John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 7:1-13

Turn in your Bible to John Chapter 7. I found out something interesting listening to a message from Skip Heitzig of Calvary Albuquerque as I was preparing for this study on this passage that we will be looking at in this post. What is the foggiest place in the world? Surprisingly, it’s not any of the obvious places that would come to mind like London or San Francisco. It’s not even Seattle. It’s a place called Grand Banks which is located in Newfoundland. It has on the average, 206 foggy days out of the year! Just a bit of trivia for you.

Fog is really a cloud because it is formed the same way as clouds are, from droplets of water. Fog can be dangerous because it drastically reduces vision depending on how thick it is and sometimes without warning. This can be extremely dangerous while driving. You can’t tell how close you are to the car in front of you which is why fog ranks right up there with the cause of most weather related car accidents. In fact, a few years back, there was a 200 car pileup in India that injured hundreds of people and killing several. The cause was fog.

The truth is though the foggiest place is not a place on this earth. It is in the human heart especially when it comes to the perception of who Jesus Christ is. Like driving in a fog, that can be very dangerous because depending on your perception of who Jesus Christ really is, it can condemn you to an eternal life of damnation! Not my words, His!

Here in Chapter 7, there is “fog” that has settled on people’s hearts concerning Jesus. We have a fog of unbelief, his brothers, and a fog of hatred, mainly the Jewish leaders. There are also a lot of the people looking at Jesus through the fog not with hatred or unbelief but their perception of who He is. “He’s a good man,” they say. Others will think He is a good teacher. This is about as far as they will go though. They don’t truly have belief in Jesus and who He really is. These are the perceptions that many professed Christians have today…dangerous perceptions!

In Chapter 7 though, we see the start of animosity towards Jesus that will continue to grow. They don’t like Him or His actions or His words and they especially don’t like who He claims to be. Let’s get started with our study and as always the text link for the entire chapter and the audio are included so you can follow along but as always before we get started, let’s pray… 

Father,

Thank You for this time again in Your Word. Father as we look at these verses in John’s Gospel, we put all distractions aside. Our hearts and minds are open to hear what You have to say to us. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening. Lord, bless this time in Your Word in Jesus’ name we pray…Amen!

John 7

Let’s look at the passage for that we will be studying in this post…

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. (2) Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. (3) His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. (4) For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” (5) For even His brothers did not believe in Him. (6) Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. (7) The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. (8) You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” (9) When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee. (10) But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. (11) Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” (12) And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” (13) However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews. … John 7:1-13 NKJV

Let’s look at this passage closer now. …

vv 1-2 – After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. (2) Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.

John starts out the chapter with the phrase after these things which we ask, “after what things?”. We would assume that it would be after the events of Chapter 6 but actually, six months have passed since the events of Chapter 6 and where we are at now in Chapter 7. How do we know this? Go back to John 6 and to verse 4…

(4) Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. … John 6:4 NKJV

Now we read here in verse 2 of Chapter 7 Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. Passover was a feast that was in the spring or our March or April and the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths, takes place in the fall or our October. The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates when the Hebrews left Egypt and how they lived in tents and makeshift dwellings in the wilderness. Between Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles is about six months so the things that John is referring to are the things that take place during this six month time period. What are they? The time period are the events of Matthew Chapters 15 through 18 and the parallel Chapters 7 through 9 of Mark. They fill in the gap between Chapter 6 and the start of Chapter 7 in John. Basically what Jesus is doing during this time period is spending time with His disciples, teaching them and also trying to make them realize who He really is. The crowds that were following Him are gone now so it’s just Jesus with His twelve chosen disciples. He tells the meanings behind the parables to them. He goes to Caesarea Philippi where Jesus asks the question, “Who do men say that I am?” They rattle off a variety of opinions…a teacher, a prophet, some say John The Baptist, all of these which are wrong. Jesus then poses this question to them…But who do you say that I am?”. Peter is the one who replies correctly, “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God!”. This is a question not found in John’s Gospel but I chose the question for the title of this study because it is a question that we will all have to answer and John’s Gospel is the undeniable proof of Peter’s answer to Jesus’s question. During this time period, the transfiguration will take place which is described in Matthew 17. The feeding of the four thousand takes place and several healings take place as well…many of them on the sabbath. 

Jesus did not go to Judea and instead stayed in Galilee because the Jews sought to kill Him. The Jews that John speaks of here are the Jewish rulers and religious leaders. Jesus doesn’t avoid Judea because of cowardice or fear but because His time had not yet come something that Jesus will say in verse 6 of this passage. What “time” was that? His crucifixion. More on this in a bit. Moving on to verse 3…

vv 3-5 – (3) His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. (4) For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” (5) For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

Here is further proof that Jesus had brothers. There is a belief that is taught that Mary, after giving birth to Jesus, was whisked away to heaven having completed her earthly work. There isn’t much mention of Mary after Jesus’s birth in the Scriptures but where there is, it totally refutes this doctrine. She is mentioned in Matthew when the magi (wise men) visit Christ to present Him with their gifts. Then we have this passage also in Matthew which not only mentions Mary but proof that she had children after Jesus. …

(46) While He was still talking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers stood outside, seeking to speak with Him. (47) Then one said to Him, “Look, Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, seeking to speak with You.” … Matthew 12:46-47 NKJV

John also mentions her as being in Cana for the wedding which Jesus turns water into wine which we have already looked at and she will be mentioned again by John as being there at the foot of the cross when Jesus is crucified.

These brothers that John mentions here were not true brothers of Jesus since their father was probably Joseph while Jesus was immaculately conceived. Some say they were distant cousins but I prefer the literal translation of the word. Their names were James, Joseph, Simon (not Simon Peter) and Judas (not Iscariot). Whoever or whatever they were, it proves that proximity to Christ does not denote one’s belief in Him. There will be a point though where they will become true believers. James goes on to pastor the church at Jerusalem and writes the Book of James and Judas, or Jude, goes on to write the Book of Jude. At this particular point in their lives though, they are not believers.

In this passage, the brothers are literally ridiculing Jesus. They are telling Him, “Look if you are who you say you are, then make yourself known to the people!”. Why did they want Jesus to go to Jerusalem? There are a variety of reasons. For one thing, they had seen how most of the crowds had quit following Jesus and they figured this would get His popularity back. This is probably doubtful though. Another reason, they, like everyone else, were awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, someone who would free them from the oppression of Rome, and they wanted to force Him to reveal Himself to the people as such. Again, probably not because John says in verse 5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Another reason could have been for personal benefit. They figured if He was the Messiah, they would have a special place on staff, riding on His coattails so to speak. There is another reason though, a much darker one and probably the real reason why they wanted Him to go…so He would be killed! Now follow me on this. Jesus was the oldest of them. Not only was Jesus the oldest, He was sinless. He was perfect! He was every parent’s dream…to have a perfect child! Can you imagine what it must have been like to have Jesus as a brother? Can you imagine the animosity that they must have felt towards Him? In every family, there is always some type of friction between siblings and while most don’t resort to killing or wanting to see their sibling killed, we know that it can and does happen. Take for instance the story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis. They were so jealous of Joseph because of his dreams and what they saw as favoritism shown by their father Jacob towards him, that they conspired to kill him. The brothers were envious of their brother Joseph and you can bet that Jesus’s brothers were even more envious of Jesus. It is quite possible that they wanted to get rid of Jesus and tried to coax Him to go to Jerusalem in hopes that He would be killed. Let’s move on. …

vv 6-9 – (6) Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. (7) The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. (8) You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” (9) When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.

Jesus tells His brothers My time has not yet come. Jesus’s life was always on a timetable and we see this throughout John’s Gospel as in these examples…

(30) Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. … John 7:30 NKJV

(20) These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come. … John 8:20 NKJV

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. … John 13:1 NKJV

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, … John 17:1 NKJV

That timetable or hour was the time of His crucifixion. The whole purpose of Jesus’s life was moving towards the cross. In Galatians, Paul says…

(4) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. … Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV

Jesus tells his brothers your time is always ready. What does He mean by this statement? As of this point in the lives of the brothers, they were not believers. That would eventually change but not at this particular point in their lives so they were children of the world not children of God. When you are a “child of the world”, you do things and go places according to your desires not according to God’s will. You are following your own desires and passions and not God’s plan for your life. This was the case with Jesus’s brothers. They could come and go at will because they were following their own desires and passions. Jesus however was living in accordance to His Father’s will and on a strict timetable and He wasn’t ready to make Himself known in that way just quite yet no matter how much His brothers goaded Him. That time would come though. In fact, that time is predicted in Daniel. Flip back to the Old Testament to the Book of Daniel and Chapter 9 down to verse 25…

(25) “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.  (26)  “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. … Daniel 9:25-26 NKJV

Sir Robert Anderson, one of the heads of Scotland Yard during the 1800’s, found this prophecy fascinating and decided to do an investigation on it. His findings are in the book that he wrote titled, “The Coming Prince” published in 1894. You can actually find the book on line for free. Anyway going by the first part of the prophecy, which is actually verse 24, and by the Hebrew translation of the word “weeks” which means weeks of years, he went by the historically factual date that the command was given by King Artixerxes to rebuild Jerusalem which occurred on March 14th 445 BC. He then counted from that time 483 years, 360 days a year according to the Babylonian calendar, 173,880 days, and arrived at the date of April 6th 32 AD. What happened on that day you ask? Oh, not much really, just the exact date that Jesus told His disciples to go get a donkey and He rode into Jerusalem, “Palm Sunday”. Five days later on April 11th 32 AD, He was crucified or “cutoff”. So much for a “fairytale” huh?! Which makes me wonder why we celebrate Easter sometimes in March since we have the exact date that the resurrection occurred which would have been April 13th. Moving on to finish up this passage…

vv 10-13 – (10) But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. (11) Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” (12) And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” (13) However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

After the brothers departed to go to the feast in Jerusalem, Jesus goes there in secret, kryptos is the word in Greek. It means without a big show or fanfare. He goes there because He wanted to not to mention that attending the feast was mandatory but He does so in secret. There are different groups of people when He gets there. One group are His enemies, the Jews who sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?”. These are the people that want to kill Jesus, the religious Jewish rulers. They notice that the brothers of Jesus are there so they are wondering where their brother Jesus is. There are two other groups there also. One group is in favor of Jesus and the other is not. These two groups of people were looking for Jesus because of the miracles that they heard, or perhaps saw, that Jesus had performed and they were hoping for a repeat performance. John says that there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. These two groups though are looking at Jesus through the fog so to speak. One group is saying, He is good while the other group is arguing No on the contrary, He deceives the people. Neither group sees Jesus for what He truly is…He’s God! No one in their right mind would go around telling people “I am God and if you don’t believe that, you will die in your sins” unless they were in fact God. Jesus not only said that He was God but also gave proof that He was. John, in this Gospel, gives overwhelming proof of the identity of Jesus Christ.

So in closing here’s the question…how do you see Jesus Christ? Are you too looking at Him through the fog? Do you think He’s a deceiver? Perhaps you think He’s a good teacher, someone to model your life after? The only answer and the correct one is what Peter says back in Chapter 6…”You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” If you are a professed follower of Jesus Christ and not seeing Him in this way, then you are not a true believer! In order for John 3:16 to have any meaning and effect on you, you must first believe John 14:6! …”I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. I’ll end with what famous author C.S. Lewis wrote. He writes…

“Either this man was and is the son of the God or else He is a mad man or something worst. You can shut Him up for being a fool. You can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.”

I don’t know about you but I think I’ll take my chances, fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God! Let’s pray…

Father,

We live in a world where so many people have different opinions on who Your Son is. They see Him through a fog. Some even don’t see Him at all. Just like this passage we have been looking at, there are people who see Him as a good teacher, a good person. Others think He’s a deceiver of people. Lord, we thank You for this Gospel of John who proves undeniably who Jesus is. We pray Lord, that those people who don’t see Him and know Him in that way, would come to know Him today. Thank You our Lord and our God! In the saving name of Christ we pray…Amen!