The New Testament reading for Friday, March 23 is:

John 7 (Listen)

Jesus at the Feast of Booths

7:1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews1 were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers2 said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not3 going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.

14 About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning,4 when he has never studied?” 16 So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone's will is to do God's5 will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” 20 The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” 21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. 22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man's whole body well? 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Can This Be the Christ?

25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 But we know where this man comes from, and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from. But I have not come of my own accord. He who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31 Yet many of the people believed in him. They said, “When the Christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?”

Officers Sent to Arrest Jesus

32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. 33 Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34 You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” 35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36 What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?”

Rivers of Living Water

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as6 the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Division Among the People

40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him. 44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

45 The officers then came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46 The officers answered, “No one ever spoke like this man!” 47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” 50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?” 52 They replied, “Are you from Galilee too? Search and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”

[The earliest manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11.]7

The Woman Caught in Adultery

53 [[They went each to his own house,


[1] 7:1 Or Judeans; Greek Ioudaioi probably refers here to Jewish religious leaders, and others under their influence, in that time
[2] 7:3 Or brothers and sisters; also verses 5, 10
[3] 7:8 Some manuscripts add yet
[4] 7:15 Or this man knows his letters
[5] 7:17 Greek his
[6] 7:38 Or let him come to me, and let him who believes in me drink. As
[7] 7:53 Some manuscripts do not include 7:53–8:11; others add the passage here or after 7:36 or after 21:25 or after Luke 21:38, with variations in the text


English Standard Version: Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

New Testament Pastoral Commentary for John 7
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
A few years ago I was participating in the RAPSody (Ride Around Puget Sound) and missed a "Dan Henry" arrow telling me where to turn. As a result I got lost and wound up riding more than 20 miles out of my way. The worst part was that I rode all the way down to the Hood Canal, and had to climb almost 600 feet vertically to get back to the correct route. As a result of this mistake (at least in part) I was unable to finish the 163 mile ride, and ended up quitting after 110 miles. At one point I was so confused that I had to ask several people for directions (the ultimate humiliation for a male road cyclist).

In John 7 we see confusion reign supreme. Jesus' own brothers were confused because they did not believe in him (vs. 5). The crowds at the Feast of Tabernacles were confused: "Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, 'He is a good man.' Others replied, 'No, he deceives the people.'" (John 7:12) The Jewish leaders were confused by Jesus' obvious wisdom, scratching their heads and asking: "How did this man get such learning without having studied?" (vs. 15) The people were confused because they knew the authorities wanted to kill Jesus yet they weren't acting. They asked: "Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ?" (vs. 26) Some were confused and thought Jesus couldn't be the Christ because they knew he was from Galilee. They didn't know their Bible and thought that the origins of the Messiah would be unknown (vs. 27). Still others were confused because they also knew Jesus was from Galilee and they knew the Messiah must come from Bethlehem. (vs. 42) The guards who were sent to arrest Jesus were confused as to why they should do so, protesting: "No one ever spoke the way this man does." Nicodemus was confused as to why they wanted to arrest Jesus and asked: "Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?" (vs. 51)

Clearly there is confusion everywhere in John 7, except in Jesus. Jesus is the only one who knows what he's talking about. Jesus is clear as to who he is, where his teaching comes from, and where he is going. His words ring out like the peal of a bell, loud and clear. "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

Life is confusing nowadays. Everyday we are faced with a myriad of choices. You go to buy a new coffee maker and there are hundreds of different models, styles and brands to choose from. You try to decide right and wrong on a moral issue and there are as many opinions as there are "experts" to listen to. How can we overcome the profusion of confusion in our world? The same way Jesus overcame the confusion in Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles.

Drink deeply from the water of life that Jesus offers you in his Word. Fill your heart, mind and spirit with that refreshment for the soul. The more you drink the clearer God's truth will become to you. The more you drink the stronger your faith will become. And the more you drink the more you will be able to help others overcome the confusion in their lives, because "streams of living water will begin to flow from within you."