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John 7:14-24 Commentary & Lesson
for April 5, 2020
New American Standard Bible

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L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
Teaching the Truth in Love

John 7:14-24

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Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know
whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own

(John 7:17).

The Law and the Will of God

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John 7:14-24

(John 7:14) But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach.

After the crowds had plenty of time to discuss Jesus and who He was at the Feast of Booths, Jesus went into the temple to teach. John did not record what Jesus taught, but we know Jesus taught in parables (see Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and Jesus also taught in figures of speech (see John). Earlier in His ministry, Jesus had cleansed the temple and driven out the moneychangers. In John 7: 7, Jesus had told His brothers that He testified that the world's works are evil, so He might have done continued to do that in the temple. Jesus may have taught from the Hebrew scriptures and encouraged people to repent of their sins, as John the Baptist had preached.

(John 7:15) The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?”

The cheers “the religious leaders” are concerned about the “academic credentials” of their teachers. For example, the apostle Paul said his “academic credentials” included having Gamaliel has his teacher (Acts 22:3). As far as they could tell, Jesus had no “academic credentials.” He did not quote the teachers who had gone before Him as authorities. They did not know anyone who taught Jesus what He knew. Yet, they admitted and were astonished at Jesus’ knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures and His application and interpretation of them.

(John 7:16) So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

Note carefully: Jesus did not say, “My teaching is mine.” No. Just as they had teachers, so did Jesus. Jesus said His teaching was the teaching of the one who sent him. We know the one who sent Jesus was the Father in heaven. The authorities could have understood that has what Jesus meant, but Jesus was humble and pointed people to the teaching of God, who had taught them the truth in their Scriptures. In John: 11, Jesus included the Father and himself when He told Nicodemus: “we speak of what we know and testify to what we’ve seen.” Jesus astonished people because Is teaching was the teaching of God.

(John 7:17) “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.

Jesus gave the religious leaders a universal truth that applies to everyone at all times. To know the truth of God, the truth about God, to know God, you must first resolve to do the will of God. Notice: Jesus did not say resolve to obey the law of God, for these religious leaders had many interpretations of the law of God, and yet, they did not know God. If someone truly wants to do the will of God, the Holy Spirit, will find a way to lead them to Jesus and His teaching for His teaching is from God and not His own apart from God.

(John 7:18) “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.

I have heard and read people who have said in so many words, “the Bible says [fill in the blank], but I believe [fill in the blank]” or “the Bible says it is wrong to [fill in the blank], but I think it is okay to [fill in the blank].” Jesus would say these people are seeking their own glory. They are placing themselves above the Bible and judging the Bible to be wrong. Jesus refused to do that. Jesus sought to glorify, honor, proclaim, tell the truth about, His Father (and our Father) who sent Him. The Father is true and Jesus was true to God and His Word. There is nothing false in the Father or the Son (See Titus 1:2 and Hebrews 6:18). As Christians, we seek the glory of the Father and the Son. They are true and there is nothing false in them were in their words to us.

(John 7:19) “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”

The religious leaders did not resolve to do the will of God; if they had they would have recognized that Jesus’ teaching was from God. They took pride in their knowledge of the law and of their “academic credentials” that they thought made them authorities on the right interpretation of God’s law. They thought Jesus was wrong. But as Jesus pointed out none of them were obeying the law of God. If they obeyed God’s law, they would love God and their neighbor, and they would live as Micah revealed in Micah 6:8 — “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Instead, Jesus knew that they plotted to kill Him; so He spoke to their conscience, which He knew they had hardened against Him.

(John 7:20) The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?”

The crowd could not see into the hearts or understand the intentions of their religious leaders. Instead, they thought Jesus was crazy to say such an outlandish thing, for they were listening intently to the discussion between Jesus and their leaders. Jesus knew the leaders hated Him and wanted to kill Him even before He left Galilee. Jesus did not defend himself or His teaching or answer their questions. Instead, Jesus kept His focus on the Hebrew Scriptures and spoke to their conscience (as hard as it was).

(John 7:21) Jesus answered them, “I did one deed, and you all marvel.

Jesus referred back to the work He performed at the pool of Bethsaida when He healed a man who had been held for 38 years. The healing of the man astonished them, especially the crowd who had probably heard of the man’s being healed by Jesus and perhaps knew the man. But, the religious leaders believe that according to their interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures Jesus had broken the Sabbath and deserved to die. They did not keep the law of Moses in their hearts, and they would soon kill Jesus.

(John 7:22) “For this reason Moses has given you circumcision (not because it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a man.

Jesus displayed part of his learning when he qualified that circumcision went back to the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and not just as far back as the time of Moses. Male Jews were circumcised on the eighth day after they were born, even when they were born on the Sabbath when no work was to be done. Circumcision took precedence over the rule against working on the Sabbath.  Gentiles who converted to Judaism as adult males would also be circumcised on the Sabbath as taking precedence over the law of the Sabbath.

(John 7:23) “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the Law of Moses will not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made an entire man well on the Sabbath?

When two ceremonial laws conflicted, the Jews decided the law regarding circumcision was the most important to obey. Circumcision was surgery on one small part of the body. If circumcision or surgery was allowed on one part of the body, Jesus said that healing a man’s whole body was even more important; therefore, healing could be done on the Sabbath as taking precedence over the law of the Sabbath; therefore, they should not be angry with Him. They did not know or want to obey the law of love that would heal someone whenever given the opportunity no matter what day of the week it was.

(John 7:24) “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

The “religious leaders” soft glory for themselves and thought Jesus was seeking glory for himself. They thought Jesus healing on the Sabbath was one way He was seeking to draw attention to himself. They judged by appearances. They thought Jesus had no concern about obeying the law of God; therefore, He violated the Sabbath laws. They judged by appearances. If they had just right judgment, they would have judged that Jesus acted in love to heal a sick man whenever He had the opportunity to matter what day it was. Obeying the law of love for God and others took precedence over obeying a ceremonial law or Sabbath observance.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. What is the Law of God?

2. Is there a problem with the Law of God? Explain your answer.

3. What is the Will of God?

4. Is there a problem with the Will of God? Explain your answer.

5. How can someone know if Jesus, or anyone else, was sent from God or not?

The Law and the Will of God

Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own (John 7:17).

First, consider what Jesus did not say. Jesus did not say, “Anyone who resolves to do the law of God will know,” because this was the standard of judgment used by the scribes and Pharisees. The main occupation of the Pharisees was debating, defining, and defending the law of God as they understood it from previous teachers over hundreds of years. Based on their interpretation of the Law of Moses, they had already decided that Jesus was breaking the law of God. They accused Jesus of breaking the law of the Sabbath when He healed the sick on the Sabbath and of desecrating the name of God when He called God His Father. Now, consider what Jesus truly promised, “Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know.” But what is “the will of God”? In general, we would say, “Love God and love your neighbor,” but that was the Law of Love the Pharisees also debated, so Jesus told them the Parable of the Good Samaritan to explain it (see Luke 10:25-37). Those Jesus spoke to desperately needed to understand and resolve to do the will of God as declared by the prophet in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” If people truly resolve to do the will of God, they will understand whether Jesus’ teaching or anyone else’s teaching is from the Father, the Person who sent Jesus, or human philosophers and speculators. — LG Parkhurst Jr.

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