Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes


John 7:37-50
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: John 7:37
v37 (continued): The Feast of Booths comes at the end of the dry season. No rain normally falls for six or seven months, so by the end of the summer the springs begin to dry up, the cisterns are empty and the water that’s left has gone bad. By pouring out that pitcher of water onto the altar, the priest was symbolizing three things: 1) it reminded everyone that God provided water in the desert during the Exodus (Ex 17:1-7; Nu 20:11); 2) it was a prayer for rain at the end of the dry season (Dt 11:8-17); but 3) it was also a prophetic symbol of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which the Messiah would bring at the end of the age (Ps 42:1-2; Isa 11:9; 12:3, 55:1; 58:11; Eze 36:27; 37:14; Joel 2:28-29; Zec 14:16-18).

Monday: John 7:38
v38: Psalm 118 was chanted during this ceremony, and it may have been at the moment when all the voices died down that Jesus stood to His feet and cried out in a loud voice: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. The one who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water” (literal). His voice must have startled the worshippers and outraged the religious leaders. Ordinarily the temple guard would have immediately arrested anyone who dared to interrupt the services, but they along with everyone else were profoundly moved by His words (Jn 7:40-47).

Tuesday: John 7:38-39
v38 (continued): Jesus used symbolic language to tell the assembly that He was their Messiah. By coming to Him in faith a person could receive the promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Gihon spring provided water for thirsty people all year round, those who believed in Him would receive a constant supply of God’s presence because the Holy Spirit Himself would take up residence inside them. v39: John explains that what Jesus was promising that day was not salvation but a miraculous encounter with the Holy Spirit which John himself had received, along with thousands of others, after Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven (“glorified”). John is telling us, his readers, that the promise Jesus spoke on the last day of the Feast of Booths is now available to us because Jesus has been glorified. So we can have what John himself had: God’s Spirit dwelling within us in such abundance that there will be more than enough to refresh others.

Wednesday: John 7:40-44
vs40-42: Jesus’ invitation provoked debate, not ridicule. There must have been a strong presence of God confirming His words because the discussion that erupted afterwards was about whether or not Jesus was the “Prophet” promised by Moses (Dt 18:15-19) or whether or not He was the promised Messiah (2Sa 7:12-17). No one suggested He was crazy. They understood the spiritual meaning behind His claim, and many thought it was true. Those who argued that He was not the Messiah did so because they wrongly assumed that He had been born in Nazareth rather than Bethlehem (Mt 2:1-12; Lk 2:1-7). In light of the prophecy in Micah (Mic 5:2), they concluded He could not be the Messiah. vs43-44: As the debate about Him raged, the crowd divided into hostile factions. Some became so angry they tried to push forward and seize Jesus, but John says, “No one laid (threw) his hands upon Him” (literal). One possible explanation is that those who did believe in Him stepped in their way and blocked them. Another possibility is that God placed a fear of Him in their hearts.

Thursday: John 7:45-46
vs45-46: The temple guard had been sent by the chief priests and leaders of the Pharisees to arrest Jesus (v32), but the guards also fell under the influence of His words and returned empty handed. The leaders were shocked and asked, “Why did you not bring Him?” Apparently at least some of the Sanhedrin (Israel’s highest religious court) had assembled and were waiting, so they could question Jesus when He arrived. Obviously they hoped to find grounds to jail Him or worse. The guards replied that Jesus was far too credible to arrest. They had not encountered a crazy fanatic or a fool spouting religious nonsense. Something was happening in that temple courtyard that rose above the level of a disturbance. They said, “Never did a man speak as this man speaks” (literal). In other words, “That situation demands respect. Jesus has all the marks of a genuine prophet, and we felt it was inappropriate to interrupt Him. We too were spiritually moved when we listened to Him” (paraphrase). To say such a thing under those circumstances took great courage. They were questioning the wisdom of their assignment and suggesting that the leaders inquire further before they act.

Friday: John 7:47
v47: It was the Pharisees rather than the high priests who responded to these comments. During that season of Israel’s history (from 174 B.C. onward) the high priesthood was granted to certain people by whatever foreign emperors ruled them at the time (David A. Hubbard, New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, I. Howard Marshall, ed., Inter-Varsity Press, 1996, p958). It was no longer a sacred office held for life and then passed on to one’s son. Bribery and submission to Rome had become the pathway to that position (Alfred Edersheim, The Temple, Eerdmans, reprint 1988, p94). So the household of Annas that controlled the high priesthood during Jesus’ ministry were not people who cared one way or another about what the Bible said concerning the Messiah. Their interest in Jesus was purely political. They saw Him as a threat. If His influence continued to increase He could jeopardize their position. But the Pharisees did care about the Bible. In their minds they were rejecting Jesus on biblical grounds. It isn’t that they didn’t want the Messiah to come, they didn’t think Jesus could be the Messiah because they thought He had been born in Nazareth (v52).

Saturday: John 7:48-50
vs48-49: They told these guards that they were fools who had been deceived by an imposter. They asked them, “You have not also been led astray, have you? No one of the rulers or Pharisees has believed Him, has he?” And then they added this statement, “But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed.” Their point is that if there were any validity to Jesus’ claims, the religious scholars in the Sanhedrin would have confirmed those claims. In their minds the common people followed Him because they were ignorant of the Bible, and their failure to follow its rules had placed them all under the curses it threatens to those who disobey (Dt 28:15-68). v50: The leaders of the Pharisees boldly asserted that not one of their group had believed in Jesus, but we, the readers of this gospel, know something they didn’t. We know that Nicodemus, a highly respected Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (Jn 3:1-10), had already secretly met with Jesus and affirmed that he and others were convinced that Jesus had been sent by God (Jn 3:2). John reminds us of that fact by calling Nicodemus, “The one from among them who came to Him beforehand” (literal).  


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