32 The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
33 Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
34 Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
36 What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Many of the people believed on him.
I have always picked up a sense that John emphasizes the multitudes, the crowds, the throngs of people much more than do the other gospel writers. Here John tells us that many people believed on Him, a phrase in my mind that instantly triggers an assumption for salvation, but I do not know that is what John means. If I do the basics of interpretation and find out who was speaking and to whom and when, I might arrive at different speculations.
Certainly Christ had not yet died; while it is perfectly true that belief has always been the vehicle of salvation, I should question what it was that they believed. My dubiousness comes from the prior chapters, where Jesus did not commit himself to any of the people for He knew all people, and knew what is in their heart. Having said that, there are two favorable things that I see in this passage. First, the people were evidently thinking they had found the Messiah, because of the miracles which they had seen. Second, the Pharisees reacted with violent answers when they heard the multitude’s beliefs. They sent soldiers to arrest Jesus.
Again I find myself wondering about this crowd after the resurrection. Did they all believe in the Christ? There is no way that I know of checking such an answer out, at least on this side of heaven, but won’t it be neat to at least someday meet those who were saved by believing on this day. Historically we know that many thousands embraced the faith in Acts. Maybe some of these same people were among them.
Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. One of the early references to the gift of the Holy Spirit, something I am in constant thankfulness for. His gifts are without reproach, says the Scripture, and the Holy Spirit is to be indwelling us for the rest of eternity. On this day after Christmas, that is something truly to be thankful for.
Behold the Saviour of Mankind
1. Behold the Saviour of mankind
Nailed to the shameful tree!
How vast the love that Him inclined
To bleed and die for thee!
2. Though far unequal our low praise
To Thy vast sufferings prove,
O Lamb of God, thus all our days,
Thus will we grieve and love.
3. Hark, how He groans! while nature shakes,
And earth's strong pillars bend;
The temple's veil in sunder breaks,
The solid marbles rend.
4. 'Tis done! the precious ransom's paid,
"Receive my soul," He cries!
See where He bows His sacred head!
He bows His head, and dies!
5. But soon He'll break death's envious chain,
And in full glory shine:
O Lamb of God! was ever pain,
Was ever love, like thine?
6. Thy loss our ruin did repair;
Death by death is slain;
Thou wilt at length exalt us where
Thou dost in glory reign.
Lyrics: Samuel Wesley, Sr.