John 7 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of John 7)

Verse 2

[2] Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.

The feast of tabernacles — The time, manner, and reason of this feast may be seen, Leviticus 23:34, etc.

Verse 3

[3] His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.

His brethren — So called according to the Jewish way of speaking. They were his cousins, the sons of his mother's sister.

Depart hence — From this obscure place.

Verse 4

[4] For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.

For no man doth any thing — Of this kind, in secret; but rather desireth to be of public use.

If thou really dost these things — These miracles which are reported; show thyself to the world - To all men.

Verse 6

[6] Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.

Jesus saith, Your time is always ready — This or any time will suit you.

Verse 7

[7] The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.

The world cannot hate you — Because ye are of the world.

But me it hateth — And all that bear the same testimony.

Verse 10

[10] But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

He also went up to the feast — This was his last journey but one to Jerusalem. The next time he went up he suffered.

Verse 11

[11] Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?

The Jews — The men of Judea, particularly of Jerusalem.

Verse 12

[12] And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.

There was much murmuring among the multitude — Much whispering; many private debates with each other, among those who were come from distant parts.

Verse 13

[13] Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.

However no man spake openly of him — Not in favour of him: for fear of the Jews - Those that were in authority.

Verse 14

[14] Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.

Now at the middle of the feast — Which lasted eight days. It is probable this was on the Sabbath day.

Jesus went up into the temple — Directly, without stopping any where else.

Verse 15

[15] And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

How does this man know letters, having never learned? — How comes he to be so well acquainted with sacred literature as to be able thus to expound the Scripture, with such propriety and gracefulness, seeing he has never learned this, at any place of education?

Verse 16

[16] Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

My doctrine is not mine — Acquired by any labour of learning; but his that sent me - Immediately infused by him.

Verse 17

[17] If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

If any man be willing to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God — This is a universal rule, with regard to all persons and doctrines. He that is thoroughly willing to do it, shall certainly know what the will of God is.

Verse 18

[18] He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

There is no unrighteousness in him — No deceit or falsehood.

Verse 19

[19] Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?

But ye are unrighteous; for ye violate the very law which ye profess so much zeal for.

Verse 20

[20] The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?

The people answered, Thou hast a devil — A lying spirit.

Who seeketh to kill thee? — These, coming from distant parts, probably did not know the design of the priests and rulers.

Verse 21

[21] Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.

I did — At the pool of Bethesda: one work - Out of many: and ye all marvelled at it - Are amazed, because I did it on the Sabbath day.

Verse 22

[22] Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.

Moses gave you circumcision — The sense is, because Moses enjoined you circumcision (though indeed it was far more ancient than him) you think it no harm to circumcise a man on the Sabbath: and are ye angry at me (which anger had now continued sixteen months) for doing so much greater a good, for healing a man, body and soul, on the Sabbath?

Verse 27

[27] Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.

When Christ cometh, none knoweth whence he is — This Jewish tradition was true, with regard to his Divine nature: in that respect none could declare his generation. But it was not true with regard to his human nature, for both his family and the place of his birth were plainly foretold.

Verse 28

[28] Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.

Then cried Jesus — With a loud and earnest voice.

Do ye both know me, and know whence I am ? — Ye do indeed know whence I am as a man. But ye know not my Divine nature, nor that I am sent from God.

Verse 29

[29] But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.

l am from him — By eternal generation: and he hath sent me - His mission follows from his generation. These two points answer those: Do ye know me? Do ye know whence I am?

Verse 30

[30] Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

His hour — The time of his suffering.

Verse 33

[33] Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.

Then said Jesus — Continuing his discourse (from John 7:29) which they had interrupted.

Verse 34

[34] Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.

Ye shall seek me — Whom ye now despise. These words are, as it were, the text which is commented upon in this and the following chapter.

Where I am — Christ's so frequently saying while on earth, where I am, when he spake of his being in heaven, intimates his perpetual presence there in his Divine nature: though his going thither was a future thing, with regard to his human nature.

Verse 35

[35] Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?

Will he go to the dispersed among the Greeks — The Jews scattered abroad in heathen nations, Greece particularly. Or, Will he teach the Greeks? - The heathens themselves.

Verse 37

[37] In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

On the last, the great day of the feast — On this day there was the greatest concourse of people, and they were then wont to fetch water from the fountain of Siloam, which the priests poured out on the great altar, singing one to an other, With joy shall ye draw water from the wells of salvation. On this day likewise they commemorated God's miraculously giving water out of the rock, and offered up solemn prayers for seasonable rains.

Verse 38

[38] He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

He that believeth — This answers to let him come to me. And whosoever doth come to him by faith, his inmost soul shall be filled with living water, with abundance of peace, joy, and love, which shall likewise flow from him to others.

As the Scripture hath said — Not expressly in any one particular place. But here is a general reference to all those scriptures which speak of the effusion of the Spirit by the Messiah, under the similitude of pouring out water. Zechariah 14:8.

Verse 39

[39] (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The Holy Ghost was not yet given — That is, those fruits of the Spirit were not yet given even to true believers, in that full measure.

Verse 40

[40] Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.

The prophet — Whom we expect to be the forerunner of the Messiah.

Verse 42

[42] Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

From Bethlehem — And how could they forget that Jesus was born there? Had not Herod given them terrible reason to remember it? Micah 5:2.

Verse 48

[48] Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?

Hath any of the rulers — Men of rank or eminence, or of the Pharisees - Men of learning or religion, believed on him?

Verse 49

[49] But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

But this populace, who know not the law — This ignorant rabble; are accursed - Are by that ignorance exposed to the curse of being thus seduced.

Verse 50

[50] Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)

Nicodemus, he that came to him by night — Having now a little more courage, being one of them - Being present as a member of the great council, saith to them - Do not we ourselves act as if we knew not the law, if we pass sentence on a man before we hear him?

Verse 52

[52] They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

They answered — By personal reflection; the argument they could not answer, and therefore did not attempt it.

Art thou also a Galilean? — One of his party? Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet - They could not but know the contrary. They knew Jonah arose out of Gethhepher; and Nahum from another village in Galilee. Yea, and Thisbe, the town of Elijah, the Tishbite, was in Galilee also. They might likewise have known that Jesus was not born in Galilee, but at Bethlehem, even from the public register there, and from the genealogies of the family of David. They were conscious this poor answer would not bear examination, and so took care to prevent a reply.

Verse 53

[53] And every man went unto his own house.

And every man went to his own house — So that short plain question of Nicodemus spoiled all their measures, and broke up the council! A word spoken in season, how good it is! Especially when God gives it his blessing.