Here is the sermon for Wednesday April 30th 2008.

The great debate 3
John 7:32-36

We are looking at a debate that has lasted for centuries, “Just who is Jesus of Nazareth?” Jesus further adds fuel to the fire by proclaiming some startling claims about Himself to the point that in v. 30 those who are debating Him want to have Him arrested.

Unfortunately, that is often the nature of debates. They may start out alright, but either one party, or both parties will often get mad at one another.

This just so happened in a debate that I was listening too online a few weeks ago. It was a five day debate between a 5 point Calvinists and a non-Calvinists, or Armenian. The first 3 days it was very civil. Both Gentlemen were Christ-like in their presentations, and rebuttals, not attacking the other person or losing their temper. But day 4 that all changed. To be honest it didn’t matter which side you supported concerning the debate – both became un-Christlike in their behavior. Both accusing the other of trying to make them look bad and it was rather embarrassing. You see, once they presented their arguments and began to address them, the frustration with one another shown through and they began to really get in the flesh.

Day five went back to the civility. I believe both men recognized they went to far, however instead of apologizing for their own mistakes, they both apologized for the other person losing their cool, justifying the their own actions – which was sad quite frankly.

Let’s look into a few more verses that are involved in this debate and see what God would say to us tonight.

1. The response of the crowd and Pharisees.

John 7:32 ISV – The Pharisees heard the crowd debating these things about him, so the high priests and the Pharisees sent officers to arrest him.

A. The Pharisees heard the crowd debating what Jesus had claimed earlier. Let’s look at what Jesus said earlier.

John 7:26-31 ESV – And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? (27) But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” (28) So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. (29) I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” (30) So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. (31) Yet many of the people believed in him.
They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

They were debating on whether Jesus was the Christ or not. This debate is translated in the ESV as, “Murmur.” It is translated in the NASB as, “Muttering.” This word in Greek basically means, “a low complaining whisper.” This means that were debating among themselves quietly what Jesus had been saying. I feel that at first many in the crowd wanted to have Him arrested, but wouldn’t lay a hand on Him. Then Jesus further states that He comes from the Father and knows the Father. This was a very blasphemous thing to say, unless of course you were really the Messiah, and the debate becomes louder and more influenced by feelings and anger than truth amongst the Jews.

B. It is at this point that the Pharisees and the Priests send officers to have Jesus arrested.

They possibly thought they could control the crowd and the debate. But it is getting out of control. The more Jesus speaks, the more the debate rises, and some might just believe Him and the Pharisees and Priests can’t have that, so they sought to arrest Him. I feel they were probably afraid that this low complaining whisper is about to become a riot. I don’t feel they the main reason they sought to have Jesus arrested was to try Him and have Him killed, although they did want to do that. The main reason at this point I feel was the get control of the crowd, and avoid a potential riot.

2. The response of Jesus to their desire to seize Him.

John 7:33-34 ESV – Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. (34) You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.”

A. This response of Jesus is much deeper than it appears at first glance.

B. For basically in this passage a lot of scholars feel He is giving a summation of the Gospel.

C. In v. 33 He is talking about His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and restoration of His pre-existant glory.

His time is short on this earth. In the Father’s timing, He will return to Him. His return will be through His death on the cross, His burial and His resurrection and His ascension. Jesus later before His death prays this in His prayer.

John 17:1-5 ESV – 1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

D. In v. 34 Jesus is talking about the condition of man without Christ.

They will look for Him and not find Him. Why? He is with the Father, a place where no man can come or approach. These Pharisees and Priests, no matter the religious ritual and trying to keep all the requirements of the Law could not approach God, could not go where Jesus went. Why? Because they are sinners. Their religious appearance may hide their sins from man, but it doesn’t hide this fact from God. Jesus says some very similar, but in a little more detail in John 8.

John 8:21 ESV – So he said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek me, and you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.”

In the same way, people try to find some sort of short cut to heaven. They will try religion, legalism, perfectionism, and all the “isms,’ of this world. But God has only had one way, the narrow way, through His Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. All the other approaches may hide man’s true condition from themselves and others, but it cannot hide mankind’s true condition from God. That is why Jesus came, to make us a new creation, so that through Him, we can approach the Father.

3. The response of the Jews shows that their thinking was carnal, not spiritual.

John 7:35-36 ESV – The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? (36) What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

A. They did not understand what Jesus is saying at all.

B. They thought He was talking perhaps about going to where some Jews were dispersed and now lived amongst the Greeks and teach the Greeks.

They are thinking that Jesus is going on some type of preaching tour. They completely missed out on His hints in the previous verses about Him coming from the Father and going back to Him. These Jews are truly showing the condition of their heart. It is a condition of unbelief. Let me quote from the study note of the Believer’s Bible Commentary concerning this passage. “There is no heart as dark as the heart that refuses to accept the Lord Jesus. In our own day, we have the expression “there are none so blind as those who will not see.” This was exactly the case here. They did not want to accept the Lord Jesus, and therefore they could not.” In our day, there are those, no matter how much we share, no matter how much we love them, they continue to not understand. And the reasons are the same as the days of Christ. They don’t want to accept the truths concerning Jesus, and therefore they cannot understand it. We must truly pray and seek the face of the Father on their behalf, that He will draw them, and enable them by the Holy Spirit to believe in the truths of Jesus Christ.


How can we apply what we learned to our lives?

• Constant debate with nonbelievers won’t bring them to Christ.
• Don’t fall for the debate trap. Speak the truth of Jesus, and don’t get into an argument that could lead to you getting in the flesh.
• What will help more than anything is before sharing your faith, ask the Lord to draw them and enable them to believe the truth.
• Then begin sharing your faith at the Lord’s dealing.
• If they debate, be encouraged, the debate is not with you but it is with Jesus Christ Himself.