The Ministry of Messiah, 2:1-12:50

5. Jesus the water of life, 7:1-8:11

iii] Jesus' messianic claims


Jesus' teaching ministry in the temple continues, focused on a dialogue with the religious authorities over his messianic status. Jesus again reaffirms his divine origin, prompting hostility from the authorities, a hostility which comes to naught because "his hour has not yet come."


Jesus is the Christ, but only for those who know God through faith.


i] Context: See 7:1-13.


ii] Structure: Jesus' messianic claims:

Debate over Jesus' messianic status, v25-27;

Jesus restates his divine origins, v28-29;

"I came from him and he sent me."

The crowd divides - fore and against, v30-31;

"When the Christ appears, will he do more signs .....?"

An attempted arrest, v32;

Now you see me, now you don't, v33-36:

"Does he intend to go to the dispersion?"

"Where I am you cannot go."


iii] Interpretation:

Throughout the dialogue with "the Jews" (Israel's disbelieving religious establishment - the religious authorities, teachers of the law, Pharisees, rabbis, theologians, ...) some pilgrims and local worshippers are present. This congregation knows full well that the authorities are out to do Jesus harm and so they start to wonder why there has been no move against him. "Can it be that the rulers have decided that this is the Messiah?", REB, v26.

The doubts expressed by the congregation are quickly controlled by "the Jews" (unstated, but likely). How could Jesus be the messiah? Everyone knows that the messiah is a mysterious figure who appears out of obscurity, but there is no mystery about Jesus - a carpenter from Nazareth in Galilee - no mystery here, no evidence of messianic origins, v27. Jesus agrees with this assessment, in part. Yes, they know were Jesus is from, but in another sense, they don't know where he is from; they know nothing of his real origins. Jesus is sent from God the Father, sent with his authority, a fact they do not know because they do not know God; they are not children of faith, v28. Unlike Israel's religious establishment, Jesus knows God because he is from God, sent by God, v29. Telling a gathering of highly religious people that they don't know God is like a red rag to a bull and so some of those present react violently, v30. As calm is restored, it is clear that there are those in the congregation who have come to believe that Jesus may be the messiah; "When the Messiah comes, could he provide more convincing evidence than this man?", v31.

The Pharisees realize that some worshippers at the temple are beginning to conclude that Jesus may be the Messiah so they fire up the Sanhedrin (Israel's supreme religious governing council) to send in the temple guards to arrest Jesus, v32. Confusion reigns when Jesus informs the authorities that he is not going to be around much longer because he is going back to the one who sent him, v33. They will look for him, but not find him, because where he is going they can't go - "always out of reach, because he dwells with the Father; they can only come to him by faith", Fenton, v34. The authorities assume that Jesus intends leaving Israel proper to begin a teaching ministry among the Jews of the dispersion (an irreligious lot, so good riddance!) v35. Although, it all sounds very mysterious, v36.

Text - 7:25

Jesus' messianic claims, v25-36; i] Debate over Jesus' messianic status, v25-27. The Sanhedrin has obviously made it clear to the crowd that Jesus is not the Christ, but by not acting against him they leave the door open for doubt.

oun "At that point" - therefore. Here possibly transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, "Now ...", or inferential, establishing a logical connection, "so, consequently, accordingly."

ek + gen. "[some] of the people of Jerusalem" - [certain] from [the jerusalemites were saying]. The preposition serves as a partitive genitive, as NIV. Note that the verb is imperfect, "were saying; The JB brings out its durative sense with "were saying", while the NIV opts for an inceptive action, "began to say."

ouc "isn't [this the man]" - [is] not [this whom]. This negation indicates that the question expects a affirmative answer.

apokteinai (apokteinw) aor. inf. "to kill" - [they are seeking] to kill. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "are seeking." "Want to kill him", CEV / "trying to kill", TEV. "Trying" is dominant in the translations, but better, "Isn't this the man they want to put to death?", REB, possibly "were out to kill", Peterson.


parrhsia/ (a) dat. "[speaking] publicly" - [and behold, he is speaking] with boldness. The dative is adverbial, modal, expressing manner, "he is speaking boldly = publicly."

autw/ dat. pro. "[saying a word] to him" - [and they say nothing] to him. Dative of indirect object.

mepote "-" - perhaps. Used in a clause proposing a "tentative suggestion, Barrett; "perhaps the authorities have uncovered new evidence that Jesus is indeed the Christ", Kostenberger.

alhqwV adv. "really [concluded]" - truly [the rulers / authorities know]. Morris points out that when this adverb of manner is used before "know" it means "truly know" = "know for a certainty." "the rulers", oiJ arconteV, refers to members of the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin, cf., 3:1.

oJti "that [he is the Messiah]" - that [this one is the christ]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what the authorities possibly know; "Is it possible that ......" The demonstrative pronoun ou|toV, "this one", is emphatic, probably with a positive sense rather than negative.


Inaction by the authorities against Jesus has left the Jerusalemites wondering whether Jesus may indeed be the messiah. Some in the crowd argue against this possibility on the basis of the hidden messiah theory; "Messiah, even if he be born and actually exist somewhere, is an unknown", Trypho, Jewish theologian 2nd.-century AD, cf., Son of Man expectations in Enoch. "No one knows where the Messiah will come from, but we know where this man comes from", CEV. It is interesting how Jesus chooses to use the mysterious Son of Man designation of the messiah, and that throughout his ministry he promotes the mystery of his messiahship, cf., Mk.8:29-30. Of course, against this theory there is the common knowledge that the messiah is of the Davidic line, a flesh and blood person who reveals himself at the time of Israel's redemption. There is even some knowledge of the place of his birth, namely, Bethlehem. Still, the mystery remains, but as far as Israel's religious authorities are concerned, there is no mystery about Jesus.

alla "but" - but [we know from where is that one]. This strong adversative sits in a counterpoint construction which expresses two viewpoints on the status of Jesus; perhaps he is the Christ (v26), but his origins are known. One can imagine the authorities sowing the seeds of doubt with respect to Jesus' origins. The origins of Messiah are mysterious, but everyone knows the origins of touton, "that one" (a disparaging use of the demonstrative pronoun) - Nazareth, a two-bit Galilean town (+ illegitimate, conceived outside of marriage, and working class, a carpenter-builder).

de "-" - but/and. Transitional; indicating a step in the argument.

oJtan + subj. "when [the Messiah comes]" - whenever [the christ comes]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause, translated with a definite "when", as NIV.

poqen "where [he is] from" - [no one knows] from where [he is]. This interrogative conjunction is use here as an adverb of place, modifying the verb "to know."


ii] Jesus restates his diving origins, v28-29. Jesus responds to the Jerusalemites claim that they know him and where he is from, and thus, by implication, they know that he is not the messiah. Although Jesus' response is somewhat unclear, he seems to be saying that they may think they know him and were he is from, but they really know nothing. Jesus' person is revealed in his origins, in the one who sent him, the faithful / true / real one. This one the Jerusalemites do not know, and so they do not know Jesus, either his person or his origins.

oun "then" - therefore. Again, possibly inferential, or transitional, as in v25; "So Jesus proclaimed", ESV.

didaskwn (didaskw) pres. part. "still teaching" - [jesus called out / proclaimed] teaching [in the temple]. The participle is adverbial, best treated as temporal, as NIV; "As (while) Jesus was teaching in the temple", TH.

legwn "-" - saying. The attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "to cry out", so redundant and not translated, but it may well be adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of Jesus' crying / calling out, "as Jesus was teaching in the temple he said in a loud voice", TEV. Note that the verb krazw, "to shout out", is often used for a solemn proclamation.

kame "yes" - and / and yet / yes / both me [you know and from where i am]. This crasis ( kai + eme) serves as either a statement or a question - it is sarcastic. Yes, "the Jerusalemites " think they know who Jesus is and where he is from. If the meaning of the crasis is "yes", then the sense may be "Oh yes, you know me and where I come from, I don't think!" Possibly "both me"; You think you know both me and where I come from." Possibly as a question; "And yet, do you really know me and where I come from?"

ap (apo) + gen. "on [my own authority]" - [and] from [myself]. Expressing source / origin, possibly extending to agency, "by myself" = "on my own accord." "I have not come self-appointed", Berkeley.

all (alla) "but" - [I have not come] but. Strong adversative in a counterpoint construction, "not ....... but ....." A glance at the different translations indicates the problem we have with this clause. "The Jerusalemites" may think they know who Jesus is and where he comes from, but they really know nothing. Jesus does NOT come ap emautou, "from myself" (= "on my own accord / authority / initiative), BUT was sent with the authority of / on the initiative of the one who is true / the source of all truth. Such defines who Jesus is and where he comes from.

oJ pemyaV (pempw) aor. part. "he who sent [me]" - the one having sent [me]. The participle serves as a substantive.

alhqinoV adj. "[is] true" - [is] true, genuine, honest / reliable, faithful. It is unlikely that the predicate adjective is being used here as an adverb, "he truly is the one who sent me", but rather serves as a substantive, "the true / faithful one is the one who sent me." Jesus is sent by / has come from the God who is the faithful / true one; "someone who is very real, whom you do not know", Beasley-Murray.

o} pro. "[you do not know] him" - whom [you do not know]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to know", emphatic by position. "It is he who sent me forth, and he you do not know", Cassirer.


The point being made here is that only the one who is sent knows fully the sender. Of course, indirectly John is pointing to Jesus' origins in the Godhead, possibly his filial relationship with the Father, so Schnackenburg.

oJti "because" - [i know him] because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Jesus knows the true / faithful one.

par (para) + gen. "[I am] from [him]" - Expressing source / origin.

kakeinoV "and he" - and that one [sent me]. Crasis, kai + ekeinoV serving as an emphatic personal pronoun, "and he it was who sent me."


iii] The crowd divides - fore and against Jesus, v30-31. "The jerusalemites", influenced by, or made up of, the religious establishment, react violently against Jesus, whereas "the crowd" reacts positively - "in spite of the objections, many believe in Jesus because of his signs", Thompson.

oun "at this" - therefore. Possibly inferential, establishing a logical connection, "so, accordingly .....", or transitional, "then", TEV.

piasai (piazw) aor. inf. "to seize [him]" - [they were seeking] to seize [him]. The infinitive introduces an object clause / dependent statement of perception expressing what "the Jerusalemites" were planning to do, namely, "how they might arrest him." "Arrest" may be the sense here, given that "the Jerusalemites" are likely acting at the behest of "the Jews" (the Jewish religious establishment), but of course the action may simply be describing mob violence (possibly a citizens arrest); "they tried to seize him", TEV, REB.

kai "but" - and [no one laid the = their hand upon him]. Usually treated as an adversative here, as NIV; "but no one was able to lay a finger on him."

oJti "because" - because [the hour of him had not yet come]. Introducing a causal clause explaining why "the Jerusalemites" were unable to arrest him. John makes it clear that the hour of Jesus' glorification (his lifting up / crucifixion, and its attendant consequences - resurrection, ascension, ...) is determined by the will of God, not by the will of Israel's religious authorities; "it wasn't yet God's time", Peterson.

autou gen. pro. "his [hour]" - [the hour] of him [had not yet come]. The genitive is adjectival, possessive, or idiomatic, "the hour (moment in time) which God ordained for him (ie., his glorification, the cross)" - Novakovic classifies this as purpose, "the hour destined for him."


de "still" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in narrative, here to a qualification. Morris suggests it is contrastive, "but", while Brown suggests it is emphatic, "in fact ...." The crowd presents in two parts; on one side, those standing with the religious authorities, but on the other side, those questioning the conclusion of the religious authorities.

ek + gen. "[many] in [the crowd]" - [many] from [the crowd]. Here the preposition stands in place of a partitive genitive. Barrett thinks John is making the point here that "believers are drawn, not from the ruling class (the religious establishment??), but from the crowd (the citizenry)", but what weight should we put on the word "believed"? John implies that a faith based on signs is at best preliminary to a saving faith in Christ, cf., 2:23-25, 4:48.

eiV + acc. "[believed] in [him]" - [believed] into [him and were saying]. This preposition, often used interchangeably with en, "in", when related to belief, expresses the direction of the action and arrival at.

oJtan + subj. "when [the Messiah comes]" - whenever [the christ may come]. Introducing an indefinite temporal clause, translated definitely, as NIV.

mh "-" - not [will he do more signs]? This negation is often used in a question expecting a negative answer; "when the messiah comes ..... surely he will not provide greater demonstrations of the power of God in action than this man has done? (Of course he won't)"? Barclay. Klink defies convention suggesting that the answer is affirmative, so giving a translation like "when the messiah comes will he not do more signs than this man? (Of course he will)" In the context of Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem, Jesus has only done one sign, so maybe the "Jerusalemites" expect the Christ to do more. Klink also suggests that autoV, "this one", is defamatory - John often uses toutoV when a slight is intended.

wJn gen. pro. "[than this man]" - [than those things] which [this man does]. We have an ellipsis requiring the addition of ekeinwn, "of those things", the genitive being ablative, of comparison. The genitive pronoun wJn, "which", is attracted to the assumed genitive "of those things"; see Harris. "Will the messiah .... provide better .... evidence than this?", Peterson.


iv] An attempted arrest, v32. The religious authorities act to get Jesus out of the eye of the public.

tou oclou (oV) gen. "[the Pharisees heard] the crowd" - [the pharisees heard] the crowd. The verb akouw, "to hear", will sometimes take a genitive of direct object, as here; "the muttering of the crowd came to the ears of the Pharisees", Harris.

gogguzontoV (gogguzw) gen. pres. part. "whispering" - muttering, murmuring, grumbling. The genitive participle serves as the complement of the genitive direct object "crowd" standing in a double genitive construction.

peri + gen. "about [him]" - [these things] about [him]. Expressing reference / respect; "about, concerning."

kai "then" - and. Here probably consecutive, expressing result; "and so as a result ......"

iJna + subj. "to [arrest him]" - [the chief priests and pharisees sent servants] that [they might arrest him]. Introducing a final clause expressing purpose; "in order to ......." "Chief priests" is a possible addition, but anyway, John probably sees the sending of the temple police as an act authorized by the Sanhedrin. "The chief priests" are usually identified with the Sadducees, but for John, they simply represent the cohort of the religious establishment in Israel opposed to Jesus.


v] Now you see me, now you don't, v33-36. Irrespective of the temple police and their arrest warrant, Jesus will continue to minister for the present, and this because it is the will of God. It is only after Jesus has fulfilled his mission that he will go back, uJagw, to where he came from. From this point on there will be a number of vague referenced to Jesus' glorification / passion - messiah's return to God is anything but predictable, cf., 8:21, 12:35, 13:3, 33,36, 14:4, .....

oun "-" - therefore [jesus said, yet a little time].]. Either transitional, "then", or just left untranslated, as NIV, or inferential, establishing a logical connection, "so, consequently, accordingly"; "Jesus then said", ESV.

meq (meta) + gen. "[I am] with [you]" - [i am] with [you]. Expressing association / accompaniment.

kai "and then" - and. Usually treated temporally, as NIV.

proV + acc. "[I am going] to" - [i go away] toward. Spacial, expressing movement toward; "and then I'm off to the one who sent me."

pemyanta (pempw) aor. part. "the one who sent [me]" - the one having sent [me]. The participle serves as a substantive, accusative direct object of the verb "to go away."


An enigmatic saying of Jesus which may intentionally have different meanings: a) "You will look for me to arrest me ....." - "the Jews" certainly understood the words at this practical level; b) "you will look for me as the coming Messiah ......" Most commentators suggest messianic intent in Jesus' cryptic comment. Israel is always looking to the coming messiah for salvation, but at this moment, or in the day of judgment, they will fail to find him. Those without faith look, but do not see and so can never find the peace they seek; "The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man and you will not see it", Lk17:22.

kai "but [not find me]" - [you will seek me] and [not find]. Best treated as an adversative, as NIV. "The Jews" will seek Jesus "in order to escape judgment, 3:36,8:22", Kostenberger, but it will be "too late", Barrett.

eimi pres. "[where] I am" - It's not "where I go (ienai) you cannot follow", but rather full weight is given to the present tense "I am", ie., "where I am in the glory of the Father", so Lindars. Most commentators follow Augustine: "He came in such wise that He departed not thence; and He so returned as not to abandon us." Jesus is in full fellowship / union with the Father always, whether in heaven or on earth, and through faith, so are we.

elqein (ercomai) aor. inf. "[you cannot] come" - [you are not able] to come. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the negated verb "to be able." Ridderbos suggests that Jesus has in mind the separation that occurs upon his death, "but whereas for the disciples this inaccessibility would only imply a temporary separation (14:1ff, 16:16ff), for "the Jews" it meant it would become too late to retrace their steps."


oun "-" - therefore. Either transitional, or inferential, establishing a logical connection; "So the Jews said to one another", REB.

poreuesqai (poreuomai) pres. inf. "[intend] to go" - [the jews said to themselves = one another, where is this one about] to go. The infinitive is complementary , completing the sense of the verb "to be about."

oJti "that" - that [we will not find him]. More reason than cause; providing the reason for the question "where does this man intend to go given that he has said where he is we cannot find him?" Cf., Zerwick #420.

mh "-" - not. Often used in a question expecting a negative answer; "Surely he doesn't intend going off to teach the Hellenistic Jews of the dispersion?" - Answer = "Of course he wouldn't." Yet, it can also be used to express a "cautious and tentative suggestion", Barrett; "Do you think he intends heading off to teach .........? - Answer = "Maybe that's what he's intending to do."

eiV + acc. "-" - into. Spacial, expressing action directed toward; "does he intend to travel to our brothers scattered throughout the Empire?"

thn diasporan (a) "where our people live scattered" - the dispersion. "The dispersion" refers to Jews who live beyond Palestine. The first forced dispersion throughout Syria took place with the fall of the Northern kingdom of Israel, and later throughout Babylon and Persia with the fall of Judea.

twn Ellhnwn (hn hnoV) gen. "[where our people live scattered] among the Greeks" - [to the dispersion] of the greeks. The genitive is best treated as adjectival, attributive / idiomatic, limiting "the dispersion"; "[the Jews of] the dispersion who live among the Greeks." - The term "the Greeks" = the cultured world, much of which spoke Greek = the Gentile world of the Roman Empire. It is a major step in thought to have Jesus teaching Jews in the Temple to then teach Gentiles throughout the Roman Empire, but it is obvious that "Greeks" here means hellenistic Jews, ie., Greek speaking Jews. Semitic Jews tended to doubt the religious credentials of hellenistic Jews and so it would not be unreasonable for Jesus to become their teacher!! Hellenists, EllhnisthV, made up a large number in the Jerusalem church and it was one of their number, Stephen, who became the first martyr for the faith. None-the-less, most commentators view these words as another example of Johannine irony - the misunderstanding of "the Jews" will become a reality through the work of Jesus' apostles as the gospel moves to the ends of the world, first to Jew and then to Gentile.

didaskein (didaskw) pres. inf. "[and] teach [the Greeks]" - [he is about to journey and] to teach [the greeks]. The infinitive, as with "to journey", is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be about."


By repeating these words, John reinforces their importance, so indicating that messianic significance is intended; see v34. For "the Jews", the words reveal their lost opportunity to access the messiah and so appropriate the promised blessings of the covenant, a loss that is eternal; "where I am you cannot come." Even the children of faith will look, and not find, although it is but for a moment, it is not eternal, cf., 16:16-22.

tiV "what [did he mean]" - [this word which he said, you will seek me and will not find me, and where i am you are not able to come is] what? This interrogative pronoun serves as the accusative direct object of the verb to-be. Novakovic, quoting Wallace, reminds us that "interrogatives, by their nature, indicate the unknown component and hence cannot be the subject." "What did he mean by saying ....?", Rieu.

elqein (ercomai) aor. inf. "[you cannot] come" - [you are not able] to come. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be able."


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