The events of this chapter occur six months before Jesus’ crucifixion and are characterized by increasing divisions (note v. 43). Divisions because of Christ existed even in his own family who thought it would be best for Jesus to publicize himself as much as possible in Jerusalem (vv. 3-5) which Jesus rejected and instead quietly went there (vv. 6-10).
Upon arriving in Jerusalem, Jews already had divided opinions about Jesus (vv. 11-13). Jesus declared God’s truth to them, which can only be known by faith and is proven by a God-glorifying life (vv. 14-18). Jesus then showed unbelieving Jews that the couldn’t see the truth because they didn’t want to see it (vv. 19-24).
The differing opinions about Jesus are on full display in verses 25-36, with some denying he was the Christ (vv. 25-30), some saying he was the Redeemer (v. 31), and others viewing him as just a troublemaker to be dealt with (vv. 32-36). Jesus invited anyone to believe in him so that they would experience the life-giving ministry of the Holy Spirit (vv. 37-39). John the apostle summarized the growing divisions and tensions existing between Jesus and the Jews (vv. 40-52).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Faith is necessary for right knowledge (v. 17). True faith has truth that is believed, welcomed, and submitted to. the readiness or willingness to obey God is essential to faith (the submissive aspect). Without faith one will not have right knowledge. What about you—is your “faith” just head knowledge? Nice feelings? Or is there real submissive acceptance and obedience?
- Everyone believes something about Jesus, but only what God declares about him in the Scriptures is correct. Judging by appearance or tradition always results in rejection of and hostility toward who Jesus really is. What controls what you believe?
- The Spirit’s ministry in Christians is essential (vv. 38-39). The Spirit enables believers to understand the significance of the Scriptures (1 Cor 2:14-16), baptizes (1 Cor 12:13), controls (Eph 5:18), assures (Rom 8:16), convicts (Rom 8:14; Gal 5:18), intercedes (Rom 8:26), is the earnest of salvation (Eph 1:14), and his fruit evidences his control of a believer’s life (Gal 5:22-23).