John – “But Who Do You Say That I Am?” – John 7:25-37

There are things in life called “once in a lifetime” opportunities. They are what they say they are. One shot to take advantage of it and if you don’t, they are gone forever. Friendship, marriage, a dream job, a dream vacation can be listed as some of those things. My once in a lifetime opportunity came many years ago when I had the chance of a promising career in radio broadcasting. I was young and irresponsible back then and the result was I got fired from the radio station for being late one too many times and I have never been able to have a crack at being a broadcaster since then.

Salvation can be listed as a once in a lifetime opportunity as well. The reason why is because if you are presented an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as your savior and you don’t take advantage of it, you could die the very next day and that opportunity is gone forever and you will be doomed to eternal life in hell. Now to be perfectly honest, most people do get several opportunities to accept Christ but they don’t take advantage of them. They hear the Gospel message time and time again and time and time again, they turn away from it and perhaps, lose their once in a lifetime opportunity for salvation!

In this passage in Chapter 7 that we are going to look at in this post, Jesus is confronting a group of these kind of people. They have seen the miracles that He has done and they have heard what He has been saying but they are still deaf and blind to the truth of who He really is. They are offended by what Jesus has been saying and doing and they want Him arrested if not killed! This passage is a warning that Jesus gives the people about turning down His message and His discourse and the feast culminates with perhaps what might be the greatest altar call that Jesus gives in the Gospels. That altar call we will look at in greater detail in the next post but let’s get started! As always, the text link and audio for the entire chapter is included so you can follow along but first, let’s prepare our hearts to receive God’s Word…

Heavenly Father,

We thank You for Your Word, the Word that does Your work in the hearts of Your people who truly believe! Father, we pray as we look at this passage of Jesus’s warning to the unbelievers in this crowd, that those unbelievers who might be reading this post will open their eyes, ears, and hearts to the truth and accept Your Son Jesus today! Bless this time in Your Word and make it fruitful. We put away all distractions and our hearts and minds are open to what You have to say. Speak Lord for Your servants are listening! In the name of Jesus Christ we pray…Amen!

John 7

Let’s look at the passage for this post…

(25) Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill? (26) But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? (27) However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.” (28) Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. (29) But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” (30) Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. (31) And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?” (32) The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. (33) Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. (34) You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.” (35) Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? (36) What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?” (37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. … John 7:25-37 NKJV

Again, Jesus is at the Feast of Tabernacles, a feast that celebrated how God provided for the Hebrews during their 40 years of wandering around in the wilderness. He had been teaching the people and many took offense to it since He had not studied under any of their rabbi’s. At this point, this is probably about six months away from the crucifixion. The Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, took place in October during the fall. The next big feast, Passover, six months away in April, Jesus will be arrested, brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin and Pilate, and crucified. In this passage, Jesus is being confronted and is addressing His “haters” and some doubters as well. Let’s examine this passage a bit closer now. …

v 25 – (25) Now some of them from Jerusalem said, “Is this not He whom they seek to kill?

Apparently, word had gotten around that the Jewish rulers wanted Jesus dead. Jesus knew of this as well. Going back up to verse 19 of this chapter, Jesus tells the people…

(19) Did not Moses give you the law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” … John 7:19 NKJV

I forgot to go into some detail regarding this verse in the last post, something that came to me after I had already published it so I’ll briefly do it now. The Law, is The Ten Commandments of course, as well as the 300 or so other ones listed in Leviticus! LOL! The fact is no one keeps the Ten Commandments! If you say you do, then you are a liar and you have broken the one regarding lying! It is impossible in our sinful nature as human beings to keep the Law. Now true most of us do not murder, do not commit adultery and we honor our parents. We probably follow all the “biggies” but everybody has lied at least once in their lives about something or another and everybody, everybody, covets. It is in our human nature and if you break just one of God’s Laws just once, you have broken all of them! In James, he says…

(10) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. … James 2:10 NKJV

Jesus goes as far as to say if you even THINK about it, you’re guilty of breaking the Law. Here’s what Jesus says about adultery…

(27) “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.’ (28) But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. … Matthew 5:27-28 NKJV

Now let me ask you something…which one of us guys is not guilty of this? LOL! Seriously though the fact is that the Law was not given to keep. It was given to show us that it is impossible to keep! It was given so we could recognize sinful behavior. In Romans, Paul says…

(7) What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” … Romans 7:7 NKJV

That’s not to say that we as believers should just do whatever we want just because we have accepted Jesus into our lives which many of us believe that we can do. Again in Romans in the chapter before, Chapter 6, Paul again says…

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? (2) Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? (3) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. … Romans 6:1-4 NKJV

Anyway, this is something that I forgot to cover in the last post and I thought it would be a good time to cover it now. Moving along now…

vv 26-27 – (26) But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ? (27) However, we know where this Man is from; but when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from.”

The people in the crowd could not understand why the Jewish rulers were allowing Jesus to speak so boldly and doing nothing to Him. They began to wonder if the rulers had come to believe that Jesus was in fact the Messiah. In verse 27, the crowd reasons amongst themselves that when the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from. There was a belief at the time that when the Messiah came, it would be a sudden mysterious appearance. Kind of like a “Ta Da!” moment. However these people knew that Jesus had come from Nazareth and they knew His mother Mary and, who they thought to be, His father Joseph and His brothers and sisters. Yes, contrary to Catholic doctrine, Jesus had brothers and sisters. They were more like half brothers and sisters. In Matthew, we read…

(55) Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? (56) And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” … Matthew 13:55-56 NKJV

They knew everything that there was to know about Jesus at the time or so they thought. If they truly knew their scriptures, they would have known that the Messiah would be born a baby in Bethlehem and grow up to be a man. Jesus would, however, have His “Ta Da!” moment in a few short months when He would say to His disciples, “Hey go get me that donkey in the next town” and He would ride into Jerusalem on it! Moving on…

vv 28-29 – (28) Then Jesus cried out, as He taught in the temple, saying, “You both know Me, and you know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. (29) But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”

Jesus then cried out as He taught in the temple. Jesus raises His voice probably louder than He had throughout this discourse with the people. He not only raised His voice to be heard but mainly because He was grieved and concerned because of the hardness in the people’s hearts to what He had been saying. Even though Jesus doesn’t say it here, it was definitely a whoever has ears, let him hear moment.

When Jesus tells the people you both know Me and you know where I am from, He isn’t acknowledging the fact that they believed Him to be the Messiah. He was saying that they just recognized Him to be a man. They knew He was from Nazareth and they knew His mother and brothers and sisters but that’s all they knew about Him. They did not recognize Him to be God. Jesus again, acknowledges this fact in the rest of these verses. For the people out there that say “Well you know Jesus never claimed to be God”, here it is right here in these verses! This is key to the answer whether someone is a saved Christian or not. If you do not believe that Jesus is God then I am sorry but you are not saved! There are a lot of so-called Christians out there that just believe that Jesus was just a good man or a good teacher someone to model their lives after but they do not acknowledge nor believe that fact that He is God. Salvation will come down to the question that Jesus asked His disciples…Who do you say that I am?.

Jesus came from Nazareth but He did not come of Himself. In other words, Jesus did not come to this world to do His own will. He came here to do His Father’s will and His Father they did not know. They knew God in name only but they did not know the nature of God. They knew of Him but they did not know Him. Their religious traditions overshadowed the true knowledge and love of God. Henry Ward Beecher, a preacher in the 1800’s put it best commentating on this passage…

Men know where they are going when they follow a principle; because principles are rays of light. If you trace a ray of light in all its reflections, you will find that it runs back to the central sun; and every great line of honesty, every great line of honour, runs back towards the centre of God. And the man that follows these things knows that he is steering right Godward. But the man that follows policies, and worldly maxims, does not know where he is steering, except that in general he is steering toward the devil.—Henry Ward Beecher.

The fact is, people reject Christ because they don’t understand or know God’s nature of His love and forgiveness. “You mean all I have to do is believe and I’m forgiven?”, they’ll think, “Nah can’t be that easy! Have to do something else!” or they try to find a more logical, scientific explanation for everything. Remember “Velma” the girl with the glasses on the “Scooby Doo” cartoons? She would always say and look for logical explanations to solve mysteries. This is the way people who reject God are and while Velma was right in the cartoons, people are not when it comes to God! On the flipside of the coin, we Christians don’t know God either though we claim we do. We talk about the love and forgiveness of God but seldom do we talk about the price of shunning that love and forgiveness. We also believe that somehow God is more “advanced” and compassionate now and has changed His mind and that the Word of God has become outdated and no longer applies. We have become secular Christians putting stock more in the U.S. Constitution (most of the freedoms in it taken way out of the context of the way our founding fathers meant it to be by the way!) than in the Word of God. We have forgotten about what The Bible says about allowing paganism and what happens to countries who practice it. We’ve forgotten what The Bible says about immoral practices and those who practice them and we’ve forgotten about what The Bible says about allowing a government that encourages and enacts laws favoring all of this. We think that God has become more tolerant now and talk more of His first advent rather than His second when He will come back to avenge Himself upon His enemies and those who have shunned His love and forgiveness. Yes it’s true, we are living in an age of grace and by all means we should encourage people by telling them about the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ but we also need to remember that this age of grace is coming to an end and people need to know that as well.

Getting back to the passage now, verse 29, Jesus points out to the crowd that but I know Him, for I am from Him and He has sent Me. Jesus is pointing out that He and God are one in the same! He was always there from the foundation of the world. Back in Chapter 1 of John, we read…

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was in the beginning with God. (3) All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. … John 1:1-3 NKJV

Jesus was there when the world was created. We can go even further back, in Genesis…

(3) Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. … Genesis 1:3 NKJV

This is not only the creation of the physical form of light but I also believe it to be the first mention of Christ in The Bible since Jesus is referred to as “the light of the world” several times.

vv 30-31 – (30) Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. (31) And many of the people believed in Him, and said, “When the Christ comes, will He do more signs than these which this Man has done?”

The crowd may have been confused about the things that Jesus was saying but the Jewish religious leaders weren’t. They knew that Jesus was claiming to be God and the Messiah and they considered that to be sheer blasphemy. They considered Jesus just to be an ordinary man because they knew His family. They were totally in the dark though about where Jesus got His powers to heal and perform other miracles from. They actually accuse Jesus of getting His powers from Satan or Beelzebub at one point…

(22) And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.” … Mark 3:22 NKJV

Because of the things that Jesus was saying, they sought to take Him. In other words, they wanted to arrest Him but no one laid a hand on Him because His hour had not yet come. Jesus was on His Father’s timetable not man’s. The hour described here of course is His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Until then, no one could do nothing against Him. Jesus at one point even manages to slip through and get away from a crowd that had seized Him and wanted to throw Him off a cliff! Talk about an escape artist!

Not everyone however felt this way because John says that many of the people believed in Him. There’s a saying that says, “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck”. Not to compare our Lord and Savior to a duck but you get my drift. These people heard His words and saw the miracles and put two and two together and realized that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be. There could be some doubt though whether this belief was genuine or not. The reasoning was could someone else, if he were the Christ, perform more miracles and show more signs than Jesus had. Their reasoning was no and therefore they believed Him to be the Messiah. Moving on to verse 32…

vv 32-34 – (32) The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things concerning Him, and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. (33) Then Jesus said to them, “I shall be with you a little while longer, and then I go to Him who sent Me. (34) You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come.”

The Jewish rulers, the Pharisees, didn’t like what the crowd was saying about Jesus. They were jealous of Him and the attention that they were giving to Him. They were afraid that more people would listen to Him and follow Jesus. Under the climate that they were living in at the time, their belief of this could be justified. They were under Roman occupation and there was some fear that a movement of following Jesus would be seen as a threat to Rome. There is proof of this in the Scriptures. In John Chapter 11 after Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, it says…

(47) Then the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered a council and said, “What shall we do? For this Man works many signs. (48) If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” … John 11:47-48 NKJV

The real reason why they hated Jesus though was probably jealousy.

The statement that Jesus makes in verse 33 is probably directed at the officers who tried to arrest Him. They were also directed to anyone else within earshot. Jesus knew what His ultimate fate would be which is why He says I shall be with you a little while longer. What Jesus says next, and then I go to Him who sent Me, only angered the Pharisees further. Notice that Jesus says I go meaning that this was freedom of choice not driven away by force. It was voluntary. He would finish His mission on earth and then He would go back to God. It would seem that when Jesus says, I shall be with you a little while longer, He was comforting Himself knowing that He only had a very short time left in this world with these people. It grieved Jesus of the hardness of heart and unbelief in most, not all, of the people He ran into. This is the attitude that we should have as true Christians. We should have absolutely no ties or desires to be in this world any longer than the Lord wants us to be. I’ve made the joke several times that if Jesus was to come back today that He would have to drag Christians kicking and screaming back to heaven because we have way too much desire to be in this world than to be with Him. Yes we should enjoy ourselves while we are here. There is nothing wrong with that but we should not become obsessed with that enjoyment and forget where our real home is. I love reading the Psalms. I read at least one every day. I was reading Psalm 73 the other day and this passage caught my eye and substantiates my argument about having no ties or any desire to be in this world any longer than we have to be. In verses 25 and 26 of Psalm 73, it says…

(25) Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. (26) My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. … Psalm 73:25-26 NKJV

Jesus then tells the Pharisees and the other non-believers in verse 34 You shall seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come. There would come a time that the Pharisees and the other unbelievers in the crowd would seek out Christ. They would need a Savior but because of their unbelief, they would be separated from Him forever. These are chilling and prophetic words to all who shun Christ’s love and forgiveness. There will come a time when you too will seek out Jesus but you will not find Him and you too will be separated from Him forever. The more you harden your heart to the message of the Gospel, the more the Lord will solidify that decision that you have made until it will be absolutely impossible for you to change it. Please note that the words Jesus says you cannot come meaning to be with Him in heaven is voluntary. It is because “you will not come”. In his commentary on this verse, Matthew Henry says it best…

Those who hate to be where Christ is, in his word and ordinances on earth, are very unfit to be where he is in his glory in heaven; for indeed heaven would be no heaven to them, such are the antipathies of an unsanctified soul to the felicities of that state. … Matthew Henry

Let’s move on and finish out the passage. …

vv 35-37 – (35) Then the Jews said among themselves, “Where does He intend to go that we shall not find Him? Does He intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? (36) What is this thing that He said, ‘You will seek Me and not find Me, and where I am you cannot come’?” (37) On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

It is quite obvious from these words from the Jews that they didn’t have a clue to what Jesus was referring to. They had no idea that Jesus was talking about going back to heaven and instead thought that He meant that He was going on some kind of preaching tour. The Dispersion that the Jews are talking about here is the “Diaspora”. These were Jews scattered about the world for various reasons. It actually exists today because as we all know that not all Jews live in Israel. These were Jews that were living in Greece.The people thought that Jesus was going to teach them or perhaps maybe even the Greeks themselves. In verse 36, the Jews again show their blindness of unbelief by sarcastically repeating Christ’s words in verse 34. The passage ends with perhaps one of the greatest altar calls made in The Gospel which we will look at in greater detail in the next post of this study.

In closing there is a passage in 2 Corinthians that emphasizes taking advantage of an opportunity to accept the message of The Gospel. It’s found in Chapter 6 verse 2 where Paul says…

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. … 2 Corinthians 6:2b NKJV

We don’t know what will happen tomorrow or for that matter, moment to moment. I remember a few years back riding home on the train after work getting off the train and seeing a guy who seemingly was fine when he got off the train collapse all of a sudden without absolutely no warning. Turns out, he suffered a fatal heart attack and died right there on the ground before the paramedics arrived I had heard the next day. I can’t remember if this was before I accepted Christ or not but I think about it now from time to time wondering if this guy knew Jesus or if he had passed on an opportunity to accept Him and now, it was too late! Here one minute and the next…gone! Don’t make that mistake if you don’t know Jesus! Accept Him today! Let’s pray…

Heavenly Father,

As we bring this study on this passage to a close, we thank You, for those of us who have accepted Him, the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ and the sacrifice that He made for all of us and we thank You for Your Word that helps lead us to Him. Father, we don’t know how much time each and everyone of us has on this earth but we take the comfort in knowing that we are on the way to a far better place than we are right now. Father we pray that those who are reading this and don’t know Your Son Jesus Christ, that they would come to know Him and accept Him today and not miss, perhaps, their once in a lifetime opportunity. We pray this in the name of Your precious Son Jesus Christ…Amen!