Points covered: Jesus the living water, exegesis of John 7, Rejection of Jesus, hypocrites in times of Jesus.
Let’s open our Bibles to John 7. As we come back to the seventh chapter, it is autumn. The harvest is past. The leaves around the trees of Jerusalem are golden and the entire Jewish population is traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate one of their festivals – The Feast of Tabernacles. In this feast they remembered their wilderness wandering and staying in tents for 40 years before they entered the promise land. The city of Jerusalem was teaming with tens of thousands of Jews from near and the rest of the world who came for the feast. All of them were pretty much gathered in the Herodian temple. The temple yard is massively packed, people pushing together, as all the activities of that celebratory event were going on.
In the mid of that week, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, waiting until then because He wanted to delay His coming to avoid the intention of the leaders who sought to kill Him. And upon arrival there, He went immediately to the temple and began teaching.
There is a general trend of rejection to Jesus which is escalating now. That was the trend right from his birth. That’s the story of Jesus. He came. He was rejected. He was crucified. We’re seeing the progression of that rejection in the Bible and even today in the world.
1. Rejection of Jesus.
a. Rejected by the world. John 1:10-11 10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
b. Rejected by the disciples. John 6:66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
c. Rejected by his family. John 7:5 Even his own brothers did not believe in him.
d. Rejected by the leaders of Israel. John 7:1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.
e. Rejected by the people. John 7:20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
Everyone rejected Him. Jesus had and has only a small number of followers. Only a small group of people walk through the narrow gate. But those who receive him, he gives life, abundant life and eternal life. In fact, when it was all over with, there were only 120 on the day of Pentecost, so it’s a story of progressive rejection of the most wonderful person that ever walked this earth.
From here on, He spends the last six months of His ministry walking in the shadow of the cross. All of them will converge at the end and cry for His blood and His execution by crucifixion.
Now, look at John 7:25-34 25At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? 27But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” 28Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” 30At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?” 32The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. 33Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. 34You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
You will look for me, but you will not find me and where I am, you cannot come. What does this statement mean? That means that there will come a time in some people’s life where how much ever they will seek God they will not find God. There are repeated warnings all through the Old Testament and the New about waiting too long and you discover that it is too late.
Genesis 6:3 Then the Lord said, “My spirit will not contend with humans forever.” God will give chance to man but it is possible for many to delay and seek too late, to seek at a time when the Lord will not hear.” Isaiah said in Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on him while he is near. There is going to come a time where people will see God and will not find him.
It can happen by the way of death. Without Jesus anyone who dies goes directly to hell. Hell is the suffering place for sin; a place of resentment, bitterness, eternal regret without remedy, and remorse without hope. There is weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth in tormenting darkness. You will seek me. What a horrible reality. You will not find me. Hell is not where Christ is forgotten. It is where He is unavailable.
Another time where you will not find Jesus is on the coming of the Lord. When Jesus comes to take his elect and if we are not believers there is no point of seeking Jesus then. Yes, you can be saved then but you will have to undergo tribulation because you sought Jesus late in life.
Common conception is God is basically good, and everybody who is good is going to go to heaven. That’s how people think. But Jesus says, “You will seek me and you will not find me, and where I am, you cannot come.” Heaven is not for everybody.
So this is a warning passage, and I want you to just mark in your mind that the statement is made to two groups of people. One is made to the people in general and one is made to the Jewish leaders. You may come to church, you maybe a minister of God or you may be just in the crowd but the only quality to go to heaven is for the ones who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your savior and continue to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, have a relationship with Jesus Christ. All others are given the same sentence, hell.
We are going to look into this passage and see the people, Jewish leaders, and Jesus Christ.
2. The confused crowd.
The people here are confused. John 7:25 At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill?
Now listen to: John 7:19-20 19Why are you trying to kill me?” 20“You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?” When you compare these verses the people are really confused. Why? Because He’s in the now temple. The people know that the leaders want him dead. John 7:1 After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.
The leaders were seeking to kill Him. And they’re letting Him teach, and nobody is stopping Him. They know how the rulers feel, and they’re confused as to why they don’t stop His teaching, why they don’t seize Him and execute Him if that’s what they want. It’s their space. It’s their temple. It’s their territory. They’re in charge.” Now the rules don’t say anything, but they know this is the man they’re seeking to kill.
Look at John 7:26 Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. They’re not stopping Him. They’re just letting Him go on about the claims that he is the Messiah. They are confused John 7:26b Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? Oh! Maybe the rulers have realized and concluded that Jesus is the Messiah. John 7:31 Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”
See the confusion of the crowd – Sometimes they believe he is the Messiah, sometimes they say he is demon possessed. Sometimes they sing the tune of the leaders. If they want Him dead, why aren’t they stopping Him? Have they really concluded Jesus is the Messiah? Now looking at the signs, we think he is the Messiah?
But again they are confused. Luke 7:27 But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from. However, on the other hand, we know where this man is from. We know the story of Joseph and Mary. He is the carpenter’s son. He cannot be the Messiah. John 6:42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”
They were confused: John 7:40-43 40On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41Others said, “He is the Messiah.” Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee? 42Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?” 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. They were confused utterly.
John 7:28-29 28Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”
Jesus cried out in the temple. Four times in the New Testament, it says that Jesus cried. Here it is with pain yelling at the top of His voice. So Jesus yells so everyone can hear, at top of His voice, teaching and saying, “Oh, yes, you know the family in Nazareth, the town of Nazareth, but you don’t know me. You know nothing. I have not come of myself. I’m not the product of the family or the town of Nazareth. You may know that I’m from Galilee. You may know that I lived in the town of Nazareth. You may have heard my words, but you have no idea who I am. You have no idea where I came from and who sent me.” John 8:19 You do not know me or my Father.
Jesus is talking to the people in the temple who have come to celebrate the festival that they claim to know God but they really do not know God. The real problem is given in John 8:43-44 43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44You belong to your father, the devil. So they’re saying proudly, “We know him but they are the children of the devil.
Let me tell you, knowing a few details about Jesus, external things about Jesus is to know nothing about Him. To know a little bit about His history, to know some Bible stories that you may have heard is to know nothing about Him.
Such people who say who knows Jesus and has no relationship with him is a horrible position to be in because there will come a time when you’ll seek to know Him, and He will not be available. There will come a time when He will be shutting you out of heaven forever. Confusion is not the place to be. Learn about Jesus from the Word of God. Read his word.
3. The hypocritical rulers.
Now the people are confused and the rulers now know the people are expecting them to act, go arrest and kill Jesus. The rulers are trying to do that in John 5:18 For this reason they tried all the more to kill him. They wanted to kill Jesus in John 7:1 The Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.
The leaders wanted to kill Jesus and finally they finally step into the scene. They want to seize Him but no man lays hands on Him. Nobody touches Him. Why? John 7:30 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. The reason no man laid hands on Him to arrest Him was because His hour hadn’t come.
Jesus was in control even over his enemies. They couldn’t act because they were under divine control. The invisible hand of God controls everything that happens in the universe. Everything happens according to His purpose and plan and timing. Not a hair of His head could be touched without divine permission because God is in control of absolutely everything.
We who are God’s children, even our times are in his hands. No one can touch us. We have divine protection. Do not worry no enemy is going to touch you. God is in control over you.
Isaiah 54:17 No weapon forged against you will prevail.
Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?
Psalm 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Now the leaders they are really concerned now because the crowd is starting to buy into the fact that He might actually be the Messiah.
John 7:26 Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?
John 7:31 Still, may in the crowd put their faith in him.
John 7:32 The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him. Even they could not arrest Jesus. They went back empty-handed.
John 7:45 Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and the Pharisees, who asked them, “Why didn’t you bring him in?”
John 7:46-47 46“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared. 47“You mean he has deceived you also?” the Pharisees retorted.
What did Jesus speak that the guards got scared? John 7:33-34 33Jesus said, “I am with you only for a short time, and then I go back to the one who sent me, 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
Jesus speaks to everyone here. He speaks to the offices who came to arrest Him, to the leaders, and just generally to the people. John 7:33-34 33Jesus said, “I am with you only for a short time, and then I go back to the one who sent me, 34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
This is sad. Jesus said, “It’s going to be over. I’m going to be out of your life. In a short time you’re not going to have to deal with me at all.”
4. The Savior’s exclusion.
Jesus said, “You have not received me, I am going to go. I’m going back to the one who sent me. You don’t have to deal with me much longer. But the said thing is: John 7:34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”
Jesus died after 6 months, rose again and went to God the Father. Forty years later, Romans came and attacked the city. Thousands of Jews were massacred. I wonder if the ones who were still alive remembered that He said that that day, and sought Him and couldn’t find Him.
This passage is true for everyone who rejects Jesus: The crowd who is confused about the one true God. The believers who know him but reject Jesus in their behavior and lifestyle. And every force mocking Christianity and attacking believers and churches.
Where is that place these people will go where they will look for Jesus and not find him? It is hell. John 7:34 You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” Jesus said, “I’m going to my Father. I am going to heaven. You will never go to heaven.” Heaven is not for everybody. Heaven is for those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and no one else.”
John 7:37-38 37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.”
Look at John 8:21 Once more Jesus said to them, “I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come.” You die in your sins, you go to hell, shut out of heaven forever because you do not believe in me.
This is illustrated in Matthew 25 in the parable of the virgins. Remember that? All depicted as religious people, there for the great event of the coming of the bridge groom and the great wedding. There were some of the virgins didn’t have the oil. They had all the religious accoutrements. They had all the moral values. But they didn’t have life from God. And when the bride groom came, the door was shut, and they were shut out forever. So the warning of our Lord here is a clear warning. Everyone is going to come to a point in your life when you’re going to seek me, and you’re never going to find me. Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on him while he is near.