Getting right to the topic, Keith keeps the opening remarks short.
Before digging into John 7:28-44, some review is in order.
At the feast of booths, Jesus arrived late but didn’t waste time in getting to the temple to preach. His preaching divided the crowd. Were the religious leaders for him or against him? Do the people know where he is from, or not?
Spine of a Bible ca. 2001, “Used with permission from Microsoft.”
Jesus responds to his listeners by acknowledging they may know where he was from geographically, but he has been sent, and by the high authority of truth. Jesus knows this source of authority personally, though his listeners haven’t recognized that yet. He is on a mission.
30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.
They sought to arrest him. Who are “they”? Presumably the religious leaders, but they didn’t do it. It wasn’t his time yet. What did the crowd think? Has anything been cleared up?
Though John’s writing doesn’t mention Jesus doing miracles, he must have been doing enough for the crowd to witness. Jesus’ miracles had convinced many. The mutterings from the crowd urged the religious leaders to action and ordered him to be arrested.
Jesus foretold his death in a little while. When it was his time, he would go along peaceably. It would happen in about 6 months, at Passover. Even then, the leaders would seek him, but not find them especially after his death and resurrection. His death would put him in his place, at the right hand of God, where unbelievers couldn’t come.
The religious leaders were on the wrong track. They were trying to guess what kind of tricks this man had up his sleeve to stir things up. Might he stir up discontent outside the realm? Was he going to start something with the Jews dispersed into Greek territories? The Jews couldn’t make sense of where Jesus might go to not be found or followed.
37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.
Previously Jesus described himself as bread from heaven, but here he hints at being the life-giving water. He alludes to the spiritual nature of this living water. The understanding of his being living water is spiritual. The only revelation by the spirit can cause understanding, and the spirit is yet to come. The spirit could only be given after Jesus’ departure after his ascension.
Some thought he may be the prophet who precedes Messiah. Some thought he might be the messiah. But there was still a challenge on the table. Why would messiah come from a backwater place like Galilee?
The challenge continues with a more dignified option. Everyone knew messiah would come from David’s royal line. They knew about Bethlehem. A much more acceptable place. How could this man from Galilee meet those requirements? It only goes to show they didn’t know his human background as well as they supposed.
43 So there was a division among the people over him.
44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
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