John 7:1-29

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These small group studies of John contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications.  Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.

John 7:1-29 Inductive Bible Study

John 7:1-29 Outline:

  1. He discusses with His brothers about going to the feast (1-9)

    1. Jesus was in Galilee (1-2)

    2. His brothers tell Him that He should go the feast (3-5)

    3. Jesus tells them that it is not the right time (6-8)

    4. He stayed in Galilee (9)

  2. Later Jesus decides to go up (10-15)

    1. The Jews were secretly giving their opinions on Jesus (11-13)

    2. Jesus began to teach them at the temple (14)

    3. They questioned how he became so smart (15)

  3. Jesus tells them the source of His teaching (16-19)

    1. It comes from the Father who sent Him (16)

    2. All those who follow God will understand the source of Jesus’ teaching (17)

    3. Jesus’ motivation is to is to bring glory to God. (18)

    4. They didn’t even obey the law they had though Moses gave it to them (19)

  4. Jesus explains the healing of the man on the Sabbath (20-24)

    1. The Jews pretend no one wants to kill Him (20)

    2. Jesus explains they should judge with righteous judgment (21-24)

  5. The debate about Jesus’ identity continues (25-29)

    1. The crowd questions if the leaders think Jesus is the Messiah (25-26)

    2. They think they know where that Jesus is from Nazareth so He can’t be the Christ (27)

    3. Jesus talks about WHO He is from (28-29

Discussion Questions –

Why would Jesus be unwilling to walk in Judea just because they wanted to kill Him? Was He afraid? Didn’t He have power to survive anyway?

What is the Feast of Booths?

Why did Jesus’ brothers suggest He go to Jerusalem? Do you think it was a kind of challenge?

How is their logic in verse four similar to many people’s logic in the world? If it was you making the decision would you have followed their logic?

What principle is shown in verse 5?

What applications can we get this?

How should this affect our attitudes and expectations towards our family and close friends?

What “time” is Jesus referring to?

Why did the world hate Jesus? Does the world hate Christians these days? Why?

Did Jesus change His mind about going up to the feast? Explain how Jesus could tell them He wasn’t going up and then go up.

Why did Jesus go up in secret?

In verse 12, which statement is more logical? What logical options do we have for who Jesus was?

What group is “the Jews” referring to in verse 13? Weren’t all the people there Jews?

Why were the Jews shocked? Is it really shocking?

Where does Jesus tell them that He “got His education”?

What principle can we learn from this?

What does Jesus mean in verse 19?

In today’s language what might we say instead of “you have a demon”?

What “one deed” is Jesus referring to?

How should they judge that deed?

What principles can we learn from this?

Do you think Jesus’ reminder of the miracle help them remember that the rulers were trying to kill Him?

What common held view about the origin of the Messiah is shown in verse 27?

What is Jesus’ meaning in verse 28?

Cross-references-

John 4:1-3 – Jesus left Judea to avoid trouble with the Pharisees. (1)

Deuteronomy 16:13-16 – Explanation of the feast of booths/feast of tabernacles. (2)

Matthew 6:1-2,5 – Do not practice righteousness in front of others just be recognized or praised. The prevailing attitude at the time was just the opposite.

Matthew 13:57 – A prophet is not without honor except in His hometown and home household. (5)

John 2:4 – Jesus also said His time had not yet come before He turned the water to wine (6)

John 7:30 – At the end of this discussion they also tried to kill Jesus, but His time still had not yet come. (6)

John 15:18-25 – Jesus discusses in depth the world’s feelings towards Him and His followers. Definitely read. (7)

Luke 6:22 – We will be blessed when people hate us for the sake of Christ (7)

Matthew 26:18 – Jesus’ time was near in the final days. (8)

Matthew 10:16 – Be shrewd as serpents, innocent as doves. (10)

John 12:42-43 – Some of the leaders believed in Jesus, but kept silent for fear they would be put out of the synagogue (13).

Acts 4:13 – The Jews were later amazed by Peter and John because though they were uneducated they also spoke with power. (15)

John 6:45 – Anyone who knows the Father will know Jesus too (17)

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 –Whatever you do, do for the glory of God. (18)

Luke 6:31, John 5:45 – About the Jews not listening to Moses either. (19)

John 5:1-17 – The deed where Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath, the same deed they wanted to kill Him for (21)

Zechariah 7:9 – Dispense true justice (24)

Isaiah 11:3-4 – God will judge with righteousness and fairness (24)

1 Samuel 16:6-7 – Don’t judge based on the appearance (24)

John 5:18 – They were seeking to kill Jesus (25)

Teaching Points

I. Verses 1-9 – He discusses with His brothers about going to the feast

Verse 1

Why would Jesus be unwilling to walk in Judea just because they wanted to kill Him? Was He afraid? Didn’t He have power to survive anyway?

Of course Jesus wasn’t scared of the Jews. From the first part of John 4 we know Jesus avoided them another time. From other Scriptures we know Jesus confronted and condemned them. Jesus didn’t care for Himself or His own safety. He was a man with a mission. We know He gave up His life for us so obviously He wasn’t scared about dying. Rather, it was the timing and the way that He sacrificed Himself as well as the things that He needed to accomplish first, such as training the disciples.

Once again we need to remember to have balance when dealing with persecution/debates/trouble, etc. On the one hand we shouldn’t seek it out for it’s own sake. Sometimes it is helpful to avoid it.

Review – When we are sharing the gospel and doing ministry we need to use discretion to know when to confront others and when to let things go and go out of our way to avoid it. There is a time to confront and correct (2 Tim 3:16: profitable for correction), but as we see from Jesus hear there is also a time to avoid confrontation. Can you think of some examples when it would be beneficial to correct others and some when it would not? We need to remember the goal is to reconcile others to God. If correcting their false beliefs or statements will help to do this, do it. But if it would distract and disturb genuine outreach it’s best to leave alone. Imagine that a person in your Bible study is hostile to the gospel. He keeps arguing and wants to prove you wrong. Likely it is better to gracefully put off His questions and get back to the point. Or suppose someone listening to it with good intentions says that they have seen God or had such and such a dream or something. Is it beneficial to say, “no, you didn’t see God and He didn’t talk to you in a dream!” Or suppose a leader of an English corner or teacher has made it clear they don’t want you sharing the gospel. Is it helpful to go up to them and invite them to Bible study for the sake of boldness? What tests can we use to decide if something is beneficial?

  1. Ask yourself if correcting a person or going into the “danger zone” will be beneficial for God’s kingdom and all of those around.

  2. Ask yourself if it will distract from the message you want to teach.

  3. Ask yourself if the person asking questions is sincere.

  4. Ask yourself if you want to correct this person from prideful reasons because he has challenged you.

Cross-Reference – John 4:1-3 – Jesus left Judea to avoid trouble with the Pharisees

Verse 2

What is the feast of booths?

Cross-Reference – Deuteronomy 16:13-16

Verses 3-5

Why did Jesus’ brothers suggest He go to Jerusalem? Do you think it was a kind of challenge?

How is their logic in verse four similar to many people’s logic in the world? If it was you making the decision would you have followed their logic?

Jesus’ brothers suggested that Jesus go up to the feast and reveal Himself publicly there, showing His miracles to everyone. They are not sincere and don’t really believe in Jesus. Their suggestion is in doubt. Notice in verse 4 they say “IF” you do these things, show Yourself to the world. Verse 5 also makes it clear they didn’t believe. It reads kind of like a challenge. “If you are really who you say you are, then prove it! Now you have a perfect chance. Go the feast. Show your miracles and we will believe in you!” Reminds me of Mark 15:30 where the unbelievers challenged Jesus to come down from the cross if He is really the Son of God.

Matthew 13:57 – A prophet is not without honor except in His hometown and home household. (5)

What principle is shown in verse 5?

These verses also teach the above principle. Of all the people that should have believed in Jesus, it should have been His own family. They could see Him everyday. They knew His signs, His actions, His behavior. Yet they still didn’t believe. Why is that? Perhaps it is the tendency to take for granted people close to us. Or maybe it is the habit to treat those in our family worse than others. Or maybe they were jealous of Jesus because He was “special”, kind of like with Joseph. Whatever the reason, this principle is still a general truth today.

What applications can we get from this?

How should this affect our attitudes and expectations towards our family and close friends?

As believers we should learn to expect that many of the people closest to us will not only not respect our belief/work in Christ, but will mock us for it and think we are fools. This is one of Satan’s ways to pressure us to go with flow/crowd and not follow God. Peer pressure and family pressure are extremely powerful. As kids we grow up obeying and following our parents. We want to be approved of and supported. We like to make the people around us happy. It is difficult when they are unhappy with the direction of our lives because we are following Christ. If we want to be true disciples of God we must realize that we have to “hate” even our own family (Luke 14:26). If our family is unbelievers, following Christ will likely be difficult. If you make a hard decision to serve God instead of money do not expect applause. Instead expect criticism. If you decide to give up a good position because it will make you too busy do not expect respect. Expect criticism. If you decide not to marry the unbelieving girlfriend your family introduces to you, don’t expect them to be happy about your principles. Expect them to be upset. This is what Jesus meant when He said that He didn’t come to bring peace but a sword. In addition, if you do ministry do not expect support or encouragement from the people close to you. Likely you will get the opposite. Jesus didn’t do ministry for the respect He could get from others. He was criticized, made fun of, mocked, beaten, and killed. Be ready and be willing to face the same thing.

Verses 6-8

[My time …] The proper time for my going up to the feast. We know not why it was not yet a proper time for him to go. It might be because if he went then, in their company, while multitudes were going, it would have too much the appearance of parade and ostentation; it might excite too much notice, and be more likely to expose him to the envy and opposition of the rulers.

[Your time …] It makes no difference to you when you go up. Your going will excite no tumult or opposition; it will not attract attention, and will not endanger your lives. Jesus therefore chose to go up more privately, and to remain until the multitude had gone. They commonly traveled to those feasts in large companies, made up of most of the families in the neighborhood.

(from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Cross-References

John 15:18-25 – Jesus discusses in depth the world’s feelings towards Him and His followers. Definitely read. (7)

Luke 6:22 – We will be blessed when people hate us for the sake of Christ (7)

Read these verses. People hated Jesus. Why did the world hate Jesus?

They hated Him largely because He pointed out their sin. He told them what they were doing and the way they were worshipping God was wrong. The people were offended. Jesus made them feel guilty for their sins. People prefer to sin in the dark because they can do it with no one seeing them or telling them they are wrong. People don’t want to be responsible for their sins. If you are sleeping in the dark and someone shines a flashlight in your eyes do you like it? What is your reaction?

Jesus told them the world doesn’t hate them. He was referring to His brothers, people without Christ. Does the world hate Christians these days? Why? The world also hates Christians for much the same reason (they won’t hate those without Christ in their hearts. They are the same). Also they don’t only hate the light, but they hate the reflectors of the light. So what should our response be? Should we not care and respond in anger back, “Hate us if you like. We have eternal life so we don’t care!” Or should we to work for their favor and beg them to like us? Neither. We should make sure as Peter tells us that if we suffer it is for doing right, not for doing wrong. We don’t need to seek out hatred or revel in it, but neither should we try to go with the flow to be popular so everyone will like us.

Verse 8 is translated in many versions as I do not “yet” go up to this feast. Obviously Jesus planned on going, but apparently it wasn’t the right time to go together with them.

Verses 10-14

In verse 12, which statement is more logical? What logical options do we have for who Jesus was?

Explain the Lord, Liar, Lunatic theory. You guys can use this when people tell you they think Jesus was a good person. Really make them think about Jesus claims and make a logical decision about who He was.

What group is “the Jews” referring to in verse 13? Weren’t all the people there Jews?

The Jews often refers to the leaders.

Cross Reference

John 12:42-43 – Some of the leaders believed in Jesus, but kept silent for fear they would be put out of the synagogue (13).

Why were the Jews shocked? Is it really shocking?

Where does Jesus tell them that He “got His education”?

Verses 15-19

Acts 4:13 – The Jews were later amazed by Peter and John because though they were uneducated they also spoke with power. (15)

What principle can we learn from this?

In China education is an extreme priority. All of us know this and we have talked about it many times before. We all know that God should be more important in our lives than education. We know it, yet I want all of you to really examine and consider which education do you put first? Do you consistently place a priority on your relationship to God and getting to know Him more or is secular education more important to you. If you had to choose between studying God’s Word and getting a degree which would you choose? You may not have to make this choice, but I really hope that you will be willing to put “Bible education” first. Tell about my friend who visited this week who goes to Duke, full scholarship, etc. God will not be impressed. We KNOW that. But do we live it?

Look at Peter and John. They had NO education in the eyes of the world. These guys were fisherman. What in the world could they do? Their relationship with Christ transformed them. He gave them confidence and boldness. He gave them wisdom. He gave them strength to do the task. Remember, knowing God and having a close relationship with Him will give you much more success than the best degrees at the best schools in the world.

Jesus here tells them three things.

  1. He could teach like that because His teaching came from God.

  2. Those who know God will discern true teaching from false teaching (the implication is they didn’t know God so they couldn’t tell).

  3. The true teacher seeks the glory of God, not himself (like the Pharisees).

Cross-References

John 6:45 – Anyone who knows the Father will know Jesus too (17)

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 –Whatever you do, do for the glory of God. (18)

Luke 6:31, John 5:45 – About the Jews not listening to Moses either. (19)

In verse 19 Jesus shows that they didn’t even follow their hero Moses by obeying the law that He gave them.

Verses 20-24

In today’s language what might we say instead of “you have a demon”?

“You are crazy.”

What “one deed” is Jesus referring to?

The deed refers back to the healing of the paralytic in John 5. Here Jesus again defends that deed. He gives the example of circumcision. This was supposed to be done on the 8th day, which of course sometimes falls on the Sabbath. Apparently there was a rule that if the 8th day came on the Sabbath a person could be circumcised then. So Jesus shows that to do good is the most important thing. They added in all their own ridiculous strict standards to try to be good enough to earn their way to God. But they lacked love and compassion. Jesus tells them to judge with righteous judgment.

How should they judge that deed?

Cross-References

Zechariah 7:9 – Dispense true justice (24)

Isaiah 11:3-4 – God will judge with righteousness and fairness (24)

1 Samuel 16:6-7 – Don’t judge based on the appearance (24)

What principles can we learn from this?

We should not be quick to judge others. The only time in Scripture when it is OK for us to judge others is when they are clearly violating a Biblical command. In this case we can go and correct them with gentleness. But if someone just violates our own convictions, principles, or ideas that don’t come clearly from the Bible we should not judge them. Remember that though God is just He is also compassionate, loving, and merciful. The two sides cannot be separated. We need to have balance.

Verses 25-29

Do you think Jesus’ reminder of the miracle help them remember that the rulers were trying to kill Him?

There was a common theory that the Messiah would be a “man of mystery” and His origins would be unknown. They thought they knew where Jesus was from so reasoned He couldn’t be the Messiah. Jesus told them WHO He was from.

Main Points–

  1. A prophet has no honor in His own country and we will be hated for reflecting the light. Persevere and seek to please God rather than men.

  2. Lord, Liar, Lunatic

  3. Knowing God and having relationship with Him will bring more success than any education in the world.

  4. We need to have compassion and mercy and judge with righteous judgment.

Study John 7:30-53

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