Notes and discussion questions from Period 19 of the Life of Jesus: In Jerusalem for Feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus is in Galilee

Jesus' Brothers Taunt Him (John 7:2-9)

  • The Feast of Tabernacles (Oct. 29 AD) was near and Jesus' brothers told Him that He ought to go to Judea that His disciples could see the miracles He did. They encouraged Jesus to show Himself to the world.
  • Jesus told His brothers that His time hadn't yet come for Him to attend.
  • Jesus remained in Galilee.

Jesus goes to Jerusalem

Jesus Goes Privately (John 7:10-13)

  • After Jesus' brothers went to the Feast, Jesus also went privately.
  1. Why might Jesus have wanted to attend the Feast privately?
  • At the Feast, the Jews were looking for Jesus.
  • There was widespread whispering about Jesus, some saying He is a good man, others saying He deceived people. No one would speak publicly about Jesus because of fear of the Jews.

Jesus Teaches in the Temple (John 7:14-24)

  • Halfway through the Feast, Jesus went up to the temple courts and began teaching. The Jews were amazed at Jesus' knowledge without having studied.
  • Jesus told them He wasn't teaching His own things, but the Father's. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth.
  • Jesus asked them why they were trying to kill Him. They accused Him of being demon-possessed, claiming no one was trying to kill Him.
  • Jesus challenged their thinking that healing on the Sabbath was sinful by using the argument that they circumcise children on the Sabbath. Jesus told them to stop judging by appearance and judge righteously.
  1. Why do you think Jesus referred to the Jews' traditions regarding the Sabbath day when He responded to their disbelief that people were trying to kill Him?

Jews Discuss Christ (John 7:25-31)

  • The people at some point began discussing why the authorities hadn't said anything to Jesus publicly but they were trying to kill Him secretly. They falsely concluded that no one would know where the Christ was from, therefore Jesus mustn't be the Christ.
  • Jesus, continuing to teach in the temple courts, cried out, "You know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."
  • They tried to seize Jesus when He said this, but they were unable, because it was not yet His time. Many in the crowd believed on Him.

Guards Sent to Arrest Jesus (John 7:32-36)

  • The chief priests and the Pharisees, overhearing the people's discussion of belief in Jesus, sent the temple guards to arrest Jesus.
  • Jesus told the people that He would only be with them a short while before returning to the Father. He said that they would look for Him during that time, but He wouldn't be found. Where He was going they could not come. These sayings puzzled the Jews.

Spiritual Drink (John 7:37-39)

  • On the final and most significant day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 
  • Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit, which had not yet been given.
  1. What evidence can Christians see within themselves of the Holy Spirit producing "rivers of living water"?

More Division Among Jews (John 7:40-44)

  • Some believed Jesus was the Prophet, others the Christ, others were confused about Jesus' lineage. There was much division over Jesus. Some wanted to seize Him, but no one did.

Nicodemus Counsels Caution (John 7:45-52)

  • The temple guards returned to the chief priests and Pharisees without Jesus. They explained that no one ever taught like He did. The religious leaders rebuked the guards because they hadn't believed in Jesus, therefore their thinking was that it should be obvious no one else should believe in Jesus either.
  • Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees who overheard this conversation, reminded them that the law doesn't condemn people without first hearing them to find out what they were doing.
  • The others replied that the Christ wouldn't come from Galilee, but they didn't realize that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, as the Scriptures prophesied.

Woman Caught in Adultery (John 7:53-8:11)

  • Note: The earliest manuscripts of John do not include these verses.
  • Everyone returned to their homes, and Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
  • Jesus returned to the temple courts at dawn the next morning. When the people gathered around Him, Jesus sat down to teach.
  • The teachers of the law and Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They had her stand before the group and asked Jesus what should be done to her, reminding her what the Law of Moses said. They were trying to trap Jesus.
  • Jesus, bending down, wrote on the ground with His finger. They kept questioning Him, so Jesus told them that the one who is without sin should cast the first stone. Once again, Jesus wrote on the ground.
  • Hearing this, everyone left one at a time, beginning with the older ones, until only Jesus was left.
  • Jesus stood and asked the woman where her accusers went. She replied that no one was left to condemn her. Jesus said He didn't condemn her either, and told her to stop living a life of sin.

Light of the World (John 8:12-20)

  • Jesus stood by the place in the temple were the offerings were put.
  • Jesus promised His followers that they would never walk in darkness. 
  • The Pharisees accused Jesus of testifying on His own behalf. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for judging by human standards, stating that He stood with the Father who sent Him.
  • The Pharisees asked Jesus where His father was? Jesus replied that, because they didn't know Him, they also didn't know His Father.
  • The Pharisees didn't sieze Jesus because it wasn't yet His time.

Warning Against Unbelief (John 8:21-30)

  • Jesus told the Pharisees that He was going away and then they would look for Him, but they would die in their sins.
  • The Jews wondered if Jesus was talking of committing suicide.
  • He reminded them that if they didn't believe in Him, they would die in their sins.
  • Jesus said He had many things to say to them in judgment, but He spoke what He heard from the Father.
  • Jesus told them, when you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you wiill know that I am who I claim to be and that I only do what the Father has taught Me.
  • Jesus reaffirmed that He always does what pleases the Father.
  • Hearing Jesus' words, many put their faith in Him.

On Spiritual Freedom (John 8:31-38)

  • Jesus told the Jewish believers that they must obey His teachings in order to truly be His disciples, and then they would know Him and He would set them free.
  • It's interesting that the statement, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." is found in this context. This is a crucial point that many people miss: a biblical believe—a believer who is accepted by GOD—is the one whose faith moves them to obey. We are not approved simply by believing alone.
  • These believing Jews misunderstood Jesus' statement, replying that they had never been in slavery to anyone. Apparently they didn't recognize the reality that the Romans who ruled over them at the present time.
  • Jesus corrected their perspective, clarifying His reference to spiritual slavery rather than physical.

True Children of Abraham (John 8:39-47)

  • The Jews once again claimed, "Abraham is our father." Jesus rebuked them because Abraham's spiritual descendants would obey Jesus, as Abraham did, yet they were refusing.
  • Jesus again told them of their desire to kill Him.
  • The Jews then claimed to have GOD as their father. Jesus again rebuked them because, if GOD were their Father, they would love Jesus.
  • Jesus told them they were of their father the devil and desired to carry out his works. The devil was a murderer from the beginning with no truth in him. Satan is the father of lies.
  • Jesus asked if any of them could prove Him guilty of sin and asked why, then, did they not believe Him. "He who belongs to GOD hears what GOD says...you don't belong to GOD."

Declares Eternal Existence (John 8:48-59)

  • The Jews then asked Jesus if He was a Samaritan and was possessed by a demon. Jesus refuted the demon-possession accusation, but didn't speak to the Samaritan part.
  • Jesus stated that He honored His Father and sought the Father's glory. He said the Father seeks Jesus' glory and is the Judge. Then Jesus promised the one who obeyed His words wouldn't see death.
  • The Jews then insisted Jesus was demon-possessed because Abraham and the prophets were righteous yet died.
  • Jesus stated that, if He glorified Himself it would mean nothing, and that the Father glorified Him. Jesus said He knew the Father and obeyed His word. He then said that Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing Jesus' day, and having seen it, was glad.
  • Again, the Jews misunderstood Jesus, thinking physically. They asked how Jesus could have seen Abraham, given Jesus' young age. Jesus replied, "Before Abraham was, I AM!" This infuriated the Jews, and they picked up stones to throw at Jesus, but He hid and left the temple grounds.
  1. How could Abraham have seen Jesus' day? What does this indicate about those who have passed on (see also Heb. 12:1-2)?
  2. What was it about Jesus' statement that would have caused the Jews to become irate?

Healing of Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41)

  • As the disciples and Jesus walked along, Jesus saw a man who had been born blind. The disciples asked whether the man had sinned or his parents, which had resulted in his blind condition. Jesus explained that neither was true, but that the man was born blind to be able to show the work of GOD in his life.
  • Jesus taught the disciples to take advantage of the daylight while it was yet present. He told them He is the light of the world.
  • Jesus then spit on the ground, made some mud and put it on the man's eyes. He told the man to wash in the Pool of Siloam, which the man did. The man then came home seeing.
  • The neighbors were amazed, and some even doubted that it was the same beggar. The man told them it was true, and explained how Jesus had healed him.
  • The Jews took the healed man to the Pharisees. Jesus had healed him on the Sabbath, which was a violation of the Pharisees' tradition, so they questioned the man. The Pharisees stated that Jesus wasn't from GOD because He didn't obey their traditions regarding the Sabbath. Some questioned this, however, asking how a sinner could do such miracles. Having no answer, the Pharisees deflected the question to the healed man, who stated that Jesus was a prophet.
  • Still disbelieving, the Jews sent for the man's parents, whom they questioned. The parents stated the obvious—that he was blind and now could see—but said they couldn't attest to what was done because they weren't present. The parents were afraid of acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah because they would be put out of the synagogue.
  • Not willing to give up, the Jews asked the man a second time what happened to him. The man, no doubt indignant by now, did a marvelous job of shining light on the hypocrisy of the Pharisees.
  • The Pharisees threw the healed man out of the synagogue, caring nothing about the miracle of him having sight.
  • Jesus found the man and asked him if he believed in the Son of Man. The man asked who the Son of Man was so he could believe. Jesus told him he was looking at and speaking with the Son of Man. The man confessed Jesus as Lord and worshiped.
  • Jesus stated that it was for judgment that He came into the world so that the blind would see and those who saw would become blind. The Pharisees who were with Jesus at the time asked if they were blind too, and Jesus stated they could see and thus were guilty of sin.
  1. What lessons can we learn from Jesus' statement regarding this blind man's condition being "to show the work of GOD"?
  2. How involved is GOD in our life even before we are born?
  3. What lessons should we learn from the Pharisees regarding traditions?
  4. In what context do we find the statement, "We know that God does not listen to sinners."? What, specifically, does "listen to" mean based on this context.
  5. The text says that the man worshiped Jesus upon learning that He is the Son of Man. What, specifically, did the man do to worship?
  6. What similarities do you see between some religious people today and the Pharisees of Jesus' day?

Sheep and Their Shepherd (John 10:1-21)

  • Jesus used the analogy of the sheep pen, stating those who are legitimate must enter by the gate. He is the door (gate). Those who get in another way are thieves and robbers. The one who enters by the gate, however, is the shepherd.
  • The sheep listen to (obey) the shepherd's voice. He calls the sheep by name and leads them. The shepherd goes out in front of the sheep. The sheep don't follow a stranger because his voice is not recognized by them.
  • Jesus told them plainly that He is the gate. Those who enter by Him will be saved. They will go in and out and find pasture. Whereas the thief comes for destruction, the good shepherd gives them life "to the full".
  • Jesus is the good shepherd who gives His life for the sheep. The hired hand runs at the sign of wolves, abandoning the sheep. This is because he cares nothing for the sheep. But the good shepherd knows the sheep and they Him.
  • Jesus said He has sheep not of "this fold", referring to the Gentiles, which He must bring in. They too would listen to His voice.
  • There will be one flock and one shepherd.
  • Jesus said that GOD loves Him because He lays down His life for the sheep. Jesus would lay His life down and take it back up. No one takes it from Him, but He put it down by His own choice. This command He had received from the Father.
  • The Jews were still divided over Jesus, some disbelieving, thinking He had a demon, and others being convinced of His message by the miracle He performed on the once-blind man.
  1. How does Jesus' statement that there would be "one flock and one shepherd" fit with today's fragmented "flocks" of denominationalism?
  2. What lessons can we learn about leading from John 10? Following?
  3. Who is the hireling in Jesus' analogy here?
Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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