What does John 7:11 mean?
ESV: The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?”
NIV: Now at the festival the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, 'Where is he?'
NASB: So the Jews were looking for Him at the feast and saying, 'Where is He?'
CSB: The Jews were looking for him at the festival and saying, "Where is he? "
NLT: The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him.
KJV: Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
Verse Commentary:
The Feast of Booths, also known as the Festival of Tabernacles, was one of the grandest events on the Jewish calendar. For an entire week, the people of Israel participated in rituals and events commemorating their journey out of Egypt through the wilderness. As one of the required feasts for all Jewish men (Deuteronomy 16:16), those who were curious about Jesus expected to see Him arrive at some point in time. None would have been more interested than the religious leaders of Jerusalem, whom the gospel of John typically labels "the Jews."

It seems the religious leaders are making the same mistake as Jesus' brothers (John 7:4–5). They assume that what Jesus wants is publicity, popularity, and power. On the contrary, Jesus is committed to preaching the truth (John 6:26–27), even when it causes most people to turn away (John 6:66). For this reason, Jesus entered the festival alone, and in private, after His family had already arrived (John 7:8–10). He arrives to find the people debating His character and mission.
Verse Context:
John 7:1–13 describes Jesus' surprisingly quiet entry to a major Jewish festival. Jesus brothers—other biological sons of Mary—tease Him about seeking publicity. Instead, Jesus attends alone, and does not teach or preach publicly until the middle of the week-long festival. In the meantime, the people of Jerusalem are ''muttering'' about Jesus, wondering when or if He will appear.
Chapter Summary:
Six months after the feeding of thousands, and the public debate which followed, Jesus plans to attend the Feast of Booths (Festival of Tabernacles). Rather than going publicly, He chooses to arrive privately, and after His family. While teaching and preaching there, Jesus once again comes into conflict with local religious leaders. The crowds take note of His profound words, history of miracles, and the inability of the religious leaders to silence Him. This causes the people to openly question their spiritual leaders. This embarrassment is a milestone in the effort to permanently silence Jesus.
Chapter Context:
John chapter 7 is the beginning of the end of Jesus' public ministry. The feeding of thousands in chapter 6 was the pinnacle of His earthly popularity. That enthusiasm was dampened when Jesus explained the true meaning of His ministry. Here, in chapters 7 and 8, Jesus will confront His critics at a major Jewish festival, using metaphors drawn from ritual celebrations to highlight themes from His preaching. The following chapters include additional miracles and teachings from Jesus, as His eventual crucifixion draws nearer.
Book Summary:
The gospel of John was written by the disciple John, decades later than the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls “signs”—in order to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in all of the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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