What does John 7:43 mean?
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.
Verse Commentary:
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).
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 disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. 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"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in 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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