John 7:1-14,37-44 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. Verse one of chapter seven reports that following the conflict arising over the healing of the paralytic in Jerusalem on the Sabbath (an event recorded in John 5), Jesus confined Himself to Galilee. Why did He do so? See John 7:1 (printed below)

After this Jesus stayed in Galilee; he would not stay in Judaea, because the Jews sought to kill him. (John 7:1)

As noted, verse 1 of chapter 7 reports that following the conflict arising over the healing of the paralyzed man in Jerusalem on the Sabbath, Jesus confined Himself to Galilee. This verse states, “After this Jesus stayed in Galilee; he would not stay in Judaea, because the Jews sought to kill him.” Was Jesus afraid? Did He run for His life? Was He seeking a safe retreat in far off Galilee? If such were the case, how could He be our Protector and Defender if He runs away and hides from His enemies? But such is not the case: Jesus did not retreat in panic and fear because He had lost control of the situation. On the contrary, precisely because He is in control He would not give Himself over to His enemies until the appointed hour. Note Jesus’ testimony in verse 6a, “The right time for me has not yet come.”

2. As the Feast of Tabernacles approaches, what do Jesus’ unbelieving brothers challenge Him to do (see verses 2-4 printed below?) How does Jesus respond to them (see verses 6-8 printed below; note, especially, verse 8?)

Now the Jewish feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, was about to take place, (3) so Jesus’ brothers said to him, Leave here and go to Judaea, so that your disciples may see the works that you are doing. (4) No one who wants to be known publicly does anything in private. Since you are doing these things, make yourself known to the world. (John 7:2-4)

Jesus said to them, The right time for me has not yet come; but any time is right for you. (7) The world cannot hate you; but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. (8) Go up to the Feast; I will not go up to this Feast; because the right time for me has not yet come. (John 7:6-8)

As the Feast of Tabernacles approached, Jesus’ unbelieving brothers challenged Him to go to Judaea—there to perform His miraculous works and so gain a following. The reasoning and challenge of these unbelieving men was as follows: Jesus should put on a great display of His mighty works before a national audience, in order to gain the recognition of the entire nation of Israel. How does Jesus respond to such a challenge? He says, “I will not go up to this Feast; because the right time for me has not yet come” (verse 8). It would be at another Passover Feast, one or two years in the future, that Jesus would reveal Himself by means of His triumphal entry in order to fulfill His work at the hour appointed by the Father. Precisely because Christ is in charge, He will not cater to any challenge to deviate from His pre-determined course—the course appointed for Him by God the Father.

3. What perplexity on the part of the people with regard to Jesus is expressed in verses 25-27 (printed below?)

Some of the people who were from Jerusalem said, Is not this the man whom they are seeking to kill? (26) And Look! He is speaking publicly, and they say nothing to him. Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is the Christ? (27) However, we know from where this man comes; but when the Christ comes, no one will know from where he came. (John 6:25-27)

The people of Jerusalem express their perplexity: the Jewish leaders were seeking to kill Jesus (verse 25), but now they do not touch him (verse 26a). Can it be that they now recognize Him to be the Messiah? (verse 26b) But the question arises, How can he be the Messiah?—the Messiah will be a mysterious figure whose origins are unknown; but, they insist, they know the origins of this man: he is the son of Joseph and Mary! (verse 27)

4. Upon hearing Jesus’ teaching, how do the people react? See John 7:40-43 (printed below)

When they heard these words, some of the crowd said, Certainly, this is the Prophet. (41) Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, What, does the Christ come out of Galilee? (42) Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the family of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David lived? (43) So there arose a division among the crowd because of him. (John 7:40-43)

Upon hearing Jesus’ teaching, some of the crowd declares, “This is the prophet!” (verse 40) They are referring to the prophet whom Moses foretold would come (note Deuteronomy 18:15). Others declare, “This is the Christ!” (verse 41a) They rightly identify Jesus as the Messiah Himself, although they did not truly understand His mission. Still others said, “No, he cannot be the Christ, for the Christ does not come out of Galilee.” The Old Testament Scripture prophesied that the Christ, the Messiah, would come from Bethlehem (note Micah 5:2).

5. In the midst of all this confusion and perplexity on the part of the people, how does Jesus demonstrate that He in fact is the Messiah? Compare John 7:10 and 14 (printed below) with Malachi 3:1b (printed below).

But after his brothers had gone up to the Feast, then he also went up—not publicly, but secretly… (14) At the mid-point of the Feast Jesus went up to the temple courts, and taught… (John 7:10,14)

…the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple (Malachi 3:1b)

In the midst of all this confusion, Jesus is in control; quietly, but dramatically, He verifies the fact that He is the Messiah. During the time that this great feast was being celebrated Jesus suddenly appeared in the temple, just as had been prophesied about the Messiah (note Malachi 3:1b). Also, unbeknown to the people, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He was of the lineage of David, and He is the incarnate Son of God (as was prophesied in Micah 5:2). We may be assured that Christ is in charge—despite the fact that confusion may reign among men or in our own lives.