by Peter Solomon
Welcome to this Bible Study. I hope that you will enjoy this lesson and that it will be a blessing to you spiritually. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.
IS JESUS WHO HE CLAIMS TO BE?
Is Jesus God’s promised deliverer?
It was October 29 AD when Jews from all over Palestine as well as those from other countries outside Palestine came to Jerusalem to attend the Feast of Tabernacles. John 7:1-13 opens with Jesus’ brothers suggesting that Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the feast in order to do miracles there, so that people would believe in Him. John 7:14-24 But Jesus goes later and secretly. Jesus teaches the crowds in the temple. These crowds then question Him on how a person who has not been to rabbinical school, that is had higher religious education could teach like He did.
Verse 25 Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill?
The Jews in the temple that day, who were citizens of Jerusalem, started saying: “Isn’t this the teacher the rulers of the temple wanted to kill?” John 5:18 “Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.”
Verse 26 “But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?
The crowd knew that there was great confusion among the rulers of the temple about what to do about Jesus who disagreed with the official teaching of the temple rabbis.
Verse 27 “However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.”
Some Jews believed that the Old Testament mentioned where the Messiah would come from, but others did not believe it did. Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah ... out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel” Yet they all believed that the Messiah would come suddenly: Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send My messenger messenger, , and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple ...” They all knew that this Jesus who was in the temple came from Galilee.
Verse 28 Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know.
The Jews knew that Jesus grew up in Nazareth but they knew nothing of His origin or His ministry. Jesus replies to them: “So you think you know me and where I came from ...
Verse 29 “But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
... however, I come from where I existed with God, the Father, and have come to do God’s will.”
Verse 30 Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.
Those who heard Jesus say this, that is the Jews who lived in Jerusalem, wanted to arrest Jesus themselves, but they could not because Jesus lived His life according to God’s timetable for His life and thus He prevented them from doing this.
Verse 31 And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”
The ordinary people believed in Jesus because of the miracles he had done but Jewish tradition believed that when the Messiah came he would do no miracles but only lead his people.
Temple guards sent to arrest Jesus
Verse 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him.
The Roman authorities had appointed more than one chief priest, who kept the title as a courtesy title after their time as chief priest was over. The chief priests were Sadducees, who did not believe in life after death, and they normally did not have a friendly relationship with the Pharisees, who believed in life after death, but here they worked together to get rid of Jesus. The officers were Levites who acted as a kind of police force to maintain law and order in the temple area.
Verse 33 Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me.
By “a little while” Jesus meant the six months from October 29 AD to April 30 AD when He was crucified.
34 “You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.”
Jesus reminds them that without salvation, that is the forgiveness of sins, God says in Psalm 95:11 “They shall not enter My rest. (heaven) .”
Verse 35 Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?
The Jews were scattered throughout the Greek world. Here the Jewish leaders unintentionally prophesy that Jesus would teach the Greeks, and their prophecy was fulfilled when Paul taught in Greece.
Verse 36 “What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?”
These words were intended to mock Jesus. But Jesus would prove to them that they could scoff at Him but they would seek and not be able to find Him.
Rivers of living water
Verse 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.
The last day of the feast, the eighth day, was the closing day of the feast. Leviticus 23:36 “For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation (assembly), ...” In the previous seven days the priests would go and get water in a golden container from the pool of Siloam about 800 metres from the temple. They would walk down the Tyropoean Valley (see map) and on their return to the temple there would be three trumpet blasts and while Psalms 113 to 118 were sung they would pour water around the foot of the altar in the temple. On the last day they would not go and get water as they had on the previous seven days, so on this the eighth day Jesus says to the crowd “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me ...” an abbreviation of Isaiah 55:1“Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat ... without money and without price.”
Verse 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
During the feast the Jews quoted from two Scriptures, Zechariah 14:8 And in that day (the day when the Messiah comes) it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, ...” and from Ezekiel 47:1 “ ... there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east ...”
Verse 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
The Jews did not believe that the Holy Spirit was active in their day but would be when the Messiah came. Jesus makes it clear that after His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to heaven, the Holy Spirit, who is the living water that makes the sinful soul alive, would be given to all who believe in Jesus to forgive their sins.
Varying opinions about Jesus
Verse 40 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.”
There were varying opinions about Jesus and there will always be. Some believed that Jesus was a prophet and not the Messiah, just as the Moslems today believe that Jesus was a prophet and not the Messiah, the Son of God.
Verse 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee?
Others believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Still others said that as Jesus came from Galilee, mistakenly thinking that as He was not born in Bethlehem, He could not be the Messiah.
Verse 42 “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”
They said that since Jesus was not from Bethlehem in Judea, (there was also a Bethlehem in Galilee), it was not possible for Him to be the Messiah - without taking the trouble to check exactly where Jesus was born.
Verse 43 So there was a division among the people because of Him.
Jesus caused and will always cause division amongst people. In the final analysis belief in Jesus requires faith, and without faith it is impossible to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died in order that our sins can be forgiven.
Verse 44 Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.
Again some of the citizens of Jerusalem wanted to arrest Jesus but nobody dared to as the temple guards where there to arrest Jesus. But the temple guards did not arrest Jesus, why?
Arresting officers refuse to arrest Jesus
Verse 45 Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”
That was the very question the rulers of the temple asked them, “Why have you not arrested him?”
Verse 46 The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”
These officers were Levites, the priestly tribe, and as such they had had much religious training and education, so when they heard Jesus speak their hearts were so touched that they would not arrest Him.
Verse 47 Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived?
The Pharisees were highly irritated that they had not arrested Jesus.
Verse 48 “Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?
They said that none of the rulers of the temple, the Sanhedrin, had been led astray by this man from Galilee. “Have they been led astray like you?”
Verse 49 “But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”
The Pharisees followed manmade laws on how to be righteous, and so they looked down on the common people who did not follow their narrow interpretation of Biblical laws (Genesis to Deuteronomy) and their own additional laws.
You cannot condemn without an investigation
Verse 50 Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them,
Note that Nicodemus did not defend Jesus but rather raises a point of procedure.
Verse 51 “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”
Their procedure in any judgment was that first the crime must be investigated, and without such an investigation first, Jesus could not be found guilty.
Verse 52 They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look, for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”
They answered Nicodemus by saying that no prophet has come from Galilee. But they were wrong because their ancient traditions and writings said that the prophet Jonah was from Galilee. 2 Kings 14:25 “He (King Amaziah of Judah) restored the territory of Israel ... according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher (a town in Galilee) .” The Pharisees looked down on the people from Galilee, so their opinion about Jesus was based on regional prejudices rather than knowledge of the Scriptures.
Points for consideration
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In this article all Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission.