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John 7:43

ESV So there was a division among the people over him.
NIV Thus the people were divided because of Jesus.
NASB So a dissension occurred in the crowd because of Him.
CSB So the crowd was divided because of him.
NLT So the crowd was divided about him.
KJV So there was a division among the people because of him.
NKJV So there was a division among the people because of Him.

What does John 7:43 mean?

Chapter 7 shows a steady progression in the people's reaction to Jesus. Earlier in this chapter, that response was mostly gossip and private discussion (John 7:12–13). Eventually, this turned into complaint and questioning (John 7:12). Here, Jesus' claims about Himself have created "a division" among the people. The Greek term used here is schisma, which means more than a simple argument. The term implies a bitter, volatile, unhappy breach between different groups—the root word comes almost untouched into English as schism.

This division is not entirely unexpected; in fact, Jesus predicted His ministry would result in these kinds of rifts (Matthew 10:34). It's helpful to note that some people are willing to follow Scripture and evidence in order to accept Christ (John 7:31; 7:40–41). Others misunderstand Scripture, so they reject Him (John 7:42). Still others accept Scripture, but misunderstand or reject evidence (John 5:39–40; 7:48). And, of course, the most powerful factor is each person's intent: those who don't want to obey God will not see the truth, no matter what (John 7:17). That same set of responses persists even today, among those who either accept or reject Christ, for their various reasons.

This division, in and of itself, probably has a lot to do with why no one in the crowd is willing to "step up" and seize Jesus. Any such attempt, especially by a common person, would risk a riot between His supporters and His critics. The officials sent by the religious leaders, however, should not have the same concerns—they will leave Jesus alone for a different reason (John 7:45–46).
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