The Gospel of John
(James J. Barker)


Lesson 21

DIVIDED OVER CHRIST

(John 7:40-53)



INTRODUCTION:


1.     Our text tonight follows our Lord’s wonderful words uttered in the temple during the feast of tabernacles (7:37-39).

2.     The people were amazed at such a declaration.  No mere prophet could make such a statement.  Therefore some said, “Of a truth this is the Prophet” (7:40), in other words, the Messiah (cf. Deut. 18:15, 18, 19).

3.     This prophecy is referred to several times in the NT (cf. John 1:20, 21; 6:14; Acts 3:22, 23; 7:37).

4.     It is interesting to note that although this prophecy is quoted several times in the NT, John is the only one of the four Evangelists who refers to it.  This is the theme of John’s Gospel (cf. 20:31).

5.     In the Gospel of John, Christ is presented as “the Word” (1:1, 14).  A prophet is the spokesman for God; he delivers the Word of God (cf. 7:46).

6.     But not everyone believed that Jesus was the Prophet prophesied by Moses.  In fact “there was a division among the people” regarding Christ (7:43; cf. 7:12).

7.     Our Lord Himself predicted this division.  Back in Luke 12:51, He said, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division.”

8.     Soon there will be a great division when Christ returns.  Those of us that are saved will meet Him in the air.  Those who are lost will be left behind.

9.     Which side of the dividing line are you on?

 

I.    SOME PEOPLE HAD THEIR FACTS WRONG (7:41).

II.  SOME WERE MISLED BY THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS (7:44-47).

III.    SOME PEOPLE WERE INTIMIDATED BY THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS (7:47-53).

 

I.     SOME PEOPLE HAD THEIR FACTS WRONG (7:41).

1.     These people apparently knew the OT (7:42).  But one can know the Bible and still be lost.   In Matthew 2:4-6, we see that the chief priests and scribes knew that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem.  But apparently they had no interest in going there to worship Him.

2.     The wise men from the east traveled a great distance to see the newborn Christ, but the religious leaders of Israel showed no interest.

3.     And now over 30 years later, our Lord proved over and over that He was the Messiah.  But rather than believe in Him, the religious leaders scorned Him.

4.     They did not take the time to find out that Jesus was born of a virgin as Isaiah had predicted 700 years before.

5.     They did not bother to find out that our Lord did come from the lineage of David through both Mary and His stepfather Joseph.

6.     They never took the time to discover that though He grew up in Nazareth, our Lord was in fact born in Bethlehem, in fulfillment of Micah 5:2.  So they had their facts all wrong.

7.     “Others said, This is the Christ” (7:41a).  “But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?” (7:41b).  They were correct in stating that Christ was to be descended from David, and that He was to be born in Bethlehem (7:42).

8.     But they wrong in assuming that Jesus was born in Galilee (7:41; cf. Matt. 2:19-23).  

9.     They had their facts wrong.  Had they been more careful they would have known that our Lord was born in Bethlehem (according to Micah’s prophecy), and that He, Mary and Joseph moved to Nazareth when He was a young boy.

10.Many people are lost because they have their facts wrong.  Jesus rebuked the religious leaders often because they had their facts all wrong.  He said to the Sadducees in Matthew 22:29, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.”

11.You may have some facts wrong regarding politics or science or history, and this may not affect you spiritually.  But if you have your facts wrong regarding the Lord Jesus Christ, it could mean the difference between heaven and hell.

12.For example, many people blindly follow their priest or rabbi or minister, without bothering to see whether or not he has his facts right (Illustration: my father, and my mother).

13.Others join strange religious cults.  But if you follow the teachings of the JW’s, or the SDA’s, or the Mormons you will wind up in hell some day.  It would be wise to get your facts right.

14.Many RC’s have their facts all wrong – regarding Jesus, regarding salvation, regarding heaven and hell, etc.

15.Even many Baptists have their facts all wrong.  I talk to unsaved Baptists all the time.  They are trusting in their good works, their baptism, their church membership, etc.

 

II.     SOME WERE MISLED BY THEIR RELIGIOUS LEADERS (7:44-47).

1.     At this time the Jewish leaders wanted to kill our Lord (John 5:18; 7:1, 19, 25).  They tried to take Him but were not able to because “His hour was not yet come” (7:30).

2.     The chief priests and the Pharisees sent the temple officers to arrest our Lord but they came back empty handed (7:44-46).

3.     “The officers answered, Never man spake like this man” (7:46).  This is quite a testimony from unsaved men.  Instead of arresting our Lord, they were arrested by what they heard!

4.     Our Lord’s words come to us with a force like none other.  But rather than humble themselves before Christ, the haughty Pharisees scornfully said to the temple police officers, “Are ye also deceived?” (7:47).

5.     But it was they who were deceived.  And not only were they deceived, they in turn were deceiving others.  The apostle Paul warned us in II Timothy 3:13, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”

 

III.     SOME WERE INTIMIDATED BY THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS (7:47-53).

1.     The religious leaders not only misled the people, they also intimidated them.  In an arrogant manner they sneered, “Are ye also deceived?  Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?” (7:47, 48).

2.     Their insinuation was that none of the religious big-shots believed in Jesus, and therefore they shouldn’t either.   Even their term, “this people” (7:49) seems condescending and scornful.  They had nothing but contempt for the people.

3.     It would be like saying, “this rabble, this riff raff.”

4.     God usually passes over the big-shots and He saves the humble.  Saul of Tarsus was a religious big-shot and God saved him on the road to Damascus.  Consider what he wrote (cf. I Cor. 1:26-29).

5.     Our Lord told these proud religious hypocrites that the publicans and the harlots were entering into the kingdom of God, but they would be left out because of their unbelief.

6.     This is why they hated Him and this is why they crucified Him.  But there was one Pharisee who believed in Jesus (7:50, 51). 

7.     Approximately a year and a half had passed since his meeting with our Lord in John 3.  We will see him one more time in the Gospel of John – at the tomb of Jesus in John 19:39.

8.     This time the proud Pharisees tried to intimidate one of their fellow Pharisees (7:52).  But once again they were wrong.  Once again they had their facts wrong.  In a haughty manner they told Nicodemus to search and look and he would discover that no prophet ever came from Galilee (7:52).

9.     But the prophet Jonah was from Gath-hepher, a town in Galilee (II Kings 14:25).  Furthermore, it is possible that Nahum was from Galilee.

 

CONCLUSION:


1.     “And every man went unto his own house” (7:53).  The feast of tabernacles was over.

2.     Perhaps there is someone here tonight wondering if the Pharisees were quoting Scripture in John 7:49.  It appears that they were quoting Deut. 27:26.

3.     “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.”   Of course, this very same Scripture condemned them.

4.     The Pharisees thought they knew the Scriptures, but they didn’t. Unfortunately, today – even in America, a country founded upon the Bible – most people do not know the Bible.

5.     H. A. Ironside traveled around the world preaching the Bible.  He used to ask people, “Raise your hand if you have read the bible through from cover to cover.”

6.     Listen to his words, written in 1942, “Many today are vastly ignorant of this Book, and perhaps imagine that in the day of judgment they can plead ignorance of it as an excuse for not understanding (God’s) will. But, remember, if you are ignorant of the Word of God, you are willfully ignorant.  You have the Bible in your homes.  If you do not study your Bibles then you are responsible if you do not learn the mind of God.  Jesus says, ‘Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life.’  Oh, that there might come a great awakening of our responsibility to this!…I am sure of this, if there would come a real sense of responsibility as to this, and Christians would begin to read and study this Book to become familiar with the mind of God, we would soon have a great revival among the people of God and a great awakening among the Christless.”



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