John 7:30-53

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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 7:30-53 Inductive Bible Study

Outline:

  1. The crowd reacts to Jesus’ (30-36)

    1. The rulers were trying to kill him (30)

    2. Some believed (31)

    3. The rulers were trying to kill him (32)

    4. Jesus prophecies about his coming death (33-34)

    5. The Jews debate this statement (35-36)

  2. Jesus told the crowd that believers would receive the Spirit (37-39)

  3. The crowd disagrees about Jesus’ identity (40-44)

    1. Some think he is the Prophet (40)

    2. They disagree on if he is the Christ (41-43)

    3. Some wanted to kill him (44)

  4. The rulers reject Jesus (45-52)

    1. The rulers rebuke the officials for not bringing Jesus back (45-47)

    2. They claim none of the rulers believe in Jesus (48)

    3. They criticize the crowd and look down on them (49)

    4. Nicodemus attempts to stand up for Jesus (50-51)

    5. They scoff him (52)

Questions:

Who is “they” in verse 30?

If they wanted to kill Jesus, what stopped them? Surely they weren’t concerned about the right time, were they?

In this section what spurs the Pharisees towards arresting Jesus (the fact that many believed in Him)?

What did Jesus mean in verses 33-34? Where was He going?

What is the significance that Jesus, if any, to the fact that Jesus made the offer of living water on the last day of the feast?

What does it mean that from “his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”? What is the living water?

When was Jesus “glorified”?

When was the Spirit given?

Does that mean the Spirit was not in the world until after Jesus ascended back up to heaven?

So what does it mean? What is the difference between the role of the Spirit in the past and the new role?

Who is the Prophet that they keep referring to?

Why didn’t the officials bring Jesus like the rulers had commanded them?

What was the rulers’ opinion about the crowd?

Was what Nicodemus said fair?

How did they respond to it?

Cross-references:

Luke 4:29-30 (30) – They drove Jesus to the side of a cliff to kill Him, but He passed through them.

Mark 11:18 (30) – They were seeking daily to kill Jesus.

John 10:31-39 (30) – They picked up stones to kill Jesus, but He “alluded their grasp”.

Isaiah 46:10 (30) – He is sovereign, declaring the end from the beginning. His purpose will be established.

John 8:21-24 (33-34) – Explanation of some seeking Him, but not finding Him and Him going where they cannot.

Isaiah 55:6 (33-34) – Seek the Lord while He is near and can be found.

Isaiah 11:12 (35) – He will gather the dispersed of Israel back again. The dispersion was predicted a long time before.

Psalms 63:1 (37-38) – David thirsted for God in a dry and weary land.

Psalms 36:8-9 (37-38) – We can drink the river of His delights. With Him is the fountain of life.

Revelation 22:17 (37-38) – A call to drink of the living water that is free.

Isaiah 58:11 (37-38) – God will guide us, satisfy our desire, water us, and make us a spring of water.

John 4:10 (37-38) – Living water.

John 6:35 (37-38) – He who believes in Me will never thirst.

Matthew 11:28 (37-38) – All the weary should come unto Christ and He will give them rest.

Proverbs 1:23 (39) – In the OT the Spirit is often referred to as being “poured” out. Here it is “received”.

Acts 2:1-4 (39) – Pentecost.

1 Corinthians 6:19 (39) – The Holy Spirit is in us.

Ephesians 1:13 (39) – We are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:14 (39) – The Holy Spirit dwells in us.

Micah 5:2 (42) – The prediction Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.

John 3:1-21 (50-51) – Nicodemus.’

Teaching Points

30-36

Who is “they” in verse 30?

If they wanted to kill Jesus, what stopped them? Surely they weren’t concerned about the right time, were they?

Luke 4:29-30 (30) – They drove Jesus to the side of a cliff to kill Him, but He passed through them.

Mark 11:18 (30) – They were seeking daily to kill Jesus.

John 10:31-39 (30) – They picked up stones to kill Jesus, but He “eluded their grasp”.

Isaiah 46:10 (30) – He is sovereign, declaring the end from the beginning. His purpose will be established.

The Jewish leaders were seeking to take and kill Jesus. This was their goal. Jesus was a very public figure. They could have come and arrested Him at anytime. They indeed attempted to do so on several occasions. Somehow they just weren’t able to do. Little is said about what exactly happened. Sometimes He simply passed through them. Apparently though their hearts desired to kill Him, they were physically prevented by God from moving to do that. Another time, He “alluded their grasp”. Again, there are no comments on exactly how this happened. He was right their in front of them. They had stones in their hands. But they just didn’t kill Him. In this instance later on they wanted to seize Him (they were commanded to), but they just didn’t. Their reason: “never did a man speak the way this man speaks.” The soul reason they were unable to kill Him is that “His hour had not yet come.”

From this we can see that God is in complete control. Humans think they have power. They think they are in charge. They think they are doing plans their own way. They even make plans against God and think they can fight against God. God simply laughs. Psalms 2:1-4, Psalms 37:13. Humans are completely inept against God. They can make plans and schemes, but if God doesn’t allow them, they will not even be able to lift a finger, or execute even the first step of their plan. Even more amazing, is that if God ever allows them to execute their plan He uses this for His purposes and for His glory. Later He did allow them to capture and kill Him. This was Satan’s greatest victory presumably. But Christ used it for His greatest victory. God does not compel anyone to sin (He is not the author of sin). People freely choose to sin of their own accord even purposely sinning against God. Yet somehow God is so powerful He uses even the purposeful, independent sins of humans and Satan to accomplish His ends on earth. To me, this shows the power of God more than almost anything else. He doesn’t always use miracles to accomplish His plans. He uses agents (angels or humans). Every ruler uses agents to carry out his plans, but often agents He often uses are not even His own!

Applications:

  1. Ally ourselves with God.

  2. Know that even when the world seems to be going terribly and evil seems to be prevailing that He is in control. Greater is He that is in than he that is in the world.

Many of those who believed were like the rocky soil. A lot of these same people were later clamoring for His death.

Why spurred the Pharisees to seize Jesus? They heard some of the crowds believing in Him. It made them angry and jealous. They wanted to be the leaders. They were prideful and wanted the crowds to follow them. Hearing the people believe another made them want to kill Him. They failed at disproving Him or beating Him fairly through debate.

Here Jesus prophesied about His coming ascension. He wouldn’t be in the world much longer, but after His resurrection would go up to heaven. Because of their sins and refusal to believe in Him they would not be able to go be with Him in heaven. John 8:21-24. Discuss. They should seek Jesus when they have a chance. Isaiah 55:6. Salvation is never offered tomorrow. It’s a terrible idea to put it off. And from Scripture, it also appears that after a person denies the gospel a number of times their heart becomes hardened to the point of no return. It is a dangerous, dangerous game to put off salvation until we are “old and have had our fun.” First, we have no guarantee to live another minute. Second, once we deny it many times we might not be able to change. Third, we waste a lifetime of opportunities.

The dispersion and modern day return to Israel is one of the biggest testaments in the modern world to the truth of Scripture. It was predicted thousands of years before. The return to Israel is prophesied throughout the Old Testament and it appears to take place in several stages. Isaiah 11:12. Never in the entire history of the world has a nation been scattered throughout the earth and returned to their own country. It is a miracle in itself that Jews were able to maintain their own ethnicity through almost 2500 years. They were able to so only because of their isolationist attitude and strict marriage laws. God used it to keep His people intact!

37-39

Jesus made a big announcement on the last day of the feast. Ryrie says, “Though it is not mentioned in the OT, the Jews had a ceremony of carrying water from the Pool of Siloam and pouring it into a silver basin by the altar of burnt offering each day for the first seven days of the Feast of Booths. On the eighth day this was not done, making Christ’s offer of the water of eternal life from Himself even more startling.”

What is the significance that Jesus, if any, to the fact that Jesus made the offer of living water on the last day of the feast?

What does it mean that from “his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”? What is the living water?

Psalms 63:1 (37-38) – David thirsted for God in a dry and weary land.

Psalms 36:8-9 (37-38) – We can drink the river of His delights. With Him is the fountain of life.

Revelation 22:17 (37-38) – A call to drink of the living water that is free.

Isaiah 58:11 (37-38) – God will guide us, satisfy our desire, water us, and make us a spring of water.

John 4:10 (37-38) – Living water.

John 6:35 (37-38) – He who believes in Me will never thirst.

Matthew 11:28 (37-38) – All the weary should come unto Christ and He will give them rest.

Read and discuss the verses about water first. Jesus offers living water. He will satisfy our thirst since there is no water in the world that can quench it. He will satisfy this by giving His Spirit to all who come to Him. This Spirit being in us, we can experience the blessings of God and the joy that comes only from Him. We will also be able spread this joy to others. It will become a spring in us that nothing can contain. As we live for God with His Spirit in our hearts our joy will spread to others. We will then be a channel of blessing for those around us in actions and words (verses in Proverbs). The way to have this is by coming to Jesus. That is the only way we can have this water and the only way we can become a spring of this water to others.

When was Jesus “glorified”?

When was the Spirit given?

Does that mean the Spirit was not in the world until after Jesus ascended back up to heaven?

So what does it mean? What is the difference between the role of the Spirit in the past and the new role?

Proverbs 1:23 (39) – In the OT the Spirit is often referred to as being “poured” out. Here it is “received”.

Acts 2:1-4 (39) – Pentecost.

1 Corinthians 6:19 (39) – The Holy Spirit is in us.

Ephesians 1:13 (39) – We are sealed with the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 1:14 (39) – The Holy Spirit dwells in us.

This is the first place in John that Jesus promises the coming of the Spirit. We can see who can receive it: anyone (the offer is available, discuss a bit with David and Moses perhaps). Who will receive it: those who come to Him. What the result will be: rivers flowing from within him. The Spirit was given to believers after Jesus was glorified (ascended back to heaven).

In the OT the Spirit was working in the world as well. The Spirit rested on people to help them do the work of God. He was poured out on those who needed divine help to fulfill God’s plans. These people were not always believers. Also, sometimes the Holy Spirit rested on somebody for a time and then departed from them. The Spirit didn’t guarantee salvation.

In the New Testament it is different. The Spirit dwells in believers. He seals us in our salvation guaranteeing that we belong to God. He helps us to live and walk the right way in this world and influences us to do right. Galatians 5. He also intercedes for us in our prayers. Later on in John we will look more into the Spirit’s ministry, but we should realize that is an amazing blessing and privilege that He lives in us. Jesus said it was good for Him to leave so that the Spirit would come. That is how good it is for us to have the Spirit. It’s better than if Jesus is walking and living right next to us. We should live our lives honorably since our very bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Application: Galatians 5.

40-44

Micah 5:2. Discuss the prophecy of Jesus’ birthplace.

45-52

The Pharisees want to know why the officials they sent to arrest Jesus didn’t. The only reason they had was that He speaks differently than anyone they had met before. Jesus’ voice and teaching did certainly have a special power to it. Hearing and seeing Him they were simply unable to make a move against Him.

The Pharisees scoff at them and question if they are also following Jesus. They also reveal their opinions of the crowds. They think they know nothing about the law and are cursed. This was their opinion of the people they were teaching. They looked down at them and scoffed at them. Leaders will never be truly good if they have contempt for those they are leading and no compassion. It’s true that in the world we are all sinners. Yet Jesus still didn’t treat us contemptibly. He had compassion and love and mercy. He gave His life for the crowds. The Pharisees wouldn’t even stop if one of them needed help (as shown by the parable of the Samaritan.

For those of us who are leaders we should never have contempt for even the most contemptible. If we don’t love, even the greatest of deeds will profit us nothing.

Nicodemus attempted to stand up for Jesus. He didn’t even come out in favor of Jesus or defend Him, but simply offered an objective viewpoint. That viewpoint was to really examine Jesus for what He did and said and then decide objectively if He was true. Those blinded in darkness will not be objective. They had no desire for objectivity and no desire for truth. They simply wanted to go through with their evil plans and scoffed at Nicodemus and any others who disagreed with them. They didn’t offer up proof or counterpoints to what Nicodemus said. Their only rebuttal was a lame and untrue statement, that even if it was true would not prove anything. As a group they simply laughed at him.

Do you see this same kind of attitude today?

This technique is often employed by unbelievers who don’t believe in Jesus. First of all, they are completely unwilling to look objectively at the facts and the claims that Jesus made. Evolutionists are the same. Generally, they are unwilling to listen to any facts that disagree with their conclusion. Instead these groups who don’t believe in God simply laugh at believers (or even people who might not be believers, but want to look at the issues objectively) and throw out labels like “right-winged fundamentalists”, “religious radicals”, “Jesus freaks”, and “superstitious”. The world buys their viewpoint because they hear it repeated so many times. A common person will likely think of people who believe in God as dumb and having blind faith simply because they are laughed at by the intellectual community. It makes it appear that we have no argument when the truth is the other side is simply unwilling to look at our argument. Most people who believe in evolution in atheism do so not because they have sat down and looked at all the evidence on both sides. They do it because they have heard intellectuals believe it and laugh at the Christian side. But those most likely didn’t examine the evidence objectively either.

Study John 7:30-53

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