Jesus the Christ - John 7:37-52

Expositions by H. A. Wilson

Taken from Grace and Truth Magazine 1923


Memory Verse — John 7:37-38

We may read the heart-break of God in Jesus' lamentation over Jerusalem. "O, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt. 23:37). This verse tells the story of human history, and of God's dealing with mankind. God's attitude is an attitude of desire to do good to men. "How often would I * * *." But man's attitude has always been an attitude of unwillingness to receive the benefits so freely offered, "Ye would not!" These two facts are clearly shown in the verses we are to study today, for in them we find God's grace manifested in Jesus, the Christ, and the unbelief of men concerning Him.


John 7:37-39

The grace of God is seen in the invitation Jesus gave on the great feast day. Many years before, God had led Isaiah to stand and cry, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isa. 55:1). J Now Jesus takes up the cry, and continues the invitation. Hear Him! "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Four things are apparent in this invitation. They are, —

1. The great need of men, "If any man thirst."

2. The grace of God's invitation, "Let him come and drink."

3. The Scriptural faith, "He that believeth as the Scriptures have said."

4. The abounding life, "Out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water."

1. The great need of men is shown here. This need is their need of life, and consequently their need of Jesus. This world is a hungry old world. It is a thirsty world. The terrible famine conditions which prevail throughout many lands today are but a suggestive picture of a far greater famine which is not so apparent as the physical. The famine of life and peace and satisfaction for human souls is the (Greatest of all famines, and there is no relief for it save in Jesus. What this old war-worn, devil-ridden world needs is Jesus. Just Jesus. And what the weary, defeated, discouraged, sin-sick souls of men need is Jesus. Many lands are crying for peace. Many souls are crying from the depths of misery and wretchedness and despair for deliverance, and for life and joy and hope. These things can only be found in Jesus, but they may be found in Him, abundantly. Matt. 5:6, Rom. 5:12, Phil. 4:19, II Cor. 8:9.

2. The grace of God's invitation is also evident in these verses. A needy and willing soul is all the qualification a man need have to become a recipient of God's waters of life. Dr. Bernardo was once approached by a little street waif who asked to be admitted into his orphans' home. Thinking to test the little fellow, he asked, "Have you anyone to recommend you, and to testify of your need?" "Anyone to recommend me!" shouted the little fellow. "If these here rags don't speak for me, I guess nobody else could!" And he waved his ragged sleeve. That was all that was needed. He was admitted, and cared for. 'T-^d invites nil men to receive in Jesus the life and satisfaction they need, but they must recognize their need, and must be willing to receive His provision before He can do anything for them, so He stands and invites them. Rev. 7:16, Rev. 22:17, Matt. 9:12.

3. A Spiritual faith is also seen here. "He that believeth on me, as the Scriptures have said." This is the pre-requisite to an abounding life. It is possible for men to believe in Jesus and to be saved, without abounding in His grace. But that man who believes in Jesus as He is revealed in the Word of God is in a place to receive the abundance of blessing which God is eager to give to all. A Scriptural faith means faith in a Scriptural Christ. It means not only to accept Jesus as the Lamb of God Which taketh away the sin of the world, but also to yield the life to Him as Lord and Master ; to trust Him not only for salvation from the penalty of sin, but also for salvation from the power of sin. Many do trust Jesus as Saviour and are saved who have not reached the high standard God has set in these verses. He wants men to drink, and He wants them to drink deeply. He wants to save them, and He also wants to satisfy them. Rom. 12:1-2, II Pet. 3:18.

4. The result of exercising this Scriptural faith is that men do receive God's abundance. They enjoy an abounding life. Jesus said, on another occasion, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (Jno. 10:10). The promise to the man who enjoys this abundance of life is that "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." This man receives more than enough for his own needs. Lie receives more than satisfaction for himself. He becomes the channel through which God's blessing flows into the lives of others. The abounding life is a life of service. It is a life of sharing with others the blessings which God has bestowed on us. Matt. 4:19, Eph. 3:20, I Cor. 2:9-10.

In these things we see that God is willing and indeed eager to bless men without measure. Not only does He want to save them, but He also wants to satisfy them, and use them to bring the same blessings to many others. And He is willing to do this without price. Herein is grace! But the great pity is that men are constantly spurning His invitation.


John 7:40-52.

Three characteristics are manifest in the unbelief of these people, and they characterize unbelief in all time.

1. A partial faith.

2. A blind and unreasoning prejudice.

3. An appeal to scholarship which is opposed to faith and which repudiates Scriptural authority.

In no time in the history of mankind have men been more guilty of unbelief than at the present time, and never have these three characteristics of unbelief been more manifest.

1. "Some said, 'This is the prophet'." "Others said, 'This is the Christ'." As a matter of fact He was both. So we see that these people had a partial faith. Their faith was sufficient to save them, for they did believe that He was the fulfillment of Scripture promises, and we are told that if any man believes that Jesus is the Christ he is born of God. But these people stopped short, and did not receive the fulness of the blessing God wanted to give them. Many today have a partial faith. Some believe in Jesus as their Saviour, and are saved but never grow in grace. Still others have partial faith which is not sufficient to save. They do not believe in His death on their behalf, though they do believe that there was an historical person by the name of Jesus, and that He was "a good man," "a moral reformer," and indeed, "much in advance of His times." But such faith cannot save. It only adds to their condemnation. I Jno. 5:1, I Cor. 3:1-2.

2. Others said, "Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the Scripture said that Christ cometh of the seed of David and out of the town of Bethlehem? "A little investigation would have proven to these people that Jesus was the Christ, for the Scriptures did declare that He should come out of Galilee, as well as from Bethlehem. And Jesus was born of the seed of David, and in the town of Bethlehem. But these people did not want to be convinced. They were blindly prejudiced and unwilling to take the trouble to investigate and learn the truth. In this they are like multitudes in our own time. Isa. 9:1-2, Matt. 4:12-16, Matt. 2:1, Rom. 1:3, Jno. 5:39-40.

3. Many are appealing to "Scholarship" to excuse their unbelief and rejection of God's Word today. The chief priests and the Pharisees boasted a superior knowledge of the "law" and scorned the people who "knew not the law." Their argument was, "Have any of the rulers of the Pharisees believed on Him?" Then, when they were convicted by the testimony of the law itself in the mouth of a Pharisee who did secretly believe in Jesus, they took refuge in denial of the Word, and in superficial argument. So today many who sit in seats of learning are opposing their "Scholarship" to the faith of men, and to the Revelation of God. They attribute the faith of believers to ignorance, and take refuge in shelters of lies and professed wisdom. Rom. 1:22, I Cor. 1 :22-28.