John 7:35 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 7:35, NIV: "The Jews said to one another, 'Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks?"

John 7:35, ESV: "The 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?"

John 7:35, KJV: "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?"

John 7:35, NASB: "The Jews then said to one another, 'Where does this man intend to go that we will not find Him? He does not intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks, does He?"

John 7:35, NLT: "The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. 'Where is he planning to go?' they asked. 'Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks!"

John 7:35, CSB: "Then the Jews said to one another, "Where does he intend to go that we won't find him? He doesn't intend to go to the Jewish people dispersed among the Greeks and teach the Greeks, does he?"

What does John 7:35 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus' teachings on spiritual topics are often misinterpreted in a purely physical way. This verse is an example.

As used in the gospel of John, the phrase "the Jews" typically means the religious leaders of Jerusalem and their supporters. Their main concern over Jesus is the controversy He is causing with the people (John 7:43). In particular, they fear the way Jesus' ministry brings their leadership into question (John 5:39–40). Since they interpret Jesus' preaching as blasphemy (John 5:18), they've already set their minds on having Him killed (John 7:1). As such, they've recently sent a group of officials to arrest Him.

However, Jesus' recent comments have thrown this plan into confusion. The Pharisees are well aware that killing Jesus won't be popular with everyone, which is why they've been careful. Now, Jesus has made two easily-misinterpreted claims. The first is that He will be returning to God (John 7:33), the second that He will be going where He will not be found (John 7:34). Later, Jesus will make the same claims to His disciples, explaining that He will be returning to God in heaven, in preparation for His ultimate return (John 14:1–6). Those who reject Jesus, on the other hand, likely interpreted these comments as a vow of suicide, or an intent to travel far away from Jerusalem.

The Dispersion refers to those members of Israel who are still scattered around the world due to conquest and persecution. The term "The Greeks," as used here, was more or less equivalent to all non-Jews—i.e. Gentiles (Colossians 3:11). The crowd is wondering if Jesus means He'll be taking His message away from Jerusalem. If so, then the religious leaders would have no real need to execute Jesus. If He goes so far away that He cannot be found, their concerns are moot.