He Sent Me - John 7-8

John 1-11  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction - what has happened in John so far?
Early ministry
water into wine
cleansing the temple
encounter with Nicodemus
encounter with the Samaritan Woman
Jesus heals the official’s son
Rising Opposition
Healing at the pool of Bethesda - what was the response of the Pharisees? 5:16 “The Jews began persecuting Jesus”
Feeding of the 5,000 - what was the response of the people? “We want more!”
Bread of Life Discourse
Jn 6 60 “60 Therefore, when many of his disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard. Who can accept it?””
The Feast of Tabernacles - midway; one of three feasts that all Jewish men were required to attend

1. A Three-part Dialog

A Defense of Jesus’ Teaching

John 7:14–19 CSB
14 When the festival was already half over, Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach. 15 Then the Jews were amazed and said, “How is this man so learned, since he hasn’t been trained?” 16 Jesus answered them, “My teaching isn’t mine but is from the one who sent me. 17 If anyone wants to do his will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own. 18 The one who speaks on his own seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him. 19 Didn’t Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
v. 15 “How is this man so learned?” - recall that at age 12 Jesus had confounded the teachers at the temple
Luke 2 47 “47 And all those who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.”
The common teaching style was to memorize and quote other learned Rabbis
v. 16 “the one who sent me” - God the Father - redirecting the focus
v. 17 “If anyone wants to do his will”
who did that include? Jesus’ disciples
a possible answer to the argument, “what about those who have never heard”
v.18 “seeks his own glory” - not what Jesus was doing
“he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true” - because he doesn’t have a vested interest
v.19 “Didn’t Moses give you the law?” - they claimed to follow Moses and at the same time broke the law by trying to kill Jesus

A Defense of Jesus’ Work

John 7:20–24 CSB
20 “You have a demon!” the crowd responded. “Who is trying to kill you?” 21 “I performed one work, and you are all amazed,” Jesus answered. 22 “This is why Moses has given you circumcision—not that it comes from Moses but from the fathers—and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses won’t be broken, are you angry at me because I made a man entirely well on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging according to outward appearances; rather judge according to righteous judgment.”
v. 21 “I performed one work” - healing the lame man
v. 24 “judging according to outward appearances” - superficial judgment
Circumcision could happen on the Sabbath, so why not healing?

A Defense of Jesus’ Identity

John 7:25–36 CSB
25 Some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 26 Yet, look, he’s speaking publicly and they’re saying nothing to him. Can it be true that the authorities know he is the Messiah? 27 But we know where this man is from. When the Messiah comes, nobody will know where he is from.” 28 As he was teaching in the temple, Jesus cried out, “You know me and you know where I am from. Yet I have not come on my own, but the one who sent me is true. You don’t know him; 29 I know him because I am from him, and he sent me.” 30 Then they tried to seize him. Yet no one laid a hand on him because his hour had not yet come. 31 However, many from the crowd believed in him and said, “When the Messiah comes, he won’t perform more signs than this man has done, will he?” 32 The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring these things about him, and so the chief priests and the Pharisees sent servants to arrest him. 33 Then Jesus said, “I am only with you for a short time. Then I’m going 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.” 35 Then the Jews said to one another, “Where does he intend to go that we won’t find him? He doesn’t intend to go to the Jewish people dispersed among the Greeks and teach the Greeks, does he? 36 What is this remark he made: ‘You will look for me, and you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come’?”
v. 27 “But we know where this man is from” - this was the people not doing their homework
v. 26 “I have not come on my own, but the one who sent me is true”
v. 31 “many from the crowd believed in him” - simply because of the signs? because of the humility? The thinking may have been, “this is like no messiah figure we have ever encountered”
v.36 “What is this remark he made?” - like many of Jesus’ parables these remarks were not intended to answer the questions of the general population

2. The Promise of the Spirit

John 7:37–39 CSB
37 On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38 The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” 39 He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.
John 1–11 (3) The Water Ceremony and the Attempted Arrest (7:37–52)

The next three verses of the Gospel draw our attention to one of the most memorable parts of the Festival of Tabernacles, the seven-day water ceremony and the prayers for rain. On each of the seven days prior to the final day (the added day), priests drew water from the Pool of Siloam and carried a golden pitcher full of the water to the temple and then around the altar with the high priest leading the way. As the priests neared the water gate, the shofar was blown, and then the psalms of praise and thanksgiving were sung to God for the harvest (Pss 113–118). As the ceremony developed, the Pharisees, who were primarily urban dwellers, insisted that a significant emphasis should be placed on the petition for rain because by this time of year (the fall) their cisterns would nearly be empty after the dryness of summer. Such symbolism carried the meaning beyond the emphasis of the desert experience, and the harvest symbolized in the citrus symbols that were raised in thanksgiving to God for the recently gathered fruits (cf. Zech 14:16–19; m. Sukk. 5:1)

John 1–11 (3) The Water Ceremony and the Attempted Arrest (7:37–52)

For six days the water parade took place once each morning. Then on the seventh day it was repeated seven times. On the eighth day there was no water ceremony, but it was a solemn time of reflection and prayer. Whether the events in John 7:37–39 took place on the seventh or eighth day is not clear because either day could technically be called “the last and greatest day” (7:37) since the eighth day was not really an original part of Tabernacles. Whichever day is in mind here, Jesus’ act was remarkable. He stood up and cried out (krazein) in solemn announcement (7:37; cf. 7:28), “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me.” The impact of that announcement must have been stunning. It was a magnificent model of contextual preaching and teaching.

v. 39 “He said this about the Spirit” - which would be given at Pentecost (Acts 2)

3. The Light of the World

John 8:12 CSB
12 Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”
John 1–11 (4) The Light of Tabernacles and the Great Confrontation (8:12–59)

Coming on the heels of Jesus’ great announcement that he was like the promise of water in the Festival of Tabernacles (7:37–38), his next announcement was no less dramatic. The “again” (palin) of 8:12 introduces a logical continuation of the argument from chap. 7. Formulated in the style of another egō eimi saying, Jesus’ announcement, “I am the light of world,” must have caught the immediate attention of those attending the popular feast.

On the first night of Tabernacles and apparently on each night of the feast except on Sabbath, the worshipers awaited the signal of the special lighting of the festive golden lamps of Tabernacles in the court of women. The lamps were intended to remind worshipers of God’s leading the people of Israel through the wilderness at night by a pillar of fire. The lighting of lamps also signaled Israel’s recommitment to the God of light, and it was accompanied by festive music of the Levites and special dancing by chosen men of piety (m. Sukk. 5:1–4).

Jesus’ words of announcement in this context would have sounded like an outrageous claim to the ears of the Pharisees. He went beyond the usual religious assertions of enlightenment and actually claimed to be the luminary itself. Moreover, he claimed to be the light “of the world,” a role reserved for Yahweh, the Creator (cf. Gen 1:3), who was regarded as superior to all deities including the sun god of the Gentiles. But that was not all. Jesus picked up the theme of the wilderness wanderings and proclaimed for those who followed him that they would not walk in darkness but have the light of life. To anyone familiar with the exodus story and the celebration of Tabernacles, Jesus was identifying himself clearly with the God who gave Israel this Feast of Tabernacles

Jesus is the living water
Jesus is the light of the world
The Spirit was poured out on us in part so that we could testify of these great truths
How did we get our Bible?
In what language was the NT written? Greek
How many original manuscripts do we have? 0
How many Greek manuscripts are there? 5,800
When the KJV was published, how many Greek manuscripts was it based on? “a handful” - less than 10. Implication - we have discovered so many more manuscripts since then, and modern translators make use of them!
How many match completely with each other? none - they are hand copies, not photocopies
How do we know what the original Greek text said? By comparing the manuscripts (“textual criticism”)
Most of the differences are easy to reconcile (a misspelling, a word left out, etc.)
A few are more difficult
“Longer ending of Mark” (16:9-20)
Mark 16 17-18 “17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes; if they should drink anything deadly, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will get well.”
This would be an example of “internal evidence” against this ending being genuine
An example of “external evidence” would be a lack of agreement among some of the oldest manuscripts of Mark
CSB, not trying to hide anything: Some of the earliest mss conclude with 16:8
Pericope of the woman taken in adultery
Why would anyone question this passage, which has been described as “one of the great jewels of Christian Scripture”?
The oldest manuscripts of John do not have this account (7:52 -> 8:12)
The story seems to interrupt the argument that John is making in the section on the Feast of Tabernacles
The language is out of character for John and much more similar in style to Luke. Some manuscripts of Luke actually contain it! Some manuscripts of John have it at a different location!
What conclusion should we draw from this?
God providentially preserved his word in such a way that we would have to wrestle with a few hard issues
John probably did not write this account and include it in his gospel
However, the account is very much consistent with Jesus’ character and message. Its support by a variety of ancient sources makes it likely (even highly likely) that the story is true.
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