John 7:1-5. After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him.
It is a very painful truth, that those who were the near relations of the Saviour were not believers in his divine mission; — at any rate, at first. He was truly a prophet who was without honour in his own country, and among his own kindred; and, on this occasion, they half taunted him concerning his claims. In effect, they said to him, “If indeed you are a prophet, get out into the world, and prove it. We hear that you profess to work miracles, then, why do you hide yourself away in this country place down here in Galilee? Begone to Jerusalem, and perform your wonders before the crowds in the capital;” — half hoping, perhaps, that his claims might prove to be true, yet not, at that time, at any rate, being themselves willing to become his disciples. See how perverse is the human heart. These men might even live in close companionship with Christ, and even be nearly related to him after the flesh, and yet not be converted to him. So the best of men need not wonder if they have unconverted relations, and we may not feel certain that there is any fault to be found in their example if others are not converted by it; for, certainly, there was no fault in the example of Christ, yet “neither did his brethren believe in him.” Mark, also, that no earthly relationship is of any avail in the kingdom of heaven: “for neither did his brethren believe in him.” So that, although I may be the child of godly parents, and one born of a long line of saints, yet I am, because of that, no nearer to the kingdom unless I become myself a believer in Christ. Remember what Peter said on the day of Pentecost; you have often heard that passage of Scripture half-quoted, let me quote the whole of it to you; “For the promise is unto you, and to your children.” If you stop there, you do not get the true sense of it. “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Therefore, that text teaches that there is no distinction between the children of believers and any other children. We must be called by the grace of God like the far-off ones, or else we shall not inherit eternal life.
John 7:6-8. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
Our Lord Jesus Christ did everything, as it were, by the clock. His life was an orderly one; it was all arranged in the eternal purpose of God. The very day in which he should go up to Jerusalem was marked down, and he took care that he did not go before the right time. Now, half the power of: a Christian life depends upon its being timely. The bringing forth of fruit in due season is one of the marks of the tree planted by the rivers of water; and one of the signs of the Son of man, who delighted in the law of the Lord, was that he said, “My time is not yet full come.” When it did come, then he went.
John 7:9-10. When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
Not with the great caravan that traveled, sometimes, with tens of thousands of people together going up to the feast, but with his own disciples in a quieter way.
John 7:11-13. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews. There was a general fear of violence that would come upon any who professed themselves to be his followers.
Now turn to Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, the fifth chapter.
This exposition consisted of readings from John 7:1-13; and Hebrews 5.
John 7:14. Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
He was no coward, so he boldly showed himself in the midst of the throng in the temple.
John 7:15. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
Or, “How knoweth he the Scriptures? How has he come to be an instructed man, having never learned of the Rabbis? He has never passed through our schools of learning, so what can he know?”
John 7:16. Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
“I am not the inventor of what I say; I am but a messenger, delivering the message of him that sent me.”
John 7:17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Any man, who is seeking after that which is right, and labouring to do that which is right, is a good judge of the truth. A practical life of godliness makes a man a far better critic as to what truth is than all the learning of the schools can do.
John 7:18. He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
If you ever hear a man speaking about the priesthood, meaning himself and his brethren; and about the Church, again meaning himself and his brethren; and about the sacraments, meaning certain performances by himself and his brethren; you may know at once that God did not send him. But he who speaks to the glory of God, and does not say, “Behold me; “but, “Behold the Lamb of God,” he it is whom God has sent.
John 7:19. Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
“Did not Moses say, ‘Thou shalt not kill’? Then, you do not keep his law, though you profess such reverence for him, for, if you did, you would not go about to kill me.”
John 7:20-21. The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.
“I did it on the Sabbath day, and you are all stumbling at that.”
John 7:22-23. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
Surely, there was never a more triumphant answer than that.
John 7:24-25. Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?
Perhaps some of the same people who had asked Christ, “Who goeth about to kill thee?” now enquired, “Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?”
John 7:26-27. But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? Howbeit we know this man whence he is but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
They had a notion—perhaps derived from that passage in Isaiah, “who shall declare his generation? “—that the birth of Christ would be hidden in mystery. At any rate, there was some cloudy idea floating about that it would be concealed.
John 7:28. Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am:
“And yet you do not know me.”
John 7:28-30. And I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
Something seemed to hold them back. Enraged as they were against him, a mysterious and mighty awe was upon them, so that they dared not touch him.
John 7:31-33. And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, —
As they came to take him;—perhaps to the very officers sent by the Pharisees, Jesus said,—
John 7:33. Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
“You may well let me alone now, for it will only be a little while, and then I shall be delivered into your hands, and you will no more be troubled with me.”
John 7:34-35. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
That was always their fear. “Is he going to the Greeks? Will he be a teacher to them? Will he try to introduce them into the mysteries of our faith?”
John 7:36-37. What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come? In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried,—
I think I see him standing up in the midst of the great throng. That congregation would soon be scattered, never to come together again; so he stood up in the most prominent place he could find, and, notwithstanding all their anger, and their desire to kill him, he cried,—
John 7:37-38. Saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly-
Or, “out of the very midst of him”
John 7:38. Shall flow rivers of living water.
What a glorious gospel sermon that was! It comes to us down through the ages, and is as true now as when Jesus spake it. Ho, thirsty ones, come ye to him, and drink; and he will slake your thirst, and create in you a well of living water which shall bubble up for ever and ever.
John 7:39-40. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
The Prophet about whom Moses spoke.
John 7:41. Others said, This is the Christ.
John 7:41-42. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
This was blessed testimony even out of the mouth of Christ’s enemies. They objected against Christ what was indeed the fact, for he did come of the seed of David, and from the town of Bethlehem. There was he born; and though they called him the Nazarene,—and he refused not the title,—though over his head Pilate wrote, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” yet is he the Son of David, and his birthplace was at Bethlehem, though some of them knew it not.
John 7:43-44. So there was a division among the people because of him. And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
He was immortal till his work was done. The hour for his death had not yet struck, and he must live on till the appointed time.
John 7:45-46. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
The charm of his eloquence, the dignity of his person, his awe-inspiring demeanour, and a singular something,—they knew not what,—that Divinity that doth hedge about such a King as he was,—restrained their hands. They said, “Never man spake like this man.”
John 7:47. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
“You sheriffs’ officers are generally hard-hearted enough; are you also deceived?”
John 7:48. Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
This was as much as to say, “If we have not believed on him,—we who are the great dons of the nation,—the rulers and the Pharisees,—why, then, there cannot be anything in his claims. Just as some people seem to think that, unless there is a lord in a Society, unless there is an honourable somebody or other in the chair, there is nothing in it.
John 7:49. But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
They regarded the poor, common people as ignorant and accursed, whereas they, probably, knew as much about the law and the real spirit of it as these learned teachers did.
John 7:50. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
Being a member of the council,—
John 7:51. Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
He only asked a question, that was all; and, timid Christian, if you are placed where you cannot say much for Christ, if you have too great a fear upon you to vindicate your Master at any considerable length, yet say what you can; and, perhaps, the simple asking of a question may suffice to defend him. Nicodemus did but rise, and ask, “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?”
John 7:52. They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
Which was a lie, for prophets had come out of Galilee. Still, they denied it; and they were indignant at having such a question put to them by Nicodemus.
John 7:53. And every man went unto his own house.
It was like a bombshell exploding in the midst of them; and often, a few brave words dropped into the midst of an assembly of bad men will explode among them, and scatter them hither and thither. Nicodemus had accomplished what, perhaps, he thought he should never do. He was indeed like his name on that occasion,—one of the conquering people,—for “every man went unto his own house.” Nicodemus had scattered them all by his startling question. May each of us as bravely witness for Christ as we have opportunity!
John 7:30-31. Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
Well might they ask that question, for Jesus had wrought such marvellous miracles that they could not imagine anything greater. Surely this must be the Christ; or if he were not, when the Christ did come could he and would he do any greater miracles than this man had done?
John 7:32. The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; —
Whispered these things, afraid to speak out boldly because of the Pharisees, and therefore they quietly said it among themselves, and, after all, there is no fire more to be dreaded than a smouldering fire.
John 7:32-33. And the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
That was a blessed way for Christ to describe his return to the heavenly world: “I go unto him that sent me.” Possibly he said this to the very men who were sent to take him.
John 7:34. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
No officers can arrest him now that he has gone up into his Father’s glory; there is no fear of any of them being there to catch him in his speech, or to drag him before the ecclesiastical and secular judges, as they did when he was here;
John 7:35-36. Then said the Jews among themselves, “Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? What manner of saying is this; that he said, Ye shall seek me and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?
They appear to have had some intimation of that glorious love of Christ which was not to be confined within the bounds of the Jewish nation, yet they could not or would not understand his words.
John 7:37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, —
Shouted, spoke with all his might; and he stood, although he usually sat to deliver his message. But now, as if his whole being was roused to it utmost energy, on account of the last day of the gathering having come, when perhaps the people would go home, and he would be unable thus to speak with them again, “Jesus stood and cried,” —
John 7:37. Saying, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
O blessed invitation, how sweet it should be to every thirsty soul! “If any man” — prince or pauper, “any man” — moral or utterly debauched, “if any man thirst, let him come unto me,” — not to ordinances, nor to human priests, “let him come unto me, and drink,” as much as he will “without money, and without price.”
John 7:38. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
He will not only drink enough to satisfy his own thirst, but he will himself become a fountain, streams of grace shall be communicated to his fellow-men through him.
John 7:39. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
He was not given then; but later, on the day of Pentecost, he was given, and he has never been withdrawn.
John 7:40-43. Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him.
It is still true that Christ is a cause of division, as he himself foretold that he would be.
John 7:44. And some of them would have taken him but no man laid hands on him.
In the 30th verse of this chapter, and in the 20th verse of the next chapter, we are told why they did not take him: “His hour was not yet come.” And, like their Lord, saints are immortal till their work is done.
John 7:45-48. Then came the officers to the chief priest and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
They professed to be the spiritual leaders of the nation, and expected all to follow them.
John 7:49-51. But the people who knoweth not the law are cursed. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of those,) Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
Nicodemus asked a simple question, but they could not answer it without convicting themselves of disobeying that very law of which they pretended to be the exponents.
John 7:52-53. They answered and said unto him Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. And every man went unto his own house.
John 8:1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
John 7:53. And every man went unto his own house.
John 8:1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
That is, as every man went to his own house to rest, so Jesus found rest in secret prayer on the Mount of Olives. There is a very striking contrast here; it is a pity to have brought the dividing saw right through the middle of such charming consecutive sentences.
John 8:2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
That is always the posture in the East; the teachers sit, and the hearers stand. We may have to try that plan one of these days; it might be better for me, and also for you. There might be less drowsiness, perhaps, if the congregation had to stand to listen to the preacher’s message.
John 8:3-4. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
They did this only to entangle the Saviour,— not because they wanted to learn anything of him, or to do this woman any good, or even to vindicate morality; but it was simply an effort to entrap him.
John 8:5-6. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.
They could accuse him either way. If he sanctioned their stoning the woman, they would charge him with violating the Roman law; but if he said that she should not be stoned, then they would say that he differed from Moses, and set aside the law of God.
John 8:6-7. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let Him first cast a stone at her.
That sentence must have flashed like a drawn sword, keen as a razor, through the very midst of them. Here were men who had probably been living in abominable sin, yet they had brought this poor sinful woman to Jesus, and laid this accusation against her.
John 8:8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
After be had fired that one red-hot shot, he waited until it had produced its due effect.
John 8:9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last; and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
They left her alone with Jesus in the midst of the place that the guilty crowd had forsaken in silent shame.
John 8:10-11. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
He condemned the sin, his own pure and holy life was the best condemnation of that; but, as for the sinner, he had not come to condemn, but to forgive. His own declaration was, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
This exposition consisted of readings from John 7:53; and John 8:1-11.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on John 7". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Easter