John 7 – Jesus’ Ministry in Galilee
The Galilean Ministry of Jesus lasted about sixteen months. Although John goes in more depth about Jesus’ time “up north”, each of the Gospels provides important additional information. There are many details and events in the other three gospels (called “Synoptics”) that fit into this time period – for example, look up Matt. 5:1-8:1; 8:5-13, 18, 23-34; 9:18-11:30; 12:15-14:12; Mk. 3:7-6:30; Lu. 6:12-9-9:10.
- In Matt. 15 and Mk. 8, we have the account of the feeding of the 4000 in Decapolis, later in Jesus’ life as the Galilee ministry was coming to an end.
- In Matt. 15, Mk. 8, and Lu. 9, Jesus asks the profound question “who do people say that I am?”
- Also in these three passages, Jesus first speaks direct prediction of His rejection & crucifixion to come soon. His counsel is ”Let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me”.
John 7-10 introduces a series of events that goes through the rest of John’s accounting of Jesus’ Galilean ministry. These next months are full of volatile reactions from the Jewish leaders and compassionate ministry from Jesus. Jesus’ public ministry had begun in Jn. 4 with the woman at the well. From that point, Jesus spent much of His time through the next year up in Galilee. He still traveled back to Jerusalem several times, not only because faithful Jewish men went to Jerusalem three times a year for special feasts, but also because His Father had strategic plans for things to happen each time He was in Jerusalem.
In Jn. 5, Jesus was back in Jerusalem, probably for the Feast of Tabernacles. John tells about an amazing encounter centered around the healing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda. Then in Jn 6:4 the next Passover is mentioned as approaching, so it can be assumed that He was back in Jerusalem soon after the great events of Jn. 6. Now, in John 7, Jesus has returned to Jerusalem again for another celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles. Looking at a calendar, we realize this is basically one year after Jn. 5. Note that this makes the next Passover which is the last Passover reported by the Gospels in Jesus’ life, is 6 months later, and this is when Jesus is crucified.
Read each chapter of this section (John 7-10), and for each chapter, write down the events, people, key words or phrases that stand out to help see Jesus’ activity as He goes through this time period.
Here is the chart outline of the Gospel of John we have looked at previously. Use it to see how John 7-10 fits into the “big picture”.
John 7:1-24 – The Beginning of the End
In John 7:1, what ”things” are meant here? It would have to be referring to the context of John 6, the feeding of 5000 and the great Bread of Life sermon. Think especially about John’s perspective as he writes and focuses on the revelation of Jesus as the Son of God.
- 7:3-5 – Interesting that the brothers infer that Jesus did things in secret. Look at what Jesus said about secrecy in Jn. 18:20. Since they still hadn’t believed (Jesus essentially says that in 7:6-7), it’s possible the brothers were not sincere, possibly even trying to get Him confronted again by the Jews, almost like setting bait in a trap (Isa. 5:19-20). In verses 3-5, they prod Jesus saying “it’s your time to seize the momentum!”
- 7:6-9 – Jesus states that His Father will reveal the time – but John surprises us by declaring the brothers’ unbelief (v5) – their opportune time for faith was right then (v6)! The hour was at hand for them but not for Jesus. “My time is not here yet…” this is the last occurrence in John of Jesus referring to His time “not yet”. From here on in John uses another related phrase ”the hour is coming”, increasing in use, more than 15x through Jn. 21.
- 7:10-13 – The setting for another proclamation. The grumbling continues as the people are stirred up by the Jewish leaders. Jesus stays behind the scenes until the middle of the feast, He is not stopped from ministry by Satan’s efforts, it is His choice to delay.
- 7:14-28 – Jesus is teaching in the Temple again (that had started when He was a boy, Lu. 4:31-37) . His Galilee ministry is ending but He has continued to expound the truths of God in the face of vicious opposition. He was in the “portico” area of the Temple. This is a known custom, especially during feast days, that the well-educated rabbis would take turns expounding on the OT Scriptures. Jesus’ heart is to reveal truth about God Himself, He taught for our understanding. In His ministry, Jesus established a pattern of Preaching & Teaching God’s Truth that is still at the core of the church’s life today.
- Five Reasons Jesus gives for believing His claims –
- 15-16, His knowledge originates from His Father
- 17, His teaching can be tested & confirmed
- 18, His teachings are shown to be selfless
- 19-20, The impact of His teachings are being revealed
- 21-24, His deeds demonstrate the truth of His being the Son of God
- 7:27,33 – The people didn’t understand where Jesus had come from or where He was going – Macarthur gives three ways the people were hopelessly wandering in unbelief:
- 25-29, confusion about where Jesus came from. Popular belief was that He was “from” Nazareth, but we know He was born in Bethlehem.
- 30-34, divided conviction – some tried to arrest Him but that was inhibited by God, others continued to see how He was faithful as the Messiah to what was expected of Him.
- 33-36, delayed conversion – Jesus will continue to be with them, open for them to believe, but the day will come when He is no longer available – the unbeliever is confused even further (v. 36).
In this passage, the Jewish leaders seem to have a case of bad public relations. Use the verses given with these observations to make some notes in your Journal about the rejection and obstruction Jesus faced.
- The Jewish leaders have been giving Jesus a contrary or negative reaction at every turn but they kept disagreeing among themselves or being contradicted by others (cp. Jn. 1:19; 2:18; 20; 5:10, 15-16; 6:41, 52; 7:1; 11, 13, 35; 8:22, 52, 57; 9:18, 22; 10:24,31,33; 11:8; 19:7,12; 20:19)
- The truth is that they were blinded by their selfish protectionism, irrational in their hatred of Jesus and were intent on murder at all costs (cp. Jn. 5:16-18; 7:1, 19; 30; 44; 8:37; 40; 59; 10:31; 33; 39; 11:8; 53).
- 7:28, 37, Jesus “cried out” – a heart-rending expression of Jesus deep burden for His hearers.
- “What are they thinking…?” – are they thinking at all, or only superficially, or with insufficient information, or only controlled by assumptions?
- The Greek word krazo literally means a shriek, like a bird of prey high in the air, or a deep groaning – it infers a very deep, emotional expression, His desire that they genuinely come to Know Him.
- Compare John 1:15; 12:44 – a listener’s response must be to think deeply, have a life-changing response.
- The Jewish people were following Him around, many becoming believing disciples, but most only hearing & believing superficially – although they prided themselves in “knowing God”, they didn’t truly know Him or the Scriptures in true faith.
- 37, “if anyone is thirsty!” – compare Matt. 11:28, come to me you who are heavy laden.
- 7:40-52, Follow Me – here are 5 ways people respond or react to Jesus Christ, true in Jesus’ day and today:
- They were convinced, 40-41a
- They were contrary, 41b-42
- They were hostile, 43-44
- They were confused, 45-46
- They were arrogant, 47-52
1. In 6:25, how are the people being demanding? What do they want?
2. From 6:29, what is referred to as “the work of God”? Perhaps expand a little from just this verse.,
3. What in the preceding verses made Jesus declare in 6:35 that He is the “bread of life”?
4. Jn 6:37-40 summarize the process of salvation. What is the final great work of salvation in this passage?
5. Where is Jesus at the beginning of Jn. 7? What feast is Jesus being encouraged to attend?
6. In Jn 7:10, why Jesus go to Jerusalem in secret?
7. In this passage, where did Jesus go to teach, and why?
8. In Jn. 7:27, the people say they know where Jesus came from. Where was that, and were they right?
9. In 7:33, what does Jesus mean that He will be with them just a little while longer?
10. In Jn 7:50ff., how did Nicodemus respond about Jesus, and why?