I’m working on a long section of John (7.10-52) where there is considerable give and take between mainly three sets of people: Jesus, “the Jews,” and “the people.” The New Testament uses the term “the Jews” in many different ways. It can refer to:
- The entire Jewish people
- The residents of Jerusalem and its environs
- The authorities in Jerusalem
- Those who were hostile to Jesus
In this long passage it appears that when John uses the term, “the Jews,” that he is referring to the authorities—specifically the chief priests and Pharisees—who both wanted to kill Jesus [The Jews were seeking to kill him (vs. 1)] and had the authority to have him arrested (7.45).
What did “the Jews” say/do about Jesus in this passage?
- The people held their opinions about Jesus to themselves because they feared “the Jews” (vs. 13)
- They wondered how Jesus had learning (vs. 15)
- They wanted to arrest Jesus (vs.30)
- They sent officers to arrest Jesus (vs. 32)
- They wondered where he was going when he said that they would not be able to find him (vs.35)
- They claim that no authority or Pharisee had believed in Christ [even though Nicodemus had believed] (vv. 47-48)
- They said that “this crowd that does not know the law” [like we do] is accursed (vs. 49)
- They said that no prophet came from Galilee [which was true, of course Jesus was not born in Galilee. They should have checked the facts] (vs. 52)
So here and throughout the book of John, “the Jews” [authorities, chief priests, Pharisees] opposed Christ; they wanted to have him arrested; they opposed those who supported Christ; they claimed to have superior knowledge compared to everyone else.
They were uniformly opposed to Christ and negative about him and indeed sought to kill him.
They should have known better. They should have recognized the Messiah. They were blind.