Sunday of Pentecost
John 7:37-52; 8:12
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37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink.
38 He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'"
39 Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, "This is really the prophet."
41 Others said, "This is the Christ." But some said, "Is the Christ to come from Galilee?
42 Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"
43 So there was a division among the people over him.
44 Some of them wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
45 The officers then went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, "Why did you not bring him?"
46 The officers answered, "No man ever spoke like this man!"
47 The Pharisees answered them, "Are you led astray, you also?
48 Have any of the authorities or of the Pharisees believed in him?
49 But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed."
50 Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them,
51 "Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?"
52 They replied, "Are you from Galilee too? Search and you will see that no prophet is to rise from Galilee."
8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
37 Ἐν δὲ τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ μεγάλῃ τῆς ἑορτῆς εἱστήκει ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἔκραξε λέγων· ἐάν τις διψᾷ, ἐρχέσθω πρός με καὶ πινέτω.
38 ὁ πιστεύων εἰς ἐμέ, καθὼς εἶπεν ἡ γραφή, ποταμοὶ ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας αὐτοῦ ρεύσουσιν ὕδατος ζῶντος.
39 τοῦτο δὲ εἶπε περὶ τοῦ Πνεύματος οὗ ἔμελλον λαμβάνειν οἱ πιστεύοντες εἰς αὐτόν· οὔπω γὰρ ἦν Πνεῦμα Ἅγιον, ὅτι Ἰησοῦς οὐδέπω ἐδοξάσθη.
40 πολλοὶ οὖν ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου ἀκούσαντες τὸν λόγον ἔλεγον· οὗτός ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ὁ προφήτης·
41 ἄλλοι ἔλεγον· οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός· ἄλλοι ἔλεγον· μὴ γὰρ ἐκ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ὁ Χριστὸς ἔρχεται;
42 οὐχὶ ἡ γραφὴ εἶπεν ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ σπέρματος Δαυΐδ καὶ ἀπὸ Βηθλεὲμ τῆς κώμης, ὅπου ἦν Δαυΐδ, ὁ Χριστὸς ἔρχεται;
43 σχίσμα οὖν ἐν τῷ ὄχλῳ ἐγένετο δι᾿ αὐτόν.
44 τινὲς δὲ ἤθελον ἐξ αὐτῶν πιάσαι αὐτόν, ἀλλ᾿ οὐδεὶς ἐπέβαλεν ἐπ᾿ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας.
45 Ἦλθον οὖν οἱ ὑπηρέται πρὸς τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ Φαρισαίους, καὶ εἶπον αὐτοῖς ἐκεῖνοι· διατί οὐκ ἠγάγετε αὐτόν;
46 ἀπεκρίθησαν οἱ ὑπηρέται· οὐδέποτε οὕτως ἐλάλησεν ἄνθρωπος, ὡς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος.
47 ἀπεκρίθησαν οὖν αὐτοῖς οἱ Φαρισαῖοι· μὴ καὶ ὑμεῖς πεπλάνησθε;
48 μή τις ἐκ τῶν ἀρχόντων ἐπίστευσεν εἰς αὐτὸν ἢ ἐκ τῶν Φαρισαίων;
49 ἀλλ᾿ ὁ ὄχλος οὗτος ὁ μὴ γινώσκων τὸν νόμον ἐπικατάρατοί εἰσι!
50 λέγει Νικόδημος πρὸς αὐτούς, ὁ ἐλθὼν νυκτὸς πρὸς αὐτόν, εἷς ὢν ἐξ αὐτῶν·
51 μὴ ὁ νόμος ἡμῶν κρίνει τὸν ἄνθρωπον, ἐὰν μὴ ἀκούσῃ παρ᾿ αὐτοῦ πρότερον καὶ γνῷ τί ποιεῖ; 52 ἀπεκρίθησαν καὶ εἶπον αὐτῷ· μὴ καὶ σὺ ἐκ τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἶ; ἐρεύνησον καὶ ἴδε ὅτι προφήτης ἐκ τῆς Γαλιλαίας οὐκ ἐγήγερται.
8:12 Πάλιν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησε λέγων· ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου· ὁ ἀκολουθῶν ἐμοὶ οὐ μὴ περιπατήσῃ ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ, ἀλλ᾿ ἕξει τὸ φῶς τῆς ζωῆς.
Larger Thought Unit
The larger context for today’s reading is John 7-9. The setting is the feast of Tabernacles, from which the images of water and light are used by Christ in the discourse sections of these chapters. As was mentioned earlier (cf. reading for the 6th Sunday of Pascha), chapters 7 and 8 are discourses, followed by the sign of the healing of the blind man to authenticate the discourses in the mind of the hearers. Today’s reading continues a theme developed in earlier chapters in John regarding Jesus Christ’s relation to the Holy Spirit. Starting in chapter one, John the Baptist witnesses to the fact that the Spirit descended and remained on Jesus and that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit. Later Christ will promise the Spirit to his disciples after his glorification, and the Spirit who will lead and guide them into the truth. Finally he will “breathe” the Spirit on them in John 20:22. The Spirit here is none other than the prophetic spirit (9:40), whose focus is the preaching of the Word of God, which is now the Gospel word of God’s messiah Jesus.
Just as in last Sunday’s Johannine reading where Jesus’ glorification is spoken of ahead of time, here also this reading, taken from the same gospel, forespeaks of the descent of the divine spirit upon the disciples. As is clear later in John, this glorification will take place through Christ’s passion, which already is indicated here in the use of “officers” (ὑπηρέται) who report to the chief priests and Pharisees. This term appears otherwise in conjunction with the judgment and condemnation of Jesus (18:3, 12, 18, 22; 19:6), which Nicodemus refers to here (7:50-51).
In turn, the coming of the Spirit after Jesus’ glorification is an integral part of the compendium Paul gives of the gospel at the beginning of Romans:
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ. (Rom 1:1-6)
That this compendium was on John’s mind in today’s reading can be seen in the words of the people as to the ‘origin’ of Jesus: is he from David (of Bethlehem) or is he from Galilee, the domain of the nations?
Another indication of the link to the text of Romans is the reference to “the prophet” (Jn 7:40) “who is to come into the world” (6:14). This is the prophet of whom Moses said would take his place:
The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brethren -- him you shall heed-- just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, or see this great fire any more, lest I die.' And the Lord said to me, 'They have rightly said all that they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brethren; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not give heed to my words which he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. (Deut 18:15-19)
Notice the verb “raise up.” This is the same one used in Romans and throughout the New Testament to speak of God’s raising of Jesus. The fact that Deuteronomy is part of the ‘Law’ (Pentateuch) explains John’s ironical twist whereby the Pharisees, who are versed in that Law, actually condemn themselves when they say to the officers: “But this crowd, who do not know the law, are accursed.” (Jn 7:49)
In John, Jesus is the giver the new law of grace (1:17) which is addressed not only to Israel but also to the nations (Is 42:1-5; 49:6). In turn, God’s emissary in this mission is said to be “a light to the nations” (49:6). Later, light is linked to life in Is 58:10-11 (… then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire with good things, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters fail not), which is precisely the text quoted by John at the beginning of the pericope (7:38). Hence the ending of today’s reading with Jn 8:12: “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.3: Johannine Writings, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2004; pp.179-81, 183-4.