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John 7:14-28

Context
Teaching in the Temple

7:14 When the feast was half over, Jesus went up to the temple courts 1  and began to teach. 2  7:15 Then the Jewish leaders 3  were astonished 4  and said, “How does this man know so much when he has never had formal instruction?” 5  7:16 So Jesus replied, 6  “My teaching is not from me, but from the one who sent me. 7  7:17 If anyone wants to do God’s will, 8  he will know about my teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak from my own authority. 9  7:18 The person who speaks on his own authority 10  desires 11  to receive honor 12  for himself; the one who desires 13  the honor 14  of the one who sent him is a man of integrity, 15  and there is no unrighteousness in him. 7:19 Hasn’t Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps 16  the law! Why do you want 17  to kill me?”

7:20 The crowd 18  answered, “You’re possessed by a demon! 19  Who is trying to kill you?” 20  7:21 Jesus replied, 21  “I performed one miracle 22  and you are all amazed. 23  7:22 However, because Moses gave you the practice of circumcision 24  (not that it came from Moses, but from the forefathers), you circumcise a male child 25  on the Sabbath. 7:23 But if a male child 26  is circumcised 27  on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken, 28  why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well 29  on the Sabbath? 7:24 Do not judge according to external appearance, 30  but judge with proper 31  judgment.”

Questions About Jesus’ Identity

7:25 Then some of the residents of Jerusalem 32  began to say, “Isn’t this the man 33  they are trying 34  to kill? 7:26 Yet here he is, speaking publicly, 35  and they are saying nothing to him. 36  Do the rulers really know that this man 37  is the Christ? 38  7:27 But we know where this man 39  comes from. 40  Whenever the Christ 41  comes, no one will know where he comes from.” 42 

7:28 Then Jesus, while teaching in the temple courts, 43  cried out, 44  “You both know me and know where I come from! 45  And I have not come on my own initiative, 46  but the one who sent me 47  is true. You do not know him, 48 

1 tn Grk “to the temple.”

2 tn Or “started teaching.” An ingressive sense for the imperfect verb (“began to teach” or “started teaching”) fits well here, since the context implies that Jesus did not start his teaching at the beginning of the festival, but began when it was about half over.

3 tn Or “the Jewish authorities”; Grk “the Jews.” Here the phrase refers to the Jewish authorities or leaders who were Jesus’ primary opponents. See the note on the phrase “the Jewish leaders” in v. 1.

4 tn Or “began to be astonished.” This imperfect verb could also be translated ingressively (“began to be astonished”), but for English stylistic reasons it is rendered as a simple past.

5 tn Grk “How does this man know learning since he has not been taught?” The implication here is not that Jesus never went to school (in all probability he did attend a local synagogue school while a youth), but that he was not the disciple of a particular rabbi and had not had formal or advanced instruction under a recognized rabbi (compare Acts 4:13 where a similar charge is made against Peter and John; see also Paul’s comment in Acts 22:3).

sn He has never had formal instruction. Ironically when the Jewish leaders came face to face with the Word become flesh – the preexistent Logos, creator of the universe and divine Wisdom personified – they treated him as an untaught, unlearned person, without the formal qualifications to be a teacher.

6 tn Grk “So Jesus answered and said to them.”

7 tn The phrase “the one who sent me” refers to God.

8 tn Grk “his will.”

9 tn Grk “or whether I speak from myself.”

10 tn Grk “who speaks from himself.”

11 tn Or “seeks.”

12 tn Or “praise”; Grk “glory.”

13 tn Or “seeks.”

14 tn Or “praise”; Grk “glory.”

15 tn Or “is truthful”; Grk “is true.”

16 tn Or “accomplishes”; Grk “does.”

17 tn Grk “seek.”

18 tn Or “The common people” (as opposed to the religious authorities mentioned in 7:15).

19 tn Grk “You have a demon!”

20 tn Grk “Who is seeking to kill you?”

sn Who is trying to kill you? Many of the crowd (if they had come in from surrounding regions for the feast) probably were ignorant of any plot. The plot was on the part of the Jewish leaders. Note how carefully John distinguishes between the leadership and the general populace in their respective responses to Jesus.

21 tn Grk “Jesus answered and said to them.”

22 tn Grk “I did one deed.”

23 sn The “one miracle” that caused them all to be amazed was the last previous public miracle in Jerusalem recorded by the author, the healing of the paralyzed man in John 5:1-9 on the Sabbath. (The synoptic gospels record other Sabbath healings, but John does not mention them.)

24 tn Grk “gave you circumcision.”

25 tn Grk “a man.” While the text literally reads “circumcise a man” in actual fact the practice of circumcising male infants on the eighth day after birth (see Phil 3:5) is primarily what is in view here.

26 tn Grk “a man.” See the note on “male child” in the previous verse.

27 tn Grk “receives circumcision.”

28 sn If a male child is circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken. The Rabbis counted 248 parts to a man’s body. In the Talmud (b. Yoma 85b) R. Eleazar ben Azariah (ca. a.d. 100) states: “If circumcision, which attaches to one only of the 248 members of the human body, suspends the Sabbath, how much more shall the saving of the whole body suspend the Sabbath?” So absolutely binding did rabbinic Judaism regard the command of Lev 12:3 to circumcise on the eighth day, that in the Mishnah m. Shabbat 18.3; 19.1, 2; and m. Nedarim 3.11 all hold that the command to circumcise overrides the command to observe the Sabbath.

29 tn Or “made an entire man well.”

30 tn Or “based on sight.”

31 tn Or “honest”; Grk “righteous.”

32 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

33 tn Grk “Is it not this one.”

34 tn Grk “seeking.”

35 tn Or “speaking openly.”

36 sn They are saying nothing to him. Some people who had heard Jesus were so impressed with his teaching that they began to infer from the inactivity of the opposing Jewish leaders a tacit acknowledgment of Jesus’ claims.

37 tn Grk “this one.”

38 tn Or “the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).

sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.

39 tn Grk “this one.”

40 sn We know where this man comes from. The author apparently did not consider this objection worth answering. The true facts about Jesus’ origins were readily available for any reader who didn’t know already. Here is an instance where the author assumes knowledge about Jesus that is independent from the material he records.

41 tn Or “the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).

sn See the note on Christ in 1:20.

42 sn The view of these people regarding the Messiah that no one will know where he comes from reflects the idea that the origin of the Messiah is a mystery. In the Talmud (b. Sanhedrin 97a) Rabbi Zera taught: “Three come unawares: Messiah, a found article, and a scorpion.” Apparently OT prophetic passages like Mal 3:1 and Dan 9:25 were interpreted by some as indicating a sudden appearance of Messiah. It appears that this was not a universal view: The scribes summoned by Herod at the coming of the Magi in Matt 2 knew that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. It is important to remember that Jewish messianic expectations in the early 1st century were not monolithic.

43 tn Grk “the temple.”

44 tn Grk “Then Jesus cried out in the temple, teaching and saying.”

45 sn You both know me and know where I come from! Jesus’ response while teaching in the temple is difficult – it appears to concede too much understanding to his opponents. It is best to take the words as irony: “So you know me and know where I am from, do you?” On the physical, literal level, they did know where he was from: Nazareth of Galilee (at least they thought they knew). But on another deeper (spiritual) level, they did not: He came from heaven, from the Father. Jesus insisted that he has not come on his own initiative (cf. 5:37), but at the bidding of the Father who sent him.

46 tn Grk “And I have not come from myself.”

47 tn The phrase “the one who sent me” refers to God.

48 tn Grk “the one who sent me is true, whom you do not know.”



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