Summary: The Word of God speaks with a clear and loud voice. When we reject the Truth, then it is all riddles and parables. When we believe, the Truth is heard clearly again.
What Was Jesus Saying (WWJS)?
In our last several messages from the seventh chapter of John, we have noted that it happened at the Feast of Tabernacles about six months before the crucifixion. His brothers wanted Him to go and make a public show of his super powers to wow the crowd which came from all over Israel and the rest of the Roman Empire. Jesus had suffered from a sharp decline in the popularity polls. The Jews in Jerusalem wanted to kill Him, and most of the disciples, so called, had left Him from Galilee. Here was an assembly of Jews and God-fearing Gentiles from all over the world.
Jesus refused to take the advice of His brothers as He only took instruction from the Heavenly Father. His fame made it to the feast, and Jesus was the talk of the town. All sorts of things, good and bad, were being said about Him. Finally, He comes to the feast. As a keeper of the Law, He had to come. But He did not come on his brother’s terms. He came in secret. When He finally revealed Himself to the crowd at the Temple, He did not come as a wonder worker but as a teacher. It was His teaching, not His works which really amazed the crowds. They simply did not know what to make of Him.
Exposition of the Text
Starting in verse 25, we pick up the chatter of the crowd which had assembled in Jerusalem. Some of them were the local natives of Jerusalem who knew that the Jews had wanted to arrest and kill Jesus. They also knew the works he had done, unnamed ones in chapter 2 and the healing of the paralytic on the Sabbath in chapter 5. They simply could not believe that the Temple police had not come and arrested Him. Did the authorities actually believe that Jesus was the Messiah and were afraid to arrest Him?
This group from Jerusalem started reasoning with themselves. They concluded that Jesus could not possibly be the Messiah. They had been taught that the Messiah would make a sudden appearance at the Temple according to their understanding of the prophet Malachi. They thought they knew all about Him. They must have made a formal inquiry to the person of Jesus just like they had with John; they thought they knew He was the son of Joseph and Mary of Nazareth. The other gospels say that some called him “the son of Mary” which indicates they thought He was illegitimate. His own brothers came with Mary at one point to take him away as a madman. Nathaniel had shown astonishment about the Messiah coming from Nazareth. In their eyes, whoever Jesus was, He was not the Messiah.
John in this gospel has already clued us in that Jesus knows the secrets of every heart. Jesus knew what all the conflicting voices in the crows were saying. In verse 28, He interrupts His teaching and dries out to the crowd with aloud voice to the crowd so that everyone could hear. There is more here I think than just speaking loud to be heard as “loud voice (Ba-Qol Gadol in Hebrew) is used for the voice of God. Jesus asks them a question which in English means “Do you really know me and where I came from?” What Jesus then tells the crowd is that if anyone knows the truth about Jesus, they will know that He ultimately came from a place far more remote to them than Nazareth. They would also know that God not Joseph was Jesus’ Father. The power and authority of His teaching and miracles would be proof that the Father has sent Him to speak the Father’s words, do the Father’s will, and perform His works.
These words enraged those from Jerusalem. If Jesus was not the Christ of God, which is what those from Jerusalem had just concluded, then the words of Jesus were the uttermost blasphemy against God rather than the uttermost truth. They wanted to immediately arrest Him; however, John tells us that no one dared to raise their hand to take Him. Perhaps this was due to the fact that there were those in the crowd who thought Jesus was the Christ and the authorities were afraid of a riot. Or maybe there was a ring of truth in the statement they had previously made. Perhaps the authorities were afraid that Jesus was truly who He said He was.
The text tells us the reason that He was not arrested was because this was not the time or the feast that the Father had appointed for Jesus to be arrested and put to death. This use of “hour” is used as a marker of time. The time is more than chronological time although it does not deny chronological time. But it also points the reader to the cross, the suffering and death of Jesus. All of Jesus ministry from His incarnation to Calvary was pointed to this event. In Luke, after Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus set His face steadfastly towards Jerusalem and His upcoming death at the next Passover. This was confirmed at the Transfiguration where Moses and Elijah appear to Peter, James, and John, and speak of the Exodus He was about to accomplish in Jerusalem. The unified witness of the Gospels reveal that all of Jesus’ life and ministry was directed to Calvary.