John 7:25 – 36
25Now some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is not this the man whom they are trying to kill? 26And here he is, speaking openly, but they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? 27Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.” 28Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I am from. I have not come on my own. But the one who sent me is true, and you do not know him. 29I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.” 30Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come. 31Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, “When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?” 32The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering such things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple police to arrest him. 33Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. 34You will search for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.” 35The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? 36What does he mean by saying, ‘You will search for me and you will not find me’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”
Jesus is teaching in the temple – probably in the courts or porticos of the temple, for the actual interior was used only for sacrifice. Only the High Priest could enter the most holy part of the temple. But the people are becoming confused – although some called Jesus paranoid for saying they were trying to kill him, now others recognize that he is the one “they” are trying to kill. Yet, there he is speaking to them openly? Could he be the Messiah? The question at last surfaces – people have seen signs, have eaten the bread he provided, and now they begin to wonder, is this man the Messiah? But they almost immediately reject the idea, for there is a tradition that the Messiah will come from an unknown place, and they know that Jesus came from Nazareth. Jesus then cries out – “You know me, and you know where I am from” and Jesus does NOT mean Nazareth! He goes on to speak of the One who sent him – and he says they do not know HIM! Jesus does know him (God) – after all he is from God and it was God who sent him.
This, of course, was blasphemy! How dare he claim to be from God! And they try to arrest him, but his “hour” has not yet come. But many begin to believe. Yet, the Pharisees hear these mutterings in the crowd (now the author is calling them Pharisees and chief priests rather than “the Jews”), and send the temple police to arrest him. The temple had its own police – guards to guarantee order and prevent riots. But they do not arrest him – not yet.
Jesus says, “I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me.” This phrase will be repeated later, in a different context, when Jesus is speaking to his disciples. But here, it is a part of the conflict between Jesus and the chief priests and Pharisees. Although later the disciples will have a room waiting for them in that place where Jesus will go, now he tells his antagonists that they will not find him, for they will not be there, cannot come there. If they understood what he was saying they would have been even more angry! But, once again, people take what Jesus says at the surface level, and they think he is intending to go out of Judea and teach the Greeks. This is ironic, for indeed, Christ’s church will go out of Jerusalem, out of Israel, and take his message of salvation to the world.