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The Fourfold Gospel

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7:1  And after these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Judaea, because the Jews sought to kill him1.

    JESUS FAILS TO ATTEND THE THIRD PASSOVER: SCRIBES REPROACH HIM FOR DISREGARDING TRADITION. (Galilee, probably Capernaum, Spring A.D. 29.) Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23; John 7:1

  1. And after these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Judaea, because the Jews sought to kill him. John told us in his last chapter that the passover was near at hand. He here makes a general statement which shows that Jesus did not attend this passover. The reason for his absence is given at John 5:18.

7:2  Now the feast of the Jews, the feast of tabernacles, was at hand1.

    JESUS' BROTHERS ADVISE HIM TO GO TO JERUSALEM. (Galilee, probably Capernaum.) John 7:2-9

  1. Now the feast of the Jews, the feast of tabernacles, was at hand. sought for his life. This keeping away or seclusion began at the Passover season, and led Jesus not only to keep away from Judea, but even to hover upon the outskirts of Galilee itself. The seclusion is described in Section 65-71. See topic 9007|. We now turn back to take up with John the narrative which tells how, after his six months' retirement, Jesus prepared to appear once more in Judea. The Feast of Tabernacles began on the fifteenth day of the month Tisri, which answers to our September-October, and consequently came six months after and six months before the Passover. It was the most joyous of the two great feasts, and not only commemorated the time when Israel dwelt in the wilderness in tents, but also celebrated the harvest home. It was, therefore, a thanksgiving both for permanent abodes and for the year's crops. As the people dwelt in booths, the feast partook much of the form and merriment of a picnic.

7:3  His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea1, that thy disciples also may behold thy works which thou doest2.

    John 7:3,4

  1. Depart hence, and go into Judaea. When we consider how Jesus had withdrawn into the regions of Tyre, Sidon, Decapolis, and Caesarea Philippi, and with what assiduity he had avoided crowds and concealed miracles, these words become very plain.

  2. That thy disciples also may behold thy works which thou doest. The twelve had been instructed sufficiently to confess his Messiahship, but thousands of his disciples had not seen a miracle in six months.

7:4  For no man doeth anything in secret, and himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou doest these things, manifest thyself to the world1.

  1. If thou doest these things, manifest thyself to the world. To his brothers such secrecy seemed foolish on the part of one who was ostensibly seeking to be known. They were not disposed to credit the miracles of Jesus, but insisted that if he could work them he ought to do so openly.

7:5  For even his brethren did not believe on him1.

  1. For even his brethren did not believe on him. The verse explodes the idea that the parties known in the New Testament as our Lord's brothers were the sons of Alphaeus and cousins to Jesus. The sons of Alphaeus had long since been numbered among the apostles, while our Lord's brothers were still unbelievers. As to his brothers, see

7:6  Jesus therefore saith unto them, My time is not yet come; but your time is always ready.

  1. My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. Jesus is answering a request that he manifest himself. The great manifestation of his cross and resurrection could not properly take place before the Passover, which was still six months distant. But his brothers, having no message and no manifestation, could show themselves at Jerusalem any time.

7:7  The world cannot hate you1; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that its works are evil2.

  1. The world cannot hate you. The world cannot hate you because you are in mind and heart a part of it, and it cannot hate itself.

  2. But me it hateth, because I testify of it, that its works are evil. It hates those who are not of it, and who rebuke its sins and oppose its ways.

7:8  Go ye up unto the feast: I go not up unto this feast; because my time is not yet fulfilled1.

  1. I go not up unto this feast; because my time is not yet fulfilled. He did go to the feast, but he did not go up to manifest himself, as his brothers asked, and hence, in the sense in which they made the request, he did not go up. Six months later, at the Passover, he manifested himself by the triumphal entry somewhat as his brothers wished.

7:10  But when his brethren were gone up unto the feast, then went he also up, not publicly, but as it were in secret1.

    THE PRIVATE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM. (Through Samaria. Probably September, A.D. 29.) Luke 9:51-56; John 7:10

  1. Then went he also up, not publicly, but as it were in secret. The secrecy of this journey consists in the fact that Jesus did not join the caravans or pilgrim bands, and that he did not follow the usual Perean route, but went directly through Samaria.

7:11  The Jews therefore sought him at the feast1, and said, Where is he?

    IN THE TEMPLE AT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. (October, A.D. 29.) John 7:11-52

  1. The Jews therefore sought him at the feast. It was now eighteen months since Jesus had visited Jerusalem, at which time he had healed the impotent man at Bethesda. His fame and prolonged obscurity made his enemies anxious for him to again expose himself in their midst. John here used the word "Jews" as a designation for the Jerusalemites, who, as enemies of Christ, were to be distinguished from the multitudes who were in doubt about him, and who are mentioned in John 7:12.

7:12  And there was much murmuring among the multitudes concerning him1: some said, He is a good man; others said, Not so, but he leadeth the multitude astray.

  1. There was much murmuring among the multitudes concerning him. The vast crowd disputed as groups rather than individuals. The inhabitants of some towns were disposed to unite in his defense, while those from other towns would concur in condemning him.

7:13  Yet no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews1.

  1. Yet no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews. They would not commit themselves upon a question so important until the Sanhedrin had given its decision.

7:14  But when it was now the midst of the feast1 Jesus went up into the temple, and taught2.

  1. But when it was now the midst of the feast. As the feast lasted eight days, the middle of it would be from the third to the fifth day.

  2. Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. Though Jesus had come up quietly to prevent public demonstrations in his favor, he now taught boldly and openly in the very stronghold of his enemies. His sudden appearance suggests the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1.

7:15  The Jews therefore marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned1?

  1. How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? The enemies of Christ were content to know but little about him, and now when they heard him they could not restrain their astonishment at his wisdom. By "letters" was meant the written law and the unwritten traditions which were taught in the great theological schools at Jerusalem. The same Greek word, "gramma", is translated "learning" at Acts 26:24. No one was expected to teach without having passed through such a course. Skeptics of our day assert that Jesus derived his knowledge from the schools, but the school teachers who are supposed to have taught him complained of him that he was not their scholar, and surely they ought to have known.

7:16  Jesus therefore answered them and said, My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me.

  1. My teching is not mine, but his that sent me. Seeing the Jews inquiring as to the source of his wisdom, Jesus explains that it was given him of God, and was therefore not derived from any school.

7:17  If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching1, whether it is of God, or [whether] I speak from myself.

  1. If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching,
  2. whether it is of God, or [whether] I speak from myself. Those who would test thee divinity of the doctrine of Christ cannot do so by rendering a mere mechanical obedience to his teaching. A willing, heartfelt obedience is essential to a true knowledge of his doctrine. Such a disposition makes a good and honest heart in which the seeds of his kingdom must inevitably grow. But a spirit of disobedience is the general source of all skepticism.

7:18  He that speaketh from himself seeketh his own glory1: but he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

  1. He that speaketh from himself seeketh his own glory. Those who bear their own message seek their own glory. Those who bear God's message seek God's glory, and such seeking destroys egotism.

7:19  Did not Moses give you the law, and [yet] none of you doeth the law? Why seek ye to kill me1?

  1. Why seek ye to kill me? The point he makes here is that their seeking to kill him was proof that they were not keeping the law.

7:20  The multitude answered, Thou hast a demon: who seeketh to kill thee1?

  1. Thou hast a demon: who seeketh to kill thee? The multitude had sought to kill him at his last visit (John 7:1), and it now affects to deny it. Wild notions and extraordinary conduct indicated insanity, and insanity was usually attributed to demoniacal possession. Compare insanely preposterous, and their words savored more of roughness and irreverence than of malignant unkindness.

7:21  Jesus answered and said unto them, I did one work, and ye all marvel because thereof1.

  1. I did one work, and ye all marvel because thereof. Jesus forbears to speak further as to the plot to murder him, knowing that time would reveal it. but refers to the miracle performed on the Sabbath day at Bethesda eighteen months before, which gave rise to the plot to kill him (John 5:16-18). A reference to the excitement at that time would recall to the thoughtful the evidence and bitter hostility which the Jerusalemites had then manifested.

7:22  Moses hath given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers); and on the sabbath ye circumcise a man1.

  1. And on the sabbath ye circumcise a man. The law which said that no work must be done on the Sabbath day was in conflict with the law which said that a child must be circumcised on the eighth day, whenever that eighth day happened to fall on the Sabbath. It was a case of a specific command making "exception" to the greater law (Exodus 20:10; Leviticus 12:3).

7:23  If a man receiveth circumcision on the sabbath, that the law of Moses may not be broken1; are ye wroth with me, because I made a man every whit whole on the sabbath2?

  1. If a man receiveth circumcision on the sabbath, that the law of Moses may not be broken. Circumcision was great because it purified legally a portion of the body.

  2. Are ye wroth with me, because I made a man every whit whole on the sabbath? But the healing worked by Jesus was greater, for it renewed the whole man.

7:24  Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment1.

  1. Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment. If the act of Christ in healing a man were judged as a mere act, it might be considered a breach of the Sabbath. But if the nature of the act be taken into account and all the laws relative to it be considered--in short, if it be judged righteously in all bearings--it would be amply justified.

7:25  Some therefore of them of Jerusalem said, Is not this he whom they seek to kill1?

  1. Is not this he whom they seek to kill? Thus, by referring to the miracle at Bethesda, Jesus not only brought to mind the former opposition of the Jewish rulers, but he started the people of Jerusalem (who were acquainted with the present tempter of the hierarchy) to talking about the intention to kill him, thus warning the people beforehand that they would be called upon to assist in his crucifixion.

7:26  And lo, he speaketh openly, and they say nothing unto him. Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is the Christ1?

  1. Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is the Christ? The men of Jerusalem spoke more freely because the present boldness of Jesus led them to think that maybe the rulers were changing their attitude toward him.

7:27  Howbeit we know this man whence he is1: but when the Christ cometh, no one knoweth whence he is2.

  1. Howbeit we know this man whence he is. Jerusalem shared the prejudice of its rulers: its citizens felt sure that the rulers could not accept Jesus as Christ because his manner of coming did not comply with accepted theories.

  2. But when the Christ cometh, no one knoweth whence he is. Prophecy fixed upon Bethlehem as the birthplace and the line of David as the family of the Christ, but the Jews, probably influenced by Isaiah 63:8, appear to have held that there would be a mystery attached to the immediate and actual parentage of the Messiah. Surely there could have been no greater mystery than the real origin of Jesus as he here outlines it to them, and as they might have fully known it to be had they chosen to investigate the meaning of his words.

7:28  Jesus therefore cried in the temple, teaching and saying, Ye both know me, and know whence I am; and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not1.

  1. And I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. Our Lord here asserts their ignorance as to his divine origin. Since he came from God, and they did not know God, they consequently did not know whence he came.

7:29  I know him; because I am from him, and he sent me1.

  1. I know him; because I am from him, and he sent me. As they expected a Messiah who would be supernaturally sent, they ought to have been satisfied with Jesus. But they had no eyes with which to discern the supernatural.

7:30  They sought therefore to take him1: and no man laid his hand on him, because his hour was not yet come2.

  1. They sought therefore to take him. Because they understood his language as referring to God and were incensed that he should so openly declare them ignorant of God.

  2. And no man laid his hand on him, because his hour was not yet come. Because it was not the will of God that he should be arrested at this time.

7:31  But of the multitude many believed on him; and they said, When the Christ shall come, will he do more signs than those which this man hath done1?

  1. When the Christ shall come, will he do more signs than those which this man hath done? Their question was an argument in favor of the Messiahship of Jesus.

7:32  The Pharisees heard the multitude murmuring these things concerning him; and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to take him2.

  1. And he chief priests and the Pharisees. That is, the Sanhedrin, described by its constituent classes.

  2. Sent officers to take him. When the Sanhedrin heard the people expressing their faith in Jesus they felt that it was time to take action.

7:33  Jesus therefore said, Yet a little while am I with you, and I go unto him that sent me1.

  1. Yet a little while am I with you, and I go unto him that sent me. Knowing their attempt to arrest him, Jesus tells them that it is not quite time for them to accomplish this purpose.

7:34  Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me1: and where I am, ye cannot come.

  1. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me. They would soon destroy Jesus; after which they would seek him in vain. Their violence would result in his return to his Father.

  2. And where I am, there ye cannot come. In the dark days which were about to come, the Jews would long for a Messiah, for the Christ whom they had failed to recognize in Jesus. They, too, would desire the heavenly rest and security of a better world, but their lack of faith would debar them from entering in. See comment at (John 8:21).

7:35  The Jews therefore said among themselves, Whither will this man go that we shall not find him1? will he go unto the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks2?

  1. Whither will this man go that we shall not find him? The "words" of Jesus were plain enough, but the assertion that he would return to God, and that such a return would be denied to them was, in their ears, too preposterous to be entertained. They therefore made light of it by construing it nonsensically.

  2. Will he go unto the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? They asked if he would go among the Jews who had been dispersed or scattered by the captivity and who had never returned to Palestine, and if, when so doing, he would teach the heathen among whom these dispersed were scattered, assuming that such teaching would certainly frustrate and render absurd his claims to be a Jewish Messiah. They little suspected that Jesus, through his apostles, would do this very thing and thereby vindicate his claim as the true Messiah of God.

7:37  Now on the last day1, the great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink2.

  1. On the last day. The eighth day.

  2. If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. If we may trust the later Jewish accounts, it was the custom during the first seven days for the priests and people in joyful procession to go to the pool of Siloam with a golden pitcher and bring water thence to pour out before the altar, in commemoration of the water which Moses brought from the rock and which typified the Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). If this is so, it is likely that the words of Jesus have some reference to this libation, and are designed to draw a contrast between the earthly water which ceases and the spiritual water which abides, similar to the contrast which he presented to the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well.

7:38  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said1, from within him shall flow rivers of living water2.

  1. As the scripture hath said. See, for example, Isaiah 58:11 Jeremiah 2:13; Jeremiah 17:13; Zechariah 14:8.

  2. From within him shall flow rivers of living water (John 4:10).

7:39  But this spake he of the Spirit1, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet [given]; because Jesus was not yet glorified.

  1. But this spake he of the Spirit. The first and second chapters of the Book of Acts is the best comment upon this passage. When Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father and was glorified, he sent forth the Spirit upon his apostles on the day of Pentecost, and the apostles in turn promised the gift of the Spirit to all who would believe, repent, and be baptized.

7:40  [Some] of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, This is of a truth the prophet1.

  1. This is of a truth the prophet. Some of the well-disposed toward Jesus, seeing the boldness with which he proclaimed himself, asserted that he was the prophet spoken of by Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15), which prophet was thought by some to be the Messiah himself, and by others to be no more than the Messiah's forerunner.

7:41  Others said, This is the Christ1. But some said, What, doth the Christ come out of Galilee2?

  1. Others said, This is the Christ. Still others of the multitude went further and asserted that he was the Christ.

  2. But some said, What, doth the Christ come out of Galilee? These latter were confronted by those who contended that Jesus was not born in the right place nor of the right family. These did not know that he had satisfied the very objections which they named.

7:42  Hath not the scripture said that the Christ cometh of the seed of David1, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was2?

  1. Hath not the scripture said that the Christ cometh of the seed of David. See 2 Samuel 7:16; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Psalms 89:36.

  2. And from Bethlehem, the village where David was? See Micah 5:2.

7:44  And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him1.

  1. And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. We note here that the enmity of the rulers which had been taken up by the men of Jerusalem (John 7:30) had now reached a faction even of the multitude, so that it desired his arrest, but was restrained from acting.

7:45  The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees1; and they said unto them, Why did ye not bring him2?

  1. The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees. That is, to those that had sent them (John 7:32).

  2. And they said unto them, Why did ye not bring him? These officers were temple police or Levites, under direction of the chief priests. The words suggest that the Sanhedrin was assembled and waiting for the return of the officers. An extraordinary proceeding for so great a day, but no more extraordinary than that assembly at the feast of the Passover which met and condemned Jesus six months later.

7:46  The officers answered, Never man so spake1.

  1. Never man so spake. Their report has passed into a saying, which is as true now as when first spoken.

7:47  The Pharisees therefore answered them, Are ye also led astray1?

    John 7:47-49

  1. Are ye also led astray? This rebuke to the officers may be paraphrased thus: You are to respect the authority of the officers and the judgment of the Pharisees, but you have permitted yourselves to be influenced by a multitude which rests under a curse because of its ignorance.

7:50  Nicodemus saith unto them (he that came to him before, being one of them),

  1. Nicodemus . . . being one of them. Therefore able to speak from a position of equality. See John 3:1.

7:51  Doth our law judge a man, except it first hear from himself and know what he doeth1?

  1. Doth our law judge a man, except it first hear from himself and know what he doeth? Nicodemus bids these proud rulers note that they were breaking the very law which they extolled (Exodus 23:1; Deuteronomy 1:16).

7:52  They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee1? Search, and see that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet2.

  1. Art thou also of Galilee? They laid the lash to the pride of Nicodemus by classing him with the Galileans who formed the main body of Jesus' disciples, thus separating him from the true Jews.

  2. Search, and see that out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. There is no clear evidence that any of the prophets save Jonah was from the district at this time called Galilee, and this fact would justify the hasty demand of the objectors, who were not very scrupulous as to accuracy.

7:53  [And they went every man unto his own house:

    THE STORY OF THE ADULTERESS. (Jerusalem.) John 7:53-8:11

    NOTE.--This section is wanting in nearly all older manuscripts, but Jerome (A.D. 346-420) says that in his time it was contained in "many Greek and Latin manuscripts", and these must have been as good or better than the best manuscripts we now possess. But whether we regard it as part of John's narrative or not, scholars very generally accept it as a genuine piece of history.

  1. [And they went every man unto his own house]. Confused by the question of Nicodemus, the assembly broke up and each man went home.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 7". "The Fourfold Gospel". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/tfg/view.cgi?book=joh&chapter=007>. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.  

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