1After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did
not want to walk in
The events of ch. 6 took
Ch. 6 opens at the height of Jesus’ popularity with the common people.
Thousands come from far & wide to see Him.
He performs one of His most amazing miracles in the feeding of the 5,000.
But that only sets the scene for a teaching that is so hard for the crowd to accept, many turn away.
Jesus is left with the 12.
now that the crowds have dispersed, Jesus continued to make His way round the
That ordeal is hinted at here.
Jewish leadership in
see Him as a dangerous revolutionary, another “pretender messiah,” one of a
long line who’d risen to incite an insurrection against
the religious & social leaders enjoyed their positions at the behest of
They’d tried to bring Jesus under their control, but He’d not played along.
So plans were under way for how to do away with Him.
2Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.
The Feast of Tabernacles was
a joyous commemoration of
It was called Tabernacles or booths, because they made little tents & lean-to’s outside their homes & camped out in them for a week, all in memory of the 40 years their ancestors lived in tents during the Exodus.
Passover, it was preferred to celebrate the holiday in
3His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here
and go into
Jesus’ family lived in
It comes as a bit of a surprise to some people to read of Jesus’ brothers here.
The romantic image many people have of Jesus’ family is that Joseph passed way not long after Jesus became a young man and that Mary followed Jesus around during His public ministry.
But the Bible is clear, Mary & Joseph had other children.
At this point, Jesus’ own brothers didn’t believe He was the Messiah.
That was sure to have raised some tension in the family!
How did Mary & Joseph explain Jesus, “the Perfect Son” to the others?
Of course, they told them the truth – and as the boys grew older, they probably just chalked up the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth to some deep, dark secret.
According to the Jewish records from this time, the explanation for Jesus’ conception was that Mary had been raped by a Roman mercenary, & that the whole virgin birth thing was a story she concocted because of the psychological trauma.
Supposedly Joseph went along with it out of compassion & to protect her.
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication . . . ”
The implication was that while they weren’t conceived out of wedlock, Jesus was!
Now of course, this is all terribly blasphemous, but it was the story those who rejected Jesus were circulating about Him.
And here John tells us that Jesus’ own brothers didn’t buy their parents story of the virgin birth & Who He really was.
Not believing in Him, they’re
perplexed by the fact that He’s roaming around Galilee when the center of
Jewish social & religious life was
Their words were a taunt, meant to provoke Him.
If He was really all that—why was He wasting His time with such a small fry ministry?
If you’re a world-class artist, you don’t do paint by numbers.
If you’re a violin virtuoso, you play at Carnegie Hall, not at Mac’s Burgers.
Jesus’ brothers have been told He’s the Redeemer of Israel.
Does it seem amazing, bizarre even, that Jesus’ own brothers didn’t believe in Him? It does!
But this is just one more evidence of the truthfulness of the Scriptures.
You see, it presents to us the reality that in the incarnation, the glory of God was veiled, & that to the outward eye, Jesus was totally human.
There was nothing inherent in Jesus’ appearance that made Him seem anything other than normal.
had to identify who Jesus was in the
If Jesus had been different in some way, Judas could have just said, “Arrest the guy with the halo. Arrest the guy who has a light from heaving shining on Him.”
To His own brothers, Jesus was just the eldest brother.
Oh sure, he was a good kid – in fact, it was hard to think of a single thing he did wrong.
But He didn’t perform tricks; He didn’t wiggle His nose & do all the dishes, dust the furniture, complete all the ironing, & vacuum the floor.
He didn’t make clay animals then bring them to life as gifts for His friends.
He didn’t give evidence to being anything other than a faithful & obedient son.
If anything, His lack of getting into trouble, His moral perfection probably made his brothers angry – ‘cause He was so “perfect” all the time!!!!
We learn later, after the
resurrection, that 2 at least of them came to faith in Jesus as the Son of God;
6Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.
What Jesus means is that in the popular idea of who the Messiah was & what He would come to do, the idea his brothers held, the Messiah was if anything—overdue.
It was long past time when the Deliverer should come & remove the heel of Roman oppression.
But Jesus had not come to fulfill the popular expectations of the Messiah.
mission was not to conquer the
His weapon would not be a sword, but a cross – & the time for that had not quite come. Soon, but not yet.
7The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.
Jesus’ brothers had been thinking of power in totally worldly terms.
To them, victory was all about who had the most power.
If Jesus was the Messiah, the Anointed of God, which is what the word ‘messiah’ means, then He had all power & ought to go use it where it would do the most good – in Jerusalem!
Jesus tells them this reveals that their ideas about how He ought to be going about His ministry demonstrate that they aren’t on His side.
They’ve taken sides with the world, which hates Jesus because He lays bare the world’s true nature – it’s in rebellion against God.
8You go up to this feast. I am not yet
going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” 9 When He had said these things to them,
He remained in
As with the Passover, whole
villages & towns would travel to
brothers suggested that Jesus use this trip to the capital to make His official
He declined the suggestion & told them to go on ahead.
He would follow later; then He waited several days before He led the disciples south.
10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
The reason Jesus didn’t go
with His brothers & the larger groups that traveled to
of this was crucial because the authorities in
They knew large crowds had been going to Him in Galilee & fully expected that He would lead just such a multitude into Jerusalem, like a King riding at the head of an army.
They expected this because this is precisely what a number of false messiahs had done in previous years.
traveled through Galilee & Judea, raised a crowd of supported, then marched
Since this was not Jesus’ mode, He waited till the crowds were already head of Him, then followed behind in quiet.
11Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” 12And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” 13However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.
When the pilgrims crowded
And now the people are divided in their opinion; some support Him while others oppose.
The influence of the leaders’ & Pharisees’ reaction to Jesus has infiltrated the ranks of the common people.
After nearly 3 years, that Jesus hasn’t come out publicly & fulfilled their expectations of the Messiah has led to some disappointment & disillusionment.
Others are still hopeful, or sense that His mission is other than they’d expected.
Whatever the opinions people had about Jesus & no matter how fiercely they might hold them in private, everyone was keeping mum in public because word had come down from the Sanhedrin that the subject of Jesus was taboo.
The Sanhedrin felt this was a prudent move so as to keep people from joining a movement around Him.
14Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught.
The celebration of Tabernacles lasts a week.
After 3 days of hanging out in secret, Jesus finally went to the temple & began teaching.
15And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
The spiritual depth & perception of Jesus’ teaching was astounding.
The religious leaders who heard Him were stunned since they knew Jesus was not one of them.
He’d not risen through their officially sanctioned ranks of training.
Yet Jesus spoke with the authority of an established rabbi.
His skill with the things of God baffled them.
16Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
Jesus made it clear that what He was saying wasn’t His own spin or commentary.
What He said came straight from God.
Then He gave this important qualifier—anyone genuinely wanting to do what is truly right, will realize Jesus is the Son of God who speaks the Word of God.
Look at v. 17 again –
If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
This verse gives us a crucial insight as it relates to evangelism.
As you go through life, you will meet 3 kinds of people – the lost, the saved, and those who are lost but will be saved.
In terms of evangelism, your hope is to discover the 3rd group and win them.
What Jesus says here is a good test for finding out who they are.
Those who truly want to do the right thing, who are in a genuine pursuit of God, when you share the Gospel with them, they’ll recognize it for the truth it is & respond accordingly.
Those who are the eternally lost reject the Word of God automatically.
I’ve found it helpful in sharing the Lord with people to listen carefully as they share about their values & priorities.
Then, when I hear or see something that provides an open door to share the Word of Christ with them, I’m careful to watch the reaction.
The seeking heart pauses to consider.
The hard heart tends to ignore, divert, or grows hostile.
This doesn’t mean we should write someone off just because they blow us off.
But it usually is a pretty reliable indicator of where someone’s at.
Look at it again -
If anyone wills to do [God’s] will, [that one] shall know concerning the doctrine,
They will grasp its truth -
whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.
This verse also provides an important insight into our study of the Scripture.
If we merely want to fill our heads with trivia to win Bible games, we’ll not grasp the meaning of the text.
But if we come to our study of the Word with a heart that says, “What are Your instructions, Lord?” then we’ll understand.
You’ve often heard me say that the key to interpreting the scriptures is to ask what the text meant to the original author and readers.
This most basic of Hermeneutical tools is called the “grammatical-historical method.”
Grammatical – What did the original words mean?
Example: “Gay” “Awful”
Historical – What was the historical context, situation?
Example: Revelations 2 & 3; letters to the 7 churches.
The grammatical-historical method is an important tool in interpreting the Bible, but it isn’t the most important.
More important is the right motivation – which ought to be a desire to obey God.
Let’s face it, there are millions of people around the world who don’t possess the resources to grasp the grammatical-historical background of the original Greek text of the NT or Hebrew of the OT.
Does this mean they are without hope in ever knowing their Bibles? No!
Jesus goes on . . .
18He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.
Of course, He’s referring to Himself.
19Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”
This was a terribly damning indictment & laid bare Jesus’ keen awareness of their plans.
These religious leaders fancied themselves the Guardians of the Law of Moses & his best friends.
But Jesus nails them on one of the most obvious commands – “No murder!”
At that very moment they were scheming on how to assassinate Him!
What the religious leaders were doing was about as hypocritical as President Bush, while leading the War on Terror, plotting in secret with bin Laden to blow up the Capitol building.
20The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?”
Now, Jesus had nailed them – but there was no way they could admit it.
And of course, to the common people who heard His remark and knew nothing about the plot of the leaders to kill Him, His charge would sound pretty ridiculous.
The leaders knew that, and used it to their advantage.
Of course, it wouldn’t be too long before all would see that they had indeed been plotting His death.
21Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel.
Which miracle is Jesus referring to here: He done many?
In 5:18 we’re told that the plot to kill Jesus BEGAN when he healed the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath. That’s what Jesus is referring to here.
Their “marveling” was not the wonder of belief but the amazement of disbelief that He had violated their precious rules about not working on the Sabbath.
22Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?
Jesus pokes a massive hole in their whole system of rules about keeping the Sabbath.
No where did it say healing was prohibited on the Sabbath – No where.
In fact, the principle of exception to the prohibition of work were recognized by the scribes & Pharisees.
Males infants were to be circumcised on the 8th day.
So if a son was born on a Saturday, 8 days later, on the next Sabbath – he had to be circumcised, even if it meant performing work.
Why? Because the covenant sign of circumcision was considered a higher priority, a higher rule than the law of the Sabbath.
Based on this principle of exception due to which is the higher law, Jesus said that healing someone’s suffering is a higher principle than keeping the Sabbath.
24Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
Their willful & stubborn disbelief had blinded them to Who Jesus was.
If they had been open to Him, they would also have realized that when He healed the lame man, He’d not worked.
The healing He effected wasn’t like a doctor’s that required physical labor.
It was the divine touch & power.
25Now some of them from
This confrontation took place in the temple with lots of the common people around.
That the authorities hadn’t arrested Jesus yet surprised them & made them begin to ask if maybe the leaders were now lining up behind Him as the Messiah.
shot this idea down by saying, “When the Messiah comes, He’ll descend in glory
from the heavens. This guy ‘Jesus’ came
28Then 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. 29But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
We ought to understand the first part of v. 28 as sarcastic.
In v. 27 the people said, “We know where this Man is from.”
In reply Jesus said, “AH yes - you THINK you know Me & where I’m from. You have Me all figured out; that I’m just some backwoods upstart from a despised little town far from here.”
“You assume I’ve got some personal agenda & you’re too smart to be fooled by Me.”
Jesus make an exclusive claim to be One with God through all this – a claim not lost on the leaders . . .
30Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.
We read this several times in the gospels, that they came to arrest Him, but were unable to because it wasn’t His time yet.
No description of the attempt they made to seize Jesus is given.
It appears as though when the authorities went to arrest Him, He just blended into the crowd & walked away.
31And 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?”
While a portion of the common people were turning away in opposition to Jesus, His supporters hung strong & saw in all of these things further confirmation that Jesus was the Messiah.
32The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him.
Large scale public support for Jesus was the very thing they feared.
So as soon as they saw a significant part of the crowd there in the temple rallying behind Jesus, they sent some of the temple police to arrest Him.
33Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer,
and then I go to Him who sent
Jesus is warning them about what’s soon to come in His arrest & execution.
35Then 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? 36 What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?”
They are still thinking of Jesus in terms of the popular Messiah who will lead the Nation as a conquering King.
When He said He was going away, they wondered where.
suggested He meant that He would go to the Jews living outside the borders of
The most popular idea of the day was that the Messiah would come to Israel, defeat the Romans, set up the throne of David, establish the Kingdom of God on Earth, and then the Jews who were living all over the world would move back to Israel.
Jesus’ words here, some thought maybe He would go to the Jews living in
scattered communities around the world first, rally them into a might force, then
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. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Each day of the Feast of Tabernacles, special events were held on the temple mount.
The greatest of them all was the daily ritual of the water which commemorated God’s miraculous provision of water during the Wilderness Wandering.
It happened like this . . .
Early in the morning a small group of priests, dressed all in white, made their way to Pool of Siloam, just south of the temple.
BTW – they have just recently unearthed the original Pool of Siloam.
It’s much, much larger than originally thought.
One of the priests filled a golden vessel with water from the pool. Then they returned to the temple & went up on the raised platform that had been made for the main altar in the Court of Israel.
This court was packed with people there to worship & observe this ritual.
The priest emptied the golden vessel into a funnel that was attached to one side of the altar.
The funnel led to a small tube that fed the water to the base of the altar where the water would come running out and spill over the stones in front of the altar.
It looked very much like a spring had come from the stone of the altar, just like the water flowed from the rock in the Wilderness.
As the water was poured into the funnel, the people would lift up their voices & shout the words of Psalm 118:25 - “Save now, I pray, O LORD; O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.”
Then they would shake small branches they held in their hands as a way of inviting God’s blessing on their crops & harvest
The priests would wait for the sound of the branches to quiet before they would pronounce a blessing on the people.
In this moment of silence, between the shout of the people, the sound of the branches, & the benediction of the priests, Jesus stood up from the crowd & cried out in a loud voice - “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
In ch. 6, Jesus had compared Himself to the manna their ancestors had eaten in the wilderness and said that He was the true bread come down from heaven.
Now, in this ritual commemorating the water their ancestors had had, Jesus says He is the One Who brings lasting satisfaction.
John then adds the comment –
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.
At the time Jesus spoke this, the Holy Spirit had not come to live in believers.
Jesus said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
The offer is to anyone. The only qualification is that we recognize our NEED.
Right now – are you thirsty; for water I mean? Either you are or aren’t.
You might be slightly thirsty, but weren’t aware of it as you gave attention to the study.
But now that I’ve mentioned it, yeah – you’re thirsty.
And though you’re thirsty, the longing for water isn’t strong enough to move you out of your seat & to the water fountain. You know you can wait.
Jesus issues this invitation to those whose need is serious; there’s a strong need for help.
Anyone, no matter who they are, as long as they recognize their need, are invited to come to Jesus.
The problem, is that many people confuse their thirst for God with a thirst for something else, something less.
They think it’s a new romance. A new house, a new car, a new gadget.
My people have committed two evils:
1) They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters,
2) [They have dug] for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”
People turn away from God, the only One who can bring lasting satisfaction, & they turn to the vain things of this world, which at their best only produce a temporary distraction.
Jesus invites any & all to come to Him and know lasting satisfaction.
But that satisfaction isn’t a selfish thing.
It leads to a life that flows out –
38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
Genuine faith in Christ not only causes us to be born again, it makes us channels of life to others.
The big concern lately has been over the Bird flu.
It’s resulted in the deaths of millions, possibly billions of birds, & as of yesterday, some 70 people.
It’s communicated by contact with infected bird droppings.
this year in
The real concern of researchers is that the bird flu virus will combine with the human flu virus & take off in the human population.
If that were to happen, then the virus would be transmitted in the same way as the human flu which is through casual contact.
Death could spread from one person to another simply by coming into contact with someone who is infected.
That’s the way sin works – it spreads from one person to another by casual contact & brings sickness & death where ever it goes.
Adam’s fall was the spiritual pin-prick that injected the human race with sin & death.
But the cross was the antidote for sin’s disease.
Those who believe in Christ are infused with Life, and are made carries of a life-giving remedy.
We now have a life-giving Bird flu – The Holy Spirit, who not only indwells us, but empowers us to bring life to others.
40Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this
saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” 41Others said, “This is
the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of
John shows how the common people were now dividing up into separate camps over just who Jesus was.
Some thought He was the Prophet Moses foretold would come one day.
Others were certain His words and miracles were sufficient signs of His being the Messiah.
there were those who could not be convinced because they knew that the Messiah
was a descendant of David and would be born in
it was thought, was from
They were right – the Messiah
related to David & was supposed to be born in
How many people today have a correct view about the way things ought to be, but for whatever reason, don’t see the answer, the fulfillment, in God, in the Bible, in Jesus?
I’ll bet there are many.
They’ve been given a wrong idea of God, or the Bible, or Jesus because of Christian co-workers who were poor examples.
Or maybe they watched some false teacher on late night TV.
Or maybe they were inoculated against the truth by the lies of a high school or college teacher.
These people in
44Now some of them wanted to take [sieze] Him, but no
one laid hands on Him. 45Then the officers came to the chief priests
and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?” 46The
officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” 47Then the
Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? 48Have any of the
rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? 49But this crowd that does
not know the law is accursed.” 50Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by
night, being one of them) said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man
before it hears him and knows what he is doing?” 52They answered and
said to him, “Are you also from
This is classic!
When the officers the leaders had sent to arrest Jesus returned empty handed, they were furious & asked why they’d not done their job.
The officers responded, “Have you listened to Jesus? He’s good!”
The rulers threw a hissy-fit & become juvenile in their remarks.
They resort to the ole’ – “Listen, we’re the one’s in charge around here & none of us go along with this guy! Name ONE of us that supports Him.”
That’s when Nicodemus, who was both a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin, & was recognized as the premier rabbi of the day spoke up & said, “Ahem. You wanted to know if any of us thinks this guy is worth listening to – How about me?”
He says, “Even though you’re supposed to be the standard bearers of justice, you want to arrest, try, & condemn Jesus without having even gone through the proper procedures.”
Their mature & well reasoned response is to call Nicodemus names; they call him a “Galilean,” meaning he’s a followers of Jesus, who’s nothing more than a country bumpkin from the wilds of the north country in their esteemed estimation.
“Search & look” was a pet saying when they wanted to put someone down for being ignorant of the scriptures.
But they show their ignorance by saying, “No prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”
came from Gath Hepher, right next to