John 7:25-26 (NIV) 25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?
On verses 25-26: Some in Jerusalem wondered why the Jerusalem authorities were allowing Jesus to preach publicly if they considered him to be public enemy number 1 (v25-26). By not doing anything seemingly to stop Jesus, the religious leaders were seen by some as possibly approving of Jesus’ claims. What can we learn from this? When you’re silent on an issue, you may give others the impression that you accept the status quo as being okay. May you have wisdom to know when to speak up and when to remain silent, and when you do speak up, may you speak up with wisdom.
John 7:27 (NIV) 27 But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
On verse 27: Some people in Jerusalem apparently grew up being taught that when “the Christ” – that is, the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for – comes, no one will know where he is from. Thus they concluded that Jesus was not the Messiah, since they thought they knew where Jesus came from.
Here’s the problem with their reasoning: the idea that when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from is not in the Bible. At best this teaching represents a half-truth and at worst is a false and misleading idea born out of ill-informed teaching. The fact is that the Old Testament does speak about where the Messiah would come from. For example, Micah 5:2 states: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
In other words, the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) prophesied that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Thus the belief espoused by some people in Jerusalem that when the Messiah comes no one will know where he is from is not found in Scripture.
What can we learn from this? You will hear different people claim that the Bible says this or that, but the question is: can they back it up? Sometimes well-meaning people can make completely wrong assumptions about what the Bible says about God or Jesus because they have not thoroughly checked what the Bible actually says. Don’t make the same mistake. Check the things you believe and hear against what the Bible actually says.
John 7:28-29 (NIV) 28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”
On verses 28-29: Despite people being able to know that Jesus was a Jew born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and living in Galilee, there was an aspect of Jesus’ origins that no one could know personally, and that had to with his divinity. No one in Jerusalem could know where Jesus was from insofar as Jesus was sent from heaven and no one else could say that they know where heaven is.
John 7:30 (NIV) 30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come.
On verse 30: Jesus’ critics were not able to lay a hand on Jesus because Jesus’ “time had not yet come”. Like John 2:4 and John 7:6-8, this verse focuses on how God the Father had an appointed time for certain things to happen in His Son’s life, such as when he would be handed over to his enemies. The time for Jesus to be apprehended simply had not yet arrived.
What can we learn from this? You can’t fight God’s timing. When God determines that something will happen, it will happen no matter how much you fight it. When God determines that something will not happen, it will not happen no matter how much you fight for it.
John 7:31-36 (NIV) 31 Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, “When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?” 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. 33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36 What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
On verses 31-36: Many Jews in the crowd thought they had Jesus all figured out when in fact they didn’t. They thought they knew where Jesus was from (v27) when in fact they didn’t grasp it fully.
They were also confused by the things Jesus said like, “You will look for me but you will not find me, and where I am, you cannot come” (v34). What did Jesus mean by that anyway? I believe Jesus meant that one day Jesus would return to heaven (v33) and that from that point forward his critics would not be able to find him on earth, nor in their sin and unbelief would they be able to go to heaven where Jesus is.
What can we learn from this? Jesus said a bunch of things that are hard to understand unless you know Jesus. So if you’re having a tough time understanding certain things that Jesus says, treat it as a signal to get to know Jesus better. The more you study the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit, the more you spend time in the presence of God’s Word and God’s Spirit, the more you’ll get to know Jesus and understand some of the more difficult statements He made.
Lord Jesus, whenever I hear others talk about You, may I be careful to measure what they say against what Your Word actually says, so that I would not be misled. May I know You better through Your Word every day. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!