"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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John 7:37-52 Commentary
by David Lose
There is simply no getting around it: this is a very challenging passage on several fronts.
First, it reveals John’s Gospel as, in many ways, a defensive document. If biblical scholars are right, the author of the Fourth Gospel likely wrote this story of Jesus to bolster the confidence of a community of Jewish Christians that had been expelled from the synagogue. (Indeed, next week’s reading offers something of the community’s history in miniature, where those who confess Jesus risk expulsion.)
In this seventh chapter, we sense the conflict rising between Jesus and his opponents. The debate, which turns on things that may seem ridiculous to us -- Jesus’ hometown, for starters -- was likely a topic of serious contention between those Jews who rejected Jesus (along with those who followed him) and those who believed he was God’s Messiah. Essentially, the tug-of-war between these two sides boils down to who interpreted Scripture correctly, and the author of this Gospel is defending Jesus against charges that he could not have been the Messiah.
| Bible Text
2020-21 Readings (Year 3)
2020-21 Worship Resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
Narrative Lectionary 117: Living Water
February 23, 2014
Join Profs. Rolf Jacobson, Craig Koester, and Kathryn Schifferdecker for "I Love to Tell the Story," a conversation on Year 4 of the narrative lectionary. This podcast covers the text for Feb. 23, 2014: John 7:37-52. Accompanying reading: Psalm 147:1-11.
NOTE: This podcast (NL117) experienced technical difficulties during the recording that could not be fully resolved in the edit. Our apologies to the podcasters and listeners for some not-so-smooth transitions.