Chapter 7

 

The Disbelief of the Brothers of Jesus 1 - 9.

 

V1-2.   John tells us that the events in chapter six took place around the Passover. Here we are told that it is now time for the Feast of Tabernacles that took place in September, about five months after the Passover. The Feast of Tabernacles was a celebration of remembrance when God delivered the children of Israel from Egypt and they lived in tabernacles or tents in the wilderness. It was also a time of thanksgiving for the gathering in of the harvest.   So it was a very important festival when every male was expected to present themselves before God (Exod. 23:14,17).   It was not because He was afraid that Jesus did not go into Judea for He knew that "His hour had not yet come" (John 7:30, 13: 1) and also that you should not tempt God (Math.4:7, Deut. 6: 16). (Do not put the Lord your God to the test. (GNB)

V3 - 4.   The brothers of Jesus wanted Him to go to this feast so that His followers there may see the works that He was doing first hand and that He might receive the recognition of achievement and superiority and gain in popularity.  

V5.   However, His brothers had no understanding of who Jesus really was or of what He was doing.  They could only see Him as a faith healer, a worker of miracles and wanted Him to receive popular acclaim. Had not Mary or Joseph their parents never told them about the miraculous birth of their brother ? If they knew who He was they would have realized that He had not come to win a popularity vote or to project himself but God His Father and He was to do this without any hue and cry (Isaiah 42: 1-2, Math. 12: 15-19).   His brothers did not believe in Him and it would appear from scripture that they did not until after the resurrection.

V6.    Jesus refers to the time when He would go up to Jerusalem to be crucified.   In chapter 2 He tells His mother that His hour has not yet come and here He tells His brothers.  

V7.   They do not excite any envy or opposition from the world around them as Jesus does by His teaching so He tells them  that because they conformed to the world they are accepted and therefore are not hated.   It will hate Him because He comes from the Father above and bears witness to the sinfulness and wickedness of men (John 15:22). The time would come when the world would hate them too because of the New Spiritual Birth when they would no longer be of this world (John 15:19).

V8 - 9.   He tells them to go up to the feast without Him while He remained in Galilee for about three to four days. (see V14)

 

 

2.   The Heavenly Teacher 10 - 24.

 

V10.   After this period Jesus follows His brothers and disciples to the feast not with the usual throng of people about Him but on His own as He did not want to be observed.

V11.   The rulers of the Jews were, however, expecting Him to come to the feast and kept a look out asking His followers where He was.   This was not because they wanted to hear or receive Him but in order ridicule and try to kill Him.

V12.   The general public were divided on their opinions of Jesus some saying that He was a good man others that He misleads and deceives the people with His

teachings.  

V13.   They spoke of Him in whispers for no one dared too openly for fear of the Jewish leaders.  Jesus said that He had not come to give peace on the earth but division (Luke 12: 51-53).

V14.   Half way through the feast Jesus openly shows Himself in the temple, the centre of Jewish worship and learning, and begins to teach.  

V15.   As He taught the Jewish rabbis were absolutely amazed that He could interpret the Scriptures with such authority and profoundness having never gone to one of their renown schools (Acts 22:3 see V46,  Math.7:29).

V16.   Jesus gave them the answer.  His teachings were not His own but were those of God who had sent Him.  He had received His tuition from the source of all truth, God His Father and delivered it faithfully without any shadow of turning. (Rev. 19:11).

V17.   It is only those who seek to know the will of God shall know that the words He speaks are of God for they exalt and glorify Him.

V18.   The person who speaks from his own knowledge and by his own abilities only does so to glorify self. Speaking of Himself Jesus said that He sought to glorify and honour His Father therefore He is true and there is no unrighteousnes, falseness or deception in Him.

V19 - 20.   Jesus confronts them with their sin for they were planning to kill Him and the Law of God that Moses gave and which they professed to keep said "You shall not kill" (Deut.5:17).

Note: Moses commanded that the Law should be read in every Sabbatical year at the Feast of Tabernacles (Deut. 31:10-11) and there is good reason in believing that the current year was a Sabbatical one. The first portion of the Law that it was customary  to read was Deuteronomy chapters 1 - 6:3.  

Instead of confessing and repenting of their sin they make accusations against Him that was blasphemy "you have a demon".   The witness of His words and His works were proof enough that He was of God (John 3: 2 Nicodemas' confession).  

V21.   The one work that they marveled at which Jesus refers to is the one where he healed the man at the  pool of Bethsaida on His first visit to Jerusalem on the Sabbath (John 5:1-15).

V22 - 23.   He questions their right to be angry with Him for healing this man on the Sabbath when they will circumcise a man on the Sabbath in order to keep the Law given by Moses; He rebukes them for their inconsistency (see Math.12: 1 - 13).

R.V.G. Tasker says in his commentary "The command to practice circumcision, given by Moses was important not least because it was a type of the greater circumcision of the heart, by which evil would be cut away from what is the mainspring of human conduct. This circumcision of the heart the law could never effect, it was destined to be God's gift to man when the blessed messianic age should dawn ............... Jesus had in fact made it clear by healing the disabled man that He, the Christ, had come not to make part of a man whole, as circumcision did, but to recreate his entire being.    This was essentially divine work....."

V24.   Again they are guilty of not keeping the Law of Moses (Deut. 1:16-17) for their judgement is not true for they do it according to appearance and not righteously. Let those who profess to judge by the law obey it, and form a just and honest opinion, and not be biased by the appearance of a mere technicality. (C.J Ellicott)

Instruction for the Seeker ‚An Invitation for the Thirsty ƒThe Invincible Christ.

Jesus is still teaching at the feast of tabernacles. There has been much interest in him, much discussion and disagreement about Him. Christ has been accused of working on the Sabbath, deceiving the people and of being an ignorant from Galilee. Yet he is not on the defensive. He teaches the people boldly, for He is the Lord of glory and in complete control at all times.

 

 

Instruction for the Seeker

V25,26 By now the people had realized that their religious rulers were anxious to get rid of Jesus and kill him. So they were amazed at his boldness, for there in public, in front of his enemies, he continued to preach without the slightest fear. Christ's boldness was not bravado. He knew full well what the Pharisees intended to do, and he knew what his Father's will was. His boldness was based on trust in God and the knowledge that it was not yet time for him to die.

The inactivity on the part of the Pharisees causes the people to wonder if they had changed their minds and now accepted Jesus as the Christ.

 

V27 If so, they did not agree with the leaders. They had formed their own view (quite wrongly) from the scripture that when Christ came, he would be unknown to those around him. They knew Jesus for they had seen him before. They also knew that He was from Nazareth in Galilee. Although they knew him as Jesus the man, they did not know him as the Son of God.

 

V28,29 Jesus accepts that humanly speaking they did know him, for he had lived his life among them and shared it with them. It is true that he was brought up in Nazareth. Yet he turns their attention to what they do not know - that he had come down from heaven. It was not his idea to come, he was sent by God the Father and the reason the Jews did not understand this was that they did not know the only true God. God had kept his promise to them by giving them the Christ. Acts 13.32,33. But they remained ignorant of this.

 

V30 This statement angered the Jews, who were very proud of their "special relationship" with God. They wanted to kill Jesus for suggesting that their knowledge of God was not real and spiritual. But "if God cannot turn men's hearts," as Matthew Henry says, "he can tie their hands". So God allowed no one to touch Jesus, for it was not time for him to die. Nor would he to die at the hands of this mob but only in the way and at the time that the Father had decreed. God was fully in control of the situation.

 

V31 Others were prepared to believe that Jesus was the Christ because of the many miracles they had seen him perform on the sick. They asked "If this is not the Christ, will the Christ do even more miracles than this?" All had seen these miracles, even the Pharisees, but unbelief will reject the strongest evidence. We should recall that miracles themselves are not always effective in converting a soul.

 

V32 The jealous Pharisees were unhappy that the people were not united behind them, and fearing a riot between his followers and opponents, they ordered temple guards to arrest him.

 

V33 As they arrived, Jesus had begun again to teach the people. He tells them that he will only be with them for a little while longer, before he returns to the Father. Christ knew that his time was near when he would die to take away the sin of the world, rise again and return to heaven.

 

V34 In what sense does Christ mean they will seek him? If they were to seek him as Saviour, they would find him. The reference may be to a diligent search for his body - he will not be on earth, his remains will not be seen for their will be none. He will ascend to heaven, where he alone has right to enter through his own blood to make a way for all who believe on him to enter too. Heb 9.12

The Jews could not enter God's kingdom for they were in unbelief. Jesus once told Peter "you cannot follow now," Christ had to make the way, "but you shall follow me later," when you have been saved.

If the Jews looked for an earthly human Jesus, they would see him no more 2 Cor 5.16 For through his death and resurrection to eternal life he would enter back into glory with the Father. They could not go where he was going, for they did not share his nature. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. One must be born again to enter it John 3.3 and 2 Cor 5.17.

If they seek him spiritually and his salvation, they would find him. Deut 4.29 Believing in Him they would be born again and able to enter heaven.

 

V35,36 Of course, the unspiritual Jews did not understand a word of this. When Jesus said he was going away he meant to heaven - they thought he would travel abroad among the Jews scattered all over the world and begin to teach them and the Gentiles. That was the only explanation they could think of, but it did not satisfy them. Whatever did he mean?

 

 

An Invitation for the Thirsty

V37-39 Later in the week on the last day of the feast, Jesus..

This is an invitation for those who are spiritually thirsty. Isa 55.1 For those who are longing for reality in spiritual life, Christ promises the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given by Jesus to all who believe in him. He comes to live inside them and from then on, rises up from within to fill them again and again, like rivers of living water. Jesus promises spiritual abundance, joy and satisfaction.

V40-43 The crowd continues to be divided in its opinion of him. Since he fulfills the Scripture, many are prepared to believe that he is the prophet spoken of by Moses Deut 18.15. Some believed him to be the Christ. But others dispute this, for they argued that since the Scripture said that Christ was to come from Bethlehem, how could a man from Nazareth be the Christ? NB Where was Jesus born?

v44 Other sin the crowd were stirred to kill him, but still could not lay a hand on him.

 

 

The Invincible Christ

V45 Now the temple guard were in for a grilling. They had been sent to arrest Jesus but returned empty handed. "Why have you not brought him?" ask the Pharisees.

They had not been hindered by the crowds, or fought off by the disciples, nor had Jesus rebuked them.

V46 They had simply heard his teaching. It struck a note in their hearts, whether of faith or terror we are not sure. They simply confess "No one ever spoke like this man!" They realized he was a holy man and were too afraid in the fear of God to lay a finger on him.

V47,49 The Pharisees and chief priests accuse them of believing in Jesus and being taken in by him. How was it that the common people heard him gladly but the rulers had not? They expected the people to follow them, relying on their knowledge and interpretation of the law. They considered themselves superior and all who disagreed with them were cursed. ROM 2.17-20.

V50-51 Nicodemus who had been to Jesus by night and heard him speak of the new birth stands up for Jesus in the Sanhedrin. He knew they intended to kill Jesus. Since they are appealing to the law for their authority, he appeals to the same law to show that they have no authority over a man who has done no wrong. At least, he should have a trial in front of witnesses and be allowed to speak for himself.

 

V52 They were wrong of course, blinded by their prejudice. They had formed their opinion as judge and jury without giving Jesus a fair hearing. They were wrong to claim there were no prophecies in the scripture about a prophet coming from Galilee. Someone much greater than a prophet was to come out of Galilee. Isa 9.1,2

 

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