John 7:40-44 A DIVISION BECAUSE OF JESUS
In our text two Sundays ago, on the last day of the
Feast of Tabernacles, after the priest dipped water from the
Spring of Siloam in a golden bowl, Jesus cried aloud. He
invited all who thirst to come to Him and drink. He
explained that He was not talking about drinking literal
water. He was talking about believing in Him. He promised
that if any man would believe in Him that rivers of living
water would flow from the belly of that man.
In our text last Sunday the Apostle John, the writer of
the Book of John, explained to his readers that the rivers
of living waters which Jesus was talking about, is the work
of the Holy Spirit, who takes up residence within the inward
spirit of the man at the time he believes in Jesus. John
further explained that the reader should not confuse this
that Jesus is talking about with the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit which took place on Pentecost following the ascension
In our text today John once again focuses our attention
on the scene at the Spring of Siloam and upon a division
among the people because of Jesus.
I. The people as a whole
V. 40, "Many of the people therefore..." The word
"people," as used here, refers to the masses of common
people as in contrast to the Jewish leaders. These were
people who helped to make up that great crowd of people who
were present for the ceremony in which the priest dipped
water from the Spring of Siloam on that last day of the
Feast of Tabernacles. John is about to tell us the reaction
of these people to the words which Jesus spake to that great
assembly. John will reveal to us the attitude which these
people now have toward Jesus. He will tell what they now
think about Jesus.
The word "many" in this verse informs us that this is
not the attitude of all the people. Yet, it does seem from
the over-all passage of Scripture that this is the attitude
of the majority of the people.
(V. 40), "...when they heard this saying..." That is,
they heard Jesus invite all men who thirst to come unto Him
and drink. They heard Him explain that what He was really
inviting them to do was to believe in Him. They heard Him
explain that if anyone would believe in Him that rivers of
living water would flow from the inwards parts of that
II. The first division: Those who thought Jesus is the
Here is what many people in that crowd said when they
heard the words of Jesus: (V. 40), "...said, Of a truth
this is the Prophet." They were evidently familiar with
Deuteronomy in which Moses said, "The Lord thy God
will raise up a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy
brethren, like unto me..." In verse 18 of that same passage
Moses recorded the words of God, Himself: "I will raise
them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee,
and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto
them all that I shall command him." It seemed to a great
many of the people present who heard Jesus speak that He is
that Prophet who is spoken of in those Old Testament
However, it appears from the next verse that they
stopped short in their understanding and in their faith. It
seems that they mistook the prophecies in Deuteronomy to the
forerunner of Jesus. Other Old Testament prophecies
foretold that there would be a special prophet who would be
the forerunner of the Christ. That special prophet was to
be a voice in the wilderness crying out to the people to get
ready for the coming of Christ the King. It seems that the
majority of these people mistakenly thought of Jesus as
being that forerunner of the Christ rather than the Christ
We now know that John the Baptist was the forerunner and
that Jesus is the very Prophet who was promised in
III. The second division: Those who believed in Jesus as
John goes on to tell us that there were actually some
present in that very crowd of people who rightly understood
the prophecies and understood that Jesus is not the
forerunner. V. 41, "Others said, This is the Christ..."
They said, in effect, "No, Jesus is not the forerunner. He
is the very Christ of God."
We cannot be certain of the exact number of people who
continued to think of Jesus as being only the forerunner of
the Christ and how many believed that He is the Christ. It
seems, however, from the overall teachings of Scripture that
those who believed in Jesus as the Christ were in the
minority. Jesus taught in Matthew 7:13-14 that
comparatively speaking there relatively few who get on the
narrow road that leads to heaven and that the great majority
travel the broad road which leads to destruction.
So what we see here in this passage is that the vast
majority in this great crowd of people still esteemed Jesus
very highly. Jesus was still very popular with them. But
those who actually accepted Him as the Christ were still in
So we have seen two divisions among the people, the
common people. We have seen the great majority who see
Jesus as a great prophet of God, but do not see Him as the
Christ. These people are still unsaved. That is one
division. We see also the minority who have believed in Him
as the Christ and are saved. That is a second division.
IV. Those who opposed Jesus
Our text reveals also a third division. (V. 41), "But
some said, Shall Christ come out of
expresses doubt. They have more than just doubt, as we will
see later. They have outright disbelief. But in view of
the vast majority proclaiming Him as a prophet of God and a
number of people proclaiming Him as the Christ, they did not
at this time express their unbelief.
What they did was to bring up what they thought was a
legitimate objection to His being the Christ. They thought
they had Scripture evidence that Jesus is not the Christ.
They said, "Shall Christ come out of
not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of
David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?"
They were either ignorant of the fact that Jesus was born in
inclined to believe that they just deliberately ignored it.
I get the impression from what is said back in verse 27 that
most of the people knew that He was born
they here at least pretend to think that He was born in
ministry had been in
They were right is saying that the Scripture had
foretold that He would be born in
wrong in saying, or at least insinuating, that He was born
strange that some people who hold to erroneous ideas
concerning the Christ, will take Scriptures and misapply
them in order to try to prop up their false teaching.
It was people from this group which had earlier even
before Jesus arrived at
Others had said, "He is a good man, but these said, "Nay,
but He is a deceiver," V. 12.
It will, no doubt, be this group which will join in with
the Jewish leaders to bring about His crucifixion at a later
time. They will be happy to join the leaders who demand of
Pilate that he crucify Jesus.
V. 43, "So there was a division among the people because
of him." As we have seen, there were three different
divisions. The majority of the people thought He was a
Prophet of God. A smaller group had come to believe that He
is indeed the Christ. This group will continue to grow as
more and more people believe in Jesus and get saved. The
third and smallest group of all were those who were
altogether opposed to the idea that He is the Christ. This
group, too, will continue to grow. More and more of the
people who once looked upon Jesus as a prophet will become
convinced that He is an imposter, who is merely pretending
to be the Christ.
V. 44, "And some of them would have taken him..." Some
of those who were outspoken against Him actually wanted to
capture Him. They knew that the Pharisees wanted to arrest
Him and kill Him and they wanted to do the same thing.
(V. 44), "...but no man laid hands on him." They, like
the Pharisees wanted to capture Jesus and kill Him, but,
also like the Pharisees, they were afraid of the great
majority with whom Jesus was so popular. Let me ask you
something right here. Does it not seem strange that these
people were not afraid of what God would do to them if they
captured and killed a man, would not touch Him because they
were afraid of man? It seems to me that God is the One whom
they should fear --- not man. The scribes and Pharisees,
although they wanted to kill Him, would not lay a hand on
Him. The temple guards, although ordered to capture Him,
would not lay a hand on Him. Now the common people, who
also hated Him enough to kill Him, would not lay a hand on
V. A comparison between that day and our own day
Let us take another look at the situation that existed
that day. The great majority of the people of Israel
believed that Jesus was a good man, but did not believe in
Him as the Christ. A minority group really believed in Him
as the Christ and were saved. An even smaller minority
group despised Him. They hated Him and wanted to put Him to
death. But the fact is that regardless of what men thought
of Him, He was and is the Christ and nobody could be saved
and go to heaven unless they believed in Him as the Christ
and trusted Him as Savior.
Today, if we look at the total world population, roughly
62% of the people of the world belong to religions which are
not Christian. Then include the Moslems, the Hindus, the
Confucianists, the Buddhists, the Shintoists, the Taoists,
and the Jewish. Only about 38% are counted as Christians
and that includes all manner of sects and cults and
so-called "Christianity" which is altogether heretical.
The total percentage of genuine Christians even among
the so-called Christians is small. Therefore, the total
percentage of genuine Christians in the world would be
Some of the non-Christian religions are radical
opponents of Christianity in any denomination or form. It
is their radical opposition to Christianity which is the
motivation for most of the terrorism which is going on in
the world today. For instance the fairly recent blowing up
of the World's trade building in New York City is an example
of their work. They are constantly in the news today.
Let us take a look at the situation here in America. We
live in a nation that is still called "A Christian Nation."
I think we would all agree that it is very doubtful if
America is really a Christian nation. Yet I do suppose that
if you were to take a survey of the people that an
overwhelming majority of the American people would speak out
in favor of Christianity much like the majority in Israel
would speak out in favor of Jesus. They think Christianity
is a good thing much like the people of Israel thought Jesus
was a good man. But there is no doubt in my mind that the
vast majority of people in America are unsaved. What a
mission field for those of us who truly are saved!
But even here in America there are those who are
bitterly opposed to Christianity. It seems that many of the
forces of our land have banded together in a united effort
to stamp Christianity from sea to sea. Even many
politicians today speak openly and accuse all Christians as
being radicals and extremists. Even a casual observer of
television will acknowledge that most of the entertainment
world is opposed to Christianity. Likewise, many of the
news media are equally opposed to Christianity.
Even within family lines we may see these same three
divisions. One or more family members may be somewhat
favorable toward Christianity without actually being saved.
they recognize that it is good to be saved and they will
acknowledge that they ought to be saved. They ought to be a
Christian, but they are not. most of them really do not
intend to ever be a Christian. I said they somewhat favor
Christianity. I think a more accurate description would be
that they tolerate Christianity.
Then within that family there may be one or more who
really believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. They have trusted
in Him for the salvation of their soul and they are
genuinely saved by the grace of God.
Yet within that same family there may be those who are
bitterly opposed to Christianity. They openly speak against
it. They work against it in every way that they can.
Yet in spite of this, it is still true that a personal
trusting faith in Jesus Christ as Savior is the only hope of
men staying out of the fires of hell. It is the only hope
that any man, woman, boy or girl has of going to heaven.
I want to tell you that it is high time for men, women,
boys and girls to repent of sin and turn to Jesus Christ and
call upon Him for the salvation of their soul. It is also
high time for all who are genuine believers in Jesus Christ
as the Son of God and as the Savior of the world to speak up
and speak out and to take a stand for Jesus. It is high
time for all who claim to be Christians to live their lives
Let me say to you, that no matter what the great
majority of the world may do, it is vitally important for
you to get concerned about your own personal destiny and
place your faith in Jesus Christ. Even if every other
person in this whole land were to stand up and denounce
Christ and Christianity, you still need Jesus as your
personal Savior or you will never make it to heaven.
I am going to ask you to come this morning and call upon
Jesus for the salvation of your soul. But if your are going
to be saved, I want you to know that you are going to have
to make up your mind to trust in Jesus no matter what
anybody else does -- no matter what anybody else says about
it or what anybody else thinks about it. Will you come and
put your faith in Jesus?