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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
John 7

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-9

The Unbelief of Jesus' Brothers - Each of the major sections of John's Gospel mentions Jesus' rejection by the Jewish community, and this is the emphasis that we find in John 7:1-9. This passage of Scripture tells us about the unbelief from his brothers ( John 7:2-9) as well as the increasing animosity of the Jewish leaders ( John 7:1). Although two of His brothers would later write the epistles of James and Jude , with James becoming the first pastor over the church in Jerusalem, they were not convinced of His deity until probably after the resurrection.

Transitional Statements Regarding Jesus Travelling to the Feasts - The six feast sections of John's Gospel ( John 2:1 to John 11:54) have distinct transitional statements regarding Jesus journeying to a Jewish feast and retreating after manifesting Himself as the Son of God ( John 2:2; John 2:12; John 5:1; John 6:1; John 7:1-9; John 10:23). The seventh miracle of the Resurrection also begins with a similar statement of Jesus arriving at a feast ( John 11:55 to John 12:1).

John 7:1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.

John 7:1Comments- John 7:1 is similar is content and its position to John 2:12 and John 6:1-3 in that it introduces a new feast and a new section of the Gospel.

John 7:2 Now the Jews" feast of tabernacles was at hand.

John 7:2Comments - The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated on the 15th to 21st day of the Jewish month Tishri, which is marked in the Roman calendar as September to October. 193] Thus, six months have passed since Jesus delivered His discourse on the Bread of Life in John 6:1-71 during the previous Passover, which was the second of three Passovers recorded in John's Gospel.

193] Andreas J. Ksterberger, John , in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 229.

John 7:3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.

John 7:3Comments - Jesus was probably dwelling in Capernaum as His home, where He had brought His family in John 2:12, "After this he went down to Capernaum, Hebrews , and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days." John 2:12; John 3:31; John 7:3 indicate that the mother and brethren of Jesus lived and travelled together during Jesus' public ministry.

Mark 3:31, "There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him."

John 7:4 For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.

John 7:5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.

John 7:6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.

John 7:6 — "Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come" - Comments- Jesus' brother were provoking Him to work miracles in order to prove that He was the Son of God. However, Jesus' time to reveal Himself at His resurrection as the eternal Son of God had not yet come.

John 7:6 — "but your time is alway ready" - Comments- Perhaps the phrase "your time is always ready" can be explained by an earlier statement, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now Isaiah , when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." ( John 5:25) It may refer to man's opportunity to believe in Jesus as the Song of God.

However, Jesus may be saying that the world is always ready to receive those who walk according to its principles. Their time to present themselves to the world for acceptance is always at hand because they are of this world.

John 7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

John 7:8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.

John 7:8Textual Criticism - When Jesus says, "I go not up yet unto this feast," some Greek manuscripts have οὔπω (not yet) instead of οὐκ (not) (See UBS3). However, the word οὔπω is used in the next phrase, "for my time is not yet full come," suggesting that a copyist error borrowed this word and used it twice in this sentence.

John 7:9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.


Verses 1-21

The Fifth Miracle (Divine Service) (Jesus Testifies that He is the Source of True Life in Serving God) - At the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:1 to John 10:21, while teaching in the Temple Jesus reveals a new aspect of His divinity which emphasizes the next phrase of man's spiritual journey, revealing man's redemptive need to follow Jesus in divine service. At the wedding feast, Jesus alluded to His predestined time of Passion and atonement through the shedding of His blood for a new and better covenant ( John 2:1-11). Jesus next revealed Himself to Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman as He who has been called and sent by God as the Saviour of the World ( John 2:12 to John 4:54). Jesus then reveals the four-fold testimony of John the Baptist, His miracles, God the Father, and the Old Testament Scriptures, who have justified Jesus Christ as the Son of God ( John 5:1-47). Jesus revealed Himself as the Bread of Life by which mankind partakes through the Word of God and daily communion with Him ( John 6:1-71), a revelation that reflects man's need for indoctrination during his spiritual journey. John 7:1 to John 10:21 now reveals various aspects of Jesus' divinity that reflect Him in divine service leading God's people. Jesus now offers Himself as the Living Water through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who has come to dwell in every believer ( John 7:37-39) so that God's children can walk in the light of divine leadership, being enlightened in the spirit of man. Proverbs 20:27 says, "The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly." Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus is the Light of the World ( John 8:12), who shepherds every man who is filled with the Holy Spirit as He guides him into eternal life ( John 10:14). Thus, this passage of Scripture places emphasis upon the role of divine service that Jesus offers those who follow Him, leading men to the final goal of glorification emphasized in the next section ( John 10:22 to John 11:54), our resurrection and glorification with Him in Heaven.

One of the prerequisites in divine service for every child of God is to be filled with the Holy Spirit, an invitation that Jesus gives in John 7:37-39. Jesus then reveals Himself as "the Light of the world" ( John 8:12), the "Door of the sheepfold" ( John 10:1), and the "Good Shepherd" ( John 10:14). Jesus Himself fulfills His divine service when He tells the Jews that He was sent from God to do His will ( John 7:16-18; John 7:28-29; John 7:33) and that He seeks to glorify the Father ( John 8:50). He asks the people to pursue this same role of divine service by continuing in His Word ( John 8:31-32). It is through the illumination of God's Word by the Holy Spirit that we walk in the light of God's plan and divine calling for our individual lives through His divine protection and provision. Leading up to His fifth miracle of healing the blind man ( John 9:1-7), Jesus testifies of His divine calling by declaring Himself as the Light of the World, saying, "I am the light of the world." ( John 8:12) Jesus has also been called to serve as the Great Shepherd, as the One who guides in eternal life on earth as well as in Heaven. After the miracle of healing the blind Prayer of Manasseh , Jesus testified that He was the "Door of the sheepfold" ( John 10:1), and the "Good Shepherd" ( John 10:14). This miracle and Jesus' subsequent testimonies of His deity reflect the believer's need to follow Jesus in divine service. Our response to this fifth miracle is to serve Jesus Christ and follow Him as our Light and Shepherd as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ. If we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit ( John 7:38-39) to empower us to follow Him in divine service.

The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the beginning of Israel's wanderings in the wilderness. The motifs of living water, guidance by light under the shepherding of Moses are all used by Jesus to declare various aspects of His deity that reflect these Old Testament typologies. The Living Water Motif- With these wanderings God provided the rock from which flowed fresh, "living" water; that Isaiah , clear, unpolluted water. Paul refers to this water in his epistle to the Corinthians, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." ( 1 Corinthians 10:4) The Feast of Tabernacles culminated on the eighth and final day as a day of rejoicing before the Jewish pilgrims returned to their homes. With the meaning of this feast in mind along with the fact that these people are about to take a long journey home, Jesus cried out that He the Living Water that the Israelites partook of when Moses struck the rock in their wilderness journeys. The Light Motif- In addition, as the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, God guided His children. This event may be reflected in Jesus as the Light of the world. 192] The Shepherd Motif- The shepherd motif is also seen in Israel's wilderness journey. Moses has been a shepherd for forty years with his rod. As Moses guided the Israelites through the wilderness with his rod like a good shepherd, and set up their encampment to go in and out each night and day, so does Jesus as our Shepherd guide us in and out of the door of our encampment. Thus, Jesus was trying to relate to them by the events that the children of Israel encountered during their wilderness journey.

192] Andreas Kösterberger says, "Together with the manna (ch 6) and the rivers of living water (ch 7), the reference to Jesus as "light" in chapter 8 may be part of a ‘wilderness theme," alluding to God's presence with the Israelites as a pillar of fire." Andreas J. Kösterberger, John , in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 253.

Outline- Here is a suggested outline:

1. Jesus Testifies of His Deity (His Doctrine) — John 7:1-36

2. Jesus Testifies of His Deity (The Living Water) — John 7:37 to John 8:1

3. Jesus Testifies of His Deity (The Light of the World) — John 8:2-59

a. The Woman Caught in Adultery — John 8:2-11

b. Jesus Testifies to the Jewish Leaders — John 8:12-59

4. The Fifth Miracle (Healing of a Blind Man) — John 9:1 to John 10:21

a. The Healing of the Blind Man — John 9:1-34

b. Jesus Testifies of His Deity (The Good Shepherd) — John 9:35 to John 10:21


Verses 1-36

Jesus Testifies of His Deity: His Doctrine - John 7:1-36 reveals very clearly the rejection that Jesus dealt with during His ministry. His brothers mocked His ministry ( John 7:1-10) and the Jews rejected His doctrine ( John 7:11-36); for we find in John 7:11-36 how Jesus testified of His deity through the doctrine that He taught and was accused of having a demon. This passage of Scripture emphasizes His doctrine that those who receive might follow Him into the further revelations revealed later at this feast ( John 7:16; John 7:35).

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. The Unbelief of Jesus' Brothers — John 7:1-9

2. Jesus Offers His Doctrine to the Jews — John 7:10-36


Verses 10-36

Jesus Offers His Doctrine to the Jews - In John 7:10-36 Jesus offers His doctrine to the Jews. Although it is rejected by many of them, He continues to reveal great revelations of Himself in this feast for those who do believe in Him.

John 7:10 But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

John 7:10Comments - Jewish pilgrims would have crowded the highways leading up to Jerusalem during the feasts. Jesus apparently waited until the crowds had dwindled to a few on the roads before He embarked with His disciples towards Jerusalem.

John 7:11 Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?

John 7:11Comments - The Jewish feast days symbolize the redemptive work of Christ Jesus. These Jewish festivals were a time for the people to reflect upon the Lord and rejoice in His divine provision and salvation. Now that their Redeemer had arrived and dwelt among them, event attending the feast that reflected His work of redemption, the Jews were focused upon His attendance; but not in faith. Rather, they were in a controversy as to His identity, their darkened minds clouded with doubt and human reasoning.

John 7:12 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.

John 7:12Comments- In the last one hundred years, as God has raised up men and women in the Pentecostal movement who were used by God to perform signs and wonders, people have still spoken of them in the same way that the Jews spoke of Jesus. Some said that these modern-day miracles were real; others said that these people were deceivers.

John 7:13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.

John 7:13Comments - As the tension between Jesus Christ as the Jewish leaders rises in the course of John's Gospel, the author begins to insert comments about the people's fear of the Jews, and he will do so on six occasions ( John 7:13; John 9:22; John 12:42; John 19:7-8; John 19:38; John 20:19). The Jews who held the most authority would have been the Sanhedrin, whom the people would have most feared. 194]

194] Andreas J. Ksterberger, John , in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 232.

John 7:13, "Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews."

John 9:22, "These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue."

John 12:42, "Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:"

John 19:7-8, "The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;"

John 19:38, "And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus."

John 20:19, "Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you."

John 7:15Comments - When the Jewish leaders heard Jesus teach, they marveled, saying, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" ( John 7:15) Because Jesus did not rise up through the rabbinical educational system, He was unknown to the educated Pharisees and Jewish leaders. Andreas J. Kösterberger notes that the rabbis of the first century often cited other rabbinical authorities in their teachings. 195] Thus, the rabbis considered those who taught without such rabbinical authorities to lack credibility. 196] They themselves referred back to a long history of traditional interpretation of the Mosaic Law as their authority. Jesus, however, offered Himself as the sole authority in His teachings on twenty-five occasions in John's Gospel, saying, "Truly, truly, I say to you…" ( John 1:51; John 3:3; John 3:5; John 3:11; John 5:19; John 5:24-25; John 6:26; John 6:32; John 6:47; John 6:53; John 8:34; John 8:51; John 8:58; John 10:1; John 10:7; John 12:24; John 13:16; John 13:20-21; John 13:38; John 14:12; John 16:20; John 16:23; John 21:18) Throughout the Synoptic Gospels Jesus says, "Verily I say unto you…" When pressed by the Jews for His source of authority, Jesus refers to His Father as the source of His doctrine ( John 5:17-26; John 5:36-37; John 6:44-46; John 7:16; John 8:28; John 8:38; John 10:18; John 10:37-38; John 12:49-50; John 14:31; John 15:15). Jesus' response of elevating Himself above rabbinic authority incited the Jews to anger, as they accused Him of blasphemy because He made Himself equal to God, while the common rabbi lowered himself below rabbinical authorities in his teachings. Perhaps the best example of the Jew's scholar's dependence upon the long tradition of rabbinical authority is found in the Babylonian Talmud, which consists of lengthy discussions of the views of renowned rabbis regarding particular interpretations of the Law.

195] Andreas J. Ksterberger, John , in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 232-233.

196] Scholars cite Sotah 22a from the Babylonian Talmud as an example of the negative rabbinical attitude towards those who do not appeal to other authorities in their teachings, which says, "It has been reported, If one has learnt Scripture and Mishnah but did not attend upon Rabbinical scholars, R. Eleazar says he is an "Am ha-arez" [lit. a people of the land]." (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 22a) The rabbis equated such teachers to "people of the land," meaning such teachers were like the common, uneducated person. See Isidore Epstein, ed, Contents of the Soncino Babylonian Talmud, trans. Jacob Shachter and H. Freedman (London: The Soncino Press) [on-line]; accessed 3July 2010; accessed from http://www.come-and-hear.com; Internet.

John 7:16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

John 7:16Comments - Jesus did not appeal to rabbinic authority as did the rabbis of His day. Rather, He appealed to God the Father as His sole authority when defending His doctrine. Such type of respond would the Old Testament prophets have given, having been with God and received a prophetic word from Him for the people of Israel.

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.

John 7:17Comments- John 7:17 deals with a person's attitude. When we have a willingness to follow God's direction in our lives, then He will give it to us. The Lord will not give us revelation when we have an unwilling heart to follow Him. Many times we have prayed to know God's will and have not received the direction that we wanted because God knows that we would be unwilling to follow His direction if He gave it to us. The Word of God says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom ( Proverbs 1:7). We must have a reverence for God's Word in order to hear and understand His Word.

Proverbs 1:7, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction."

We are told to incline our ears unto His Sayings. We cannot do that without the right attitude, which is an attitude of reverence for God's Word and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Once we have reverence, we are in a position to recognize His voice. When we recognize His voice, we are to respond in obedience. 197]

197] Keith Moore, interviewed by Kenneth Copeland, Believer's Voice of Victory (Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Fort Worth, Texas), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program, Lighthouse Television Uganda, May 13, 2004.

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.

John 7:18"He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory" - Illustration- Haman speaks of himself in the book of Esther.

Esther 5:10-12, "Nevertheless Haman refrained himself: and when he came home, he sent and called for his friends, and Zeresh his wife. And Haman told them of the glory of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him, and how he had advanced him above the princes and servants of the king. Haman said moreover, Yea, Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to morrow am I invited unto her also with the king."

Esther 6:6, "So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?"

John 7:21Comments- The one miracle that Jesus was referring to in John 7:21 is most probably the healing of the lame man by the pool of Bethesda ( John 5:1-9).

John 7:22 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.

John 7:22 — "Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;)" - Comments- Moses gave the Jews the requirement of circumcision because it was instituted by God prior to him, during the time of Abraham. Therefore, it was included in the Law.

John 7:23Comments - Leviticus 12:3 says a Jewish male infant is to be circumcised on the eighth day; yet, Exodus 31:14 tells the Jews to do not servile work on the Sabbath.

Leviticus 12:3, "And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised."

Exodus 31:14, "Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people."

According to ancient rabbinic scholarship, the Jews believed that it was more important to fulfill circumcision on the eighth day than to rest on the Sabbath. One rabbi of the second century A.D. wrote, "Great is circumcision which overrides even the rigor of the Sabbath." (Nedarim 311, see also m. Šhabbalh John 18:3; John 19:1-3; the midrash Tanhuma 19b) 198]

198] Andreas J. Ksterberger, John , in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 234.

"From what we have learned above, we see, that for the circumcision itself and all its necessary accessories the Sabbath maybe violated, according to the dictum of R. Eliezer. Whence does he deduce this? This is the reasoning of R. Eliezer: It is written [Leviticus xii 3]: ‘And on the eighth day shall the flesh of his foreskin be circumcised.'; Thus, as it says distinctly the eighth day, it makes no difference what day the eighth falls on, whether it be Sabbath or not. Eet us see: The rabbis and R. Eliezer differ only as far as the preparations for circumcision on the Sabbath are concerned, but not as to the circumcision itself." (Babylonian Talmud, Sabbath 18) 199]

199] Michael L. Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, vol 2 (New York: New Talmud Publishing Company, 1902), 292.

"Hence R. Johanan s explanation is the most acceptable; and we have learned in a Boraitha in support of R. Johanan s explanation, and not of that of R. A ha bar Jacob, as follows: ‘On the eighth day shall he be circumcised, even though it be Sabbath.'" (Babylonian Talmud, Sabbath 19) 200]

200] Michael L. Rodkinson, New Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, vol 2 (New York: New Talmud Publishing Company, 1902), 293-294.

John 7:23 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?

John 7:23Comments - Circumcision removes a part of a man's body, while Jesus makes a man entirely whole in the Sabbath.

John 7:24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

John 7:21-24Comments- Jesus Reveals the Hypocrisy in the Leader's Desires to Kill Him - In John 7:21-24 Jesus reveals the hypocrisy in the Jewish leaders' desires to kill Him. He reminds them of their amazement when He performed a miracle on the Sabbath ( John 7:21). He then proceeds to explain that He performed a miracle on the Sabbath, and the Jews want to kill Him for it, while these same Jews work on the Sabbath by circumcising infants on the eighth day in order to fulfill the Law ( John 7:22-23). Jesus wanted them to see the contradiction and hypocrisy of their actions.

John 7:25 Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this Hebrews , whom they seek to kill?

John 7:26 But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?

John 7:27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.

John 7:27 — "but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is" - Comments- This verse shows that the Jews held many wrong beliefs about the coming Messiah. The traditional belief mentioned in this verse had no Scriptural basis.

John 7:28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.

John 7:29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

John 7:30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

John 7:30Comments - Jesus first mentioned His destiny on Calvary in John 2:4. This theme of Him being predestined for man's atonement is now woven throughout the Gospel.

John 2:4, "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come."

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."

John 7:30, "Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come."

John 8:20, "These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come."

John 12:23, "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified."

John 12:27, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."

John 13:1, "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."

John 7:35 — "will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles" - Comments- The English word "dispersed" in John 7:35 is the Greek word διασπορϊά, from which we derive the English word "Diaspora." This Greek word occurs three times in the New Testament, being found in two other New Testament passages.

John 7:35, "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?"

James 1:1, " James , a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting."

John Calvin writes, "When the ten tribes were banished, the Assyrian king placed them in different parts. Afterwards, as it usually happens in the revolutions of kingdoms (such as then took place,) it is very probable that they moved here and there in all directions. The Jews had been scattered almost unto all quarters of the world. He [James] then wrote and exhorted all those whom he could not personally address, because they had been scattered far and wide." 201]

201] John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle of James , trans. John Owen, in Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (Edinburgh: The Calvin Translation Society, 1855), 278.

God was able to use the dispersion of the Jews across the known world as a foothold of faith to spread the Gospel. Every city that Paul the apostle entered, he first found the synagogues and preached to the Jews. It was only after the Jews rejected the message of Jesus that Paul went to the Gentiles. God had prepared an ideal time when the Greek language was universally known, the Romans had built the infrastructure of roads, and the Jews had spread the synagogues throughout the civilized world.


Verse 37

Jesus Testifies of His Deity: The Living Water- In John 7:37 to John 8:1 Jesus Christ testifies of His deity by revealing Himself as the Living Water ( John 7:37-39). The Feast of Tabernacles celebrated Israel's wanderings in the wilderness and God's divine provision. With these wanderings God provided the rock from which flowed fresh, "living" water, or clear, unpolluted water. Paul refers to this water in his epistle to the Corinthians John 10:4, "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ."

This festival culminated on the eighth and final day as a day of rejoicing before the pilgrims returned to their homes. With the meaning of this feast in mind along with the fact that these people are about to take a long journey home, Jesus cried out that He was that Rock, that Living Water that the Israelites partook of in their wilderness journeys. For those who accepted His doctrine in John 7:1-36, Jesus offers the true living water, the infilling of the Holy Spirit ( John 7:37-39).

John 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

John 7:37 — "In the last day, that great day of the feast" - Comments- The people were celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles ( John 7:2) at this time. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates the beginning of the wanderings of the children of Israel in the wilderness. The last, great day of the feast would have been the eighth day in which a holy convocation took place ( Leviticus 23:33-36, Numbers 29:35-36).

Leviticus 23:33-36, "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein."

Numbers 29:35-36, "On the eighth day ye shall have a solemn assembly: ye shall do no servile work therein: But ye shall offer a burnt offering, a sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD: one bullock, one ram, seven lambs of the first year without blemish:"

During their wilderness journey, God provided the rock from which flowed fresh, "living" water, or clear, unpolluted water. Paul refers to this water in his epistle to the Corinthians, And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." ( 1 Corinthians 10:4) Each day of this festival, priests would draw water from the pool of Siloam, bring it to the Temple, and pour it out before the altar in memory of the water that God provided the Israelites in the wilderness (Mishnah, Sukkah 41, 9-10). 202]

202] Andreas J. Ksterberger, John , in Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2004), 239.

Jesus arrived in Jerusalem "in the midst of the feast" ( John 7:14). He taught them in the Temple for several days. This festival culminated on the eighth and final day as a day of rejoicing before the pilgrims returned to their homes. With the meaning of this feast in mind along with the fact that these people are about to take a long journey home, Jesus gives an invitation to those who thirsted for God's Word by crying out that He was that Rock, that Living Water that the Israelites partook of in their wilderness journeys. Jesus was using the springs of fresh water that flowed up from under the hill of Jerusalem and collected in the Pool of Siloam as a type of living water that God offers everyone who wishes to drink. The people could not understand God's Word without the infilling of the Holy Spirit to teach them. They could not make their spiritual journeys without this infilling. Thus, Jesus offers them the infilling of the Holy Spirit for their spiritual journey in life

Jesus was trying to relate to the Jews by the events emphasized at each of the Jewish feasts that He attended. For example, at the last Passover Jesus miraculously fed the five thousand and then told the people that He was the Bread of Life ( John 6). At this same Feast of Tabernacles Jesus Christ will heal the blind man and then declared that He is the Light of the World ( John 9:1-11). Prior to the final Passover referred to in John 12:1, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead as a way to declare that He was the Resurrection and the Life ( John 11).

John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:38Comments - Scholars recognize the difficulty in identify an exact Old Testament Scripture that Jesus is quoting in John 7:38. They offer a number of suggestions, with Isaiah 58:11 being a popular option.

Isaiah 58:11, "And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."

The phrase "living water" is a symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit, which is referred to in verse 13-14. It literally referred to fresh, pure moving water. It was water from a spring that had not been touched with pollutants. Note this same phrase used by Jeremiah

Jeremiah 2:13, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."

Note how Jesus has used the phrase "living water" with the woman of Samaria.

John 4:10, "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."

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.)

John 7:37-39Comments- The Meaning of the Living Water - In John 7:37-39 Jesus refers to the coming of the Holy Spirit. Although Jesus called Himself the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, and the Good Shepherd, He did not call Himself the Living Water because this title refers to the office and ministry of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the divine Trinity. Jesus will speak to His disciples at length on the office of the Holy Spirit in John 14-16, and He will breath upon them after His resurrection and impart into them the Holy Spirit ( John 20:22-23).

Some scholars see John 4:13-14 as a reference to initial salvation through the work of the Holy Spirit while John 7:37-39 refers to the infilling of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. However, John 7:37-39 can certainly apply to both salvation as well as a daily infilling of the Holy Spirit's anointing.

John 4:13-14, "Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Note these words from Frances J. Roberts regarding this passage of Scripture:

"Behold, I have placed within thee a spring of living water. For My Spirit shall be a continual flowing forth of life from thine innermost being. This I have promised to all My children, and this ye may experience as ye claim it by faith. For all My promises are received by faith. None are gained by merit, nor are they awards for human achievements.

"It is My Life that I am giving you. It is not an emotion; it is not a virtue, though these may follow subsequently. It is Myself. Divine grace, heavenly love, infinite mercy, fathomless peace, - all these shall spring forth unbeckoned and irrepressible out of the deeps within thee because My Spirit has taken residence there."

"If there be dryness within thy soul and ye have not this life flowing forth, ye need not grieve, neither chide thyself for being empty. Fill up the empty place with praise. Thou mayest by praise open to Me the gates of the temple of thy soul. The King shall enter and bring His glory. The Rose of Sharon shall bloom in thy heart and His fragrance shall be shed abroad." 203]

203] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 42.

"Let thy praises rise in the daytime and in the night. Yea, when thou are utterly spent, then shall My speech fall upon thee. Then shalt thou lie down in peace and rise up in joy, and thou shalt be partaker of a perpetual fountain. As it is written: Out of thine innermost being shall gush forth rivers of living water." 204]

204] Frances J. Roberts, Come Away My Beloved (Ojai, California: King's Farspan, Inc, 1973), 44.

John 7:40 — "Of a truth this is the Prophet" - Comments- This prophet was spoken of by Moses:

Deuteronomy 18:15, "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;"

John 7:42 Comments- Note a direct reference to the city of Bethlehem:

Micah 5:2, "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

This is confirmed in Matthew 2:4-6.

Matthew 2:4-6, "And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Note other indirect references to the seed and lineage of David:

2 Samuel 7:12, "And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom."

Psalm 89:3-4, "I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah."

Psalm 132:11, "The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne."

John 7:41-42Comments - The Reasonings Among the Jews Concerning Jesus Christ- Some Jews heard Jesus Christ and felt sure that He was the Messiah. Others evaluated His background and concluded that was not their Deliverer. God could have had Jesus Christ to be raised in the city of Bethlehem. God was trying man's heart. The message of the Kingdom of God that Jesus preached to the people spoke to men's hearts and not to their minds. These people were touched in their hearts ( John 7:40), but they followed the reasonings of their minds in John 7:41-42.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on John 7:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/john-7.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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