Abiding in Jesus' Word - Fundamental & Necessary

I am struck by how seemingly poor a job Christians do at abiding in Jesus' word. In fact, to most men  in the church R-E-A-D is not a suggestion from Jesus but an offensive 4-letter word. The following is a fleshing out of an outline I did a few weeks ago. The topic is so important I felt I had to address it again.

John 8:31–32 (ESV) — 31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

What is abiding in Jesus’ word?

D.A. Carson simply says:
• “A genuine believer remains in Jesus’ ‘word’,[and] his teaching: i.e. [the believer] obeys it, seeks to understand it better, and finds it more precious, more controlling, precisely when other forces flatly oppose it” – D.A. Carson.

What are Jesus’ Words or some topics Jesus’ teaches on?

My Sunday School class is in the Gospel of John and is about to finish John 8.
• In the first 8 chapters of John, some highlights of Jesus’ teachings are:
    o His relationship to the Father.
    o Depravity of man.
    o Nature of the work of God in salvation.
    o His identity with Yahweh as found in His “I am” statements.
    o His looking forward to being “lifted up” to the Cross.

Can we consider the entire NT to be Jesus’ words?

If you think it is, why?

The Chain of Custody:
• The following verses make clear that there was a “chain of custody” in the revelation of God’s word.
• As you will see, this chain of custody confirms that the NT writers spoke the Words of God and thus Jesus!
• Just as crime scene evidence is tagged and bagged so that it is not contaminated.
• God provided a way to transmit His word through the NT writers so that it was still His and not “contaminated”.

(1) First Link in the Chain of Custody – God the Father.
• John 14:10 (ESV) — 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.
• John 12:49 (ESV) — 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.
    o Jesus identifies that the authority and source of His words comes from the Father.

(2) Second Link in the Chain of Custody – Jesus Christ.
• John 17:8 (ESV) — 8 For I [Jesus] have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.
    o Jesus reveals that he gave the words he received to the disciples.
    o Therefore the authority and source rooted in the Father remain uncorrupted as Jesus Himself transmits the words to the disciples.

(3) Third Link in the Chain of Custody – Holy Spirit
• John 14:26 (ESV) — 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
• John 16:13–14 (ESV) — 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

So the “Chain of Custody” of God’s Word looks like this:
• Father – Source and Authority of His Word and Gave it to Jesus
• Jesus – Given the Words and Authority by the Father and Passed them on to NT writers
• Holy Spirit – Protected and Gave the words spoken by Jesus to the NT writers
• NT writers – Received both their Words and Authority from Jesus with the aid of the Holy Spirit

So all of it is Jesus’ Words!

Why abide in Jesus’ Word?
• Genuine faith “perseveres [and] holds tight to Jesus’ teaching, with some glorious consequences” – D.A. Carson.

Glorious Consequences of Abiding in Jesus’ Word:
(1) God’s word contains eternal life
• John 5:24 (ESV) — 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

(2) God’s word produces knowledge that averts destruction.
• Hosea 4:6 (ESV) — 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

(3) God’s word testifies to truth of Jesus Christ.
• John 5:39–40 (ESV) — 39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

(4) God’s word contributes to our sanctification.
• Acts 20:32 (ESV) — 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

(5) God’s word exposes where we cling to the flesh in our heart and mind.
• Hebrews 4:12 (ESV) — 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

(6) God’s word produces joy and delight.
• Jeremiah 15:16 (ESV) — 16 "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart.”

(7) God’s word gives a proper spiritual perspective to a material world.
• Psalm 119:72 (ESV) — 72 The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.

(8) God’s word exposes deception and worldliness.
• Colossians 2:8 (ESV) — 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
• Ephesians 4:14 (ESV) — 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

(9) God’s word protects us from ourselves.
• Mark 7:8-9 (ESV) — 8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” 9 And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!

This is by no means an exhaustive list.
• But it makes clear why faith in Jesus and abiding in His word are an inseparable indication of authenticity.

Did the NT writers set an example of abiding in God’s word?

OT use in the NT:
• The NT contains roughly 312 direct OT citations and thousands of OT allusions – Walter Kaiser.
• The only books of the NT without any direct quote or allusion to OT texts are Philemon and 2 & 3 John.

Examples of NT writer’s abiding:
It informed their theology:
• Romans 4:2–3 (ESV) — 2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”

It informed their painful circumstances:
• Romans 15:4 (ESV) — 4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

It informed their understanding that the Gospel is present in the OT:
• Galatians 3:8 (ESV) — 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.”

It informed their view of salvation:
• Romans 10:11–13 (ESV) — 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

It informed their view of the relationship between the OT and NT:
• Acts 24:14 (ESV) — 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets,

It informed their evangelism:
• Romans 10:15 (ESV) — 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

It informed their view of worldly wisdom:
• 1 Corinthians 1:19 (ESV) — 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

It informed their view of economic issues:
• 1 Corinthians 9:8–10 (ESV) — 8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned? 10 Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.

It informed their view of Jesus:
• Romans 1:1–4 (ESV) — 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

It informed their apologetics:
• Acts 18:28 (ESV) — 28 for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

It informed their view of mans’ condition before God:
• Romans 3:9–12 (ESV) — 9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

Concerning the example set by the NT writers:
• “The point is clear by now: the interweaving of phrases and lines from the Old Testament by the New Testament writers with their own words and literary styles shows how the very fabric of their thought was immersed in the language and teaching of the earlier Testament” – Walter Kaiser.

Challenge For Us:
So we must ask ourselves, is the very fabric of our thoughts immersed in Scripture like the NT writers?

Do we treat Scripture as it demands to be treated?

If we agree with Jeremiah (15:16) that "Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart”, does our relationship with God’s word demonstrate this?

If we agree with Hosea (4:6) that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”, do we seek to grown in our knowledge of God’s word in a deep and abiding way or just devotionally and/or not at all?

A final thought:
The Bible tethers us to reality. We are not free to think and speak whatever might enter our minds or what might be pleasing to any given audience—except God” – John Piper.


John 8:12-20 – Location, Location, Location of the Light

Last week we learned about the significance of the Feast of Booths and the water-pouring rite to Jesus’ living water statements.
• We ended the lesson with the Jeremiah 2:13.
• Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV) — 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
• We discussed how rejecting Jesus’ “fountain of living waters” is to make one’s own counterfeit water source – a broken cistern.
• Today we transition from the water to light.
• And specifically, where the light came from.

John 8:12–20 (ESV) — 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.


John 8:12 (ESV) — 12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

This is the second of the seven “I am” sayings in John’s gospel.
• The first one we covered in John 6:35 – “I am the bread of life”.
• Here Jesus states, “I am the light of the world”.
• We covered this quite a bit when we studied John 1:4–5 (ESV) — 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

A quick summary of that lesson:
At that time we considered the following point and a question that stemmed from it.
• Light is that which is “emitted form a luminous body” – Strongs.
What, then, is contained or “emitted” in the light of Jesus Christ and what does it illuminate?
• To answer that question we looked at several bible verses – Psalm 27:1; Psalm 36:9; Psalm 119:105; John 12:46; 1 John 1:5; 2 Timothy 1:10, etc.
• We found that at a minimum Jesus’ light, “emits salvation, truth, holiness, and it illuminates or reveals darkness (sin)”.
• Through His light, Jesus brings “salvation, truth and holiness to destroy the stronghold of the darkness of sin and it consequences”.

Certainly more can be said about this topic, but we will move on and focus on the remainder of our verses.


John 8:13 (ESV) — 13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.”

Interestingly, the Pharisees state that Jesus has a witness problem; a person cannot bear witness about himself.
• As we discussed with respect to our lesson on Paul’s apologetic in Acts 22:
• (1) Jewish law requires that at least two or three witnesses are necessary (Deut. 19:15).
• (2) The quality and relationship of the witnesses must be established and examined (The Jewish Law Annual).

The Pharisees are merely pointing out that Jesus is bearing witness to Himself and this is an invalid witness.
• Jesus’ response in the next few verses is where the conversation gets very interesting!


John 8:14–18 (ESV) — 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”

Jesus seems to concede, on the face of it anyway, to their point when He says, “Even if I do…”.
• However, He suggests that even if the Pharisees point can be construed as a valid one, it does not apply in His case.
• We know this because He immediately tells the Pharisees that His “testimony is true”; He is the “light of the world”.
• We could simply end with D.A. Carson’s observation about Jesus’ testimony – “light cannot but attest to its own presence; otherwise put, it bears witness to itself, and its source is entirely supportive of that witness” – D.A. Carson.
• But there is so much more going here I am compelled to dive deeper.
• So, as we unpack His reasoning for stating His testimony is true, we will uncover some profound truths about Jesus’ view of Himself and John’s Christology.

If we look closely, Jesus implies that His claim “I am the light of the world” is true because of:
• (1) “where I came from
• (2) “where I am going”.
• He even goes on to condemn the Pharisees’ because they “do not know where”.
    o In other words, the problem is not Jesus “bearing witness” but the Pharisees ignorance of the “where”.
• The “where” is what validates His bearing witness about Himself.

John 8:15 (ESV) — 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.
• In verse 15, alluding to “right judgment” from John 7, He suggests that not knowing the “where” is related to a lack of right judgment, a.k.a., judging “according to the flesh”.
• Or in John speak, the Pharisees are not “born again” and have not been “drawn” by the Father and “given” to Jesus.
• This is the at least the 3rd time Jesus has explained someone’s unbelief to us.
• And with respect to His words “I judge no one”, we covered this when we dealt with John 3:17 (ESV) — 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
• Suffice it to say that Jesus does judge, but He does not judge according to the flesh (D.A. Carson).

John 8:16 (ESV) — 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me.
• Interestingly, Jesus says even if He did judge “according to the flesh” His judgment would be “true” because of His relationship with the Father.
• This statement also reiterates the importance of the “where” because in stating that it was the “Father who sent” Jesus, He is making it clear that both He and the “where” are identified with the Father.

John 8:17–18 (ESV) — 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.”
• Jesus then explicitly concedes that He knows the witness standard spoken of by the Pharisees.
• And playing their game, He brings the (3) crucial elements of His argument together.
    o “where
    o the Father
    o Himself
• He makes the remarkable statement that “the Father” who “sent” Him bears witness “about Him” – He has two witnesses.


John 8:19 (ESV) — 19 They said to him therefore, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

Acknowledging the importance of “the Father” who “sent” and how they bear on Jesus’ testimony, the Pharisees ask a simple question.
• “Where is your Father?
• “If this ‘where’ is so important where is it so we can go question your Father”, they might be thinking.
• In usual fashion, Jesus’ holds them accountable for their ignorance.
• Jesus cuts this line of reasoning off immediately by suggesting that they would know the answer to this question if they knew that Jesus was “the light of the world”.
• But they don’t and nothing Jesus says will make any difference.

So having understood this encounter, we need to now understand for ourselves the “where”.


So what is the “where” that Jesus came from and was going to and why is it so significant to Jesus’ identity?
• The source for most of this discussion is Richard Bauckham’s book – Jesus and the God of Israel.

OT Background:
We first have to check out two of the most important OT verses to the NT writers.
• Psalm 110:1 (ESV) — 1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
    o Most quoted OT text in NT - 21 quotes or allusions.
• Isaiah 52:13 (ESV) — 13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted.

In these two verses, which the NT writers’ see as directly referring to Jesus Christ, we see some crucial clues about the “where” and its significance to Jesus’ identity.
• (1) He is called Yahweh
• (2) He sits at the right hand of the Father
• (3) He will be lifted up
• (4) He shall be exalted

So the “where” is the exalted right hand of the Father.
• This is where Jesus is come from and where he is going.

What is so significant and meant by exalted to the right hand of God?
• “There, seated with God on God’s throne, Jesus exercises or participates in God’s unique sovereignty over the whole cosmos” – Richard Bauckham.
• This is powerful Jewish symbolism of the Messiah’s divinity.
• Only God is Ruler and Sovereign over creation.
• And the Messiah, the Suffering Servant, is pictured in these verses as being at the place where only the Ruler and Sovereign of creation is.

In other words, as taught by the NT writers:
• (1) Jesus is sovereign Ruler over all things
• (2) Jesus shares God’s exaltation over all things as Creator
• (3) Jesus is the divine name Yahweh – He is God
• (4) Jesus as Yahweh is worthy of worship as only God is

But John takes it up a notch.
• He makes clear that the cross of Calvary is also linked to the “where”.

The examples of this in John:
John 3:14–15 (ESV) — 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
John 8:28 (ESV) — 28 So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.
John 12:32–33 (ESV) — 32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33 He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

So in John’s Gospel, “the exaltation of the Servant of which this verse speaks [Isaiah 52:13] is the whole sequence of humiliation, suffering, death and vindication beyond death which [Isaiah] 53 describes” – Richard Bauckham.
• The “where” is not just the exalted right hand of God, but also the cross.
• It is amazing to think that even the cross was a “where” where Jesus demonstrated His divinity and His relationship with the Father.
• What we see as an act of God’s grace and love to defeat death and sin on behalf of the believer through the sacrifice of His one and only perfect Son (as deep as that is) was even more than that.
• Profoundly, “the witness, the humiliation, the death and the exaltation of the Servant of the Lord is the way in which God reveals his glory and demonstrates his deity to the world” – Richard Bauchkham.
• The Place of God is both:
    o 1) Exalted and on the Throne – Ruler and Creator
    o 2) Lifted up and on the Cross – Servant and Savior

So, Jesus testimony about Himself is valid (among other obvious reasons) because of (2) “where's”:
Where #1 – the exalted right hand of the Father
Where #2 – the lifted up cross of Calvary.

To drive home the importance of the “where” symbolism futher:
Mark 16:19 (ESV) — 19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
Luke 22:69 (ESV) — 69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
Acts 2:33 (ESV) — 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
Acts 5:31 (ESV) — 31 God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 7:55-56 (ESV) — 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”
Romans 8:34 (ESV) — 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Ephesians 1:20 (ESV) — 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
Hebrews 1:3 (ESV) — 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
1 Peter 3:22 (ESV) — 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Lesson for Us:
• Jesus’ justification for His ministry, the reason it was true and right was due to who He is and where He came from and His relationship with the Father.
• This is why the “where”, the exalted right hand of God, was so important.
• For the Jew, it is an unmistakable reference to the throne of God and God’s Sovereignty.
• And for the Christian Jew, especially John, the cross of Calvary was no less a reference to God’s Sovereignty and the exalted place that only God could occupy.
• It is indescribable to consider that at a certain moment in history, God occupied at once the exalted heavenly throne and the exalted cross of Calvary.
• I am amazed that the believer is the beneficiary of this God ordained perfect storm of divinity.


John 7:37-39 – Feast of Booths and the Water Rite

We skipped Jesus’ words last week in order to continue our discussion on the Jews’ expectations and understanding of the coming Messiah.
• We looked at the guards and the Pharisees views of the Messiah specifically and dealt with the symbolism behind Nicodemus’ appearance.
• As we learned, discernment would be needed to identify Him.
• And in John 7 we saw numerous examples of this discernment in action (failed examples).
• This discernment would be done in (2) ways:
    o (1) Measuring Jesus against their understandings of the attributes of the Messiah
    o (2) Receiving a special “help” and “spiritual discernment” from God

Today we are going to deal with Jesus’ words in John 7:37-39.
• We are skipping His words in John 7:33-36 because similar words appear in John 8 and we will deal with them then.


John 7:37–39 (ESV) — 37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ ” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Why would Jesus stand up and cry out about water on the last day of the feast?
• As we learned a few weeks ago, the Feast of Booths was a 7 day feast ordained by God.
• But, interestingly, at Jesus’ time the feast had actually become more of an 8 day feast.
• This is because the eighth day became a joyful day of “sacrifices, the joyful dismantling of the booths, and the repeated singing of the Hallel (Pss. 113-118)” – D. A. Carson.
• However, it was most likely the 7th day that Jesus stood up and spoke about water.
• And this is because something called the water-pouring rite took place on the 7 days of the Feast and not the 8th.

Water-Pouring Rite
It was not part of the original command by God, but it is believed to have been in practice for a couple of hundred years before Christ.
• The rite specifically “symbolized the fertility and fruitfulness that only rain could bring” – D.A. Carson.
• Refer to pictures of the desert-like conditions that characterized Israel in order to demonstrate just how rare and important water was.
• In fact, God made it clear that the Jews would be completely reliant on Him to provide the water they so desperately needed.
    o Deuteronomy 11:13–14 (ESV) — 13 “And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the LORD your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil.
• And at a time of disobedience, Elijah had this to say:
    o 1 Kings 17:1 (ESV) — 1 Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”

Judean Desert

So, needless to say, the Jews relied on God to provide life giving water to a dry and parched land.

What exactly was the water-pouring rite?
• “On the seven days of the Feast, a golden flagon was filled with water from the pool of Siloam and was carried in a procession led by the High Priest back to the temple. As the procession approached the watergate on the south side of the inner court three blasts from the šôp̄ār—a trumpet connected with joyful occasions—were sounded. While the pilgrims watched, the priests processed around the altar with the flagon, the temple choir singing the Hallel (Pss. 113–118; cf. Mishnah Sukkah 4:9). When the choir reached Psalm 118, every male pilgrim shook a lûlāḇ (willow and myrtle twigs tied with palm) in his right hand, while his left raised a piece of citrus fruit (a sign of the ingathered harvest), and all cried ‘Give thanks to the LORD!)’ three times. The water was offered to God at the time of the morning sacrifice, along with the daily drink-offering (of wine). The wine and the water were poured into their respective silver bowls, and then poured out before the LORD” – D.A. Carson.

1st Century Flagon

So we see what the water-pouring rite is but why would Jesus stand up and cry out about water?
• This becomes plainly obvious when we understand the symbolism behind the water-pouring rite.
• (1) God’s provision of water.
• (2) A coming messianic age.
• “The Feast of Tabernacles [was] related in Jewish thought both to the LORD’s provision of water in the desert and to the LORD’s pouring out of the Spirit in the last days. Pouring at the Feast of Tabernacles refers symbolically to the messianic age in which a stream from the sacred rock would flow over the whole earth (cf. J. Jeremias, TDNT, 4. 277f.)” – D.A. Carson.

With this symbolism on display, we see why Jesus would have stood up and made His proclamation.

What about the Substance of Jesus’ Words?
If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’
• Clearly, Jesus is referring to the messianic age as symbolized by the water-pouring rite.
• But deeply layered in this symbolism, John inform us, is the Holy Spirit.
• Drinking is believing and with believing comes the water – the Holy Spirit.

John MacArthur puts it like this:
• (1) Thirsty – those who recognize their spiritual thirst and need.
• (2) Come – the thirsty see in Christ the satisfaction of their spiritual thirst and come to Him.
    o Many have realized their thirst and come to Jesus but have still been left wanting – the rich young ruler, e.g.
    o The reason is that they have not done the third thing Jesus speaks of.
• (2) Drink – trust in Christ.
    o And as John informs us, the “drinking” will be accompanied by the baptism of the Spirit at Pentecost.

We also have a direct parallel here to Jesus encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.
• John 4:10 (ESV) — 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

But what is the OT parallel Jesus is making, what verse is Jesus referring to in John 7:38 when He says “as the Scripture has said”?
• Kostenberger states that “reference is made here not to any particular passage of Scripture but to common prophetic teaching”.
• At a minimum, most think Jesus had in mind Isaiah 55:1.
• Isaiah 55:1 (ESV) — 1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
• And if this is the case then the substance of “Jesus’ pronouncement is clear: he is the fulfilment of all that the Feast of Tabernacles anticipated. If Isaiah could invite the thirsty to drink from the waters (Is. 55:1), Jesus announces that he is the one who can provide the waters” – D.A. Carson.

Yet, just as certain, the following verses were probably also in mind.
• Isaiah 12:3 (ESV) — 3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
• Isaiah 44:3 (ESV) — 3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.
• Joel 3:18 (ESV) — 18 “And in that day the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the streambeds of Judah shall flow with water; and a fountain shall come forth from the house of the LORD and water the Valley of Shittim.
• Zechariah 14:8 (ESV) — 8 On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter.
• Ezekiel 36:25–27 (ESV) — 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

John’s commentary on the Jesus’ words:
John 7:39 (ESV) — 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
• Prior to Pentecost (Acts 2), those who had believed in Christ did not receive the Holy Spirit in full.
• At Pentecost, however, those who had believed, including the disciples, did.
• However, because Acts represented a transitional time between the old and new covenants we do find some curious things going on.
• For example, in Acts we have many who believed in Christ after Pentecost and did not receive the Holy Spirit until an encounter with the Apostles.
• But, “since the close of the transitional period in the book of Acts, however, all Christians receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation” – John MacArthur.

The Holy Spirit, however, has always been essential to salvation as we have learned so profoundly in John’s Gospel (regeneration).
• But John’s words in our text today point us to the fact that at Pentecost the Holy Spirit would be given in a “new fullness” to the believer – MacArthur.

Paul put’s it as follows:
• Romans 8:9 (ESV) — 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
    o This indwelling the “new fullness” and is permanent for the believer.
• Ephesians 1:13 (ESV) — 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
    o Paul’s words here hearken back to Jesus’ proclamation - ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

Lesson for Us:
In John 7 we have seen that despite all of Jesus’ Messianic claims most of the Jews still rejected Him as the Christ.
• Curiously, even this rejection has a “water” parallel in the O.T.
• Jeremiah 2:13 (ESV) — 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
• And as made clear by Jeremiah, to reject is not a neutral action.
• Rejecting “the fountain of living waters” is to make one’s own counterfeit water source – a broken cistern.

And as we have seen since we began John 7, most people would rather make their own “broken cisterns” than “drink” the living water of Jesus Christ.
What are some of the “broken cisterns” the Jews made with respect to the Messiah that didn’t hold water?
• I pray that we submit to the Father’s Jesus and not be guilty of making our own broken cistern of living water.


John 7:32; 45-52 – Sizing Up Jesus Part II

Last week we had a very interesting discussion on the Jews’ understanding of the coming of the Messiah.
• His coming would not be plainly obvious.
• Their traditions taught that discernment would be needed to identify him.
• This discernment would be done in (2) ways:
    o (1) Measuring Jesus against their understandings of the attributes of the Messiah
    o (2) Receiving a special “help” and “spiritual discernment” from God

Today we continue that lesson but, instead of the crowds’ perspective, we will explore the guards and the Pharisees’ point of view (and how Nicodemus fits in).
• We are jumping around a bit, and so won’t deal with Jesus’ words in verses 33-39 until next week.


John 7:32 (ESV) — 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. John 7:45–52 (ESV) — 45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!”

Who are the guards?
• “These guards were chosen from the Levites. They were religiously trained and therefore not merely ‘brutal thugs.’ In the fulfillment of their duties they would have heard many teachers in the temple courts…” – A. Kostenberger.

No doubt most of the teaching they heard recently must have involved Jesus.
• How He was from the lowly town of Nazareth.
• How He was a demon possessed, Sabbath breaking charlatan.
• It seems likely that on their way to arrest Jesus, if in agreement with the Pharisees, they would have been fairly confident they had Jesus all figured out.
• At the very least, He flagrantly broke the Sabbath Laws and deserved punishment.

However, upon arriving to arrest Jesus, they were confronted with a man unlike any other they had ever heard – and they had heard many a rabbi.
• When confronted with the truth of God’s words as spoken by Jesus, the things they thought they knew about Jesus became a little less clear.
• We know this to be true because they returned to the Pharisees empty handed.
• They were deeply impressed and surprised at what they heard.
    o Mark 1:22 (ESV) — 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes [similar response from others].
• So much so that they disobeyed the orders from the Pharisees to arrest Him.

It seems that the truth of God’s word spoken through Jesus challenged and unraveled their ideas of who Jesus was.
• Jesus’ words demonstrated what real authority was, as opposed to that of the Pharisees.
• Jesus’ words unmasked unbelief for what it really was – an illusion of clarity; of having Jesus all figured out.
• And so in this sense, God’s word can bring confusion to the “Worldly Jesus”.
• When light shines in the darkness things are seen much differently.
• John 1:5 (NASB95) — 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The guards actions also help fill in some of the blanks from last week’s lesson.
• The crowd inferred that because the Pharisees hadn’t yet arrested Jesus that perhaps Jesus was the Christ.
• The speculation was that the Pharisees must have decided amongst themselves that Jesus was the Christ and so left Him alone.
• However, we see here both that they did seek to arrest Him and why the arrest failed.

One wonders if this is an example of the Father providing a little of the “help” and spiritual discernment we discussed last week to the guards (like Cyrus in the OT – softened his heart).
• The result being the Father’s will for Christ’s timeline was not thwarted by the Pharisees.
• If so, this is a great example of the sovereignty of God.


47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

The Pharisees were full of many things, but right judgment of Jesus was not one of them.
• They had already sized up Jesus and denounced Him as law-breaking, demon-possessed, charlatan.
• For one to think anything else was a slight to them and to the Law of God
    o The law they had made in their own image.
• “In their minds, only those who were gullible, uneducated, and simple-minded could be deceived by Jesus’ claims. Such people were accursed, according to the Pharisaic perspective, for their ignorance of God’s law” – John MacArthur.

D.A. Carson says that the Pharisee’s jab at the crowd in our text is an allusion to “the people of the land” insult often used by rabbi’s to describe the commoner.
• “The people of the land” do not know the law, are impious and are “indistinguishable from an animal”.
• The Pharisees imply that the guards, being Levites, should have known better than to be deceived by Jesus.
• They are no better off than the “people of the land”.

The Pharisee’s criticism is ironic because Jesus described unbelievers a few verses earlier as essentially people who
• (1) Don’t know the law
• (2) Are impious because their wills are not in submission to God
• Or as Kostenberger puts it, “How ironic that only the masses who are said to be scripturally illiterate have a clue regarding Jesus’ actual identity, while those who boast of their scriptural expertise are ignorant of who Jesus truly is”.

The irony continues because the Pharisees, who saw the crowd’s problem as ignorance/stupidity, could not “brain power” their way to a correct discernment of Jesus’ identity either.
• This of course is because, as we learned last week, spiritual discernment and not just knowledge of the Law is foundational to recognizing Jesus as the Messiah.


50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

Whether or not Nicodemus was saved and/or defending Jesus’ at this point is debatable.
• Some argue that – “He appears in the narrative scene more to demonstrate the Pharisees’ intransigence than to mark a stage in his own spiritual development” – Michaels.
• Others suggest that Nicodemus’ was simply trying to maintain the integrity of the process.
• But, D.A. Carson admits that if one argues that Nicodemus’ purpose here is just to be the “Robert’s Rules of Order Police” [my words] “There is no explicit Old Testament text that makes the point Nicodemus raises” – D.A. Carson.

BTW – John 12:42 (ESV) — 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue;
• Perhaps Nicodemus was one of these authorities even in John 7.

Regardless of one’s view of Nicodemus:
• Given the overall context of right judgment
• Given Jesus’ discussion on the law and submission of the will
• I can’t help but observe that Nicodemus is representative of some powerful symbolism.

He symbolically represents the kind of heart that can discern with right judgment who Jesus is – The Father’s Jesus.
• This is no doubt due to the thrust of the teaching of Jesus when He encountered Nicodemus in John 3.
When one thinks of Nicodemus, one thinks of what? The born again heart.
• It is only the born again heart that can have a right judgment about Jesus (a Reformed perspective).

As symbolically representative of a born again heart, Nicodemus states exactly what we discussed last week.
• A sizing up of Jesus must be done.
• But as Jesus taught, it must be done correctly.
• This makes a beautiful bookend with Jesus’ teaching earlier in the chapter.
JESUS – John 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
NICO – John 7:51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?”

Unfortunately, this is something that the Pharisees are incapable of doing.
• In fact the Pharisees ironically make the same mistake as the “people of the land” and suggest that a prophet will not come from Galilee.
• However, contrary to their confident assertions, “prophets had indeed come out of Galilee in the past, including Jonah (2 Kings 14:25) and possibly Elijah (1 Kings 17:1) and Nahum (Nah. 1:1)” – A. Kostenberger.

So in our last two lessons we have seen the judgments made about Jesus by the crowds, the guards and the Pharisees.
• Interestingly, the judgments have had similarities and significant differences.
    o “You have a demon!” – vs. 20
    o “Can it be…this is the Christ” – vs. 26
    o “we know where this man comes from” – vs. 27
    o Will the Christ “do more signs than this man has done?” – vs. 30
    o “really is the Prophet” – vs. 40
    o “This is the Christ” – vs. 41
    o “Is the Christ to come from Galilee?” – vs. 41
    o “No one ever spoke like this man!” – vs. 46
    o “no prophet arises for Galilee” – vs. 52

Some of the views are more sympathetic and some are outright hostile.
• But intellectual assent without submission of the will is no better than outright rejection.
• Remember, Jesus has taught (John 3) that there are only 2 “whoevers” when it comes to Him.
    o (1) Born again/love the light
    o (2) Remain under God’s wrath/love the darkness.
• But it appears from our text today, that the 2 “whoevers” can have different shades.
• In other words, the World’s Jesus can sometimes look authentic.

Lesson for Us:
• We must be diligent to worship Christ as Scripture reveals Him to be not as we want Him to be.
• We must humbly seek after the Father’s Jesus and discard any elements (any shades) of the World’s Jesus that we have imported into our Christology.
• And to identify those “shades” we must know Scripture as God has revealed it.
• We must not make it into our own image as the Pharisees did.


John 7:25-31; 40-44 – Sizing Up Jesus Part I

Last week we saw that Jesus indicated that the Jews were incapable of knowing who He was because they were using wrong judgment.
• He explained that right judgment involved both the will and correct understanding of the law.
• If the law is made in one’s own image, there is no true submission of one’s will to God’s will because the law you are submitting to is not the law of God.

Thus far, it has been somewhat of a mystery as to why so many of Jesus’ countrymen did not recognize Him as Messiah.
• Jesus addressed this mystery in last week’s lesson just as He did in John 6.
• In John 6, we saw that there was no drawing and giving by the Father to the Son.
• Last week we saw problem the Jew had when this work of God was not present in the heart.
• They have a will in rebellion to God serving a corrupt law – this is spiritual blindness and deafness.

In today’s lesson we will explore further the Jews’ inability to recognize Jesus as Messiah.
• We have seen Jesus’ perspective on the problem, today we hope to understand the crowd’s perspective.


As we have seen on numerous occasions, the crowds that Jesus attracted were always trying to figure out who He was.
• J.C. O’Neill describes the crowd’s intent as follows, “People discussed among themselves what might be the marks of the Messiah, and whether or not Jesus measured up”.
• The reason, of course, for this is because Jesus “acted in a way that raises the question” of His identity as the Messiah – J.C. O’Neill.

And this raises the question that I think all of us have asked ourselves over the past few weeks.
Why didn’t the Father make it plainly obvious to everyone that Jesus was the Messiah?
• Jesus’ explanations as summarized in the intro address this, but there are also additional considerations that factor in, namely the Jews’ expectations.

J.C. O’Neill, who by no means is a thoroughly orthodox evangelical, has done considerable research on the subject and has found some very interesting info.
• He argues that within the Jewish literature, including the Old Testament, the Babylonian Talmud, the Wisdom Literature, etc., when Messianic expectations are addressed it is understood that, “…the Messiah’s coming would be the coming of someone who had to be identified as such, not the coming of an obvious king” – J.C. O’Neill.
• In other words, it wasn’t definitively understood that the Messiah would show up as King with a tattoo on His forehead that said “I am the Messiah”.

In fact, O’Neill points out that in Judaism, there apparently existed a tradition that spoke of a “help” to discern the Messiah.
• Spiritual discernment and the idea that “one might need revelation to recognize the Messiah” was “part of God’s purpose” – O’Neill.
• Obviously, this fits in perfectly with Jesus’ explanation for unbelief in Him as Messiah.

Scriptural Example:
By way of example, O’Neill observes that, “Just as not everyone at the time of David recognized the anointed king, so when the greater David came it would not be obvious who he was. People would have to compare the life of anyone they suspected of being the Messiah with the clues given in Scripture” – Who Did Jesus Think He Was; pg. 43.
• The truth of this statement is rather profound.
• During David’s reign as king there were those who did not recognize Him as such, so it follows that Jesus’ experience would be no different.

Scripture bears this out about King David.
• 2 Samuel 2:4 (ESV) — 4 And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.
• 2 Samuel 2:10 (ESV) — 10 Ish-bosheth, Saul’s son, was forty years old when he began to reign over Israel, and he reigned two years. But the house of Judah followed David.

And again, Scripture bears this out.
• 2 Samuel 5:3 (ESV) — 3 So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.
• 2 Samuel 15:10 (ESV) — 10 But Absalom sent secret messengers throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, “As soon as you hear the sound of the trumpet, then say, ‘Absalom is king at Hebron!’ ”
• 2 Samuel 15:13 (ESV) — 13 And a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.”

God had made David’s authority to assume the throne as successor to Saul plainly evident.
• But many men of Israel rejected Him as King.
• This is a direct parallel to Jesus and man’s rejection of Him.

POI – In John 6:14, we remember that the crowd that Jesus fed wanted to anoint Him king.
• Obviously their motives were wrong, but we saw that the timing was also wrong.
• It is fascinating to consider that before Joseph was made Prime Minister over all of Egypt, he suffered many afflictions at the hands of his enemies and even his own family.
• Likewise, before David was made King, He also suffered many afflictions and trials – Saul seeking to kill him for example.
Should we be surprised that the Messiah’s life would be any different?
• This speaks to why Jesus would often seem to downplay or speak cryptically about who He was.
• His time of suffering had not yet occurred.

So we have seen that it was consistent in Jewish teaching that people would have to “figure out” who He was.
So what were the clues given in Scripture about the Messiah to aid the Jews?
Did the Jews try to ascertain Jesus’ identity in relation to these clues?


John 7:25–27 (ESV) — 25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” John 7:31 (ESV) — 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?” John 7:40–42 (ESV) — 40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

In our text today, we have evidence of the crowds concern for How Jesus measured up to their understanding of who the Messiah was to be.

(1) They point out (vs. 26) that maybe He was the Christ because the authorities no longer seem interesting in having Him killed.
• Kostenberger says that the crowd must have figured that “the authorities” must “have uncovered new evidence to suggest that Jesus is indeed the Christ” or else they would arrest Him.
• “Perhaps the authorities themselves have weighed the evidence, perhaps even know of fresh evidence, concluding, at least in private, that Jesus really is the Christ, the Messiah” – D.A. Carson.

(2) But they also point out (vs. 37) that they knew where Christ came from, and their understanding was that no one would know where the Messiah came from.
• “According to rabbinic teaching, some believed that the Messiah would be born of flesh and blood yet be wholly unknown until he set out to procure Israel’s redemption” – Kostenberger.

(3) They point out that (vs. 31) given the signs He has done that surely no one but the Messiah can perform as many signs “as this man has done”.
• It is interesting, by the way, that D.A. Carson points out that typical Jewish understanding of the Messiah did not “commonly associate miracles with Messiah”.
• However, to be a prophet like Moses, may certainly have inferred He would be a miracle worker.

(4) They point out that (vs. 40) that the words Jesus speaks must be that of the “the Prophet” spoken of by Moses.
• Jesus had just spoken about being “living water”.
• Because Moses was associated with the life giving water due to his water from a rock miracle, and the Feast of Booths symbolism, the crowd rightly saw a parallel between Jesus’ words and Moses.

(5) They point out that (vs. 41-42), in opposition to point (2), that they know that Jesus is from Galilee but “the Christ” would be an offspring of David from Bethlehem.
• It is interesting here that the Jew did not necessarily think that “the Prophet” and “the Christ” would be the same person.
• “Many Jews thought of the promised Prophet and of the Messiah as two separate individuals” – D.A. Carson.

Additional Examples of Sizing Jesus Up:
• Luke 4:22 (ESV) — 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
• John 2:23 (ESV) — 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing.
• John 4:39 (ESV) — 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.”
• John 6:14 (ESV) — 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!”
• Matthew 12:23 (ESV) — 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?”
• John 3:2 (ESV) — 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
• John 6:2 (ESV) — 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick.
• John 9:16 (ESV) — 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
• John 10:41 (ESV) — 41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.”

And of course, we have to mention the Jews’ attempts to discount Jesus’ Messiahship in John 6 by comparing Him and His work to Moses and the manna.
• They felt He came up woefully short of Moses.

BTW – Even John the Baptist Disciples were trying to sort all this stuff out.
Matthew 11:3–6 (ESV) — 3 and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” 4 And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

We have seen clearly that the crowd saw Jesus as someone to be explained.
• His words, actions, signs, teaching all demanded a response from the crowd as to His identity.
• It is interesting, however, that much (not all) of the info they used in their discussion as to the nature of the Messiah was from rabbinic teaching and not from O.T. Scripture – not knowing where He came from, e.g.
• In other words, the fact that they sought many of their clues outside of the O.T. was an indication of the problem Jesus addressed in our lesson last week.

This raises the question as to what were some of the O.T. clues available to the Jews to help them identify the Messiah?

Scriptural O.T. Clues Pointing to Jesus:
• Deuteronomy 18:18 (ESV) — 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
• 2 Samuel 7:12–13 (ESV) — 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
• Psalm 2:7 (ESV) — 7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
• Psalm 89:27 (ESV) — 27 And I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.
• Isaiah 11:1 (ESV) — 1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
• Jeremiah 23:5 (ESV) — 5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
• Micah 5:2 (ESV) — 2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

These are but a few of the scores of O.T. prophecies of the Messiah that were available to the Jew as they sought to explain who Jesus was.
• But, at the end of the day, we are still left with the question as to why some concluded from the clues that Jesus was the Christ and some did not.
    o Some saw Him as a Law Breaker.
    o Some saw Him as demon-possessed.
    o Some saw Him as a charlatan.
• Ultimately, we are still left with Jesus’ explanation as the final word on explaining this mystery.
    o That God is determinative in this mystery and not man is, I think, clearly taught in Scripture.
    o To rely on our intellect and powers of observation for something so great as the identification of the Messiah would no doubt end in disaster for everyone.
    o This is why, as we have learned, that even Jewish teaching understood that some “help” was needed to discern the Christ.


John 7:28–30 (ESV) — 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.

Once again, Jesus’ response to the Jews’ searching is to identify the root of the problem.
• They do not “know” the Father.
• Jesus knows the Father because He was sent by the Father.
• If they knew the Father, they would know Jesus is the Christ.
• As a result of not knowing the Father, their inability to answer the “…question regarding Jesus’ origin is not primarily geographical in nature (Judea versus Galilee), but spiritual: is his authority merely of human derivation, or has he been divinely commissioned?” – Kostenberger.
• Jesus’ exchange with the Jews is highly offensive to them, because He is implying that “they were woefully ignorant of the very God they so proudly professed to know” – John MacArthur.

Lesson for Us:
• May our hearts be inclined to seek out in God’s word the identity of the Messiah – the Father’s Jesus.
• May we resist making God’s word in our own image and thereby hinder our capacity to fellowship with Jesus Christ.