John 7:1-53 “This Is the Very Christ”
In addition to all else the Savior had to bear throughout His mortal life, He also suffered through the lack of support from his half-brothers, whose mocking is recorded in verses 2-5. In verses 1, 6-10 we see that Jesus delayed in the annual tradition of going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles (celebrating the gathering in of the harvest; see Exodus 23:16). Two significant features during this feast are the pouring out of water from the Pool of Siloam onto the temple altar, and the illumination of the temple courts by four golden candelabra.
But Jesus did go (verse 10). Read what follows:
- Verses 11-13 Like today, what were the different expectations and reactions regarding Jesus?
- Verses 14-18 The Jews still did not comprehend that Jesus could have influence without having become “learned” within their own (apostate) education and traditions. What did Jesus say in verses 17-18 about how we can truly learn God’s truth?
- How have you learned for yourself that the doctrine of Christ (or elements of it) truly are “of God”? (verse 17).
- Verses 19-20 How did the people react to Jesus’s statements in these verses?
- Verses 23-24 The Jews obeyed the commandment to circumcise a new-born on the eighth day (see Genesis 17:10-12), whether or not it fell upon the Sabbath. Jesus uses this to teach the superiority of His works.
- Verses 25-27 Then “some of them” made an astounding statement in verse 26, which has also been translated, “Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah?” (New International Version). This is followed in verse 27 by their judgment that Jesus likely is not the Messiah, because He was from Nazareth, a place familiar to them!
- Verses 28-32 Next, Jesus “cried” in the temple, again testifying of His divine role and declaring that the people did not know the Father. What were the varying reactions to this, in verses 30-32? What are some of the stumbling blocks that impede people from sincerely learning about Christ and His gospel and church today? What is the basis of your testimony of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel?
- On the last day of the feast—perhaps as the priests poured water from the Pool of Siloam over the temple altar—Jesus made this invitation: “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (verse 37).
- We have now learned that Jesus is the living bread by which we shall never hunger (John 6:33), and He is the living water, by which we shall never thirst (John 4:14; 7:37-38; see also 1 Nephi 11:25).
- Read John 7:40-53. Read also 2 Nephi 9:28. What do you think was missing from their search and their debate over who Jesus really was?
John 8:1-11 The Woman Taken in Adultery
The debate continued over who Jesus was, although it need not have, for the Savior had provided more than sufficient physical, spiritual, and spoken evidence of His identity as the Son of God. Read John 8:1-11:
- It is true that the law of Moses called for death by stoning for those guilty of adultery (see Leviticus 20:10), but Jesus is teaching that in Him the law is fulfilled.
- As much as we would like to know what Jesus wrote in the dirt (verses 6, 8), we can conclude that it was sufficient to cause the crowd, “convicted by their own conscience,” to abandon their ploy to accuse Jesus; instead, they went out “one by one” (verse 9).
- Jesus invited, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (verse 7). Even the arrogant, hardened Jews cowered at this and gave up.
- In response to His question regarding her accusers, the woman says that “no man” is left to condemn her, and she then calls Him “Lord” (verse 10).
- Then, the Savior’s closing declaration to her: “Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more” (verse 11).
- The Joseph Smith Translation adds the following to the end of verse 11: “And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on his name.” Can she go to the celestial kingdom? Yes!
- Consider: If Jesus Christ chooses not to condemn this woman, who are we to condemn anyone?
John 8:12-59 Jesus and His Father
As the temple courtyard blazed with light from candles and torches during the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus proclaimed in verse 12, “I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (see also John 9:5). Continuing, the Savior persists in emphasizing His relationship with His Father in Heaven:
- Verses 13-18 What things did Jesus say in these verses to strengthen the truth of His “record”? What other words in these verses are synonymous with record?
- Verses 19, 26-27 Our relationship with Heavenly Father and with His Son are interrelated; to know One is to know the Other. The Jews also failed to understand that we have access to the Father because of the Son (see also John 14:6-12).
- Verses 21-32 What else do you learn from these verses about the Father and the Son? What does it mean to you to be spiritually “free”? How does the truth make you free? How is sin a form of bondage?
- Verses 33-49 Note Jesus’s boldness as He continues to teach our first and foremost doctrine—that of the Godhead.
- Verses 51-59 The next offense against the Savior is the attempt to stone Him to death, accusing Him of blasphemy. They cannot deny His miracles, but they have painted themselves into a corner through their pride and arrogance, so they can only claim to conclude that His power comes through the devil.
- Note that in verse 58, the Savior in essence says, “I am the great ‘I AM,’ the Jehovah and God of Israel.”
John 9:1-41 He Heals a Man Born Blind
Jesus “hid himself” from those who wanted to stone Him, then went “through the midst” of them, and simply “passed [them] by” (John 8:59). Then, “as Jesus passed by” (John 9:1), He inserts Himself into yet another dramatic event. Read this story in John 9:1-30, looking for the actions, words, and attitudes of:
—the man born blind (verses 7-12, 17, 25, 27, 30)
—the Pharisees and other Jews (verses 13-18, 24, 26-29)
—the parents of the man born blind (verses 18-23)
What verses or elements of this story stand out for you? Note the following:
- The question asked by Jesus’s disciples in verse 2 displays their understanding of the true gospel doctrine of our pre-mortal existence.
- In a sense, we all come into this world “blind,” and need the Savior and His gospel to help us see.
- The parents made themselves guilty of fearing man more than God (John 9:20-22; see also D&C 3:6-8). In what ways may we sometimes tend to fear man more than God?
- In addition to intense interrogation and revilement (John 9:13-17, 24-33), what additional price does verse 34 tell us that the healed man paid, as a result of his decision to come unto Christ?
- How did Jesus further bless him, according to verses 35-38?
- What did Jesus teach about spiritual sight and blindness, in verses 39-41? Do you have any spiritual blind spots?
John 10:1-18 Jesus Is Our Good Shepherd
It appears that this chapter is a continuation of Jesus’s teachings in Jerusalem, during or after the Feast of Tabernacles. Read Jesus’s teachings about Himself in this parable-like illustration:
- Verses 1, 8, 10 What happens when sheep are unprotected from a thief?
- Verses 2-4, 7, 9-11, 14-15 What things does Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, do for the sheep?
- Verse 5 What is it like to have a stranger for a shepherd?
- Verses 12-13 How does a hireling (employee) perform as a shepherd?
- Has there been a leader or other person in your life who emulated the loving care of the Savior? Let us all strive to be faithful stewards and caring shepherds.
- Read verse 27. How well do we recognize Jesus’s voice? Do we hear and follow?
- Let us not overlook the powerful declarations made by Jesus in verse 16 (referring to those in the Book of Mormon; see 3 Nephi 15:12-18); and in verses 17-18, wherein the Savior again foretells His approaching death and resurrection.
John 10:19-42 Ongoing Opposition
Like today, the debate, contention, and opposition surrounding Jesus Christ and His truths were prominent. Read John 10:19-26, 30-33, 36-39 (note that in verse 22, we transition about two months’ time from the Feast of Tabernacles to the Feast of Dedication; also known as Hanukkah).
Note that within a matter of days or perhaps even hours, Our Savior, Jesus Christ was called “the very Christ” (John 7:26, 41); “the Prophet” (7:40); a “man” (7:46; 9:11); “Master” (8:4; 9:2); “Lord” (8:11; 9:36, 38); a liar (8:13); one who was “born of fornication” (John 8:41); a “Samaritan” and possessed with a “devil” (8:48, 52; 10:20); one who should be put to death (8:59); “not of God” (9:16); a “Prophet” (9:17); a “sinner” (9:24); “mad” (insane; 10:20); and guilty of “blasphemy” (10:33).
Truly, “there was a division among them” (John 9:16) concerning the true identify of Jesus Christ. Read Alma 34:5, then consider the question in Matthew 22:42. What think ye of Christ?