By: Steve Shirley
"Christ's Brothers Do Not Believe." Let's begin by reading about this event in (Jn 7:1-13).
(Verse 2) As is mentioned in (Jn 6:4), the events of the previous chapter occurred during the Passover. We see in verse 2 that the events of this chapter happen during the "Feast of Tabernacles." The Passover was celebrated in our April. The "Feast of Tabernacles" was celebrated from the 15th - 21st of Tishri (our Sept / Oct). Therefore, the events of chapter 7 occur about 7 months after chapter 6.
(Verse 3) We learn in (Mt 13:55)(Mk 6:3) that Jesus had 4 brothers, and their names were "James, Joses, Simon, and Judas (Jude)." (He also had "sisters" too, although their names are not given - Mt 13:56.)
(Verses 3-4) Why His brothers said these things to Jesus is unknown. However, it is clear that they were ridiculing Him.
(Verse 5)(NASB) "For not even His brothers were believing in Him."
It is important to understand that during Jesus' life on Earth, His brothers never believed in who He was (God, Messiah, Savior). This is one example. This is why, as Jesus was dying on the cross, one of the last things He did was to hand the care of His mother (Mary) over to John (Jn 19:26-27) rather than one of His brothers, which was the normal custom. (It appears they weren't there anyway.) However, after Jesus died, they DID become believers after His resurrection (app. 8 months after Jn 7). In fact, we see that Jesus made an appearance to His brother James during His resurrection (1 Cor 15:7). (This likely was why they became believers.) We later see them meeting in the Upper Room with the disciples and Mary (their mother) to pray (Acts 1:13-14).
In addition, two of Jesus' brothers later wrote books in the Bible: James and Jude. In the opening to both of their books, they humbly refer to themselves as "a servant of Jesus Christ." In (Jude 1:1), Jude also refers to himself as James' brother.
(Verses 6,8) "My time is not yet come" What did Jesus mean by this?
(Verse 7) "The world cannot hate you: but me it hateth" Just as the "world" hated Jesus, Jesus later tells us that the "world" will hate those who follow Him too (Christians) (Jn 15:18-25)(Jn 16:1-3) (also see: 2 Tim 3:12). In other words, if you call yourself a Christian, unbelievers will "hate" you. Do you have people who "hate" you for your faith?
Three quotes I like regarding this:
"The absence of the world's hate proves that we do not testify against it that its works are evil. The warmth of the world's love proves that we are of its own. The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (Believer's Bible Commentary - Attributed to F.B. Meyer)
"The world does not hate its own. It does hate our Lord. It hates His followers. Where do you belong in this lineup?" - Vance Havner
"The world never burned a casual Christian at the stake." - John R. Rice
(Verses 12-13) While "the people" at the feast were debating who they believed Jesus was, "no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews (the Jewish leaders)." These leaders could persecute, excommunicate (Jn 9:22-23), and arrest (verse 39) people who went against them.
Next, let's read (Jn 7:14-31).
(Verse 15) "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?" How did He know, and what does this tell us?
(Verse 19) "none of you keepeth the law" The Jews prided themselves on keeping the law perfectly. Jesus accused them of not keeping it. The fact that they were "seeking to kill Him" was one evidence of this (Mt 5:21-22).
(Verses 19-20)(NASB) "Why do you seek to kill me?" "Who seeks to kill You?" The "hatred" towards Jesus that we mentioned in verse 7 was so bad amongst some that they wanted to kill Him. This was primarily amongst the Jewish leaders. Their "hatred," and desire to "kill" Him is displayed a number of times in John (Jn 5:18)(Jn 8:37,40,58-59)(Jn 10:30-33), and increased as Jesus continued His ministry. Eventually, they were instrumental in Jesus' death on the cross (Lk Ch. 22-23).
(Verse 20)(NASB) "You have a demon!" This is one of five times that Jesus was accused of "having a demon."
#1. (Mt 9:34) - Accused by the Pharisees
#2. (Mt 12:24)(Mk 3:22,30)(Lk 11:15) - Accused by the Pharisees / scribes / crowd
#3. (Jn 7:20) - Accused by the crowd
#4. (Jn 8:48-50) - Accused by the Jews
#5. (Jn 10:19-20) - Accused by the Jews
(Verse 21) "I have done one work, and ye all marvel." This is likely referring to Jesus' healing of the "paralytic man" that we looked at in (Jn 5:1-16). In those verses, we see that Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath (Jn 5:9). In (Jn 5:16)(NKJV), we see, "For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things (healing) on the Sabbath." Looking at verses 23 and 24, we can see evidence that Jesus is speaking of the event in chapter 5, because He mentions they were "angry with Him" because he "healed on the Sabbath."
(Verse 24) "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." What? Is Jesus telling people to judge? What does this mean?
(Verse 26) Some of the people in Jerusalem could not understand why the Jewish leaders did not arrest Jesus, and wanted to "kill" Him if they thought He was a fake. They quietly began to wonder if deep inside they thought He was "truly the Christ."
(Verse 27) In addition, it appears that many of them were beginning to believe Jesus was "the Christ." However, they were perplexed because "we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where he is from."
John MacArthur explains this verse well in his study Bible: "Only information regarding the Messiah's birthplace was revealed in Scripture (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:5,6). Beyond that, a tradition had developed in Jewish circles that the Messiah would appear suddenly to the people, based on a misinterpretation of Is. 53:8 and Mal. 3:1. In light of this, the meaning of this phrase most likely is that the identity of the Messiah would be wholly unknown until He suddenly appeared in Israel and accomplished Israel's redemption. In contrast, Jesus had lived His life in Nazareth and was known (at least superficially) to the people (v. 28)."
(Verse 30) "Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.." Put another way, this might also say, "no man WAS ABLE to lay hands on Him." Nothing was going to stop the sovereign plan that was laid out for Jesus' life.
(Verse 31) While there was much debate about who Jesus was (verses 12-13), this verse makes it sound like some actually may have become believers.
Now, let's read (Jn 7:32-52).
(Verse 32) "the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him" The chief priests, who were primarily Sadducees, and the Pharisees were often at odds with each other (i.e. Acts 23:6-10), however, on their dislike for Jesus, they were united. The "officers" (Gr: "hupertes") they sent were somewhat like police for the Temple. After these verses (3,12,18,22), we do not see the "officers" again until they came to arrest Jesus in the "Garden of Gethsemane" (Jn 18:3,12,18,22) (also see: Jn 19:6, Acts 5:22,26).
(Verses 33-36) So, let's ask me same question "the Jews" were asking: What is Jesus saying here?
(Verses 37-39) The "Living Water"
Jesus mentioned "living water" earlier in Chapter 4 of John. At that time, we discussed this term "in depth," so we are not going to do so here. (I also mentioned that I ended up spending about a week studying it...) There has been some debate over what "living water" is. Looking at these verses, it seems pretty clear that it is the "Holy Spirit," right? But, then I asked questions like: If you "drinketh" (verse 13) of the "living water," you have "everlasting (eternal) life." Who gives "eternal life? Jesus (Jn 3:16)(Jn 6:40,47)(Jn 10:28)(Rom 6:23). Or, when a person drank "living water" they were "made alive," and had "new life." Who does this? In addition, we have parallel verses of "drinking" or "eating" Jesus (i.e. Jn 6:35,53-58). For my whole study on this, you can go here: https://jesusalive.cc/ques525.htm.
(Verse 39)(NASB) "the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."
This is one of several key verses about when the Spirit would be given. When "glorified" is used in this verse, it means that the Holy Spirit would not be given until Jesus "returned to the Father" in Heaven (Jn 16:5-10). This occurred after Jesus' resurrection, when He ascended to the Father (Mk 16:19)(Lk 24:51). The Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47), 10 days after Jesus' ascension.
***Note: It seems clear that Jesus did not "ascend to the Father" after he died (Jn 20:17). This is a matter of some debate, but a majority of scholars believe that after Jesus died on the cross, His body remained in the grave, but His spirit and/or soul descended into Sheol (or the heart/lower parts of the Earth). He spent 3 days there proclaiming His victory and the Gospel to those in Sheol, after which He was resurrected from the dead on the 3rd day. This belief is based primarily on these verses: (Mt 12:40)(1 Pet 3:18-20)(1 Pet 4:6)(Acts 2:27,31)(Ps 16:10). After His resurrection, He spent 40 days on the earth (Acts 1:3) before "ascending to the Father").
(Verse 40) "The Prophet" This is the third of three places in John where we find the term "the Prophet" being used, with the first being in (Jn 1:21), and the second in (Jn 6:14). (Another is found in Acts 3:19-26.) Again, "the Prophet" was an Old Testament prophecy found in (Deut 18:15-18), which pointed to Jesus and the Messiah.
(Verses 41-43) The Messiah ("the Christ") was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy (Mt 2:1-6)(Lk 2:4-7). The "crowd" knew this prophecy, however, because they believed that Jesus was from Galilee, and did not know that He was born in Bethlehem, they questioned how He could be the Messiah.
***Note: Putting together verses from Matthew and Luke, it appears that when Mary became pregnant, she and Joseph lived in Nazareth, which was located in the region of Galilee (Lk 1:26-27). While she was pregnant, "a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth." (Lk 2:1)(NASB). In order to be registered, "every one" had to go "to his own city" (Lk 2:3). "Because he was of the house and lineage of David," Joseph went to Bethlehem "to be registered with Mary" (Lk 2:5). While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus (Lk 2:6-7).
After Jesus was born, Herod, king of Judea, learned about it, and was told by "wise men from the east" who had come to worship Jesus that He was prophesied to be the "King of the Jews." When Herod heard that, "he was troubled" (worried that he would lose his position as king), and told the wise men to find Him and report back (because he wanted to kill Him). When they later failed to do so, Herod became "exceedingly angry," and sent forth soldiers to kill all male children in Bethlehem "from two years old and under." However, Joseph and Mary had fled to Egypt, being warned by an angel what Herod would do. They remained in Egypt until the death of Herod, and then they returned to Nazareth in Galilee (Matthew Chapter 2).
(Verses 41 & 42) "the Scripture said, that the Christ cometh of the seed of David" This "Scripture" is found in (2 Sam 7:12-16)(Ps 89:3-4)(Mic 5:2). We can see proof that Jesus fulfilled this in the lineages of Jesus found in (Mt 1:1-17)(Lk 3:23-38).
(Verses 45-49) The "officers" that were sent out by the Pharisees and the chief priests" in (verse 31) to "take" Jesus returned empty-handed. When asked "Why have ye not brought Him?" we see that they were so moved and astounded at the words that Jesus spoke that they could not arrest Him. For this, the "rulers and Pharisees" belittled the officers, and accused them of being "deceived," and not as strong in their beliefs as they were. Then the "rulers and Pharisees" turned their wrath on the "people" who had listened to Jesus, and said they were "accursed" because they "knoweth not the law."
(Verses 50-51) "Nicodemus" Remember, we first met Nicodemus in (Jn 3:1-21)? He appears in those verses, these verses, and in (Jn 19:38-42). What did we learn about Him?
(Verse 52) The "rulers and Pharisees," just like the "people" in (verses 41-43), did not realize where Jesus had been born.