Rev. Dick is pastor of Grace Protestant Reformed Church in Standale, Michigan.
In the passage before us, John 7:32ff., Jesus is at the Jews’ feast of tabernacles. He is there to teach (v. 14).
This was a bold move on Jesus’ part. For the Jews were seeking to kill Him for His words and works (5:X3, 7:ll). And Jesus’ instruction at the temple at this time only serves to fan the anger of some of the Jews towards Him (v. 30).
However, many of the Jews believed on Jesus (v. 31). For, according to verse 31, they could not imagine that when Christ would come He would do more miracles than this man, Jesus of Nazareth.
It was when the Pharisees heard that the people were inclining toward Jesus, and speaking well of Him, that the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him (v. 32).
At this time Jesus addresses them (v. 33). There were probably others who heard what Jesus said, but Jesus’ words seem to be directed specifically towards those who had come to take Him. He speaks of the fact that He will soon depart from their midst to a place where they cannot come. He prophesies that though they would seek Him, they would not find Him.
This puzzles the Jews no end.
1.In verses 33, 34, the Lord Jesus calmly announces His departure: “Yet a little while . . . and then I go unto him that sent me.” The reference, of course, is to His going to heaven. He will go there in a little while. The little while He will yet be on earth is about six months: for at the time He was speaking it was the month of October, and Jesus would be crucified during the feast of the Passover the next April.
2.With these words Jesus shows complete confidence here in His glorification. “I go unto him that sent me,” Jesus declares. This is an amazing statement in light of the present humiliation and sorrow of the man of sorrows, but also in light of the future suffering which our Savior knew He must undergo in the last week of His life on earth! Look up other verses which show the Savior’s confidence in His glorification. In light of the complete confidence of the Savior, how do we explain His praying to be glorified in John 17:5?
3.The ground of Jesus’ confidence is the eternal decree of God. This is something Jesus knew. He knew that His being on earth was according to a plan. It was Father’s plan. That He had come to earth was according to Father’s plan. That He would be taken and crucified was Father’s will. That after this He would be glorified was according to Father’s eternal, sovereign purpose. Cite Scriptures to show that salvation in Jesus the Christ was ever the purpose of God (e.g., Ephesians 1; Colossians 1).
4.When Jesus declares in verse 34: “Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am thither ye cannot come,” He shows Himself to be the Judge. He is not simply announcing a fact. Rather, Jesus is pronouncing judgment upon a certain people – the unbelieving Jews. Other Scriptures teach that God,’ by Jesus, judges the world. Which Scriptures are those?
5.The statement in verse 34 is similar to many others in the Scriptures (Prov. 1:24-28; Amos 8:11, 12; John 8:21). In their light, explain the reason for the judgment of God upon the Jews (i.e., for what specific sins did God reject the Jewish nation?). In connection with this, consider this question: Are we to look for any revival of the Jews? That is, shall any or even many of the Jews find Jesus and enter heaven?
1.In this passage we see the reaction of unbelief to the Person, words, and works of our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, the Jews had some (sort of) faith in God. They even boasted of it. And they thought they did God service. But they denied and rejected the Christ of God. What does this say of their faith in God? (Cf. John 14:1, 6,7; John 16:1-3; Rom. 10:2.) What words and works of Jesus did the Jews despise?
2.This rejection of the Christ, God in flesh, our Savior revealed, is the principal fruit of unbelief of Jew and Gentile. Show from the history recorded in the Bible how the Christ had been rejected all along. How is such unbelief seen today in doctrine and life in both the church and secular world? Is Christ rejected when other ways to God are accepted? A popular church in the Grand Rapids area recently celebrated “Yom Kipper,” the Old Testament Day of Atonement. How is this a rejection of Christ?
3.If the Jews were such unbelievers, how can it be said that they would, at some time, “seek” the Lord (v. 34)? And how can they be said to seek the Lord and not find Him, in light of the promise of Matthew 7:7?
4.The depth of the Jews’ hatred of Jesus is seen in that repeatedly they sought ways to kill Him. This is shown in our text, too: the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take Him. But note here also that the Pharisees and the chief priests are united. This is striking because many of the priests of those days were Sadducees. But the Pharisees and Sadducees were, for various reasons (cf. a good Bible Dictionary), sharply at odds! How hatred of the Messiah unites all in opposition to Him! Discuss how this same unification of all those who deny Christ will occur under Antichrist. Do we see this today?
5.Notice that unbelief leads’ to confusion and spiritual blindness (vv. 35, 36). The Jews had only carnal notions of that of which. Jesus spoke in verses 33, 34. Discuss, in this connection, the doctrine of depravity, and hardening of sinners (cf. Is. 6:9-13; Rom. 8:6, 7; I Cor. 2).
6.And you? Believest thou? Do you believe? As believers, we believe it is better that Jesus is no longer on earth in body, but is in heaven. Why? (Cf. the Heidelberg Catechism, and Scripture references, Q. 49, 51.) How is Christ with us still, and what .encouragement is this?
7.In believing we seek Jesus, and seek the truth as it is in Jesus. And the promise is that those who seek, 2 by faith, shall find. Discuss the Scriptures which show how, and why, this promise is invariably kept by God as we seek to find direction, comfort, and the Lord Himself in all our life.
8.Notice how the Jews, though they were confused about what Jesus said, did not ask Jesus for an explanation. Rather, they spoke among themselves. And their discussion among themselves (vv. 35, 36) was certainly not that they might understand what Jesus was saying. Rather, they spoke thus to mock the Savior! God grant us true faith and humility to ask the Lord for help in understanding His words and ever to reverence whatever He says!
1.Jesus said He would go “unto” Him that sent Him, that is, unto the Father. Just as “in the beginning” the Word was “with” God (John 1:1: literally, “toward” God), so when Jesus ascended unto His Father He went to be “with” Him in glory again. There was, in Jesus’ ascension, a reunion, a continuation of the life in glory that the Son incarnate enjoyed with the Father before the world began (John 17:5). How does believing on the Lord Jesus take us “unto” the Father — already now? Is not this being in the fellowship of the Father what life is all about? How do we show that our life, and the joy of our life, is being with Father?
2.Many view the joy of what they call “heaven” as freedom from pain and trial and the ability to do what they want to do for ever. Jesus’ desire and expectation with regard to heaven was that in going to heaven He would go unto the Father. Is that what you look forward to most about heaven? How do we begin, on this earth, to “cultivate” and show such hope and desire? What comfort do we derive in this present vale of tears from our life with Father?