THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
LESSON SEVENTEEN

     As we begin our study, I want to remind you that last time we left Jesus at the feast of the tabernacles in Jerusalem. If
you remember, he had sneaked into the city separate from his brothers and had began to teach and preach after he
arrived. The Jewish leaders heard that he was there so they sent the temple guards out to arrest him. No one laid a hand
on Jesus, because as John said, his time was not yet come. This brings us to our study this evening, beginning with
verse thirty-seven of John chapter seven.

John 7:37-39   
     37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto
           me, and drink.
     38. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
     39. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet
           given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Verse thirty-seven
     
[A]  It was the last day of the Feast of the Tabernacles

     [B]  All the events of this chapter took place during the Festival of Tabernacles; and properly o understand them we
             must know the significance, and at least some of the ritual of that Festival.
             [1]  The Festival of Tabernacles or Booths was the third of three Jewish Festivals,         
                     [a]  The Passover
                     [b]  The Festival of Pentecost
                     [c]  The Feast of Tabernacles         
            [2]  Attendance was compulsory for all adult male Jews who lived within fifteen miles of Jerusalem
            [3]  The Festival of Tabernacles fell on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, that is, about 15th October.

     [C]  Like all the great Jewish festivals, the feast of the Tabernacles had a double significance.
             [1] First, it had an historical significance. It received its name from the fact that all through it, people left their   
                     houses and lived in little booths. During the Festival the booths sprang up everywhere, on the flat roofs of
                     the houses, in the streets, in the city squares, in the gardens, and even in the very courts of the Temple.
                     The law laid it down that the booths must not be permanent structures but built specially for the occasion.
                     Their walls were made of branches and  fronds, and had to be such that they would give protection from
                     the weather but not shut out the sun. The roof had to be thatched, but the thatching had to be wide
                     enough for the stars to be seen at night. The historical significance of all     this was to remind the people
                     in unforgettable fashion that once they had been homeless wanderers in the desert without a roof over
                     their heads
             [2]  Second, it had an agricultural significance. It was supremely a harvest-thanksgiving festival. It is sometimes
                     called the Festival of the Ingathering and it was the most popular festival of all. For that reason it was
                     sometimes called simply The Feast, and sometimes The Festival of the Lord. It stood out above all others.
                     The people called it "the season of our gladness," for it marked the ingathering of all the harvests, since
                     by this time the barley, the wheat, and the grapes were all safely gathered in. As the law had it, it was to
                     be celebrated "at the end of the year when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor"; it was to be
                     kept "when you make your ingathering from your threshing floor and your wine press". It was not only
                     thanksgiving for one harvest; it was glad thanksgiving for all the bounty of nature which made life  
                     possible and living happy.
             
     [D]  Jesus said, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
             [1]  On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, the Jews drew water and poured it out before the Lord.
             [2]   It is supposed that Christ alluded to this when he said if any man thirst let him come onto me.
             [3]  If any person is to be happy and content with life, they must come to Christ and allow him to rule them.
             [4] This thirst he spoke of, means having a strong desires for spiritual blessings, and that thirst can only be
                     satisfied by Jesus Christ.

Verse thirty-eight
     
[A]  When one drinks deeply at the fount of Christ, coming to him thirsty and wanting to be filled. His comfort flows
             plentifully and constantly like a river; strong as a stream to bear down the opposition of doubts and fears.         
             There is a fullness in Christ, of grace which equips us and sanctifies us.
     
     [B]  I heard a message in which an old pastor was speaking of being full and overflowing. He asked the question,
             when is a cup full? The answer is, when it is overflowing. For it is only truly as full as it can be, when it can hold
             no more   and overflows
                     
     [C] This is what Jesus was referring to here, being so full of himself, that we overflow so others can receive him
             through us.
             
Verse thirty-nine
     [A]  John tells us here that the Holy Spirit was speaking through Jesus, and that none understood,
                     
     [B]  The reason they could not understand was because they had not received the Holy Spirit and only through the
             power of the Holy Spirit can we have understanding.

John 7:40-44
     40. Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
     41. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
     42. Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where
           David was?
     43. So there was a division among the people because of him.
     
     [A]   After hearing Jesus speak, and knowing of many of the things he had done and the miracles he had did, some
             many of the  people stated asking if he was the Prophet they had been waiting for.                 
             [1]  They were taught that before the Messiah came, the prophet Elijah would come.
                     [a]  The Jews had, and still have, one settled belief. They believed that before the Messiah came, Elijah
                              would return to herald his coming.
                     [b]  To this day, when the Jews celebrate the Passover Feast, a vacant chair is left for Elijah. "Behold I will
                             send you Elijah the prophet, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes" (Mal.4:5).
             [2]  Question - Jesus was there, had Elijah already come again?
                   
  Matthew 11:7-15
                     7.   And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out
                           into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man
                           clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that  wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye
                           out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
                     10. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face which shall prepare
                           thy way before thee.
                     11. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John
                           the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
                     12. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the
                           violent take it by force.
                     13. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
                     14. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
                     15. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
                     [a]   Jesus said that John was Elijah
                     [b]   How could John be Elijah - was he reincarnated or what?
                             [1-a]  John was not Elijah, instead he had the same Spirit in him that Elijah had, and was doing the
                                   same thing that Elijah did.
                             [2-a] Elijah was probably the greatest prophet and man of God in the old testament, and John was
                                      the greatest in the New.                 

     [B]  Other people said, that Jesus had to be the Messiah, the Christ, they were awaiting.

     [C]  Others said, will the Christ come out of Galilee
             [1]  The prophets of old, said that Christ would be born in Bethlehem - how could he come out of Galilee

     [D]  The people were divided over who or what Jesus was
             [1]  This is no different than the problem we have in the church today,
             [2]  The church is still divided over whom Jesus was, and how to best serve him
                     [a]  Some churches are very legalistic
                     [b]  Some churches believe that all is love and there will be no judgment
                     [c]  Some believe that if the Spirit is not causing people to speak in other tongues and so on, Christ is not
                             there
                     [d]  There is still a division as to who he is and how to serve Jesus

John 7:44-49
     
44. And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
     45. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought
           him?
     46. The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
     47. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
     48. Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
     49. But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

Verse forty-four
     [A] Again we see that statement, no man lay hands on him, and the reason is, it was not his time
     [B]  Remember though, we seen in an earlier lesson, that the chief priest and the Pharisees sent out officers to
             arrest Jesus and bring him to them
     
Verse forty-five
     [A]  The officers returned, but they were without Jesus
     
     [B]  The Jewish leaders questioned them - Where is the one we sent you out to get? Why have you not brought him?
     
Verse forty-six
     [A]  What did the officers answer them?
             [1]  There has never been a man who talked like this one
             [2]  In other words, if you had been there, you would not have wanted us to arrest him.
     
Verse forty-seven and forty-eight
     [A]  The Pharisees, then asked the officers if they too had began to believe in Jesus
     [B]  Their statement of has any of the rulers or Pharisees believed in him, is actually a statement
             [1]  If they had not believed in him, they he had to be a phony
             [2]  They were the ones who knew everything, all else was ignorant
             [3]  Anyone who believed in anything they did not believe in was wrong
             [4]  They had the law, and they interpreted the scripture, no-one else had the knowledge to do so.
     [C]  I would like to say that this does no happen today but it does
             [1]  There are those who believe they have the only answers, and that no-one else can know the truth but them
             [2]  There are preachers who stand in their pulpits running down all the other preachers to make themselves
                     look good
             [3]  There are those who claim that the only bible we are allowed to read and study is the King James, and all
                     others are translations
                     [a]  I believe myself that the King James is the most accurate translation, but it too is a translation, just as
                             all the others are.
     
     [D]  It’s as though some believe that God speaks to no-one but them        
     
     [E]  Notice what they tell the officers in verse forty-nine
             [1]  The only people who believe in Jesus is the unlearned
             [2]  That is the same thing that is being said about Christianity today - there is a belief among those who
                     oppose the bible and Christianity that all who believe in the bible or in Jesus Christ, is unlearned,
                     uneducated and basically stupid.
             [3]  This same thought is being taught to our children, when they are told that the bible is wrong and Evolution
                     is the only right belief
             [4]  It’s the same thing that is being taught when scientist claim that the earth is billions of years old, and that
                     man has been around for millions of years when the bible claims it to be 6000 or so
             [5]  The same thing the leaders of the Jews told the officers we are being told today, to believe in Jesus and in
                     what the word (Jesus) says, is to show that you are ignorant.

John 7: 50-53
     50. Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
     51. Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
     52. They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no
           prophet.
     53. And every man went unto his own house.

     [A]  Who was this Nicodemus? What do we know about him?
             [1]  
John 3:1
                     1.  There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
                     [a]  He was a Pharisee - a ruler of the Jews        
             [2]  
John 3:2
                     2.  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come
                           from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
                     [a]  He was frightened to Come to Jesus by day
                     [b]  He believed in Jesus - believing him to be from God
                     [c]  He jeopardized himself to come to Jesus in order to question him
                     [d]  He was a secret disciple of Christ
             [3]  What other things do we know about him, and what did he do?
                     [a]  There is little else we know other than what he did in chapter three and for what said in chapter
                             seven, until after Jesus was crucified
                     [b]  It was Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea who took Jesus down from the cross and lay him in the
                             tomb.

Verse fifty-one
     [A]  It’s easy to see here in verse fifty-one that Nicodemus did not want Jesus killed
     [B]  His argument was that no-one should be judged before they were given a fair trial and heard
             [1] This was Jewish law but was being forfeited with Jesus
             [2] Nicodemus used the law to try and save him
             [3]  Still he never said, I have talked to him and believe him to be who and what he claims to be. Why was he
                     unwilling to tell them about that?

Verse fifty-two
     [A] The leaders asked Nicodemus - are you from Galilee too?
             [1]  Are you a relative of his?
             [2]  Are you worthless like all the other Galilee people are?
             [3]  Are you unlearned and uneducated like those who believe in him?

     [B] Then they made the statement - search the scripture, there you will find that no prophet is to arise out of Galilee.
             [1]  Jesus came from Galilee
             [2]  Is that not enough proof that he is not the prophet?
     
Verse fifty-three
     [A]  After this, every man returned to his house.