The Agora
Bible Commentary

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John 7

Joh 7:1

Joh 7: a commentary on power: "In all generations and all circumstances (even in the ecclesia) men in power are in love with power and will do almost anything to hold on to it" (WGos 383).

JESUS WENT AROUND IN GALILEE...: "Arise, walk through the land" (Gen 13:17): like Abraham, surveying his inheritance.

Joh 7:2

FEAST OF TABERNACLES: Sig: Christ the word made flesh, which "tabernacled" among men (Joh 1:14).

Joh 7:3

Vv 3,4: 'Even your closest followers are not sure of your loyalty to the Law of Moses. You must go to Jerusalem on Day of Atonement in order to show them.'

Joh 7:4

WORLD: "Kosmos". That is, the Jewish world.

Joh 7:6

THE TIME FOR ME HAS NOT YET COME: Cp Joh 8:20; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1. The time for the revelation to the Jewish "world" of Christ lifted up had not yet come.

Joh 7:8

I AM NOT YET GOING UP TO THIS FEAST: Some mss do not have "yet". Either way, of course, Jesus DID go up to the Feast. But he did not go as the "Messiah" -- which his brothers were suggesting; instead, he went secretly (v 10).

THE RIGHT TIME HAS NOT YET COME: That is, the time to reveal himself as the Messiah, the Son of God, and the King of Israel. That time would come soon enough, but it could not -- and should not -- be hurried.

Joh 7:10

IN SECRET: "En krypto". With his Holy Spirit power hidden, and in the simple role of a mere teacher.

Joh 7:11

THAT MAN: Notice their avoidance of use of his name.

Joh 7:12

HE IS A GOOD MAN: Even this, "a hopelessly inadequate assessment" (WGos 381).

Joh 7:14

A suggested summary of Jesus' discourses during the second half of the Feast (WGos 382): (1) 4th day: vv 14-18; (2) 5th day: vv 19-27; (3) 6th day: vv 28-31; (4) 7th day: vv 32-36; and (5) 8th day: vv 37-53.

Joh 7:15

HOW DID THIS MAN GET LEARNING?: A grudging acknowledgment of Jesus' power as a teacher.

Joh 7:16

NOT MY OWN...: Heb idiom: "not only, but also...": Hos 6:6r; cp Joh 12:49,50; 8:26;28; 14:10,24.

Joh 7:17

In other words, 'try my teaching in your own life -- experimentally.'

Joh 7:18

A messenger, who serves another and not himself, is to be believed. But a teacher who is self-serving is really saying, 'Let us go after other gods' (Deu 13:1-3), ie he is serving himself, not God!

Joh 7:19

MOSES: The same Moses who spoke of Jesus (Deu 18:15-19). Apply his test of the credentials of the prophet.

Joh 7:22

YOU CIRCUMCISE A CHILD ON THE SABBATH: This point of the Law of Moses seems to have been given for the specific purpose of showing that the Law itself could be superseded -- that is, that one requirement of the Law might override another. And if this were a possibility -- then might not a different Law override, or supersede, the whole?

Joh 7:23

HEALING THE WHOLE MAN ON THE SABBATH: Therefore, Jesus makes the point: to heal a man, truly and completely, by teaching him the way of life is to bring the true Sabbath "rest" -- of which the whole Law of Moses was merely the shadow.

Joh 7:24

Ct Messiah, who judges not by eyes and ears only: Isa 11:3,4; Joh 8:1-11. Also see Mat 7:7; Luk 12;14; Deu 16:18,19.

MAKE A RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT: At a recent gathering of seminary professors, one teacher reported that at his school the most damaging charge one student can lodge against another is that the person is being "judgmental." He found this pattern very upsetting. "You can't get a good argument going in class anymore," he said. "As soon as somebody takes a stand on any important issue, someone else says that the person is being judgmental. And that's it. End of discussion. Everyone is intimidated!"

Many of the other professors nodded knowingly. There seemed to be a consensus that the fear of being judgmental has taken on epidemic proportions. Is the call for civility just another way of spreading this epidemic? If so, then we should be against civility. But this is not what being civil is all about.

Christian civility does not commit us to a relativistic perspective. Being civil doesn't mean that we cannot criticize what goes on around us. Civility doesn't require us to approve of what other people believe and do. It is one thing to insist that other people have the right to express their basic convictions; it is another thing to say that they are right in doing so. Civility requires us to live by the first of these principles. But it does not commit us to the second formula. To say that all beliefs and values deserve to be treated as if they were on a par is to endorse relativism -- a perspective that is incompatible with Christian faith and practice. Christian civility does not mean refusing to make judgments about what is good and true. For one thing, it really isn't possible to be completely nonjudgmental. Even telling someone else that she is being judgmental is a rather judgmental thing to do!

Joh 7:25

ISN'T THIS THE MAN THEY ARE TRYING TO KILL?: Cp experience of Moses in Exo 2:15.

Joh 7:27

THIS MAN: "Receives sinners" (Luk 15:2). "No man ever spoke like..." (Joh 7:46). "No fault in..." (Luk 23:4,14,41). "Has something to offer" (Heb 8:3). "Through this man... forgiveness" (Act 13:38). "Is worthy of more honor than Moses" (Heb 3:3). "Sat down" (Heb 10:12). "Continues forever" (Heb 7:24). "Was Son of God" (Mar 15:39).

WE KNOW WHERE THIS MAN IS FROM: Most people desire the far-away and mysterious. A prophet is not without honor except in his own country (Mat 13:57; Mar 6:4; Joh 4:44). But ct Joh 9:29: "we don't even know where he comes from" -- self-contradictory statements.

NO ONE WILL KNOW WHERE HE IS FROM: The Messiah who comes "suddenly" to his temple: Mal 3:1...

Joh 7:28

CRIED OUT: A deliberate aim at publicity.

Joh 7:30

HIS TIME: Or "his hour". In the beginning, "his hour" = his entire 3 1/2 year ministry, but as he entered the last 6-month period his attentions turned toward the climax of his "hour" of ministry: the final "hour" of betrayal, suffering, death, resurrection, and glorification: Joh 8:20; 13:1; 17:1.

Joh 7:31

MANY IN THE CROWD PUT THEIR FAITH IN HIM: Actually, "many OUT OF (ek) the crowd put their faith INTO (eis) him."

Joh 7:32

Christ speaking in the temple courts aroused the same angers, etc as did Zechariah the son of Jehoiada (2Ch 24:21n) and Jeremiah (Jer 26:1-7). Cp Joh 8:59: they seek to stone him. (This was the last time Christ would be present on one of the great feast days.)

Joh 7:34

WHERE I AM: Not so much physical location, as relationship. See Lesson, John's figurative language.

Joh 7:35

WHERE DOES THIS MAN INTEND TO GO?: They seem to ignore the plain words of v 33: "I go to the one who sent me", ie to the Father in heaven.


Joh 7:37

// Isa 12:3-6.

Silence was his settled policy for most of his ministry (Mat 9:30; 17:9; 12:16; Mar 1:34; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26; Luk 5:14), with one notable exception (Mar 5:19 -- Legion with his family). But in last days of ministry, a change of course (Mat 21:1-11; Joh 7:37; 9:3; 11:4).

LAST... GREATEST DAY OF THE FEAST: On this day, the carrying of water to pour at base of altar ceased. Here, Christ makes public appeal, showing himself as true and living water.

LET HIM COME TO ME AND DRINK: Alternatively, "Let him drink that believeth on me (v 38). As the Scripture has said, 'Out of his belly...' " -- allowing Christ to be the source of "waters" (cp Joh 4:10; 6:35; 19:34) (BS 10:10).

Joh 7:38

FROM WITHIN HIM: "Out of Christ the smitten rock": see 1Co 10:3,4; Exo 17:6,7; Joh 19:34 (water flowing from his side). Cp Zec 14:8; 13:1; Psa 46; 78:15,16; Rev 22.

See Isa 12:3: "In Hezekiah's day there was only one 'well of salvation' -- the Gihon spring which was led underground by Hezekiah's conduit (2Ch 32:3,4) to Siloam (Isa 8:6) inside the city's defences. The intensive plural -- 'wells' -- is used here for emphasis. Here is the beginning (it could hardly have been introduced earlier) of the lovely figure of speech, in psalms and prophets, of the Lord as a life-giving spring of water (Jer 2:13; cp Psa 42:1,2). [This verse] suggests that it was in thanksgiving for the Assyrian deliverance that the procedure was instituted at the Feast of Tabernacles of drawing water from Siloam and taking it in solemn processional to the temple, there to be poured out in praise and thanksgiving at the base of the altar. It was, of course, this to which Jesus referred in his great appeal on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:37,38). He appropriated the meaning of the entire procedure to himself, and thus underlined (what needs no underlining) that Isa 12 is about himself and his salvation" (WIsa 192).

Cp also John 4:14; 19:34: References to "springs" of living waters invokes such passages as Psa 36:9; 46:4; 87:7. Also, Isa 12:1; Zech 13:1; Ezek 47:1-5; Rev 22:1. (The latter two Psalms passages probably referred, in the first instance, to Hezekiah's Conduit, and the Gihon spring.)

Joh 7:46

THIS MAN: What do the Scriptures tell us about "THIS MAN" Jesus Christ? Many things. "THIS MAN welcomes sinners and eats with them" (Luk 15:2). "No one ever spoke the way THIS MAN does" (Joh 7:46). "THIS MAN has done nothing wrong" (Luk 23:4,14,41). "THIS MAN has something to offer" (Heb 8:3). "Through THIS MAN the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you" (Acts 13:38). "THIS MAN is worthy of greater honor than Moses" (Heb 3:3). "THIS MAN sat down at the right hand of God" (Heb 10:12). "THIS MAN lives forever" (Heb 7:24). "Surely THIS MAN was the Son of God" (Mar 15:39).

Joh 7:48

See Joh 12:42; Isa 53:3; 1Co 1:20,26; 2:8.

Joh 7:51

See Pro 18:13.

Joh 7:52

Nicodemus, once the respected leader (Joh 3:10), is now openly rebuked. "They resort to the customary weapons of beaten men" (JC).

A PROPHET DOES NOT COME OUT OF GALILEE: But what about Jonah (2Ki 14:25) and Elijah (1Ki 17:1)? Cp Isa 9:1,2.

Joh 7:53

Joh 7:53-8:11: Early church lectionaries prescribed reading of Joh 7:37--8:12 for Whitsunday with the omission of Joh 7:53-8:11. Thus these verses were omitted from official copies, leading to doubts about their origin (WRI 116).

Ct v 53 with Joh 8:1: Jesus had no house to go to!

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