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John 7:40-53 - The Divided Response To Jesus

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A.     Who Do Men Say That I Am?

1.       The People’s Divided Response (v.40-44)

a)        Many said, “Truly this is the prophet” (v.40):

The Coming Messiah (Deut.18:15,18 cf. Acts 3:22-23; 7:37). 

1)        Jesus and Moses were alike in several ways:(v.15a)

(a)      Both received and preached divine revelation & lead their people.

(b)      Both were spared death as a baby (Ex.2:1-10; Matt. 2:13–23)

(c)      Both gave up a royalty & chose to suffer (Heb. 11:24–27; Phil. 2:5–8)

(d)      Both had compassion on their people (Num. 27:17; Matt. 9:36)

(e)      Both made intercession for the people (Deut. 9:18; Heb. 7:25)

(f)       Both spoke with God face to face (Ex. 34:29, 30; 2 Cor. 3:7)

(g)      Both were the mediator of a covenant (Deut. 29:1; Heb. 8:6, 7).

2)        Jesus was “from their midst” “among His brethren” just like Moses (v.15b, 18)

(a)      Jesus’ own brothers did not believe in Him (John 7:3-5).  He also had some half sisters who were not named (Matthew 13:55-56).

(b)      Their unbelief (v.5) is a fulfillment of Prophecy concerning Jesus: Psalm 69:8 says: “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children” (Psalm 69:8)… John writes in the first chapter that, “He came to His own and His did not receive Him (Jn.1:10-13).

(c)      There are those who said that He was “out of His mind” (Mark 3:21). & were even offended at Him (Matt.13:55).  Jesus told them that He came in His Father name and they would not receive Him (John 5:43). 

(d)      Moses was also rejected but God intervened:

1.         Miriam and Aaron (Numbers 12:1-3); Rebellion of Korah Numbers 16:1ff

(e)      The mark of a true prophet is that everything predicted comes to pass 100 percent correct!

3)        Both Moses and Jesus spoke the Words of God (v.18b)

(a)      Moses spoke God’s word because, God put His Words in his mouth (Exodus 4:10-15)

(b)      Jesus spoke the very words of God (John 14:10; 24)

(c)      The Holy Spirit teaches us all things & brings to remembrance (John 14:26; Luke 12:11-12)

b)        Others said: “This is the Christ (v.41a). The words “Christ” (christos) and “Messiah” are the same word.

1)        Messiah is the Hebrew word and Christ is the Greek word.

(a)      Both words refer to the same person and mean the same thing: the anointed one.

(b)      The Messiah is the anointed one of God. Matthew said Jesus “is called Christ” (Matthew 1:16); that is, He is recognized as the anointed one of God, the Messiah Himself.

2)        The Messiah was thought to be several things.

(a)      Nationally, He was to be the leader from David’s line who would free the Jewish state and establish it as an independent nation, leading it to be the greatest nation the world had ever known.

(b)      Militarily, He was to be a great military leader who would lead Jewish armies victoriously over the entire world.

(c)      Religiously, He was to be a supernatural figure straight from God who would bring righteousness over all the earth.

(d)      Personally, He was to be the One who would bring peace to the whole world.

1.         Jesus Christ accepted the title of Messiah on three different occasions (Matthew 16:17; Mark 14:61; John 4:26).

2.         The name Jesus shows Him to be man. The name Christ shows Him to be God’s anointed, God’s very own Son.

3.         Christ is Jesus’ official title. It identifies Him officially as Prophet (Deut. 18:15-19 cf, Acts 3:22-23), Priest (Psalm 110:4), and King (2 Samuel 7:12-13).


3)        These Officials were Always Anointed with Oil:

(a)      Samuel signified God’s choice of the young shepherd boy, David, to be the future king, replacing disobedient Saul (1 Sam.16:13; 10:1).

(b)      This is the way the high priests were put in their offices (Exod.28:41).

(c)      Elijah anointed his Elisha with oil before he was taken up into heaven (1 Kings 19:16).

(d)      A symbol of the Holy Spirit who was to perfectly anoint the Christ, the Messiah (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-33).

c)         Some: Questioned His birthplace and misinterpreted Scripture (v.41b-43)

1)        Will the Christ come out of Galilee (v.41)… seed of David… town of Bethlehem (v.42)

(a)      The crowd decided that Jesus could not be the Messiah since Micah's prophecy said the Messiah would come from Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and Jesus came from Nazareth. 

(b)      Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matt.2:2; Luke 2:1-4) but grew up in Nazareth.

(c)      He was of the seed (lineage) of David: Prophecy (2Sam. 7:12–13, 16; Ps. 89:3–4; Ps. 89:20, 27–29; Ps. 132:11; Jer. 23:5; Jer. 33:14–15) & Fulfillment (Matt. 21:9; Matt. 22:42; John 7:42; Acts 13:22–23; Rom. 1:3)

d)        There was division among the people (v.43)

1)        Jesus Said “He Did Not Come To Bring Peace On Earth But A Sword” (Matt.10:34-36).

(a)      A sword divides and severs. Jesus will divide many human relationships.    

(b)      As a result of His coming to earth, some children would be set against parents and a man’s enemies might be those within his own household:

I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled… Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”  (Luke 12:49-53)

(c)      This Is Because: Some Who Follow Christ Are Hated By Their Family Members.

1.         This may be part of the cost of discipleship, for love of family should not be greater than love for the Lord (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26,33).   

e)         Some: Wanted to take Him & do away with Him but no one laid hands on Him (v.44). 

1)        They considered Jesus a threat. 

(a)      They feared they would lose their position, authority & power, & they envied Jesus.  The Jews could not kill Him before God’s perfect timing and plan was ready (Gal. 4:4).

(b)      There are those today who want to just do away with Jesus by:

1.         Not thinking about Him or making a real decision (Matt.12:30).

2.       The Rulers’ Response (v.45-53)

a)        They are frustrated by the military (7:45-49)

1)        The Officers were sent to arrest Jesus, (v.32) but came back empty-handed, saying, “We have never heard anyone talk like this (v.46)!”

2)        You nerds!  Were the ones with the education scholarship degrees and were not believing in Him.  You don’t know, you don’t have the knowledge that we have this is why you are being deceived (1 Corinthians 8:1-knowledge puffs up)


b)        They are frustrated by a member (7:50-53)

1)        One Of Their Own Members, Nicodemus, Now Stands Up For Jesus (50-51)

(a)      Nic came first at midnight, now at twilight, then in John 19:38ff at daylight.  He finally sees and understands, when?  At the cross of Jesus Christ. 

(b)      We Must Have Proper Judgment (Exodus 23:1; Deut.1:16-17; 1Tim.5:19)

1.         He’s Bringing Up A Point Of Law Here. They were guilty of violating the law. You could not judge a man until he had first had his say. They have made judgments of Him. They had not given Him an opportunity to answer their issues or their questions.

2.         Revelation 12:10 Satan is the accuser of the brethren

a.         Revelation 20:2 - - Devil and Satan.  “Devil” comes from a Gr. verb meaning “to slander” or “to falsely accuse.” He is a malignant liar (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8).

b.         James 3:13-18 - - When we are slandering we are a tool of Satan.

c.         Love believes & hopes all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

(c)      They made their judgment On Incomplete Information, Just As Some Today Do.  

1.         The only facts some people have are the facts that are told to them by the enemies of Jesus.  They have not examined all the evidence for themselves, they only repeat what someone else had said about the Bible.  (John 20:24-29)    

2.         Other people have made wrong judgments because those who say they know Jesus didn’t act in a Christ like way.

3.         But there is not excuse for bad judgments, its up to you to determine what are the facts about Jesus Christ & the only way you can do that intelligently is to study the Bible. 

2)        They Rejected Nicodemus’ Questions, Misinterpreting Scripture (V.52)

(a)      Jesus was not birthed in Galilee, but in Bethlehem and moved to Galilee as a young child

(b)      They forgot about Jonah the prophet from Galilee (2 Kings 14:25; Jonah 1:1)

In fact, a prophet had risen from Galilee. Jonah, who was a type of Jesus Christ came from Gath Hepher, which was three miles north of Nazareth in Lower Galilee (2 Kings 14:25).

3)        Don’t let anyone try and “snow you” Be a Bearean check things out (Acts 17:1)

c)         Went to their own houses: Lived as always (v.53)

Many will go to church, hear the Word of God, leave and live like they always have!

d)        But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives (8:1)

1)        They all had houses, beds, families to go to, but not Jesus (Matt.8:20; Is.53:2-3; 2Cor.8:9; John 1:11)

2)        Jesus did go home, home to Him was spending time with the Father! 


(Matthew 16:14-17)


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