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John 7:26

ESV And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ?
NIV Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah?
NASB And yet look, He is speaking publicly, and they are saying nothing to Him. The rulers do not really know that this is the Christ, do they?
CSB Yet, look, he's speaking publicly and they're saying nothing to him. Can it be true that the authorities know he is the Messiah?
NLT But here he is, speaking in public, and they say nothing to him. Could our leaders possibly believe that he is the Messiah?
KJV But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?

What does John 7:26 mean?

In prior incidents, Jesus has already challenged the spirituality of Jerusalem's religious leaders (John 2:13–22; 5:39–47). He has proclaimed Himself in ways which they interpret as blasphemous (John 5:18). Almost immediately, this earned Him a death sentence in the eyes of these authority figures (John 7:1). And yet, despite their efforts, Jesus is still alive and still preaching. In fact, He is amazing people with His wisdom, in the temple of Jerusalem, during one of the holiest festivals of the year (John 7:14)! This leads the people to wonder just how committed the religious leaders are to dealing with Jesus.

At this point, the public only sees two possible options: either the authorities are too inept to deal with a blasphemer, or they have come to accept the claims Jesus is making. Those same authorities are well aware of this image problem, and it will add fuel to their fire when it comes to silencing Jesus.

As the next few verses will show, the people making these points don't necessarily believe in Jesus. They have their own doubts and misunderstandings. For now, they only know that Jesus is generating a significant level of controversy.
What is the Gospel?
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