Sunday: John 7:50-51
vs50-51: Nicodemus didnât openly advocate for Jesus. Instead he tried to slow the rush to condemn Him by questioning the fact that the leaders had already decided that Jesus was guilty before interviewing Him, as the Law of Moses commanded (Ex 23:1-3; Dt 17:6; 19:15). He said, âOur Law does not judge a man unless it hears from him beforehand, and knows what he is doingâ (literal). In other words, âWe canât determine Jesusâ guilt until after we have interviewed Him and evaluated the evidence carefullyâ (paraphrase). And of course, he was right. Anyone searching for a just decision would know that, but the high priests and leaders of the Pharisees werenât searching for justice. They had already decided to kill Jesus and were merely looking for an opportunity (Jn 5:18; 7:1).
Monday: John 7:52
v52: They responded to Nicodemus by insulting him. They asked if he too were an ignorant peasant from Galilee like Jesus. They suggested that he go and study the Bible until he discovered that the northern region of Israel called âGalileeâ had never, throughout all of Israelâs history, produced a prophet, let alone be the birth place for the Messiah. By the way, that statement isnât factual. At least Jonah was from Gath-hepher near Nazareth (2Ki 14:25), and Nahum came from Elkosh (Na 1:1) which was possibly Capernaum (Kfar Nahum: village of Nahum). They also ignored Isaiahâs statement that specifically identified the tribal regions of Zebulum (Nazareth) and Naphthali (Capernaum) as places that would directly behold the Messiahâs glory (Isa 9:1-7). Later on Nicodemus would take a bold stand for Jesus (Jn 19:38-42), but in the dangerous atmosphere of that meeting room, he tried to hide his growing faith with the result that he failed to protect Jesus and ended up looking foolish in his attempt.
Tuesday: John 7:53-8:11
vs7:53-8:11 (introduction): These verses describe another encounter between Jesus and the religious leaders. However, the vocabulary in this passage differs from the rest of Johnâs gospel, and numerous early texts of the New Testament do not mention this event. So, many students of the Bible assume that it was written by someone other than John. But few, if any, question its authenticity because the event it describes sounds like something Jesus would do. It contains that level of spiritual depth which sets Jesus apart from everyone else. Who else would have even thought to have said what He said? But exactly who wrote it down is debated. My guess, as to its origin, is that it was recorded by someone who heard the apostle John tell the story after his gospel had been completed. Then at some point, it was inserted into the gospel at the place where John had said it occurred.
Wednesday: John 7:53-8:11
vs7:53-8:11 (introduction continued): An interesting source of support for this possibility was one of the âapostolic fathersâ named Papias (A.D. 60-130), who became the bishop of Hierapolis near Laodicea (Col 4:13) in Asia Minor. Papias knew John when John served as the pastor of the church in Ephesus (Rev 1:9). Apparently John traveled through the region to preach and teach. Irenaeus (died A.D. 200), a later bishop who grew up in Asia Minor (Smyrna), says Papias specifically mentioned âa story about a woman who was accused before the Lord of many sins which the gospel according to the Hebrews containsâ (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Eerdmans reprint 1973, p.883 ftn; Cyril C. Richardson, ed., Early Church Fathers, Macmillan, 1970, p.395). So someone who was alive for probably 30 to 40 years while John was ministering, who knew him personally and heard him teach, mentioned a story about an accused woman being brought before Jesus. This means John could be the source of the story even though someone else wrote it down.
Thursday: John 7:53-8:1
vs7:53-8:1: The significance of the observation that Jesus went to the Mount of Olives while everyone else went home, can be easily overlooked. Weâre told, âEach one went to his house, but Jesus went to the Mount of Olivesâ (literal). Given the popularity of Jesus, many of the people in Jerusalem would have gladly invited Him to stay in their home as a guest, but Jesus refused. He insisted on camping in an olive orchard outside the city (Mk 11:19; Lk 21:37-38; 22:39). I believe the reason was that He felt it was not safe to stay in a home. A host or an observant neighbor might be persuaded to report His location to the religious leaders, giving them the opportunity to arrest Him secretly. Earlier in this gospel John made the statement, âBut Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them for He knew all menâ (Jn 2:24). This distrust may have been reflected in where He chose to sleep.
Friday: John 8:2
v2: The day after the Feast of Booths is a special holiday of its own (Lev 23:33-36; Nu 29:35-39). It is called âShemeni Atzeret,â and in the city of Jerusalem on that same day âSimchat Torahâ (ârejoicing in the Torahâ) is celebrated. Everywhere outside of Jerusalem Simchat Torah is celebrated on the ninth day (Ron Cantrell, The Feasts of the Lord, Bridges for Peace, Tulsa, OK, third printing 2007, p.84). It marks the final reading for the year from the five books of Moses. On the next day the first reading in Genesis begins the cycle of reading through the Torah all over again. Moses commanded that the nation gather âat the Feast of Boothsâ and âread this Law in front of all Israel, in their hearingâ (Dt 31:10-13; Ne 8:14-18). In the time of Jesus, a great wooden platform was constructed in the Court of the Women from which the priests read the Torah (Israel Ariel, Chaim Richman, Cartaâs Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the Temple Institute and Carta, Jerusalem, 2005, p.195). Priests would also âstand on street corners and in gateways blowing on their trumpets and announcing the hour of the Torah-reading ceremonyâ (Carta p.195). This background may help us understand why the scribes and Pharisees confronted Jesus about the Law on that day. It was a day to celebrate the Law of Moses.
Saturday: John 8:2-3
vs2-3: Jesus arrived at the area of the temple called the âTreasury,â in the Court of the Women, very early in the morning before the ceremonies got underway. After He sat down and began to teach, some scribes and Pharisees brought in a woman whom they said had committed adultery. It appears she was caught early in the morning and was being brought to the temple to be presented to the priests. When her captors saw Jesus, they saw an opportunity to expose to the public what they considered to be a lack of commitment by Jesus to the Law. The Law does specifically command that if a woman who is engaged to be married commits adultery she is to be stoned (Dt 22:20-24), yet it does not appear that executing people for adultery was common at that time. Divorce with financial compensation was done instead (Leon Morris, John, p.887).