Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: John's Gospel Studies|
Introduction to Chapters 7 to 10
This is the second Series of these studies in John's Gospel. You will probably have read the first 6 chapters in the first in this Series called “The Lamb of God”. You will remember that we said in the Introduction, the fourth Gospel is quite different from the first three Gospels. The writer John wrote very much later than the other three writers and he doesn't seek to simply recount the same events as the Synoptic Gospels, but instead seeks to convey something of his growing understanding of the wonder of who Christ is.
Most of the action is this Set takes place in Jerusalem . The Synoptic Gospels have much of their activity centred on Galilee but John picks up on what happened when Jesus went up to Jerusalem for the various feasts, Passover (2:23 & 6:4 in the first Set of these studies). Tabernacles (7:2) and Dedication ( 10:22 ). It was at such feasts that Jesus came into conflict with the various Jewish authorities and made so many statements about himself. Especially in this Gospel we find Jesus referring to his relationship with his Father in heaven (over 90 times).
This Set of Studies
In this Set we will see Jesus mainly teaching, and the confused understanding of the people as to who he was. John shows us the enigmatic teaching of Jesus that allows seekers to understand while leaving all others completely confused. It is a style of teaching that clearly separates out those who are genuine seekers. Throughout we will see the opposition that grows until eventually it puts Jesus to death. It was the teaching of Jesus that eventually provoked this.
PART 1 : " Jerusalem - Tabernacles "
In chapter seven we will see Jesus going up to the feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem . Watch for the way he goes, the way he holds back until half way through the feast before he starts teaching and the way he uses the symbolism of the feast to proclaim truth about himself. Watch also for the growing opposition that is just under the surface, a plot to kill him that is in the making, the desire of the authorities to arrest him, and yet an inability to do that because the time is not yet ready. Watch for these things.
Chapter: John 7
Passage: John 7:1-10
A. Find Out:
1. Why was Jesus avoiding Judea ? v.1
2. Why did Jesus' brothers say he ought to go to the Feast? v.2,3
3. What was Jesus' reply? v.6
4. Why did Jesus say the world hated him? v.7
5. So what did he say and do? v.8,9
6. Yet what did he subsequently do and how? v.10
A major feast is about to occur in Jerusalem to which many devout Jews would go. It was fairly natural therefore for Jesus, his family and his followers to go, yet that wasn't what was behind his brothers' words. There was a sense of antagonistic provocation in what they suggested because, as John records, they didn't believe in him.
In one sense the brothers are trying to provoke Jesus to conform to their expectations of him: if you are this great leader you ought to be out front doing stuff that people can see, and this is a great opportunity to do it, so why don't you go for it! Jesus' answer to them indicates that he has a sense of timing of which they are unaware. He clearly has a sense of divine purpose which will not be rushed. We must not try to rush Jesus' purposes!
When Jesus says his time has not yet come, he means his time for the final confrontation, so although he will eventually go up to the feast, it will not be in such a way that inflames the crowd and incites the leaders to move against him. Yet he will go and does go, but in his time and his way
1. Jesus always moves in accordance with His Father's will and His Father's
timing. He will not be rushed.
2. We need to learn to rest in His timing and His will and have patience to
A. Find Out:
1. What were some Jews doing at the Feast? v.11
2. What was being said about Jesus? v.12
3. Why wouldn't people speak openly about Jesus? v.13
4. When did Jesus go and teach at the temple? v.14
5. Why were the Jews amazed? v.15
There are two groups of people who are noteworthy in this passage. First of all there are “the Jews”. Throughout John's Gospel there is constant reference to “the Jews” and the term is used to indicate that group of the religious community who were hostile to Jesus. It probably included Pharisees, Sadducees, priests, Levites, most of whom were opposed to Jesus. In v.1 we saw that Jesus was aware that they were waiting to take his life. In today's passage we see they were waiting for him, expecting him to turn up. When he did make his presence known and started teaching they revealed their prejudice, their belief that only a traditionally taught rabbi could teach. Jesus showed them that that was not so!
The second group are the common people simply referred to as “the crowd”. Yes they are probably Jews but not in the religious sense of the group considered above. This group quietly discuss and wonder who Jesus really is, but though they are probably the majority they are intimidated by the religious grouping and are fearful of saying anything publicly that might be construed as acceptance of Jesus.
Finally we should note Jesus' own actions. He waits until half way through the Feast before he starts teaching. He doesn't want a popular following to rise up yet, it is too early.
1. “Religious” people are often the ones who oppose Jesus!
2. We should never be intimidated against testifying for Jesus.
A. Find Out:
1. Where did Jesus' teaching come from? v.16
2. How will you know if it is from God? v.17
3. Who is a man of truth? v.18
4. What did he say they were not doing? v.19a
5. What did he say they were trying to do? v.19b
6. Of what did they then accuse him? v.20
Various things stand out about Jesus' teaching in this passage. First, the ORIGIN of his teaching. The Jews were struggling. They thought you are either taught by a rabbi or you taught yourself. Jesus added a third origin: God himself. Second how to CONFIRM the origin of the teaching: if you genuinely desire to do God's will then you will know that the teaching comes from God. Third, observe the MOTIVATION of the teacher: if it is to glorify and honour God then truth will ensue.
Jesus teaching was not from a rabbi and it was not from himself, it was from God. If we desire to do God's will we will recognise that this is teaching from heaven, and finally we can clearly see that Jesus sought to honour His Father in heaven and his teaching was true.
Yet there is more! The Jews said they kept Moses' Law yet their intention was to kill Jesus. They strongly defended themselves but nevertheless it was true. In this they showed themselves to be false. The Law said you shall not kill and yet they were plotting murder, so for all their religious appearances they rejected the Law.
1. The state of our heart determines what teaching we can receive.
2. We may say we are open to be taught but if our lives run contrary to
A. Find Out:
1. Why had they been astonished? v.21
2. Yet what did they do on the Sabbath? v.22
3. Why does Jesus challenge their anger? v.23
4. What did he tell them to stop doing? v.24
5. Why were some of the people surprised? v.25,26
6. Why did they assume he couldn't be the Christ? v.27
The Jews are starting to plan to kill Jesus and so he challenges them over their attitudes towards teaching and the Law. Yesterday we saw he declared they were not keeping the Law in their attitude towards him, and now he challenges them over the real reason why they are upset over him. He had previously performed a miracle of healing in Jerusalem (Ch.5) and they had been upset because it had occurred on the Sabbath. Don't be silly, he says, you circumcise infants on the Sabbath so how much better it is to heal on the Sabbath. Then he goes to the root of their upset: stop going on externals, on outward appearances, and instead be concerned about realities. Stop worrying about what you ought to do to keep the rules, but go on what is real and right.
In saying this Jesus exposes the unreality of the Jews' beliefs, based as they were on man-interpreted rules, not on the caring and compassionate heart of God! As Jesus does this the people round about who are watching and listening begin to wonder. They have heard about the plans to kill Jesus but here he is openly challenging them over their unbelief. What does this mean? See tomorrow!
1. Is our religion external behaviour focused or is it real with real things
happening from within us?
2. Man-originated rules or real relationship?
A. Find Out:
1. What did Jesus acknowledge they knew? v.28a,b
2. But who did he say they didn't know? v.28c,29
3. Why didn't they arrest him then? v.30
4. How did some respond? v.31
5. But what did the chief priests & Pharisees do? v.32
6. What did Jesus say would happen? v.33,34
Let's first looked at what happened and then consider why it was so. Jesus knew the people were wondering if he was the Messiah, and if he came from where Messiah should come from. They thought they knew but Jesus, somewhat enigmatically, refers to the one who sent him, implying that there was more in his coming than they thought. Indeed he later said he would return to the one who had sent him and they wouldn't be able to come; even more strange.
So why did Jesus speak in this somewhat unclear way? First of all he only gradually wanted to reveal who he was, he only gradually wanted the opposition against him to mount (for that it would surely do). Second, Jesus always speaks in such a way that only those who are seeking will hear and understand. The person who is already seeking after God will hear Jesus' words and will know that they confirm what they were already sensing, that this IS the Son from heaven.
We see in the background the struggle of the authorities. Their desire was to arrest Jesus but somehow something prevented them, and John simply says it was because it was not yet the right time for Jesus to be arrested and crucified. Still the authorities persevered and tried again by sending guards to arrest him. See tomorrow!
1. Jesus speaks for those who will hear.
2. Do we desire to hear and understand?
A. Find Out:
1. What was the question in the mind of the Jews? v.35,36
2. When did Jesus stand up and call out? v.37a
3. What did he offer to whom? v.37b
4. What did he promise the believer? v.38
5. What was he speaking about? v.39a
6. Why had the Spirit not yet been poured out? v.39b
At the Feast of Tabernacles the Jews celebrated the time when Moses brought forth water from the rock and thanked God for the provision of water for the later year and prayed for it for the coming year. They also looked forward to the time when God would release water from the temple as prophesied in Ezekiel (Ezek 47) and the High Priest would go down to the pool of Siloam with a golden pitcher and bring back water and pour it through a funnel near the side of the altar as a picture of what they hoped would one day would happen.
In the midst of all this prophetic significance Jesus stands up and loudly proclaims that he is the source of water. He makes the staggering claim that if anyone believes in HIM, streams of living water will flow from within them! In this He is making the most audacious claim. You want real life sustaining provision, says Jesus, then come to me and get it from me! What was this living water? John makes it very clear, the Holy Spirit. Notice He will flow from within you and will be like stream s , ongoing supply, many and various. Jesus is thus the source of the Holy Spirit and He, the Spirit of Jesus, will bring life sustaining provision from within you.
1. God's promise is of eternal life.
2. That life is His own Holy Spirit; He is the one who brings that new
A. Find Out:
1. Who did some think Jesus was? v.40,41a
2. What was their point of confusion? v.41b,42
3. What was the outcome? v.44,45
4. Why hadn't the guards arrested Jesus? v.46
5. How did Nicodemus defend Jesus? v.50,51
6. What was still their problem? v.52
In contrast to the sharp clarity of Jesus' call, comes the confusion of the various onlookers. Some sense that this man must be the Christ to be able to speak like this, but others are not convinced. They have a problem of partial knowledge, they only know part of Jesus' history and that bit doesn't seem to tie in with what they have been taught! Our problem so often, when we are tempted to criticise, is that we only have partial knowledge!
Their understanding was that the messiah should comes from David's family and that was from Bethlehem in the southern half of the country. Jesus seemed to come from Galilee in the north, so surely he couldn't be the messiah was their natural (but wrong) conclusion. They did not know that Jesus HAD been born in Bethlehem and they based their judgement on their ignorance!
In addition to this, it is likely that the Pharisees had a personal bias; they considered themselves to be the keepers of the moral and spiritual conscience of the nation and to be challenged in that position was, as they saw it, a challenge to their very prestige and power in the land. It was thus in their interests to oppose Jesus. When people today oppose Jesus, it is rarely on objective, unbiased grounds; it is usually because of personal biases.
1. Beware criticising when you have only half the facts!
2. Beware opposition when you have a personal bias!
In this first group of 7 studies we have seen :
In chapter 6 the crowds had responded to the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand by wanting to make Jesus king. But that had been up in Galilee . After that a number of followers had left him because of his difficult teaching. Now John goes a stage further and shows us the confusion and query over him in Jerusalem . The capital city crowds and authorities have only heard rumours of what has happened in the north and this is their city. They object to this country preacher coming in and challenging their authority.
1. Jesus works to his timetable, not ours
2. Jesus will not be provoked to work by our expectations
3. We will know the truth when we seek to obey God
4. Jesus is the source of the Holy Spirit
5. Don't judge when you only know half the facts
Ask the Lord to let these truths sink in.
PART 2 : "Teaching & Conflict in Jerusalem "
In this next Part we will see Jesus staying on in Jerusalem , teaching and confronting the Jews. This is very much a time of conflict that builds the opposition in Jerusalem to him.