The Gospel of John
John Chapter 7


J. Deering,

John Chapter 7, Introduction
John 7:1, Jesus’ Timetable

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.

Merril Tenney [1] divides the Gospel of John up into 10 divisions. Each division shows the constant movement of the book from a “Period of Consideration,” to the “Period of Consummation.” The moment between Chapters 6 and 7 move from the “Period of Controversy, [5:1-6:71]” to the “Period of Conflict [7:2-11:53].” Tenney accurately leads his readers through the Gospel of John following along the timetable that Jesus’ Father had set before Him. John makes it clear that Jesus’ movement through time is completely dependent upon His Father’s timing.

It’s during this Period of Conflict “there is a parallel development of belief and unbelief among the hearers of Jesus, and the resulting clash between these two opposing forces. The bewilderment of some, the outspoken opposition of others, and the slow but steady development of a triumphant faith on the part of Jesus’ disciples are all recorded.” [2]

Much transpires in the life of Jesus between Chapters 6 and 7:2. The continuing story is told through the other Gospels. First would be a confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees over the disciples eating bread with unwashed hands. Jesus answers the Pharisees with a quote from Isaiah 29:13, “The people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” He was pointing out that the Pharisees focused upon the external rules to keep one’s body clean, but neglected the teaching of their God to keep their hearts clean before Him.

Matthew and Mark both tell the story of a Canaanite woman with a demon possessed daughter. The Canaanites were not Jews and Jesus tells her that He has been first sent to the Jews. The time for His ministry to switch to the “whole world,” was yet to come. However, her faith touches Jesus’ heart for she expressed her knowledge that Gentiles receive blessing only indirectly when God blesses Israel, and grants her request.

Still in Galilee Jesus moves on to the city of Decapolis and, “great multitudes” brought the blind and mute to be healed and, “laid them down at His feet and He healed them” [Matthew 15:30]. Mark says, “And they were utterly astonished.” But more difficulties are in His future. Again, Mark says, “He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it” [Mark 7 36-37].

While still in Decapolis Jesus feeds a second multitude of four thousand, again with 7 loaves and a few fish. Some scholars think He repeated such a miracle because after Jesus rebuked His disciples following the first feeding for being selfish [John 6:27-28] that they thought He would not perform such a miracle again. Patiently He dealt with His disciples to prove His identity to them.

Jesus goes back to Galilee and is confronted again by the Pharisees – this time with the Sadducees. They asked Him to show them a “sign from heaven,” to prove who He was. He responded to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sing will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah” [Matthew 15:39].

After crossing the Sea of Galilee, Jesus talks to His disciples about the dangerous teaching of the Pharisees, saying, “Watch out! Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” The disciples begin a conversation about the fact that they only brought one loaf of bread with them and that was not enough. They’ve just witnessed the feeding of thousands of people from almost nothing. Jesus exhorts them, “Why do you discuss the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet see or understand? Do you have a hardened heart?” And He quotes Ezekiel, “Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? [Ezekiel 12:2]. Then they understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees [Mark 8:18; Matthew 16:12].

Jesus heals a blind man in Bethsaida [Mark 8:22-26] and then goes to the area of Caesarea Philippi, where the inhabitants were predominately Gentile and where there would be little chance of Jewish opposition or large Jewish crowds.

Matthew reports the incident of Peter’s testimony, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This is the first time that any disciple has spoken of Jesus as being God Himself. Jesus answers him with words that have been either misunderstood or twisted for political reasons by some early church fathers, “Blessed are you Peter because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I say that you are Peter and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” [Matthew 16:17-19].

The Roman church, later in history, would take these words and make them the basis for the succession of “executive” church leadership that we know as the pope. They would teach that Peter was given the authority to “speak for God on earth,” and that authority would transfer to successive popes. That tradition continues even today.

Jesus was, of course, talking about the confession of Peter – not Peter himself. “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This statement is the Rock upon which the Church, the Ecclesia, not the Roman church was founded. It was to the Body of Christ which these promises were aimed. Peter writes in 1 Peter 2:5 that the church itself is built of numerous small rocks [petros] as “living stones,” who like Peter, confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, and those confessions of faith are the bedrock of the Church. The “Keys” are given to the Body of Christ on earth – not to an individual member of it. The books of Acts, 1 Corinthians, and Ephesians [3] make it abundantly clear that Christ is both the Foundation and the Head of the Church. Nowhere does Scripture record Peter being in Rome, nor does it describe Peter as being supreme over the other apostles. It does not describe Peter as being the “all authoritative leader” of the early Christian Church.

This is also the first disclosure of a new work that Jesus was to undertake – The Church. It starts out here as a seed set before the disciples, and it will grow and come to full fruition in the Book of Acts.

It was here in Caesarea Philippi that Jesus began to make it clear that He was to be rejected, crucified, and resurrected. 

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” [Matthew 16:21].“ “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life[f] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” [Matthew 16:24b-26a].

John does not cover the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus, Peter, James, and John (oddly enough) travel with Jesus up into a high mountain where “He was transformed before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.” [Matthew 17:2].  Moses and Elijah joined them to discuss Jesus’ “departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem,” [Luke 9:30b-31b] speaking of His death and resurrection.

The prophesied return of Elijah is revealed as already past and was fulfilled by John the Baptist [Mark 9:11-13].

Jesus expresses His disappointment with His disciples when they could not cast out the demon from a man’s son, “Because of the littleness of your faith” [Mark 9:20a].

With all that has transpired, especially the transfiguration and Peter’s confession, their egos were getting the better of them. They lived in a generation where precedence and rank were very important for a man. The day was coming, and they knew it, when Jesus would return to Jerusalem – and they expected the ushering in of the Promised National Kingdom of God on Earth – they were arguing, “which of them might be the greatest,” in that Kingdom? “But Jesus, knowing what they were thinking in their heart, took a child and stood him by His side, and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest’” [Luke 9:46-48].

As an independent study about the treatment and forgiveness of a sinning “brother,” Matthew 18:1-35.

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (The Promised Kingdom of God on earth)

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Verse 1—Who are these “little ones?”
Jesus is speaking to His disciples of those who may enter into the Kingdom of heaven. The discussion has been about "Who... is greatest in the kingdom...?" The disciples see the question from a human point of view, where the most successful and proud would be considered prime choices for entry there. Jesus is correcting their view by teaching them that the humble, the downcast, and the little child would be most likely to be labeled as the "greatest," as they would have the nature and likeness of Jesus Christ - the ultimate servant of God.

Verse 2--Why a little child, what qualities does a little child represent?
Jesus went on to say that the child, because of it's lowly position, would be a prime candidate.

Verse 3--What did they, the disciples, need to do?
Jesus' disciples had not yet learned of the principles of the way God operates. He's interested in those who see themselves as, and take on, the humble and lowly position before all others. They needed to take on the humility and position the Christ has taken before His heavenly Father.

Verse 4—What does Jesus mean by “lowly position?”
Not self involved, self seeking, self oriented, but instead to see themselves as humble servants.

Verse 4—Why does Jesus require lowliness as the requirement for entering the kingdom of heaven?
That is the operational principle of God. Those who see themselves as "god" have no place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who come as His Son did, the suffering servant - on behalf of all others - qualify.


Causing to Stumble

6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 8 If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Verse 6—Who are these verses written to?
Jesus is addressing His disciples.

Verse 6—What little ones?
Those who have humbled themselves before God and are seeking Him and His Kingdom.

Verse 6 —What does Jesus mean when He uses the word “Stumble?”
To lead those who are seeking God into a direction where He cannot be found.

Verse 6 —Why does Jesus use the symbol of the depths of the sea?
Gone and lost forever. One should be very careful about leading someone away from Christ. 

Verse 7-8 —In this verse what cause people to stumble?
Ungodly intentions of yours that are worked out into actions by your foot (where you go), hand (what you touch) , or eye (what you see).

Verse 8&9—What is the punishment if you caused another to stumble?
Being thrown into the fires of Hell.


The Parable of the Wandering Sheep

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [11] some manuscripts include here the words of Luke 19:10, For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.


After reading 10-14

1.   Verse 10--What is the value of “one of these little ones?”
Great value is placed upon them - they even have angels in heaven that are so close to God that they always see His face.

2.   Verse 10--What is one responsibility of Angels?
Looking after believers.

3.   Verse 10--Where are your angels?
These particular ones are in the presence of God - always.

4.   Verse 12--What is the value of the “one who wandered off?”
The one is more important the the 99% of the rest.

5.   Why is such a value put on the “one who wandered off?”
This is the very nature of God, He values the lost one more than the found.

6.   Verse 14--What is this parable about
For believers, it should teach us that the unsaved are of great value to God - about 100 to 1 in the parable. This should motivate us to love the unsaved around us - more than ourselves or our Christian fellowship.


Dealing With Sin In The Promised Kingdom Of God On Earth

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

 1.   What is the responsibility when a brother or sister sins?
To seek out that sister or brother and confront them of their sin (in love, of course).

2.   Then what?
16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’

3.    Comment on Established – Testimony – Witnesses.
The bible says that truth may be established by two or more witnesses.

4.   Why have I avoided the use of “you,” in what should you do, what should you do next?


17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the ecclesia;
and if they refuse to listen even to the ecclesia, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

1.  Why?
Shunning can be effective in the restoration of a "back-sliding" believer, but it must be done in love and always with the before mentioned humility and character of God.


18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
Jesus is telling His disciples that in the Kingdom on earth the rules and disciplines will be the same as in the Kingdom in Heaven. Heaven, and the earthly Promised Kingdom will run on the same principles - led by the Same Savior, Jesus Christ.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
 is still speaking about the Promised Kingdom of Heaven on earth. At that time all believers will be of the same mind of Christ. Those things He wills, that we will, will be accomplished.

1.   Are these promises meant for you today? [primary VS secondary]
Certainly we can count on the presence of Christ the the Holy Spirit especially when we gather together. However, we will have to wait until the fulfillment of the Promised Kingdom of God on earth before having the total mind of Christ - whereby when we gather with others we can expect to ask and receive - for it will only be then that we and Christ will share the same mind.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

 1.   Who does Peter speak to?

2.   Who is involved?
Peter, brothers, Sisters (fellow believers)

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

    1.   What’s the importance of the number of times
7*7 The Bible uses the number 7 to represent perfection - Perfection*Perfection

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

It's Like A KING (The Lord Jesus Christ) who not only forgives debt (sin) but cancels the debt - BUT
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.

Again we must emphasize that Jesus is addressing Peter and the disciples about the operational characteristics of the Promised Kingdom of God on earth - not the believer's relationships during the Church Age. At this time in the scriptures Jesus was still in the process of offering that Kingdom to the Jews. What a blessing that would have been - the Kingdom of God ushered in, Jesus Christ ruling and reigning here on earth with the New Jerusalem placed where Jerusalem sits today. BUT - The nation of Israel refused it's Savior/Messiah, and hung Him on the Cross.

We need to remember that THIS WAS THE PLAN - Christ's death on the cross was put into motion before the foundations of the world in the counsels of God. The coming Kingdom was always going to come following the Church age - and even that will fail under rebellious man - and that's part of the plan as well. That's the last chapter before the Judgment seat of Christ and the division of the sheep and the goats - sheep (believers of all ages) sent of into heaven for eternity, and goats (unbelievers of all ages) sent off into a fiery living hell for all of eternity.

In a nutshell:

God promised Abraham and His descendants [literally He promised Abram; Isaac; Jacob; Caleb; & Joshua that the offspring of this family line would inherit a literal Heavenly [heaven-like] Kingdom that would belong to a land, a people, and a nation. It would be administered by a Great King:

 For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given,

    and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called

    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7 Of the greatness of his government and peace

    there will be no end.

He will reign on David’s throne

    and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

    with justice and righteousness

    from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the Lord Almighty

    will accomplish this.

[Isaiah 9:6-7]

That story can be followed through the Gospel of Matthew. The birth of the King, the certification of Jesus as the Child born, and the Son of God given, the offering of the establishment of that Kingdom if the nation would return to their God and recognize Jesus for who He is.

Instead, the nation – following their leadership – rejected their Christ / Messiah, and as a result the nation lost its opportunity and the Kingdom was put into “abeyance,” set aside until later, The Second Coming of Jesus.

SO, when we are studying the Gospels, the CONTEXT is everything. From what we’ve seen tonight avoiding CONTEXT can result in very faulty doctrines.

[1] Tenney, Merril C., Ph.D., “John: The Gospel of Belief,” Dean of the Graduate School, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, Eerdman, Grand Rapids Michigan, 1953

[2] idid

[3] Acts 4:11, 12; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 5:23