And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ comes, will he do more miracles than these which this man has done?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And many of the people believed on him.—This verse shows an advance in their faith. In John 7:12 we found “some” asserting that “He is a good man.” Now “many” accept Him as the Messiah, for this is the force of the words, “believed in Him.” (Comp. John 7:5, and Note there.)
When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?—They believe that the Christ has come, but express the common thought of Messianic miracles in a question which must have a negative answer. The Messiah who is expected is not expected to do greater miracles than these. The Messianic idea is therefore fulfilled, and He who has fulfilled it must be the very Christ.Isaiah 35:5-6, etc.: "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap as an hart," etc. Jesus had given abundant evidence of his power to work such miracles, and they therefore believed that he was the Messiah. And many of the people believed on him; not as the true Messias; for the next words let us know, they did not believe him to be the Christ, but looked for him to come; but they gave credit to him as a great prophet sent from God; and doubted whether the miracles which he wrought were not as many and as great as ever the Messiah would do when he came. For though John reports but a few miracles wrought by Christ, yet they were such as required a Divine power to produce; such as turning the water into wine, multiplying the loaves, raising Lazarus from the dead, &c. And John tells us, John 20:30 John 21:25, that he did many more works than he hath recorded in this book; and many more are recorded by the other three evangelists. From hence may be observed the falsehood of the later Jews, who deny that the Messiah is to work any miracles; for it is apparent from hence, that they had in our Saviour’s time a general expectation that great miracles should be done by the Messiah; and their expectation was truly founded upon Isaiah 35:5,6, as appeareth by Matthew 11:5.
And said, when Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? referring not so much to the miracles many of them might have seen done by him in other parts of Judea, and in Galilee; nor only to those he had done in the preceding feasts at Jerusalem, but to those that were done by him now, though not recorded by the evangelist. The Jews expected many miracles to be wrought by the Messiah when he came, and they had good reason for it from Isaiah 35:5. To these Christ sends John the Baptist, and the Jews, for proofs of his being the Messiah, Matthew 11:4; and by these he was approved of God as such, Acts 2:23. And it is certain that the ancient Jews expected miracles in the days of the Messiah.
"Says R. Simeon to Eleazar his son, Eleazar, at the time that the King Messiah is raised up, how many "signs and other wonders" will be done in the world? a little after, from that day all the signs, and "wonders", and "mighty works", which the holy blessed God did in Egypt, he will do to the Israelites, as it is said, Micah 7:15, "according to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt, will I show unto him marvellous things" (n).''
So the Targumist on Isaiah 53:8 paraphrases thus,
"from afflictions and punishment he will deliver our captivity, and "the wonderful things" which shall be done for us in his days, who can tell?''
It is true indeed that the modern Jews have laid aside such expectations, and pretend they were not looked for formerly. Maimonides says (o),
"let it not enter into thy heart, that the King Messiah hath need to do signs and wonders (as that he shall renew things in the world, or raise the dead, and the like; these are things which fools speak of); the thing is not so.''
And he instances in Ben Coziba, who set up for the Messiah, of whom R. Akiba, and the rest of the wise men of that age, did not require a sign or miracle: yet this same writer elsewhere says (p), that
"all nations shall make peace with the Messiah, and serve him, because of his great righteousness, and the miracles which shall be done by him.''And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 7:31. According to the reading ἐκ τοῦ ὄχλου δὲ πολλοί (see the critical notes), ὄχλος stands emphatically opposed to the subjects of ἐζήτουν in John 7:30. Δὲ after three words, on account of their close connection; see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 378; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. 397.
ἐπίστ. εἰς αὐτ.] not only as a prophet (Tholuck), or as one sent of God (Grotius), but conformably with the fixed sense of the absolute expression (comp. John 7:5), as the Messiah. What follows does not contradict this, but rather sustains their avowal that they see realized in Jesus their ideal-miracle of the promised Messiah; and, accordingly, ὁ Χριστὸς ὅταν ἔλθῃ does not imply any doubt on their part as to the Messiahship of Jesus, but refers to the doubt of the opposite party. Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus John 2 : θῶμεν, ἕτερον εἶναι τὸν Χριστὸν, ὡς οἱ ἄρχοντες λέγουσιν, etc.
ὅτι] might be regarded as giving the reason for their faith (Nonnus: μὴ γὰρ χριστὸς, κ.τ.λ.), but more simply as recitative.
μή] yet not more signs, etc.? To the one miracle wrought in Jerusalem (John 7:21) they added the numerous Galilaean miracles, which they, being in part perhaps pilgrims to the feast from Galilee, had seen and heard.John 7:31. For, πολλοὶ … Here as usual alongside of the hostility evoked by the deeds and words of Jesus faith also was evoked; faith which suggested covertly that He might be the Messiah. ὁ Χριστὸς ὅταν ἔλθῃ, “When the Christ comes will He do more signs than this man has done?”31. And many of the people] Our version is somewhat perverse; in John 7:30 ‘and’ is arbitrarily turned into ‘but;’ here ‘but’ is turned into ‘and.’ But (on the other hand, i.e. in contrast to the rulers) of the multitude many believed on Him (as the Messiah) and kept saying (in answer to objectors), When the Christ (see on John 7:27 and John 1:20) cometh, will He do more signs than this man did? They express not their own doubts but those of objectors in saying ‘when the Christ cometh:’ they believe that He has come. Some of them perhaps had witnessed the numerous Galilean miracles; they have at any rate heard of them.Verse 31. - The antagonism and the faith come into sharper expression. As the spirit-like words stir up malignant passion, they also excite new and deepening confidence. The flash of lightning, which reveals to many the glory of a landscape, may strike others blind or dead. While the authorities are harder, more unspiritual and blinder, than before, yet many of the multitude - i.e. off the general crowd, whether belonging to Jerusalem or not - believed on him, passed into the glorious illumination which falls on his own Person, and all things else. We cannot say that the whole was cleared up to them, but it was an acceptance by them to some extent of his Messianic claims. He was more than a mere Prophet to them, or Leader, as is obvious from the tone of the speech which follows: And they said (were saying to one another), while others, perhaps, so soon as they had taken his side, began to urge his claims on those that doubted - When the Christ shall come, will he do more signs than those which this Man hath done? The omission of τούτων makes the question refer to the entire group of signs which had been already performed, and not confine itself to the proceedings of Jesus in Jerusalem. They expected Messiah to give proof of his Divine commission (cf. Matthew 11:4, 5, 20-25). Has not Jesus satisfied all reasonable claims? The question was like fire in touchwood. A conflagration might at any moment burst from the excitable throng which no decision of the Sanhedrin could repress. Something must at once be done to allay the excitement. In the crowd which was pressing the claims of Jesus were many Pharisees, an immensely larger element in the population than the chief priests, and therefore more likely at once to bring such information to the central religious authority.
Literally, surely he will not at all do.
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