Think about it. The Jewish elite were still wandering, even though they were in the Promised Land of Israel. There was a Promised Land they had not yet reached, a spiritual one for here and now, and in heaven. Only through Jesus would they reach it and experience His abundant, eternal life!
Verses 3-5 — His brothers mocked Him, saying He should go up to Jerusalem to show off publicly, to the world. It was because they did not believe He was the Christ. After He rose, His brother James believed, because James became the leader of the church’s Jerusalem Council.
Verses 7-9 — Jesus said it was not His time (as I noted in Verse 1). There was a divinely appointed hour, and it had not been reached. His brothers spoke of the world in Verse 4. Why did Jesus say the world could not hate His brothers (Verse 7)? It was because they did not yet believe (Verse 5).
The world hates Jesus because He tells the world that its deeds are evil. The world will hate you too, because you will also tell the world that its deeds are evil (John 15:19). When you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you will speak about sin and righteousness and judgment, (John 16:8-11), and the Spirit will use you to bring people to repentance, by the words He gives you (see Acts 2:37-38).
If the messages you’re hearing from the pulpit do not include exhortation regarding sin, righteousness, and judgment, the one preaching is not filled with the Holy Spirit. Find a preacher who preaches what Jesus preached.
Verses 10-14— After His brothers went up to Jerusalem, Jesus went up, but not openly. As He anticipated, the Jewish elite and the crowds were seeking Him. Many grumbled (murmured), disputing with one another about whether Jesus was a good man or a liar. But no one spoke openly of Him, because to do so would mean arrest by the Temple guard and expulsion from the community (shunning).
In the midst of the Feast, Jesus went to the Temple and began to teach, just as He had many times before.
Verses 15-18 — Some Jews had never heard Him before. They were astonished at His words. He spoke as if He had studied with the finest Old Testament (Tenakh) scholars among the Jewish elite. How did He become so learned, to know so much, when He had never been educated by them?
NOTE: I have heard famous preachers say Jesus was schooled under the rabbis, and studied all their commentaries. But the Word of God says Jesus was completely unschooled by the Jews.
Where did His teaching come from? He said it is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.
If anyone (you included) is willing to do the Father’s will, that one will know completely and have insight based on what the Father teaches him. You will know more than the scholars, because inside of you dwells the One whose Spirit inspired the scriptures!
The Jewish teachers were famous for exalting their great ability to interpret the Tenakh. Each one tried to outdo the other, in order to get top honors. They sought their own glory.
But Jesus did not seek His own glory. He sought to glorify His Father who sent Him. What is Jesus’ judgment of those who seek their own glory as the Jewish elite did? That is unrighteousness. It is not right in God’s eyes.
If you are under a preacher who boasts in what he does, and who competes with other preachers to outdo them, that one is unrighteous. He seeks to glorify himself, not the Lord.
Verses 19-20— Jesus told the Jews that certainly, they knew the Law right-side up and upside-down. But they did not obey it. Then He reveals to the Jews that He knows they are trying to kill Him. That is murder, and breaks the Law of Moses.
The crowd accused Jesus of being possessed by a demon, and everyone denied that someone is trying to kill Him. They lied.
Verses 21-24 — The Jews were upset because Jesus had healed the man at the pool at Bethesda on a sabbath (see my notes on John 5:9). Jesus said He did one work on the sabbath, and they all marveled at it. It attested to the fact that He is God the Son.
Moses did not institute circumcision. The Lord did, with Abraham and his whole house, in Genesis 17. It was carried on in the Law of Moses. If it was the eighth day after a male child is born (Leviticus 12:3, Luke 1:59), that child was circumcised, whether or not it was a sabbath. So work was done on the sabbath, in order to comply with the Law.
Jesus asked the Jews why they now protest because Jesus also did a work in compliance with His Father’s instructions? They did not judge His deeds righteously. They judged Him superficially rather than according to the heart of the Father, which is always to heal and restore. Hallelujah! It is always His heart to heal and restore!
Verses 25-27 — Jesus’ words stirred the crowd. Was this not the man whom the Jewish elite were seeking to kill? Was Jesus the Christ? But they knew where Jesus came from — Galilee. But no one would know where the Christ came from. So Jesus can’t be the Christ.
But Isaiah 9 tells us He will be from Galilee of the Gentiles, of all places! And He was born in Bethlehem, just according to Micah 5:2! Of course they were to know where the Christ came from.
Verses 28-32 — Jesus cried out (loudly) as He taught in the Temple. He had told them where He came from. Therefore, they knew where He came from. He had told them He didn’t come on His own initiative, but the Father sent Him. The Father is true, truthful. What the Father says, the Father does.
God promised a Messiah/Christ. Jesus is that One. Jesus intimately knew and experienced the Father because He came from the Father and the Father sent Him. He told the crowd that they never knew the Father at all.
The crowd reacted to Jesus’ words in several ways:
— Some tried to seize Him. But no one could because it was not the divinely appointed time for Jesus to be arrested.
— Many believed in Him, based on the great number of miracles Jesus had done. These miracles attested to the fact that He was sent by God the Father. Only God could have done the miracles done by God the Son.
— The Pharisees heard the crowd’s words and with the chief priests, they ordered officers to seize Jesus. But look ahead to verse 45-46 to learn why the officers did not arrest Him. The following verses are what they heard Jesus say, when they came to seize Him.
Verses 33-36 — Jesus said He would be with them just a little while longer, and then go back to the Father who sent Him. They will seek Him but not find Him. Where He will go, they cannot come (see John 8:21).
The Jewish elite could not imagine what Jesus meant. They puzzled over it. Did He mean He was going to the Dispersion (those Jews who were scattered across the earth after the Assyrian and then the Babylonian exile)? Was He going among Greeks (non-Jews), to teach them?
Verse 37-39 — Part of the ceremony for the last day of the Feast was to bring water from the Pool of Siloam (there was no water in the Temple), and pour it out on the altar while speaking Isaiah 12:1-3. The Lord God is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation (in Hebrew, “yeshua,” and in Greek, “Jesus”). With joy I will draw water from the fountain of Jesus! Jesus is the Fountain!
And so, Jesus loudly cried out again. This time, “He said if anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” The I AM said that He is the Fountain from Isaiah 12!
If you believe in Him, just as that Scripture (Isaiah 12:3), from out of your belly will flow a river of living water — an overflowing, rushing, flood-stage river!
What is this living water? The Holy Spirit, Who believers were to receive. The Holy Spirit had not yet been given in this way. But after Jesus was glorified (seated again with His Father, as it was from beginning), the Spirit would be given.
Seek to receive this flood of living water, dear reader! Jesus was glorified at Pentecost (Acts 2), and that flood began! Thousands repented and believed in Jesus, at Peter’s words. Cornelius and his household were filled with the Holy Spirit, their hearts purified, as Peter began to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to them (Acts 10)! Afterwards, they were baptized in water.
We cannot be the church unless we are filled with the Holy Spirit after we have believed in Jesus Christ!
Are you looking for “authentic Christianity?” Then ask the Lord to fill you. I guarantee, you will find what it is to be an authentic Christian!
Verses 40-44 — When some heard these words from Jesus, they concluded He was the Prophet (again, Deuteronomy 18:18). Some wondered if this was the Christ. But others said the Christ did not come from Galilee. But I have already given you Isaiah 9, which says that Jesus will come out of Galilee of the Gentiles. They didn’t understand the Word of God.
They said the Christ had to come from Bethlehem, and be one of King David’s descendants. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, of the lineage of David. But they didn’t know it, or ask Him where He was born.
There was division in the crowd as they reacted to Jesus’ words. There always will be division among crowds, when the words of Jesus are spoken. They prick your heart, they pull at your conscience, and you either believe He is the Christ or you reject Him.
Verses 45-49 — The officers reported back to the chief priests and Pharisees who sent them to seize Jesus (Verse 32). Why didn’t you bring Him? The officers said, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” Not, “We never heard anyone speak this way,” but “Never, ever has anyone spoken like Him.” The words of Jesus are like none other!
The Pharisees accuse the officers of being deceived by Jesus’ “false” ministry. None of the rulers or Pharisees had believed in Him, they said.
But Nicodemus believed He was from God (John 3), and he was a member of the Sanhedrin, 71 Jewish elites who ruled on matters of religion.
They accused the crowd of not knowing the Law of Moses, and called them accursed (damned).
Verses 50-53 — Nicodemus was a member of the Jewish Council called the Sanhedrin. He said to the Sanhedrin, “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him.” They hadn’t allowed Jesus to testify about Himself. That was illegal, in Jewish religious law.
The Jewish elite lashed out at Nicodemus, accusing him of being from Galilee. They said no prophet arises out of Galilee. But both Nahum and Jonah were from Galilee. They were wrong, once again.
[NOTE: Verse 53 should be with Chapter 8.]