Where were you born? Were you born in your mother’s home, a hospital, an automobile, a train, an airplane or in a field? What city or nation is your place of origin? Have you ever stopped to ask, “Why was I born in this nation or country?” Or, “Why was I born to these parents?” It is obvious that you did not choose your parents or your country. The message of the Bible is that God gave you your parents and your nation. They were God’s choices. In Jeremiah 1:5 God said He knew the prophet Jeremiah before he was born, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (NASB) God planned before the beginning of time that Jeremiah would be a prophet. When you meet another person, do you ever wonder in what country he/she was born, who are their parents or if he/she was a nice person? Maybe you wonder if he/she lives in a mansion, are married or has a vocation. Maybe you called the person pastor, doctor, Mr. President or some other name. And what do you think about Jesus?
In this study we are going to discover that when Jesus walked this earth there were Jews who thought they knew all the important things about Jesus. They knew the city in which He lived, His father, mother, brothers and sisters. Some had probably heard rumors about Him that they rejected as not being true. We can be sure that there was gossip about Him. Gossip exists in every town and church. In the gospel of Mark we are told that some people knew the names of Jesus’ parents, brothers and sisters,
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him. Mark 6:3 (NASB)
In addition to the names of the family members, they knew that Jesus was a carpenter. Typically, in Jesus’ day sons adopted the vocation of their fathers. Therefore, many conclude that Jesus’ father was a carpenter. While Mark 6:3 does not state the name of Jesus’ father, John 6:42 reveals that they knew his name was Joseph.
Many Roman Catholics have been taught that Jesus did not have brothers or sisters and that these verses refer to those who believe in God. That is, they are spiritual children or followers of God. Such teaching is wrong since it ignores the very obvious. For example, Matt. 1:16; Luke 1:27 and Luke 2:16 clearly identify Mary and Joseph as husband and wife.
Mark 6:3 clearly identifies Jesus’ mother along with four brothers and an unknown number of sisters. A plain sense reading of the verses indicates that this is a family unit. Nowhere in scripture are the words “brothers” and “sisters” used to refer to believers in God. Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic church have rejected the obvious because they teach that Mary did not have any other children? Why? Because they exalt Mary claiming that she was sinless and some how believe sexual relations for her would have been sinful. Where in the Bible can one find the statement that Mary had only one child – Jesus? Further John 7:1-8 reveals that Jesus’ brothers went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Booths and Jesus stayed behind. Acts 1:14 is a powerful statement that indicates Jesus had brothers. The verse says, “Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” If this statement refers only to those of Jesus’ disciples or those who believe in Jesus, are we to conclude that the apostles weren’t His disciples? Also, Galatians 1:19 states that James was the brother of Jesus (Mark 6:3). The message is simple. Jesus had brothers and sisters and Mary was not a perpetual virgin. The Jews of Jesus’ day knew that Jesus had brothers and sisters.
The Origin of Jesus
In this study the question that we will consider is who was Jesus and from where did He come? In our last study Jesus and the religious leaders were questioning His authority to teach the crowds. They did not believe that He had the authority or the rabbinic training to teach. They considered themselves as the authority. Since Jesus had not been taught in any of their schools, they did not think He was qualified to teach. Jesus defended Himself by showing them their hypocrisy. They claimed to be true to the teachings of Moses, but they distorted his teachings and were not faithful followers of God. Jesus was repeatedly stating that their teachings were in error. In response they challenged Him. Because they were angry that He was not following their own teachings, they wanted to kill Him.
Confusion Among The People
Consequently, the people were in confusion not knowing what to believe about Jesus. Our study begins with John 7:25-26 and these verses reveal the people were confused.
So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill? Look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?“ John 7:25-26 (NASB)
These two verses tell us that the people who gathered for the Feast of Booths were surprised that the Jewish leaders were allowing Jesus to speak publicly. Earlier in verses 11-13 we were told that the religious leaders were seeking Jesus because they wanted to kill Him (John 5:18; 7:1). As a result, the people were afraid to speak about Jesus. They knew that the leaders had already rejected Jesus. Consequently, they were stunned that the leaders were allowing Jesus to speak “openly.” The Greek word that is translated as “publicly” in verse 26 is parresia. It literally means “boldness or openness.” That is, Jesus was bold and yet the leaders did nothing.
So, the people wondered why the leaders delayed. The wording of the Greek sentence could imply that the religious leaders had fresh evidence that Jesus could be the Messiah. If this is true, then the leaders were discussing among themselves what to do next. That would explain why they did not take action immediately.
The Greek word that is translated as “Christ” in verse 26 also means “Messiah.” We can be confident that the religious leaders understood the full meaning of Jesus’ name. This was a strategic time for the religious leaders. Jesus was at the feast and He could have been easily arrested and then killed. But they delayed. We will soon discover also that the religious leaders were concerned that Jesus was gaining a following. They heard the crowds wondering if He was the promised Messiah. The tension and excitement among the people and the religious leaders at the feast over Jesus must have been like electricity. Was Jesus really the Messiah? One can almost hear the religious leaders thinking. Why should we kill Him, if He is the Messiah? If He is not the Messiah, then Jesus is a trouble maker and gaining a following. Should they take the risk?
The Jewish rabbis of Jesus’ day were not careful students of the Old Testament scriptures. As a result, they thought the Messiah would be a human, like them – only a man. They believed correctly that he would be born in Bethlehem and become a Messianic king. The religious leaders taught that the Messiah would be a descendant of King David (Mark 12:35) and sit on the throne of Israel’s kingdom.
The next verse, John 7:27 raises some interesting questions. The question is, “Why did the people think that they would not know from where the Messiah came?”
However, we know where this man is from; but whenever the Christ may come, no one knows where He is from. John 7:27
It is obvious that the people had been incorrectly taught by their religious leaders that no one would know the identity of the Messiah until He suddenly appeared, and no one would know from where He came. While they were correct in many points about the Messiah, it is amazing that they believed that no one would know who He was or His birthplace.
They missed the fact that He would be God. That is the message of Isaiah 9:6-7 and Micah 5:2-5. Maybe the truth was too difficult to accept? Matthew 2:1-6 reveals that the religious leaders understood that Micah 5:2 taught the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. That is what they told the magi, but they did not understand the last past of Micah 5:2 which clearly reveals that the Messiah would be from “forever, ancient, perpetuity or everlasting.” Only God is from everlasting. They missed that truth.
Today the rabbis believe to teach that the Messiah will be a human leader of Israel who ushers in universal peace.
Sent By The Father
Then Jesus cried out,
Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know Me and know where I am from; and I have not come of Myself, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know. I know Him, because I am from Him, and He sent Me.” John 7:28-29 (NASB)
Jesus’ response indicates that He knew what the people were thinking and discussing. He was either omniscient – knew their thoughts – or He had heard them talking. Now it is important to notice what Jesus said in these two verses. First, He acknowledged that they did know Him. At least they thought they knew Him. They knew His parents and His brothers and sisters. They knew He was a carpenter and probably many other things that the gospels go not state.
Second, they knew the town that He came from. It was called Nazareth in the region known as Galilee. Many people are born in one city or nation and then later move to a different city or nation. The people did not even stop to think that maybe Jesus was born in Bethlehem and later moved to Nazareth in Galilee. They did not know that Jesus actually came from heaven to Bethlehem and then His parents moved Him to Nazareth. They did not know where He really came from.
Third, Jesus made an incredible comment that should have captured their attention. He said that it wasn’t His decision to come to earth, but someone else sent Him. Now most of us know that children enter this world as the result of sexual relations. Their parents “decided” to have children. But Jesus did not say that. He said that someone sent Him whom they did not know. He was referring to God the Father. He was clearly claiming to be sent by God. God decided to send Him to the parents to whom He was born.
This statement infuriated the religious leaders. Claiming to be from God sounded like a very proud and arrogant man. Even worse for the religious leaders, the people were believing Him because of His miracles, signs, wonders and incredible teachings. It is obvious in the next two verses that the religious leaders would have wished that He had just disappeared. But He didn’t and wouldn’t, so they wanted to kill Him.
So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come. John 7:30 (NASB)
But the religious leaders could do nothing because God did not want anything to happen to the Christ, yet. The Greek word that is translated as “seize” is pasisdo. It literally means to “arrest.” So they wanted to arrest Him. That was an important step before killing Him.
Even though the religious leaders did not believe in Jesus the crowds did.
But many of the crowd believed in Him; and they were saying, “When the Christ comes, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?” John 7:31 (NASB)
The signs, wonders and teachings were too great for the people to ignore. These things screamed loudly that Jesus was the one they longed for, waited for and wished for. He must be the Christ; however, they had doubts.
Now the religious leaders thought they had only two choices. First, arresting such a popular individual with so many people present had great risks. Or second, they could let Him continue saying things. Things with which they strongly disagreed. If they arrested Him, the people could revolt and that cost their popularity. If they did not arrest Him, that could cost them popularity too since He was speaking against them while claiming to be God. All of His signs, wonders and teachings seemed to support His claims. One would like to know what they had to say in their private meetings. But all we know is the result of their discussions.
Attempt To Arrest Jesus
The next verse states that the religious leaders finally decided to risk rejection from the crowds and arrest Jesus. They concluded that the alternative of doing nothing was too dangerous.
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about Him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to seize Him. John 7:32 (NASB)
In this verse we are told that the Phariees heard the crowds muttering. The verb “muttering” is a participle which means that the crowds were continuously muttering. One can only imagine the emotional impact this must have had upon the Pharisees as they heard the people wondering if Jesus was the Christ. This One who spoke out against them denounced their teachings and publicly rebuked them. He performed signs, wonders and miracles they couldn’t. His teachings were awesome, inspiring and wonderful.
This was not a secret to Jesus. He knew about their plan. That is the message of verses 33-34.
Therefore Jesus said, “For a little while longer I am with you, then I go to Him who sent Me. You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come.” John 7:33-34 (NASB)
The Greek word that Jesus used in the phrase “little while” is mikron. It has the idea of a very short unit. That is, Jesus was declaring that He would not be on planet earth very long. Where was He going? He was going home where He came from originally – back to God the Father who had sent Him! He was going back to heaven.
If the religious leaders had understood Jesus’ next statement in verse 34, they would have been angry, but they didn’t. In that verse Jesus said that they would try to find Him but would be unsuccessful. Why? Because they could not and were not going where He was going. That is, they were not going to heaven. Jesus’ message is simple but powerful. They were going to hell. They were not going to go to heaven as they had assumed. Just imagine, these religious leaders who counseled others on how to go heaven were not going to heaven themselves. Their decision to arrest Jesus revealed their unholy, godless, self-centered heart. These were religious leaders who were just like the devil (John 8:44). They were religious leaders in title only.
Verse 35 reveals that they did not come close to understanding what Jesus was trying to communicate.
The Jews then said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him? He is not intending to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, is He? “What is this statement that He said, You will seek Me, and will not find Me; and where I am, you cannot come’?” John 7:35-36 (NASB)
They simply ignored all of Jesus’ previous claims to be God (John 5:18) and to have come from heaven. Their words also reveal their own arrogance that they could go anywhere they wanted. They missed the message. Jesus was going to heaven and they weren’t going there. They were going to go to hell.
It is amazing how many people have claimed that Jesus never taught He was God and had come down from heaven. In this passage we have discovered that Jesus claimed to have come from heaven (John 6:38; 41-42, 51, 58). He was sent by God the Father (John 7:28-29). He had already claimed to be God (John 5:18, 26-27) and He would repeat this claim again in John 8:24, 58; 10:30-33. Jesus declared to everyone who had ears to hear that He was and is our eternal God.
1. D. A. Carson. The Gospel According to John. Inter-Varsity Press. 1991. p. 317.
2. Today the rabbis believe that the Messiah will 1) Build the Third Temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28). 2) Gather all Jews back to the Land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6). 3) Usher in an era of world peace (Isaiah 2:4). 4) Spread universal knowledge of the God of Israel (Zechariah 14:9). (http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/jewsandjesus/)