What does John 7:40 mean?
ESV: When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.”
NIV: On hearing his words, some of the people said, 'Surely this man is the Prophet.'
NASB: Some of the people therefore, after they heard these words, were saying, 'This truly is the Prophet.'
CSB: When some from the crowd heard these words, they said, "This truly is the Prophet."
NLT: When the crowds heard him say this, some of them declared, 'Surely this man is the Prophet we’ve been expecting.'
KJV: Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
Verse Commentary:
Once again, Jesus' preaching results in mixed reactions from the crowd. His most recent claims were tied to the concept of "living water" (John 7:37–38). In fact, Jesus made that claim during a part of the Feast of Booths specifically meant to recall God's miraculous provision of water for the nation of Israel (Exodus 17:1–7). This idea is something Jesus has brought up before (John 4:10–13; 6:35), but to some in the crowd that might have been their first time hearing it.

Some of the people in Jerusalem have already come to believe in Jesus' words, mostly due to His miracles (John 7:31). Those who believe Jesus is telling the truth see Him as a fulfillment of the prophecy given in Deuteronomy 18:15, which others have suggested in the past (John 6:14). Interestingly, some see a distinction between Moses' predicted successor and the Promised One referred to as the Messiah (John 7:41).

Not everyone supports what Jesus is saying, however. As later verses will show, some people mistakenly think the Old Testament predicts Messiah in a way which Jesus does not fulfill (John 7:42; 7:52).
Verse Context:
John 7:37–52 shows how Jesus' public ministry challenges the traditional views of Judaism. This causes infighting among both the people and the Jewish leaders themselves. The people hear His words, see His miracles, and begin to wonder if Jesus really is the Promised One. Once again, the religious leaders attempt to arrest Jesus, but the officers are so impressed by His words that they leave Him alone. When Nicodemus, a Pharisee, makes a plea for due process, he is mocked and his suggestion is ignored. Moments such as this will eventually lead the Jewish leaders to extreme measures against Jesus.
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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