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John 7


The Unbelief of Jesus' Brothers Jesus' Brothers Disbelieve Jesus, the Water of Life Jesus and His Brothers Jesus Goes Up to Jerusalem for the Feast and Teaches There
7:1-9 7:1-9 7:1-9 7:1-9 7:1
Jesus At the Feast of Tabernacle The Heavenly Scholar   Jesus At the Festival of Shelters 7:2-9
7:10-13 7:10-24 7:10-13 7:10-11 7:10-13
7:14-24   7:14-18 7:14-15 7:14-24
Is This The Christ? Could This Be The Christ?   Is He The Messiah? The People Discuss the Origin of the Messiah
7:25-31 7:25-31 7:25-31 7:25-27 7:25-27
      7:28-29 7:28-29
      7:30-31 7:30
Officers Sent to Arrest Jesus Jesus and the Religious Leaders   Guards are Sent to Arrest Jesus Jesus Foretells His Approaching Departure
7:32-36 7:32-36 7:32-36 7:32-34  
      7:35-36 7:35-36
Rivers of Living Water The Promise of the Holy Spirit   Streams of Life-Giving Water The Promise of Living Water
7:37-39 7:37-39 7:37-39 7:37-39 7:37-38
Divisions Among the People Who is He?   Division Among the People Fresh Discoveries on the Origin of the Messiah
7:40-44 7:40-44 7:40-44 7:40-44 7:40-44
The Unbelief of Those in Authority Rejected by the Authorities   The Unbelief of the Jewish Authorities  
7:45-52 7:45-52 7:45-52 7:45 7:45-52



This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five modern translations. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. The setting of chapters 5 and 6 is the Passover Feast. The setting of John 7:1 through John 10:21 is the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2ff).


B. The Feast of Tabernacles was primarily a thanksgiving for the harvest (called Feast of Ingathering, cf. Exod. 23:16; 34:22). It was also a time of remembering the Exodus experience (called Feast of the Booths, cf. Lev. 23:29-44 and Deut. 16:13-15). It occurred on the 15th of Tishri, which corresponds to our late September or early October.


C. Chapters 7 and 8 show the hostility of the Jewish establishment against Jesus' Sabbath-breaking (John 5:16) and His claim to be one with YHWH (John 5:18). Notice the number of times the texts mention their attempts to

1. arrest Him, John 7:30,32,44; 10:39

2. kill Him, John 7:1,19,25; 8:37,40 (also John 11:53)



   1After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. 2Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 3Therefore His brothers said to Him, "Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world. 5For not even His brothers were believing in Him. 6So Jesus said to them, "My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. 8Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come." 9Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee.

7:1 "After these things" This is a literary way of moving the account, not a temporal marker (cf. John 5:1; 6:1; 7:1; 21:1).

▣ "the Jews were seeking to kill Him" In John "the Jews" often has a sinister connotation (cf. John 1:19; 2:18,20; 5:10,15,16; 6:41,52; 7:1,11,13,35; 8:22,52,57; 9:18,22; 10:24,31,33; 11:8; 19:7,12; 20:19). Their hatred and murderous intent is recorded several times (cf. John 5:16-18; 7:19,30,44; 8:37,40,59; 10:31,33,39; 11:8,53).

7:2 "the feast of Jews, the Feast of Booths" This was also called the Feast of the Tabernacles (cf. Lev. 23:34-44; Deut. 16:13-17) because during the harvest the villagers lived in small shelters in the fields, which reminded the Jews of their Exodus experience. The ritual and liturgy of this feast provides a background for Jesus' teachings in John 7:1-10:21, as did the Passover feast in chapters 5-6.

7:3 "His brothers" This is the first mention of Jesus' family since 2:12. It is obvious they did not understand His motive, method, or purpose.

▣ "Leave here, and go into Judea" This refers to the annual caravan of pilgrims (cf. Luke 2:41-44) who left Galilee and made their trek to Jerusalem. Remember that John's Gospel focuses on Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem.

7:4 "publicly" See Special Topic following.


▣ "If" This is a first class conditional sentence which is assumed to be true from the author's perspective.

▣ "show Yourself to the world" Jesus picked up on their use of the term "world" in John 7:4 and commented on it in John 7:7. The world was not accepting and sympathetic to Him, but hostile (cf. John 15:18-19; 17:14; 1 John 3:13) because He revealed its rebellion and sin (cf. John 3:19-20).

Jesus' brothers' way for Jesus to reveal Himself (i.e., miracles) was very different from Jesus' way (the cross). This is where the prophecy of Isa. 55:8-11 comes into clear focus!

7:5 "For not even His brothers were believing in Him" This is another editorial comment by the author. It must have been very hard to accept Jesus as the Messiah when you have grown up in the same home (cf. Mark 3:20-21). Jesus cared for His half brothers and sisters. One of His post resurrection appearances was for the purpose of revealing Himself to them. They came to believe (cf. Acts 1:14)! James became the leader of the Jerusalem church. And both James and Jude wrote books included in the NT canon.

7:6 "My time is not yet here" The word "time" (kairos) is found only here (twice) and John 7:8 in John's Gospel and letters. BAGD gives three basic connotations.

1. - a welcome time (i.e., 2 Cor. 6:2)

    - an opportune time (i.e., Luke 4:13)

    - an appointed time (i.e., Mark 13:33; Acts 3:20; 1 Pet. 1:11)

2. a proper or favorable time

    - proper time (i.e., Matt. 24:45; Luke 1:20)

    - fixed time (i.e., John 7:8; 2 Tim. 4:6)

3. an eschatological time (i.e., Luke 21:8; Rom. 13:11; 1 Thess. 5:1; 2 Thess. 2:6)

Numbers 2 and 3 have a semantic overlap.

Jesus understood His mission (cf.12:23; 13:1; 17:1-5). There was a divine timetable for these Gospel events to unfold (cf. Luke 22:22; John 7:30; 8:20; Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28).

7:7 "the world" See Special Topic: Kosmos at John 14:17.


NASB"Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to the feast"
NKJV"You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast"
NRSV, NJB"Go to this festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival"
TEV"You go on to the festival. I am not going to this festival"

Several ancient Greek manuscripts (א, D, and K) do not have the adverb "yet." It seems to have been an early scribal attempt to remove the apparent contradiction between John 7:8 & 10. The adverb is included in MSS P66, P75, B, L, T, and W (NKJV, the Twentieth Century New Testament, NIV).

This brief statement could be understood as

1. I am not going with you (nor for your purposes)

2. I am going in the middle of the eight-day feast (to reveal through feast symbolisms)


  10But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret. 11So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, "Where is He?" 12There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him; some were saying, "He is a good man"; others were saying, "No, on the contrary, He leads the people astray." 13Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

7:11 "the Jews" There are four separate groups in this chapter who interact with Jesus.

1. His brothers

2. "the Jews," which refers to the religious leaders

3. "the crowd," which refers to the pilgrims making their way to the Feast of Tabernacles

4. "the people of Jerusalem," who were local folks who knew the Sanhedrin and their plans to kill Jesus


7:12 "There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him" This is typical of what the gospel does in every crowd. It shows the differing spiritual abilities and levels of understanding present within mankind (cf. John 7:40-44).

▣ "He leads the people astray" The verb planaō is used of

1. false teachers (i.e., Matt. 24:11; 2 Tim. 3:13; 1 John 1:8; 2:26; 3:7)

2. false Messiahs (i.e., Matt. 24:4-5,24; in John of what the Jews thought Jesus was (cf. John 7:12,47; Matt. 27:63)

3. people deceiving themselves (cf. 1 Cor. 3:18; 1 John 1:8) or

4. being deceived (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9; 15:33; Gal. 6:7; James 1:16

The word was used of the planets that did not follow the regular orbits of the constellations. They were called "the wanderers."

7:13 "the Jews" This whole crowd was Jewish. This clearly shows John's specialized use of this term to refer to the religious leaders in Jerusalem. See note at John 7:1.

  14But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15The Jews then were astonished, saying, "How has this man become learned, having never been educated?" 16So Jesus answered them and said, "My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. 18He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."

7:14 "But when it was now the midst of the feast" The exact reason for Jesus waiting until this moment is uncertain, but one could speculate that this allowed time for the pilgrims and towns people to discuss Him and His ministry. It also allowed time for the Jewish leaders to openly reveal their hostilities (cf. John 7:13).

▣ "teach" Jesus' speaking events are characterized by

1. teaching, Matt. 4:23; 5:2,19; 7:29, etc.; John 6:59; 7:14,28,35; 8:20,28

2. preaching, Luke 4:18; 7:22; 9:6; 20:1

These seem to be used synonymously to refer to Jesus imparting the truths of God to His human creation. The revelation was always meant to inform and reform. It demanded a decision accompanied by a change of lifestyle priorities. Truth changes everything!

7:15 "How has this man become learned, having never been educated" This simply means that He had not attended one of the official rabbinical schools, nor had He been a disciple of one of the noted rabbis. The use of the phrase "this man" has a connotation of disrespect (cf. John 18:17,29).

Jesus' teaching often surprised His hearers (cf. Mark 1:21-22; Luke 4:22) because of (1) the content and (2) the form. Other rabbis quoted one another; Jesus claimed to quote God!

7:16 Jesus again drew attention not only to His submission (see note at John 5:19) to the Father, but also to His unique knowledge of the Father. They had earthly teachers; He had the heavenly Teacher.

7:17 "If" This is a third class conditional sentence which means potential or possible action. This is the paradox of the universal offer of the gospel (cf. John 1:12; 3:16) and the sovereignty of God (cf. John 6:44,65). The Spirit must open the heart (cf. John 16:8-13).

7:18 Jesus asserts His own uniqueness in contrast with fallen mankind: (1) He does not seek His own glory; (2) He seeks the Father's glory; (3) He is true; and (4) He is sinless.

▣ "the glory of the One" See note at John 1:14.

▣ "there is no unrighteousness in Him" Jesus could die in our place because He did not need to die for His own sin (2 Cor. 5:21). Jesus' sinlessness is a crucial theological issue. The issue is expressed often and in different ways.

1. Luke 23:41

2. John 6:69; 7:18; 8:46; 14:30

3. 2 Cor. 5:21

4. Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 9:14

5. 1 Pet. 1:19; 2:22 (Isa. 53:9)

6. 1 John 2:29; 3:5,7


  19"Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?" 20The crowd answered, "You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?" 21Jesus answered them, "I did one deed, and you all marvel. 22For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man. 23If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath? 24Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

7:19 The grammatical construction expects a "yes" answer.

▣ "yet none of you carries out the law" This must have been a shocking statement to these Jews who were attending a required feast in Jerusalem.

The Law of Moses clearly prohibited premeditated murder, yet this is exactly what the leaders were planning. The local people knew of this but were unwilling to stop their plans or even complain.

▣ "Why do you seek to kill Me" The question of John 7:20 does not come from religious leaders, but from the crowd of pilgrims who knew nothing of the plot to kill Him. Later, in John 7:25, the people of Jerusalem did know of the plot to kill Jesus.

The religious leaders also charged Jesus with being demon-possessed in order to explain away His power and insight (cf. Matt. 9:34; 11:18; 12:24; Mark 3:22-30; John 8:48-52; 10:20-21).

7:20 "You have a demon" It is obvious to everyone who encountered Jesus that He had spiritual power. The question was where did this power come from? The Jewish leaders could not deny Jesus' "signs/miracles," so they attributed the power to Satan and the demonic (cf. John 8:48-49,52; 10:20).

In this context the crowd of pilgrims attending the feast of Tabernacles uses the same phrase, but in a different sense. They are asserting that Jesus is acting in a non-rational, paranoid fashion.



NASB, NKJV"(not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers)"
NRSV"(it is, of course, not from Moses, but from the Patriarchs)"
TEV"(although it was not Moses but your ancestors who started it"
NJB"-not that it began with him, it goes back to the patriarch-"

The rite of circumcision did not begin with the Law of Moses (cf. Exod. 12:48; Lev. 12:3), but was given to Abraham as a sign of the special covenant with YHWH (cf. Gen. 17:9-14; 21:4; 34:22).

▣ "and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man" The essence of Jesus' argument was that they were willing to put aside their Sabbatical rules so that a baby could be circumcised (cf. Shab 132a; Sabh. 18:3; 19:1-6), but were not willing to put aside their Sabbatical rules that a man might be made whole. It is significant to realize that Jesus was using the logic and thought forms of Rabbinical Judaism throughout this section.

7:23 "If" This is a First class conditional sentence which is assumed to be true from the writer's perspective or for his literary purposes.

▣ "are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath" This refers either to Jesus' healing recorded in John 5:1-9 or an unrecorded healing during the feast.

The Greek word "angry" (cholaō) is a rare word found only here in the NT. It is found sparingly in all Greek literature (BAGD, p. 883 and MM, p. 689). It is related to the word "gall" (cholē, cf. Matt. 27:34). The reason for Jesus' using this word (i.e., its connotation) is uncertain. It may denote a "divine anger" in the sense that they thought they were defending God's will and God's laws, which Jesus was violating.

7:24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment" This is a present imperative with negative particle, which means stop an act in process. It is followed by an aorist imperative, which implies urgency. This may be an allusion to Isa. 11:3.

 25So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, "Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? 26Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they? 27However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from." 28Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, "You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. 29I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me." 30So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. 31But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, "When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?"

7:25 "Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill" The grammatical form of this question expects a "yes" answer (cf. John 5:47;7:19). This is the first in a series of questions through John 7:36.


NET"He is speaking publicly"
NKJV"He speaks boldly"
NRSV, NJB"he is speaking openly"

See Special Topic: Boldness (parrhēsia) at John 7:4.

NASB"The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they"
NKJV"Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ"
NRSV"Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah"
TEV"Can it be that they really know that he is the Messiah"
NJB"Can it be true the authorities have recognized that he is the Christ"

This grammatical construction expects a "no" answer. However, it does express a possibility (cf. John 1:31; 4:29).

7:27 "we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from" This refers to a rabbinical Messianic tradition based on Mal. 3:1 that the Messiah would appear suddenly in the temple. This is found in I Enoch 48:6 and IV Ezras 13:51-52.


7:28 In this verse Jesus makes two statements.

1. that God sent Him (cf. John 3:17,34; 5:36,38; 6:29; 7:29; 8:42; 10:36; 11:42; 17:3,18,21,23,25; 20:21)

2. that they do not know God (cf. John 5:37,42; 8:19,27,54-55; 16:3)

John records that Jesus "cried out" (cf. John 7:37; 12:44; Matt. 8:29). Jesus raised His voice to be heard. In a sense, this functions in a literary sense like Jesus' use of an initial "Amen" or "Amen, Amen." He wanted these ironic statements to be emphasized! Verse 29 shows the problem! They think He is from Galilee (cf. John 7:41), but in reality, He is from heaven!

▣ "He who sent Me is true" The Father is true (cf. John 3:33; 8:26; 1 John 5:20) and so is the Son (cf. John 7:18; 8:16). See Special Topic at John 6:55.

7:29 "I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me" This is another example of the vertical dualism in John. This statement was considered blasphemy by the Jewish leaders and confirmed their need to have Jesus killed. See Special Topic: Send (Apostellō) at John 5:24.

7:30 "they were seeking to seize Him" This is an imperfect tense verb which implies (1) they started seeking to seize Him or (2) they tried again and again to arrest Him but they did not want to cause a riot among the pilgrims who believed Him to be the Messiah.

▣ "because His hour had not yet come" This is a recurrent prophetic idiom which asserts a divine timetable (cf. John 2:4; 7:6,30; 8:20; 12:23,27; 13:1; 17:1).

7:31 "But many of the crowd believed in Him" This was true faith in Jesus even though it was filled with misconceptions about His Messianic task. No one has "perfect" faith (cf. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, the Twelve). See Special Topic at John 2:23.

This always happens when the gospel is presented. Some believe, some doubt, and some get angry. Here is the intersection of the mystery of

1. divine election

2. human sinfulness

There is mystery here. I am always shocked by unbelief in the presence of so much light. This is probably the origin of Jesus' words about setting family members against each other. The gospel brings peace to some and conflict to others!

▣ "When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He" The Greek grammatical form expects a "no" answer.

 In A Theology of the New Testament, George E. Ladd has an interesting comment on the use of "signs" to encourage faith in Jesus:

"The question of the relationship of the signs to faith is not easy, because the data seem to look in two different directions. Sometimes signs are designed to lead to faith in Jesus (2:23; 6:14; 7:31; 10:42). On the other hand, there were those who beheld the signs and did not believe (6:27; 11:47; 12:37). Furthermore, on occasion Jesus rebukes the Jews because they will not believe unless they see signs (4:48; 6:30). The answer must be found in a sort of tension between signs and faith. It requires faith to recognize the true meaning of the signs and their witness to Jesus; to those who had no faith, the signs are merely meaningless prodigies. To those who are responsive, the signs are the means of confirming and deepening faith. It is clear that Jesus' signs were not designed to compel faith. On the other hand, the works of Jesus are sufficient testimony to those able to see what is happening in his mission. Jesus' works will serve as a means of condemnation and confirming blind men in their sinfulness" (p. 274).


  32The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. 33Therefore Jesus said, "For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. 34You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come." 35The Jews then said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He? 36What is this statement that He said, 'You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come'?"

7:32 "the chief priests and the Pharisees" This refers to members of the Sanhedrin (see Special Topic at John 3:1). There was only one high priest, but since the time of Roman occupation, the office had become a political plum bargained for by several wealthy, Jewish families and passed from family member to family member.

▣ "sent officers to seize Him" This refers to the "Temple Police" who would have been Levites. They had limited authority outside of the Temple area itself (cf. John 7:45,46; 18:3,12,18,22).

7:33 "For a little while longer I am with you" This is a common phrase in John (cf. John 12:35; 13:33; 14:19; 16:16-19). Jesus knew who He was, what would happen to Him, and when (cf. John 12:23; 13:1; 17:1-5).

▣ "I go to Him who sent Me" This refers to the concluding events of Jesus' mission of redemption: the crucifixion, the resurrection, the ascension, and the restoration to pre-existent glory (cf. John 17:1-5; Acts 1).

7:34 This wording is very similar to Jesus' discussion with the disciples in the upper room (13:33; cf. John 7:36 and 8:21). However, here it refers to unbelievers (i.e., the crowd, the Jerusalemites, and the Jewish leadership).

7:35-36 "He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He" The Greek grammatical construction expects a "no" answer. This is another use of irony. This has always been God's will (cf. Gen. 3:15; 12:3; Isa. 2:2-4). During the Feast of Tabernacles, seventy bulls were offered for the nations of the world. The Jews were obligated to pray for and bring light to the Gentiles. This may reflect the cultural setting of this statement. The term "Greeks" was used in the sense of "Gentiles." The term disperia referred to Jewish people living in Gentile lands (cf. James 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1). This is another example of the crowd misunderstanding Jesus' metaphorical language.

This is another example of Jesus' vertical dualism. The crowd has misunderstood Him because they interpreted His statements literally instead of the "above" and "below" categories of His teachings. He was from the Father and would return to the Father.

  37Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'" 39But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

7:37 "on the last day, the great day of the feast" There is some question whether this was a seven-day feast (cf. Deut. 16:13), or an eight-day feast (cf. Lev. 23:36; Neh. 8:17; II Maccabees 10:60, and Josephus). Apparently in Jesus' day it was an eight-day feast, however, on the last day water was not taken from the pool of Siloam and poured at the base of the altar as it was on the other seven days. We learn of the ceremony from the Tractate Sukkah of the Talmud, which quotes Isa. 12:3 . This may have been a visualized prayer for rain for the crops.

▣ "If" This is third class conditional which means potential action.

▣ "anyone is thirsty" The universal invitation to faith in Jesus! See note at John 7:17

▣ "let him come to Me and drink" Jesus uses the same metaphor in John 4:13-15. This could possibly refer to Jesus as the Messianic Rock which provided water (cf. 1 Cor. 10:4). It is obviously related to the OT invitation of Isa. 55:1-3 and the cultural opportunity of the symbolic pouring out of water during the feast.

Some early ancient Greek manuscripts omit "to me" (cf. MSS P66, א*, and D). It is included in P66c, P75, אc, L, T, W, and it is implied by the context. The UBS4 gives its inclusion a "B" rating (almost certain). In John people are urged to trust Him. The gospel has a personal focus.

7:38 "He who believes in Me" Notice this is a present tense. This shows an emphasis on the continuing personal relationship involved in believing like John 15's "abiding." See Special Topic: Greek Verb Tenses used for Salvation at John 9:7.

▣ "as the Scripture said" It is hard to identify a specific Scripture for this quote. It could be Isa. 12:3; 43:19-20; 44:3; 58:11; Ezek. 47:1; Joel 3:18; Zech. 13:1; or 14:8, which refer metaphorically to eschatological water as a symbol of the presence of the Divine. In this case the promised water of the new age of agricultural blessing is altered to the metaphor of the internal nature of the new covenant. The Spirit will be active in the heart and mind (cf. Ezek. 36:27-38).

▣ "From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water" There have been several theories as to the pronoun antecedent.

1. Jesus Himself (cf. the early church fathers)

2. the individual believers who have trusted Christ

3. Jerusalem. In Aramaic, "his" can mean "her" and can refer to the city (this is the position of the rabbis, cf. Ezek. 47:1-12 and Zech. 14:8)

There is a good brief, simplified discussion of the two theories based on how one punctuates John 7:37b and 38a in NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 683.

Jesus has called Himself the living water (cf. John 4:10). Now in this context it is the Holy Spirit (cf. John 7:39) who provides and produces the living water in Jesus' followers. This is parallel to the Spirit's work of forming Christ in the believer (cf. Rom. 8:29; Gal. 4:19; Eph. 4:13).

7:39 "for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified" Apparently this reflects John's later thinking (i.e., an editorial comment) on the significance of this statement (cf. John 16:7). It also shows the significance of Calvary and Pentecost both being viewed as a "glory" (cf. John 3:14; 12:16,23; 17:1,5). There are several scribal variants to try to explain what John meant by this brief statement.

 40Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, "This certainly is the Prophet." 41Others were saying, "This is the Christ." Still others were saying, "Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? 42Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?" 43So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him. 44Some of them wanted to seize Him, but no one laid hands on Him.

7:40 "This certainly is the prophet" This is an allusion to the Messianic promise of Moses that is found in Deut. 18:15,18. Many recognized Jesus as a prophet (cf. John 4:19; 6:14; 9:17; Matt. 21:11). They recognized Jesus' power, but misunderstood His person and work. Islam also uses this title for Jesus, but misunderstands His message.

7:41 "Others were saying, 'This is the Christ'" This shows that the term "Christ" is equivalent to the Hebrew term "Messiah," which means "an anointed one." In the OT kings, priests, and prophets were anointed as a sign of God's calling and equipping. See SPECIAL TOPIC: ANOINTING IN THE BIBLE (BDB 603)in the Bible at John 11:2.

▣ "Still others were saying, 'Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He'" The Greek grammatical construction expects a "no" answer to this question. But what about Isa. 9:1?

7:42 The grammatical construction of this question expects a "yes" answer.

"descendant of David" (cf. 2 Samuel 7; Matt. 21:9; 22:42).

"from Bethlehem, the village where David was" This is another use of irony (cf. Micah 5:2-3 and Matt. 2:5-6).

7:43 Jesus and His message always caused a division (cf. John 7:48-52; 9:16; 10:19; Matt. 10:34-39; Luke 12:51-53). This is the mystery of the parable of the soils (cf. Matthew 13). Some have spiritual ears and some do not (cf. Matt. 10:27; 11:15; 13:9,15 (twice), 16,43; Mark 4:9,23; 7:16; 8:18; Luke 8:8; 14:35).

 45The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them. "Why did you not bring Him?" 46The officers answered, "Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks. 47The Pharisees then answered them, "You have not also been led astray, have you? 48No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he? 49But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed." 50Nicodemus (he who came to Him before, being one of them) said to them, 51"Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?" 52They answered him, "You are not also from Galilee, are you? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee."

7:46 "The officers answered, 'Never did a man speak the way this man speaks'" John's irony again! This is a very startling testimony.

1. they did not mention their fear of the crowd which would have been a good excuse for them

2. these Temple Police were unanimous in their opinion about Jesus, while the crowd was divided

3. these men were accustomed to following orders, not giving their opinions.


7:48 "No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed in Him, has he" The Greek grammatical construction in both John 7:47 and 48 expects a "no" answer. The term "rulers" refers to the Sanhedrin. Here we have the Sadducees and Pharisees (the entire Sanhedrin), who normally were very hostile to one another, uniting in their oppositions against Jesus (cf. John 11:47,57; 18:3).

7:49 "But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed" This refers to "the people of the land" ('am hā'āres) who were looked down on by the religious leaders because they did not perform all the Oral Traditions (cf. Deut. 27:26). John's irony continues to be seen in John 7:51, where Nicodemus points out to them that they are also breaking the Law by their treatment of Jesus.

Oh, the tragedy of religiosity. The very ones who curse (eparatos, found only here in the NT) the common people are cursed themselves! If light has become darkness, how great is the darkness! Be warned, modern, conservative, educated religionists!

7:51"Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it" The Greek grammatical construction expects a "no" answer (cf. Exod. 23:1; Deut. 1:16).

7:52 "You are not also from Galilee, are you" This shows the emotional opposition of the Sanhedrin against Jesus.

▣ "Search and see" Search had the connotation within Judaism of studying the Scriptures (cf. John 5:39). This again shows John's use of irony. What about Elijah (cf. 1 Kgs. 17:1) and Jonah (cf. 2 Kgs. 14:25), Hosea and Nahum? They must have meant "the" prophet of Deut. 18:15,19; Gen. 49:10; 2 Samuel 7.

7:53-8:11 See note at beginning of chapter 8.


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the festival background to Jesus' words in chapter 7?

2. Describe and explain the purpose of the "Feast of the Tabernacle."

3. Why were the religious leaders so hostile to Jesus?

4. List the different groups that comment about Jesus in this chapter.


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