Chapter seven verses 1-13 bring out the uncertainty among some as regards Jesus’ identity (Carson 1991, 305). Jesus’ brothers seem to want him to prove himself by performing public miracles. Verse six specifies Jesus’ unwillingness to act publicly for this reason (Carson 1991, 307). Jesus has a right time, appointed by God. Carson contrasts this with earthly people, for whom one time is as good as another (Carson 1991, 08). When Jesus does arrive in Jerusalem the common people and the leaders are divided in their opinion of him.
John 7:14-44 deal with the events once Jesus did go to the Feast of Tabernacles (Carson 1991, 311). The authorities were amazed at the content of Jesus’ teaching. Literacy was common but his knowledge of doctrine was not (Carson 1991, 311). Jesus’ explanation in verse 16 is that he is saying what the Father says. This, Carson says, as well as the commitment of the Christian, is not a matter for debate or for a proof of a ceratin level of ethical behavior. The essence is a commitment to being pleasing to God. It will then be “self-authenticating” (Carson 1991, 312). As we choose to believe we find the proofs convincing. Here Carson moves in what seems a very circular and subjective direction. Yet in John 7:18 Carson returns to the solidity of Jesus’ statements. Jesus is committed to speaking as God the Father has spoken (Carson 1991, 313). The conflict spreads as Jesus states that those who would kill him are lawbreakers. This provokes a counter-argument that Jesus has a demon because nobody is trying to kill him (Carson 1991, 314). Jesus continues by pointing out that the good work of circumcision on the eighth day often violates the Sabbath. Jesus’ good work of healing is also acceptable for theSabbath (Carson 1991, 315). Jesus calls his critics to stop their self-righteous judgment (v. 24). Rather, they should judge appropriately (Carson 1991, 317). In response, in verses 25 and following, the people discuss what they think of Jesus and the Christ (Carson 1991, 317). Jesus points out that the people do not know what they think they do (Carson 1991, 318). They also do not know the Father. In verse 32, the guards sent by the Sanhedrin seek to apprehend Jesus. Carson notes the poligical structure which would require some cooperation among the functions on the council (Carson 1991, 319). Jesus expects to be arrested and die, another idea the crowds do not understand (Carson 1991, 320). In verses 37-44 Jesus speaks of pouring out the Spirit on people. Carson describes a ceremony involving pouring water which had become common at the Feast of Tabernacles (Carson 1991, 321-322). Jesus announces himself as the one who gives living water. Carson discusses at length the interpretation of the source of the water. Does it flow from Christ or the believer? Both are grammatically defensible. After analyzing a number of passages and the idea of the Spirit and water flowing, Carson concludes that Jesus is the giver of the Spirit who wells up out of the believer to bless his neighbor (Carson 1991, 328). The crowd remained divided in their understanding of Jesus’ identity (Carson 1991, 329).
Verses 45-62 conclude the chapter. The temple guards did not arrest Jesus. The leaders were upset with them. They should have known to stop Jesus (Carson 1991, 331). Nicodemus suggests a fair trial and is mocked by the other leaders. Carson notes that there seems to be a sharp disregard for the understanding of the crowds (Carson 1991, 331). The people are assumed to be ignorant and evil. This is the Sanhedrin’s opinion. It will not shift.
Verse 53 is normally considered along with John 8:1-11.
Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.
Carson, D. A., and Douglas J. Moo. An Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.
Harris, Murray J. John: Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Academic, 2015.