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IN JERUSALEM FOR JEWISH FESTIVALS
85. Family opposition (John 7:1-13)
At one stage of his ministry Jesus spent time in Jerusalem attending some annual Jewish festivals. The first of these was the Feast of Tabernacles (GNB: Festival of Shelters), when Jews lived in temporary shelters in memory of the time their ancestors dwelt in the wilderness. It also marked the end of the agricultural year, when all the produce of the land had been gathered in and the people rejoiced in thanksgiving to God (Leviticus 23:33-43; Deuteronomy 16:13-15). People usually flocked to Jerusalem for the festival. Jesus’ brothers therefore suggested that if he was the Messiah (which they doubted), this was a good opportunity to prove it openly by performing spectacular miracles (John 7:1-5).
Self-seeking people might welcome the chance to prove their claims, but Jesus refused. He would continue to preach God’s message faithfully, even if people hated him for it. He would not use the Feast of Tabernacles to show himself as the Messiah, but would await the time appointed by his Father (John 7:6-9). Later, when he did attend the feast, he avoided publicity. He was now well known throughout the country, and attracted interest and comment wherever he went (John 7:10-13).
86. Jesus teaches in the temple (John 7:14-44)
The Feast of Tabernacles lasted a week. After the excitement of the first two or three days had died down, Jesus began to teach in the temple. People were impressed with his teaching, though he taught not to gain honour for himself but to bring glory to God who had sent him. If people loved God and wanted to do his will, they would see that what Jesus taught was the truth of God (John 7:14-18). The Jews accused Jesus of breaking the law, because on a previous occasion he had healed a man on the Sabbath (see John 5:1-16). But, replied Jesus, they themselves did not hesitate to circumcise a child on the Sabbath (John 7:19-24).
People were amazed at Jesus’ boldness in so speaking, and even more amazed that he was not arrested and killed. Maybe, some thought, the religious leaders were convinced that he was the Messiah. They soon changed their minds, however, when they remembered that Jesus was from Galilee. They had always believed that no one would know where the Messiah would come from. Jesus pointed out to them that his real place of origin was not Galilee, but heaven. He was sent by God (John 7:25-29).
The words of Jesus caused division among the Jews, with some bitterly opposed to him and others convinced that he was the Messiah. The leaders of the Sanhedrin became concerned that many were believing in Jesus, and they sent temple guards to arrest him. But the temple guards were powerless to do anything. No one could arrest or kill him until the time appointed by his Father. When that time arrived he would die, rise to life, and return to his Father in heaven. His opponents would not be able to find him, because he would be in a place that they could never reach. Their unbelief excluded them from heaven eternally (John 7:30-34).
Again the Jews misunderstood Jesus’ words. They thought that when he said he was going away, he was planning to go preaching among the Gentiles (John 7:35-36).
Jesus brought the feast to a fitting climax by offering to satisfy all who, in their spiritual need, came to him for help. He would work a life-giving change within them. After returning to his Father, he would send the Holy Spirit to dwell within all who believed in him (John 7:37-39). The people’s reaction to this teaching was mixed. Some believed, some were confused and some were opposed, but still no one arrested him (John 7:40-44).
87. Argument in the Sanhedrin (John 7:45-53)
The leaders of the Sanhedrin were furious when the temple guards returned without Jesus. The guards said that they could not arrest one who gave such powerful teaching. Angrily the rulers replied that perhaps some of the uneducated masses believed in Jesus, but certainly none of the teachers, leaders, or other well instructed Jews (John 7:45-49).
When Nicodemus, who was a member of the Sanhedrin (cf. John 3:1), suggested that they should at least give Jesus a fair hearing, he was quickly silenced. The Sanhedrin was not interested in finding out the truth, but only in getting rid of Jesus (John 7:50-53).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on John 7". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany