John 7:31

31 Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, "When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?"

John 7:31 Meaning and Commentary

John 7:31

And many of the people believed on him
Whilst some were displeased at his doctrine, others were induced by his miracles to believe on him, as an extraordinary person, if not the Messiah; and these were the common people, especially those that came out of the country; for the city Jews, and above all the rulers, were very averse to him: and it is easy to observe, that faith in Christ, and true religion, spread and flourish most among the meaner sort of people.

And said, when Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these
which this [man] hath done?
referring not so much to the miracles many of them might have seen done by him in other parts of Judea, and in Galilee; nor only to those he had done in the preceding feasts at Jerusalem, but to those that were done by him now, though not recorded by the evangelist. The Jews expected many miracles to be wrought by the Messiah when he came, and they had good reason for it from ( Isaiah 35:5 Isaiah 35:6 ) . To these Christ sends John the Baptist, and the Jews, for proofs of his being the Messiah, ( Matthew 11:4 ) ( John 10:37 John 10:38 ) ; and by these he was approved of God as such, ( Acts 2:23 ) . And it is certain that the ancient Jews expected miracles in the days of the Messiah.

``Says R. Simeon to Eleazar his son, Eleazar, at the time that the King Messiah is raised up, how many "signs and other wonders" will be done in the world? a little after, from that day all the signs, and "wonders", and "mighty works", which the holy blessed God did in Egypt, he will do to the Israelites, as it is said, ( Micah 7:15 ) , "according to the days of thy coming out of the land of Egypt, will I show unto him marvellous things" F14.''

So the Targumist on ( Isaiah 53:8 ) paraphrases thus,

``from afflictions and punishment he will deliver our captivity, and "the wonderful things" which shall be done for us in his days, who can tell?''

It is true indeed that the modern Jews have laid aside such expectations, and pretend they were not looked for formerly. Maimonides says F15,

``let it not enter into thy heart, that the King Messiah hath need to do signs and wonders (as that he shall renew things in the world, or raise the dead, and the like; these are things which fools speak of); the thing is not so.''

And he instances in Ben Coziba, who set up for the Messiah, of whom R. Akiba, and the rest of the wise men of that age, did not require a sign or miracle: yet this same writer elsewhere says F16, that

``all nations shall make peace with the Messiah, and serve him, because of his great righteousness, and the miracles which shall be done by him.''


F14 Zohar in Exod. fol. 3. 4. & 4. 2.
F15 Hilchot Melakim, c. 11. sect. 3.
F16 In Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 1.

John 7:31 In-Context

29 I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me."
30 Then they tried to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.
31 Yet many in the crowd believed in him and were saying, "When the Messiah comes, will he do more signs than this man has done?"
32 The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering such things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple police to arrest him.
33 Jesus then said, "I will be with you a little while longer, and then I am going to him who sent me.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or [the Christ]
  • [b]. Other ancient authorities read [is doing]