This is the Wednesday sermon for April 16th, 2008.

The Great debate part 1
John 7:11-19.

Last time we saw that the disbelief of Jesus’ half-brothers concerning who He is. They tried to get Him to go the feast of booths and do some type of sign. They didn’t do it because they believed in Him, because v. 5 is very clear that they didn’t believe in Him. But the Jewish leaders were already trying to find a way to kill Him, and even some who had followed Him and were present and partook when He multiplied the bread and fish, not rejected Jesus because of His teachings about partaking of Him. We will see later that they will want to kill Him as well. So I believe that His brothers was doing something similar to Joseph and his brothers in the book of Genesis – they wanted to get rid of Him, or maybe expose Him as a fraud.

This week we are going to look at vv. 11-19.

We are looking from this passage at a debate that has lasted for centuries, “Who is this Jesus of Nazareth anyway?” We are going to look at the different debates that are taking place at this festival and see what the passage says about the debates, as well as how Jesus addresses these debates.

Let’s look into the passage and see what God would say to us this evening.

1. The search for Jesus and the talk of the town.

John 7:11-14 ESV – The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” (12) And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” (13) Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. (14) About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching.

A. This passage takes place during the feast, or festival of tabernacles or booths.

This is one of the three annual feasts celebrated by Israel. This feast was celebrated during the seventh month of the Jewish calendar, which is basically our September. Remember, Jesus didn’t go into the festival openly, but privately, He knew that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Him. In fact, you see the Jewish leaders looking for Him here. Almost every time the Jews are mentioned in the book of John, it is in reference to the Jewish leaders, or the Jewish ruling class, or upper class. They were not looking for Jesus so that they might listen to His teachings, or so that they might worship Him and honor Him. I believe they wanted to catch Him at something so they could accuse Him of blasphemy and have Him arrested and then executed. The only problem was it wasn’t God’s timing.

B. Let’s look at some background information that will help us in interpreting and understanding this passage.

In this chapter, there are several different types of groups that Jesus has to deal with. His brothers; the Jews who were the leaders; the crowds and multitudes – these are those who were not residents of Jerusalem, but were traveling there for the Festival; and the people of Jerusalem – residents of the town. They all had one thing in common: they each had heard stories of Jesus, or were maybe eyewitnesses to some of what was going on, and they also were forming opinions about Him.

C. Let’s look at some of the opinions they were forming about Him.

The crowd, travelers to Jerusalem, some were saying He’s a good man. The word “good” in the Greek means, “A good constitution or nature; useful; pleasant; excellent; distinguished; upright and honorable.” So while they didn’t think He was the Son of God, many in the crowd formed the opinion that Jesus was a good, upright, honorable man. Others formed the opinion that He was a deceiver. The word “deceives” in the Greek means, “to lead astray, to seduce, to cause others to stray, to lead away from the truth into error.” Some formed the opinion that Jesus and His teachings and signs were leading people away from the true worship of the God of the fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

D. They kept the talk quiet though because of fear of the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem (v. 13b).

The leaders were not interested in the discussions concerning Jesus. They just wanted to expose Him as a fraud and blasphemer, have Him arrested, and killed.

2. Jesus shows up at the Festival.

John 7:14 ESV – About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching.

A. He waited to begin teaching at the Festival until it was halfway over.

He no longer was in secret. The part of the court where He began teaching in the Temple was a very visible, high traffic area. So I’m sure that anyone who was walking by in that area could see the crowd being drawn too Him and could hear His teaching.
This feast lasted about eight days. So four days into it Jesus goes into the temple in public and begins to teach openly.

B. In all likelihood Jesus waited until the anger of the Jewish leaders was calmed down, and then He began to teach publicly.

C. It wasn’t a one time teaching, but the Greek suggest that He was continuing, or ongoing in His teaching in the Temple here.

3. The amazement of His teaching.

John 7:15 ESV – The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”

A. Jesus wasn’t raised in any rabbinic school like Paul was, or others.

B. He was just simply raised up a carpenter’s son.

C. Yet here, His teaching is amazing all the Jewish leaders.

Think about it for just a moment. Here is Jesus, an uneducated man from Nazareth, and He is teaching some amazing these, so much so that those who were educated in the Rabbinical school, i.e. the Jewish leaders were standing there amazed.

4. Jesus gives a direct answer.

John 7:16-19 ESV – So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. (17) If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. (18) The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (19) Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”

A. Jesus reveals the source of His teaching (v. 16).

It doesn’t come from His own mind. It didn’t originate with Him. He is not the author or source of what He is teaching. The source is none other than the one who sent Him. His Father God.

B. Jesus challenges them to seek if He is speaking the truth or not.

All these Jews that are in attendance at this Festival would tell you that they are all trying to seek and do the will of God. But if they were, they wouldn’t be just forming some opinion about Jesus, but they would be investigating whether His teaching comes from God or not. What would they use in this investigation? I believe the Old Testament Scriptures. Jesus Himself said that they testified concerning Him.
Instead of forming opinions, they should be in prayer, asking the Lord to reveal the truth through the Scriptures concerning Jesus.

C. Some people speak for personal glory (v. 18a).

So that they can draw a following, be known, or whatever other reasons.

D. Jesus doesn’t speak for personal glory, but to glorify the one who sent Him (v. 18b).

He hasn’t come to seek and gain a crowd or following, He has come to fulfill the purpose of the Father. He has come to reveal the truth – He is the redeemer of mankind, and it is only through Jesus Christ that redemption is found, not in keeping the law, religion, good works, nothing else. That verse goes on to say Jesus is a man of truth. That could also be translated integrity. How did Jesus show His integrity? By living His life for one purpose – the Father’s purpose.

E. Jesus exposes the hypocrisy of the crowd (v. 19).

These Jews were at this Festival trying to keep the requirements of Moses and the Law. But Jesus said they couldn’t keep the law. This must have been a shock to them.
Why did Jesus say this? Because the Law of Moses prohibited premeditated murder, and the Jewish leaders, teachers of the law, were so angry at Jesus that they had murder toward Him in their hearts and minds and they were seeking for a way to carry it out – thereby they were lawbreakers.


Is there anything in tonight’s study that we can apply to our lives?

• People will always be debating who Jesus is. It will continue until He comes again.
• Don’t get into the arguments by giving your opinions, but study the Scriptures and always point the person back to what the Scriptures say.
• Be a person of truth and integrity. Don’t fall for non-believers tactics. Stick with the Scriptures as your final authority.
• When non-believers tell you they feel they are pretty good people, remind them that there is none righteous. All are lawbreakers.
• By exposing their unrighteousness, then you can begin to reveal from Scriptures the truth about Jesus being the Savior.