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John Chapter 7 Visit in Jerusalem

Posted by adventbiblestudy on June 17, 2015


  • John 7:1-53 NLTse After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. (2) But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, (3) and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! (4) You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” (5) For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. (6) Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. (7) The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. (8) You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” (9) After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee. (10) But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. (11) The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. (12) There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” (13) But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. (14) Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. (15) The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked. (16) So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. (17) Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. (18) Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. (19) Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.” (20) The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?” (21) Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. (22) But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) (23) For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? (24) Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” (25) Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? (26) But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? (27) But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.” (28) While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. (29) But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” (30) Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. (31) Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?” (32) When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus. (33) But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. (34) You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.” (35) The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! (36) What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?” (37) On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! (38) Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” (39) (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (40) When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.” (41) Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? (42) For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” (43) So the crowd was divided about him. (44) Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him. (45) When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” (46) “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded. (47) “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. (48) “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? (49) This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!” (50) Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. (51) “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. (52) They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself–no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” (53) Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.

    Indecision. That word sums up this chapter as well as the last chapter. Why? Why couldn’t people accept what Jesus was saying? Is it really that much different today? People read the Bible. And people seem to disagree on just about every subject, including the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus has been slowly introducing the subject of resurrection one little detail at a time.

    Search the scriptures is not repeated in this chapter for nothing. Jesus sent people to scriptures. Did they refer to them? Did they see details we’ve seen? Was this another lesson showing how some people read God’s Word one way while other people say it means something totally different, or the opposite? How do we know which it true? The one thing we never want to do is separate a few verses out of a chapter and try to explain what it means. That is like leaving God’s hand, or leaving His Spirit behind like those people in the previous chapter left Jesus behind.

    • Jesus’ Brothers Offered Advise

      John 7:1-9 NLTse After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. (2) But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, (3) and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! (4) You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” (5) For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. (6) Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. (7) The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. (8) You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” (9) After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.

      Jesus went back to his hometown. The town He grew up. Jesus needed to stay away from those religious leaders. Out of their cross hairs. They were hunting Jesus because they wanted to kill Him. Another Jewish festival came up. It was the Festival of Shelters. It used to be a simple ceremony when Hebrews lived in temporary shelters for a time. This was to remind them, this world is temporary and one day God would come to take them to the real promised land. The promised land we refer to as the spiritual promised land.

      “Remember that this seven-day festival to the LORD–the Festival of Shelters–begins on the fifteenth day of the appointed month, after you have harvested all the produce of the land. The first day and the eighth day of the festival will be days of complete rest. On the first day gather branches from magnificent trees–palm fronds, boughs from leafy trees, and willows that grow by the streams. Then celebrate with joy before the LORD your God for seven days. You must observe this festival to the LORD for seven days every year. This is a permanent law for you, and it must be observed in the appointed month from generation to generation. For seven days you must live outside in little shelters. All native-born Israelites must live in shelters. This will remind each new generation of Israelites that I made their ancestors live in shelters when I rescued them from the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” So Moses gave the Israelites these instructions regarding the annual festivals of the LORD. (Leviticus 23:39-44 NLTse).

      All that changed when Solomon decided to dedicate his temple during that festival. It seems like an oxymoron, putting God into a stone temple during a festival when Israel, including the king was supposed to move into a temporary shelter made of sticks and leaves.

      A new tradition was born and people loved it. No more camping out every year. People replaced God’s festival with one of their own. An easier one to keep. But the vision of Heaven was lost. How could that happen? If you check back a few chapters before Solomon dedicated his temple, you’ll find Solomon appointed the priests and other religious leaders. The king controlled the church. You’ll also find, David did the same thing. We can’t tell how much of an effect that had on religious services, but we can see how later kings appointed pagan priests, religions, and introduced idols. For generations that temple bounced around from a pagan temple, back to Hebrew, and back and forth. Every change resulted in a blend of pagan traditions and what was left from the instructions Moses recorded. Jesus had His work cut out for Himself. This is why His work was so difficult. The religion those Jews followed was hardly a shadow of what Moses and Aaron followed and taught in the wilderness.

      The symbols used in the Tabernacle were also lost. Little if anything in the stone temple pointed to Jesus. Herod’s temple was based on a grand and glorious design aimed at showing the world God’s greatness. The meekness and simplicity of Christ was gone. Even the sacrificial system had been so distorted, no one had any idea there was a connection between the lamb and Christ. The system was so broken, God’s plan was to start from scratch by introducing new symbols. But was the world ready for the change?

      Jesus’ brothers summed up what the world wanted to see and understand about Jesus. All they cared about was His miracles. It’s pretty much the same today. Go to a church with a prayer and praise portion in their service. What do you hear? People asking prayer for this, that or the other thing. Does anyone praise God? Does anyone stand up to tell what God taught them that week? Not too often. For the most part, the few minutes is filled with people asking for things – asking God to prove Himself with another miracle.

      Business was good in Galilee. People were making money selling lodging, food, water, and care for travelers animals. Believe it or not, Jesus’ ministry became a windfall for every business in Galilee. His brothers didn’t want Jesus sitting around. They wanted Him to go out and do some advertising to bring in more business. What better place to advertise than Jerusalem during a major festival.

      All Jesus could tell them is, it wasn’t His time. Time for what? Most people look at the surface and think it wasn’t His time to go to Jerusalem to die. Although that may be true, it is far from the whole story. Jesus had to give God’s Spirit a little more time to set up details so some people would actually listen and understand. The best Jesus could hope for was a few people to listen and understand. Jesus knew the message He had to deliver would aggravate a lot of people. The message would aggravate a lot more if He moved too quickly.

      We see how Jesus repeated the phrase about not being the right time. Jesus called it His time. When the time was right, it would be Jesus’ time to teach and continue His ministry. Everything had to be done on time, according to God’s plan, and according to every prophecy recorded about Himself. This was a vital key to Jesus’ success. One of the major conditions of Jesus’ ministry was to point people to the prophecies He was fulfilling, when He was fulfilling them. This is also a vital part of Christianity today, but a sadly neglected major portion of the ministry and message Jesus gave to take to the world.

    • Jesus Goes to Jerusalem

      John 7:10-13 NLTse But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. (11) The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. (12) There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” (13) But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders.

      First Jesus told His brothers it wasn’t His time. About three days later, Jesus went to Jerusalem. Why did His brothers leave halfway through the festival? That shows how seriously they treated the festival and how much it had been changed. Why did Jesus wait for His brothers to leave before going to the festival? The obvious answer would be, He didn’t need their advise or influence. Jesus also didn’t need them asking for more miracles in front of the crowds, or using Jesus’ influence to get more people to visit Galilee. The influence in Galilee didn’t paint a proper picture of Jesus.

      Jewish leaders were looking all over for Jesus. They expected Him to visit Jerusalem during the festival. It wouldn’t be a big deal for them to arrest Jesus during the Festival of Shelters. Jesus didn’t have the large following He did at the end of His ministry. John told us how people were leaving Jesus. We can assume reports to the priests were greatly exaggerated. Walking among the crowds showed those Jewish leaders how split Jews were when the talked about Jesus. As we know, little attention is paid to anyone supporting someone you despise, while the emphasis is placed on people agreeing with your view. It didn’t matter what the actual numbers were, the priests looked at any indicator in their favor as a victory.

      Numbers didn’t matter to God either. Of course He wanted everyone to turn to His Son and be saved, but human numbers would not be of any consequence to any part of God’s plan. It never was and it never will be.

    • Jesus Taught in the Temple

      John 7:14-24 NLTse Then, midway through the festival, Jesus went up to the Temple and began to teach. (15) The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked. (16) So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. (17) Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. (18) Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies. (19) Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.” (20) The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?” (21) Jesus replied, “I did one miracle on the Sabbath, and you were amazed. (22) But you work on the Sabbath, too, when you obey Moses’ law of circumcision. (Actually, this tradition of circumcision began with the patriarchs, long before the law of Moses.) (23) For if the correct time for circumcising your son falls on the Sabbath, you go ahead and do it so as not to break the law of Moses. So why should you be angry with me for healing a man on the Sabbath? (24) Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.”

      God’s Spirit told Jesus when the time was right to go to Jerusalem. God had to make sure everything was prepared. Just before Jesus entered Jerusalem, He saw a few temporary shelters constructed outside the city gates. He stood and watched people pass those shelters and listened to them. People didn’t recognize Jesus. He was hidden from them like the message those shelters carried. People passed those shelters without giving them a though. A few people hurled insults and some threw a few stones.

      Some of those shelters housed only individuals while others housed an entire family for a week, So many people passed them thinking it was some sort of long lost religious cult. Others thought it was some kind of misled movement. A few people stopped to ask why they chose to honor God’s festival this way. Those inside were more than happy to explain, and point them back to scripture. That was the only way people could see the message in the pattern. Passover, to harvest, to trumpets and atonement, then finally the shelters.

      Jesus watched those people for some time. Then He went from shelter to shelter to listen to them and share a few words. Once inside the city gates, Jesus only saw a few more shelters. He stopped and talked to them on His way to the temple. A few people followed Him to the temple, but not many. Mostly they were people curious about those shelters. Something inside told them there was much more to learn about those shelters and Jesus seemed to know more than anyone they’ve ever met.

      Once inside the temple court, Jesus and the few people following Him could see how the Jews celebrated the Festival of Shelters. What a contrast to those few people outside the city gates. People were busy exchanging money, buying lambs, goats, and birds, then standing in another line to have them sacrificed. It was clear all those animals were being sacrificed to honor the temple. The sudden impact of reality made people think and wonder how things could have changed. Jesus knew how.

      The Festival of Shelters does more than serve as a reminder this life is temporary. It is also one illustration showing how people pick and choose which parts of the Bible to accept and which to reject. The festival also showed how easy it is for religious leaders to hide scripture from people to get their way. Jews concentrated on one part of scripture while hiding another.

      “Five days later, on the fifteenth day of the same month, you must call another holy assembly of all the people, and you may do no ordinary work on that day. It is the beginning of the Festival of Shelters, a seven-day festival to the LORD. On the first day of the festival, you must present a burnt offering as a special gift, a pleasing aroma to the LORD. It will consist of thirteen young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings must be accompanied by a grain offering of choice flour moistened with olive oil–six quarts for each of the thirteen bulls, four quarts for each of the two rams, and two quarts for each of the fourteen lambs. You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. “On the second day of this seven-day festival, sacrifice twelve young bulls, two rams, and fourteen one-year-old male lambs, all with no defects. Each of these offerings of bulls, rams, and lambs must be accompanied by its prescribed grain offering and liquid offering. You must also sacrifice a male goat as a sin offering, in addition to the regular burnt offering with its accompanying grain offering and liquid offering. (Numbers 29:12-19 NLTse).

      The Jewish leaders emphasized one description of the festival while hiding the other. Tradition turned the festival into an endless stream of sacrifices to honor the temple. They had no evidence to prove God existed inside the temple. That was all the more reason to combine the long list of sacrifices on the Festival of Shelters with Solomon’s dedication of his temple when he sacrificed so many animals, blood ran into the streets like a river. The more sacrifices, the more money the priests made. Another well hidden scripture is found in Isaiah.

      Listen to the LORD, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.” “What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the LORD. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting– they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. (Isaiah 1:10-19 NLTse).

      The Festival of Shelters showed how religious leaders separate and segregate certain parts of scripture to benefit themselves and their beliefs. In the example of the Shelters, one section pointed to God’s prophets. The other was used to only point to profits. How was Jesus going to get them to look at all of God’s Scripture so they could see the truth for themselves?

      At first the people were surprised at what Jesus taught. They heard much of what He had to say for the first time and were amazed at how simple it was, and how much they missed. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked. Everything was going great until Jesus mentioned the law.

      “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own.” The message Jesus refereed to was not something new, but scripture recorded generations before He came to this world. Jesus pointed them back to scripture. He didn’t need to prove Himself. Everything He taught came from scripture, a full view of scripture.

      “Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.” People speak for themselves by taking little bits and pieces of scripture then telling people what they think it means. They don’t back it up with scripture, nor do they allow scripture to explain itself. They rely on themselves to glorify themselves.

      Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! In fact, you are trying to kill me.” Jesus pointed them back to scripture. In particular, everything Moses wrote about the festival they were celebrating. It was time to put away man made traditions and look at what God gave them. It was time to put aside man made interpretations for the symbols and learn how scripture revealed the spiritual meaning for every symbol.

      People didn’t like Jesus bringing up the subject of the law that had been twisted and remolded by men to become a burden people would just as soon avoid. Their reaction showed their distorted concept of the law. The crowd replied, “You’re demon possessed! Who’s trying to kill you?” More often than not, people will attack someone they don’t agree with by changing the subject. After listening to Jesus for a while, they all knew, they wouldn’t stand a chance debating the law with Jesus. They could see He understood a lot more than they did. So they accused Jesus of being possessed by a demon. Did that every happen to you?

      It happens to me all the time. If you engage in online discussions about the Bible, it doesn’t matter what subject is being discussed. Chances are the group consists of one or two people who want to appear like they know everything. They feel threatened by anyone who introduces material they don’t know about. If they feel out matched in scripture, they change the subject by accusing you of being possessed, or a false prophet, a member of a church they consider an enemy, or something along those lines. This is what happened to Jesus.

      It’s not hard to see who changed the subject. Jesus went right into an example showing how they chose one part of the law over another, and in His own way, asked them how to explain it. With the same question, Jesus asked them to explain why it was okay for them to circumcise a baby, but it was wrong for Jesus to heal an old man or woman on the Sabbath. When Jesus told them to, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly.” He pointed them back to scripture. Not to read it by themselves, but with God’s Spirit who could explain everything below the surface.

    • Could Our Leaders Believe

      John 7:25-29 NLTse Some of the people who lived in Jerusalem started to ask each other, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? (26) But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah? (27) But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.” (28) While Jesus was teaching in the Temple, he called out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. (29) But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.”

      We can see God’s Spirit was hard at work and another reason why Jesus had to wait for the right time. Some of the people began questioning their religious leaders. “Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah?” God’s Spirit opened up a door. But that door wasn’t open long. The enemy quickly went in and slammed that door shut for some of those people. They only wanted to believe what they saw with their eyes and interpreted with their own minds which was controlled by what they’ve been taught. “But how could he be? For we know where this man comes from. When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.”

      This showed how people can be misled when they decide to take the easy way out and let someone read and interpret scripture for them. This brings us to the worldly concept based on reliance upon gifted worldly leaders. We can see this was a problem in Jesus’ day. They were taught the wrong concept on the Festival of Shelters. God used this to introduce a lesson which expanded in verses 26 and 27 to include views on the Messiah. Once again we see how the subject is changed to avoid the subject at hand. Now we can see why Jesus had to keep repeating Himself in the previous chapter. The same pattern kept occurring here. Jesus was trying to teach one subject, but people who felt threatened kept changing the subject. Jesus had to repeat Himself to get them back on the lesson at hand. The enemy uses the same pattern today.

      Religious leaders shared only what they wanted people to hear. Those religious leaders knew how Herod’s priests told him the Messiah was born in Bethlehem. But after Herod verified the Messiah’s birth by killing every child in Bethlehem, they needed to hide other scripture, another detail about the Messiah. Call it a political cover up or a conspiracy. Those priests were working with Herod to cover up a massacre. Something that never should have happened. But God wouldn’t allow it to be covered up. People still talk about it today. Most just can’t see all the spiritual implications. Talk about secrets being shouted from roof tops.

      Jesus didn’t enter into another debate on scripture. He told them where they needed to go by telling them where He came from. “Yes, you know me, and you know where I come from. But I’m not here on my own. The one who sent me is true, and you don’t know him. But I know him because I come from him, and he sent me to you.” But did those people really know Jesus? He wasn’t about to argue with Him. Jesus knew they could only go so far to criticize Him. They were restricted by their reliance on the money flowing into Galilee from people visiting Jesus’ hometown. We see a parallel between those religious leaders and the people who grew up with Jesus. Both were profiting from the Messiah but couldn’t see the real Messiah in front of them.

    • I Will Be With You Only a Little Longer

      John 7:30-36 NLTse Then the leaders tried to arrest him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. (31) Many among the crowds at the Temple believed in him. “After all,” they said, “would you expect the Messiah to do more miraculous signs than this man has done?” (32) When the Pharisees heard that the crowds were whispering such things, they and the leading priests sent Temple guards to arrest Jesus. (33) But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. (34) You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.” (35) The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! (36) What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”

      As soon as the priest’s saw Jesus gaining an advantage, they tried to arrest Him. When it looked like people were leaving Jesus, the priests didn’t think they had much to worry about. But once they looked a little deeper, they saw the number of Jesus’ followers beginning to increase in front of their eyes. The priests wavered to say the least. But once they made their move, they reached a point of no return. People believed in Jesus’ miracles and those priests couldn’t deny them. They tried to deny the miracles but that and it didn’t work.

      Jesus was trying to teach the people what the priests couldn’t see. Jesus was trying to teach how to understand how God’s Spirit worked and how to properly understand scripture. Jesus wanted more than a bunch of people following Him around to see miracles. Jesus wanted more than people looking for physical healing. Jesus wanted to spiritually heal them.

      Jesus introduced a new subject in the from of a parable. That parable was also a prophecy because it hadn’t taken place yet. Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.” We know Jesus was talking about His resurrection, but the Jews had no way of knowing what He was talking about. They didn’t know because they didn’t study scripture. They wouldn’t allow God’s Spirit to lead.

      John introduced another important subject. John showed how the religious leaders were confused at that point during the event taking place. The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”

      People today are still confused. Jesus wasn’t referring to people physically looking for Him. Jesus referred to searching scripture. Jesus wasn’t using miracles to prove who He was. What was written in scripture should have been proof enough. It should be proof enough today. But how many people have the ability to open scripture and prove Jesus is the Messiah from the prophecies?

      Those priests had the opportunity to either prove or disprove Jesus’ claims with scripture. They had years to search scripture for an answer. But their pride kept them from opening God’s Word. Ambition kept those priests from accepting guidance from God’s Spirit. What’s your excuse?

    • Rivers of Flowing Water

      John 7:37-40 NLTse On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! (38) Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.'” (39) (When he said “living water,” he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) (40) When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.”

      Jesus didn’t introduce a new subject to the previous conversion but introduced this subject on another day. Jesus left those religious leaders wondering where He was going and why they couldn’t follow Him. Jesus told them to search scripture. Which brings us to our next subject.

      Jesus quoted scripture, but I can’t find where He quoted this from. ‘Rivers of living water will flow from his heart.” There are a few possibilities, but I can’t find an exact quote or anything that stays within the complete context of this chapter. Maybe that was done by design. What could be better than sending people back to scripture with a verse that requires them to examine a dozen or more texts to find a match. I wonder how many people looked for what scripture Jesus quoted and found lessons they hadn’t expected. Even though the particular texts Jesus referred to can’t be located, something Jesus told them impressed the crowd. When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, “Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.” Did the crowd that day finally make the connection Jesus was using living water to symbolize? Many people think living water refers to Jesus. Is there scripture proving that? John tells us living water points to the Spirit just as Isaiah wrote. “For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children.” (Isaiah 44:3 NLTse).

    • He is the Messiah

      John 7:41-44 NLTse Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? (42) For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” (43) So the crowd was divided about him. (44) Some even wanted him arrested, but no one laid a hand on him.

      John didn’t record a mistake, nor a contradiction. We have to look at who said what. In this meeting, people said, “the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.” Earlier in this chapter someone else said, “When the Messiah comes, he will simply appear; no one will know where he comes from.” Look at the context of this conversion. Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others said, “But he can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee?” John is showing us the confusion Jesus had to face.

      We have to remember, much of John’s book centers on showing us methods Jesus used to reach out to people. John has been adding another important lesson, the confusion Jesus faced. Don’t we all face a bit of confusion when we spread the word, share what we know about Jesus, and try to lead people to Christ? We have an advantage. Most of the world has already heard about Jesus. They know something about Him. Most people we encounter consider themselves one type of Christian or another. Why is it we see the same problems Jesus experienced?

      “So the crowd was divided about him.” This about sums up what Jesus experienced as well as what many of us, soldiers of Christ experience when we enter that spiritual warfare. Life is not easy. We know finding someone who wants to learn, who wants to dedicate themselves to understanding is rare. I wish there was an easy answer. If there was one, I’m sure John would have recorded it. But look at John’s life. He spent his last days exiled on an island. Not just any island but one the Romans dumped the worst criminals. A barren wasteland where life was difficult to say the least. No one cared if those prisoners on that island killed each other off. Talk about needing protection. John needed God’s protection everyday. That’s where God gave John a vision of a better life. He needed it more than anyone.

    • Have You Been Led Astray

      John 7:45-52 NLTse When the Temple guards returned without having arrested Jesus, the leading priests and Pharisees demanded, “Why didn’t you bring him in?” (46) “We have never heard anyone speak like this!” the guards responded. (47) “Have you been led astray, too?” the Pharisees mocked. (48) “Is there a single one of us rulers or Pharisees who believes in him? (49) This foolish crowd follows him, but they are ignorant of the law. God’s curse is on them!” (50) Then Nicodemus, the leader who had met with Jesus earlier, spoke up. (51) “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” he asked. (52) They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself–no prophet ever comes from Galilee!” (53) Then the meeting broke up, and everybody went home.

      It didn’t look good for the temple guards sent to arrest Jesus when the returned empty handed. Those guards are some of the few people who listened to Jesus. We can see God’s hand in protecting Jesus. The Pharisees were not happy at all. They made fun of the guards, asking how they could have been deceived by a man all the religious leaders could see through.

      Those guards returned as witnesses. Nicodemus brought up a good point, “Is it legal to convict a man before he is given a hearing?” It was Nicodemus’ simple way of telling them to go back to scripture and checking some of those prophecies. The Pharisee’s reply was as simple as their thinking. “Are you from Galilee, too? Search the Scriptures and see for yourself–no prophet ever comes from Galilee!”

      That was the third time Jesus’ birthplace was brought up. Or shall we say, where He came from. Jesus never claimed to be born in Galilee. At least we can see the Pharisees knew where the Messiah was born according to prophecy. John wanted to leave the hint, they knew prophecy told the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. But notice how the Pharisees refused to speak the name of the city. It is their way of showing they don’t agree with, or want to avoid a subject. They’re displaying their human nature – which is a hard thing to figure out.

      If there was an easy way to reach people, John would have recorded it. Instead, John gave us a list of conflicting personalities. Notice how John concentrated on personalities that opposed Jesus. Look at the variations. Do we learn anything from them other than the fact, there are a lot of reasons and excuses people don’t want to listen to Christ, much less follow Him.

      Then we have to consider the fact, Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand much about the plan of salvation until a major portion of it was fulfilled. Maybe that’s recorded to show all of us have problems listening. We all make mistakes. We all have a lot to learn. The disciples experienced a time when they thought they knew enough. They had their moments when they thought they didn’t have to listen, or didn’t want to listen. At least they were man enough to record their mistakes instead of covering them up. They recorded their mistakes for us to learn from. Are we?

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