John 7:40-53 “A Division among the People”


Introduction:  The people in this text are divided.  They fall into clearly defined groups.  From this text we shall see that there are three groups of people when it comes to what men believe about Jesus.  The groups are as follows:


1. Those who believe Jesus is a good man come from God, a prophet and nothing more.

2. Those who believe Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, the Savior of men and God in human flesh.

3.  Those who believe Jesus is a deceiver and his works are of the devil.

            These three groups of people are defined further by three words, “many”, “other”, and “some.”  “Many” indicates the majority.  “Others” indicate the larger of the two remaining groups and “some” indicates the minority.


I. The Majority believe that Jesus is no more than a good man.

(John 7:40)  Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.

            In verse 40 we have the majority of the people saying that Jesus is the Prophet.  The Prophet of whom they refer is the one mentioned in Deuteronomy. (Deuteronomy 18:15)  The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;


These people who are described in verse 49 by their spiritual leaders as ones who do not know the Law have indeed shown their improper interpretation of the scriptures.  They believed that Moses was speaking of a man who would come as a prophet to be the forerunner of the Messiah.  Many thought that this would be Elijah come to life again.  These men believed Jesus was a good man, come from God as a prophet but nothing more than this.

            Most people today believe that Jesus was a good man and nothing more.  They believe that He was a philosopher and a teacher of good moral values.  They reject the idea of Jesus being God Himself dwelling in human flesh.  Do a survey of people that you come in contact with and see what they say about Jesus.  If the majority say that He is God then you are keeping good company indeed.  If they see Jesus as only a man then, in this respect, times have not changed since Jesus’ day.

            Like those of Jesus’ day this view point is based upon a misinterpretation of the scriptures.  Men accept the Bible as a moral standard and by its guidelines have decided that Jesus is a good man.  They do not accept the virgin birth of Jesus and do not interpret the scriptures as prophetic.  These often do not accept the inerrancy of scriptures.  They do not study the scriptures and generally have a closed mind and thus will not accept the truth.


II.  The larger minority group believes that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.

(John 7:41a)  Others said, This is the Christ….

            Thank God that there are some who believe the truth.  These have seen the same scriptures as the majority and have seen the same works done by Jesus and have concluded based upon the evidence that Jesus is the Savior of men.  In that day and time men ran the risk of being ostracized by the establishment for believing the truth about Jesus.  These will later be persecuted and forced to flee their homes because of their belief that Jesus is the Christ.

            Jesus fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Christ.  He died for our sins according to the scriptures and was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.  The evidence is overwhelming that proves Jesus to be the Christ. 

The following things were prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled by Jesus:

1a. The time of His coming.  Dan 9:26, Matt 2:7

1. Born of the seed of the woman. Gen 3:15,  Gal 4:4, Matt 1:20

2. Born of a virgin. Isaiah 7:14,  Matt 1:18

3. Son of God.  Psalms 2:7, Matt 3:17

4. Seed of Abraham.  Gen 12:2-3, Matt 1:1

5. Son of Isaac. Gen 21:12, Luke 3:23,34

6. Son of Jacob. Num 24:17, Luke 3:23,34

7. Tribe of Judah.  Gen 49:10, Luke 3:23,33

8. Family line of Jesse. Isaiah 11:1, Luke 3:23,32

9. House of David. Jer. 23:5, Luke 3:23,31

10. Born at Bethlehem.  Micah 5:2, Matt. 2:1

11. Presented with gifts. Psa 72:10, Matt 2:1,11

12. Herod kill children. Jer. 31:15,  Matt 2:16

13. His pre-existence. Micah 5:2, Col 1:17

14. He shall be called Lord. Psa 110:1, Luke 2:11

15. Shall be Emanuel. Isaiah 7:14, Matt 1:23

16. Shall be a prophet. Deu 18:18, Matt 21:11

17. Priest. Psa 110:4, Heb. 3:1

18. Judge. Isaiah 33:22, John 5:30

19. King. Psalms 2:6, Matt 27:37

20. Special Anointing of the Holy Spirit. Isa 11:2, Matt 3:16,17

21. His zeal for God. Psa 69:9, John 2:15-17

22. Preceded by a messenger. Isaiah 40:3, Matt 3:1-2

23. Ministry to begin in Galilee. Isa 9:1, Matt 4:12,13,17

24. Work miracles. Isa 35:5-6, Matt 9:35

25. Teacher of parables.  Psa 78:2, Matt 13:34

26. He was to enter the Temple. Mal 3:1, Matt 21:12

27. Enter Jerusalem on a donkey. Zech 9:9, Luke 19:35

28. Stone of stumbling to the Jews.  Psa 118:22, 1Pet 2:7

29. Light to the Gentiles. Isa 60:3, Acts 13:47

30. Resurrection. Psa 16:10, Acts 2:31

31. Ascension.  Psaa 68:18, Acts 1:9

32. Seated at the right hand of God. Psa 110:1, Heb 1:3

33. Betrayed by a friend. Psa 41:9, Matt 10:4

34. Sold for 30 pieces of silver. Zech 11:12, Matt 26:15

35. Money to be thrown in God’s house. Zech 11:12, Matt 26:15

36. Price given for Potter’s field. Zech 11:13, Matt 27:7

37. Forsaken by His disciples. Zech 13:7, Mark 14:50

38. Accused by false witnesses. Psa 35:11, Matt 26:59-61

39. Dumb before His accusers. Isa 53:7, Matt 27:12-19

40. Wounded and bruised. Isa 53:5, Matt 27:26

41. Smitten and spit upon. Isa 50:6, Matt 26:67

42. Mocked. Psa 22:7-8, Matt 27:31

43. Fell under the cross. Psa 109: 24-25, John 19:17, Luke 23:26

44. Hands and feet pierced.  Psa 22:16, Luke 23:33

45. Crucified with thieves. Isa 53:12, Matt 27:38

46. Made intercession for His persecutors.  Isa 53:12, Luke 23:34

47. Rejected by His own people. Isa 53:12, Luke 23:34

48. Hated without a cause. psa 69:4, John 15:25

49. Friends stood afar off. Psa 38:11, Luke 23:49

50. People shook their heads. Psa 109:25, Matt 27:39

51. Stared upon. Psa 22:17, Luke 23:35

52. Garments Parted and lots cast.  Psa 22:18, John 19:23-24

53. He would suffer thirst. Psa 69:21, John 19:28

54. Gall and vinegar offered Him. Psa 69:21, Matt 27:34

55. His forsaken cry. Psa 22:1, Matt 27:46

56. Committed Himself to God. Psa 31:5, Luke 23:46

57. Bones not broken. Psa 34:20, John 19:33

58. Heart broken. Psa 22:14, John 19:34

59. His side pierced. Zech 12:10, John 19:34

60. Darkness over the land. Amos 8:9, Matt 27:45

61. Buried in a rich man’s tomb.  Isa 53:9, Matt 27:57-60


            With all of this evidence one must return a verdict of YES, Jesus is the Christ, the savior of men.


III.  The smaller minority group believes that Jesus is a deceiver.

(John 7:41b)  But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?

(John 7:42)  Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

            Some refuse to believe the truth.  They reject the true teachings of the scriptures.  Had they wanted to, they could have known that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.  There was an official census taken at the time of the birth of Jesus and records could have been found affirming the place of His birth.  From Isaiah 9:1 they could have known that He would come out of Galilee.  These men refused to believe the scriptures.  It would not have been so bad had their unbelief only affected themselves but these were the spiritual leaders of the people and they influenced many causing them to reject Jesus as their savior.






IV.  The division among the people.

(John 7:43)  So there was a division among the people because of him.  44)  And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.

            Today there is still a division among the people.  Many believe Jesus is the Christ and have accepted Him as their savior.  Others believe and teach that Jesus is a man come from God but no more.  Some today reject Jesus completely and say He is a trouble maker and a deceiver. 

            What others believe about Jesus has no effect upon my relationship with God.  What I believe about Jesus is of utmost importance.  I believe Jesus Christ is the savior of men.  He is the Son of God.  He is a part of the God Head.  He is God.  He has offered pardon from the penalty of sin which is death and condemnation.  I have accepted His offer of eternal life.  I accepted it by confessing my sinful condition to Him and begging for His forgiveness and asking Him to have mercy upon me and save my soul.  I believe He keeps His promises.  I believe when He said “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  I trusted in Him and He saved my soul. 


V.  The Officers return.

(John 7:45)  Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?

(John 7:46)  The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.

            The very words of Jesus were so profound that men were amazed by them.  The officers who had been sent to arrest Jesus were overwhelmed by His words.  He spake with such knowledge and authority, that they could not raise their hands against Him.  These men feared the people for most thought Jesus to be a prophet and others went as far as to say that He was the Christ.  With these two groups making up the vast majority of the crowd these men would have been in great danger had they tried to arrest Jesus.

            They responded to the question as to why they had not obeyed their orders by replying “Never man spake like this man.”  They may have feared that if this was Elijah come to life again that he might call down fire to consume the captain of fifty and his fifty.


VI.  The Officers rebuked.

(John 7:47)  Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48)  Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 49)  But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.

            The Pharisees rebuked these men by accusing them of believing a lie.  These officers lacked the courage to follow through with their assignment.  They are, however, not to be blamed for the time was not yet right for Jesus to be arrested.  No man alive will take Jesus before God the Father is ready.  The people who the leaders accuse of being ignorant of the Law are not as ignorant as these men believe.  They at least recognize good works and good words when they see and hear them.  The works of Jesus testify who he is.  The words of Jesus are in complete harmony with the Old Testament prophets.  The teachings of Jesus are in complete harmony with the Law of Moses.  People who know not the Law are cursed indeed.  What these leaders need to realize is that they are the ones who know not the Law!


VII.  Nicodemus speaks up.

(John 7:50)  Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 51)  Doth our law judge [any] man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

            Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews.  He had come to Jesus by night and had been saved.  He was a secret disciple.  He told no one that he was saved and a believer in Jesus.  He almost lets the secret out in these verses for he can contain himself no longer.  These men are speaking against the very one who can save.  These rulers have not been fair in their treatment of Jesus.  They had not given Him a chance to be formally accused and evidence gathered and presented according to the Law. 


VIII.  The lack of Bible knowledge.

(John 7:52)  They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.

            There is but one thing to say here.  (Isaiah 9:1)  Nevertheless the dimness [shall] not [be] such as [was] in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict [her by] the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 2)  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

 (Isaiah 9:6)  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7)  Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

            Jesus’ question so often asked “Have ye never read?” speaks to the ignorance of men.  There is little hope for those who refuse to open their minds to the truth of the scriptures.


IX.  Unresolved division.

(John 7:53)  And every man went unto his own house.

            Every man, un-persuaded by the arguments of his fellow man, returned to his own house firm in his own belief.  Those who believe Jesus is just a good man still think Jesus to be just a good man.  Those who went to there homes believing Jesus to be the Christ went home convinced that He was their savior.  Those who went to their homes believing that Jesus was a deceiver and his works and words were of the devil went home with a heart full of hatred for Jesus.

            Home is the place were you permanently dwell.  My home on this earth is but for a short time.  (Ecclesiastes 12:5)  Also [when] they shall be afraid of [that which is] high, and fears [shall be] in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

            We are headed for a permanent dwelling.  Those who believe that Jesus is the Christ and accept His offer of salvation enter their permanent dwelling through a narrow gate.  It is narrow because few there be that find it.  They find a home with God.  A place of absolute bliss. 

            Those, who believe that Jesus is no more than a good man, a prophet and nothing more, will enter their permanent dwelling place through a wide gate.  It is a wide gate because many there be that go in there at.  There permanent dwelling is a place of torments in fire forever separated from God.  Many of these will be surprised in the day they enter their permanent dwelling. (Matthew 7:21)  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22)  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23)  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

            Those who believe that Jesus is a deceiver will enter into their permanent home through a wide gate also.  It is wide because there are many who go in there at.  There home is a place of torments for it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for those who have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ and have rejected His offer of salvation.

            Forever is a long, long, time.  What group in this division you belong to will make all the difference in the world to you when you stand before God in Judgment.