John 7:1-10-The Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles, or Ingathering) was the last of seven festivals held each year. It was celebrated during the autumn time and was one of three of which all Jewish males were commanded to participate by making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). During this time, the Jews would live in “booths”, small huts made from the limbs of trees, for seven days. The Feast of Booths served to remind the people of God’s delivering them from bondage in Egypt.
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In order to not draw additional attention to Himself from the Jewish leaders (since they were already plotting to get rid of Him), Jesus had been teaching in Galilee, far removed from the religious center, Jerusalem. But now, with the Feast of Booths at hand, His own brothers were encouraging Him to go to Jerusalem and perform His works. Certainly that was the place to be. If He wanted people to follow Him, He would have to find a more public arena. He should go to Jerusalem and “show Yourself to the world” (:4). While this may sound like good advice, actually the brothers of Jesus were mocking Him…because they did not believe Who He was (:5). Jesus tells them that it is easy for them to say such things…because they didn’t have to worry about people rejecting them, like He did. Because He speaks the truth, His words reveal the true nature of people, that they are evil. And for that they hate Him. Jesus remains in Galilee for a short time longer and then He secretly travels to Jerusalem.
John 7:11-31-The term, “The Jews” is a reference not to all of the Jewish people…but specifically to the Jewish leaders. Just as He had suspected, the Jewish leaders were anticipating that He would come to the Feast. There was much disagreement among the common people concerning who Jesus was. Some said that He was a good man, but others went to the other extreme and said that He was a false teacher. At the middle of the Feast Jesus went to the Temple and began teaching. The Jewish leadership could not understand how a man who had not been trained in a rabbinical school could have the amount of knowledge that He displayed (:15). Jesus told them that the knowledge that He had was not His own, something that He had learned, or figured out… but, it was knowledge given to Him by God. A man who teaches his own knowledge is only seeking to bring glory to himself. But Jesus says that He is teaching the knowledge that comes from God in order to bring God glory. He then asks them, if they really claim to follow the Law of Moses, why is it that they were willing to break that very Law in order to kill Him? Some of the crowd dismissed the idea that the Jewish leaders were out to kill Jesus and claimed instead that He was possessed by a demon (meaning that the demon was influencing His thinking…we would say it was making him paranoid). Jesus tells them that the religious leaders are opposed Him because of “one deed” that He had performed. This is probably a reference to His healing the man on the Sabbath (5:1-9). He then brings to their attention the fact that even the religious leaders perform deeds on the Sabbath…such as circumcision. If it is okay for them to perform that deed on the Sabbath, then what is wrong with His doing a good deed on the Sabbath? There was much confusion about who Jesus was…in part, because the religious leaders had not yet stopped Him from teaching. As a result, some of the people began to wonder if the religious leaders were beginning to believe that Jesus could actually be the Messiah. The response of others was that no one would know where the Messiah came from, but they did know where Jesus came from, so He couldn’t be the Messiah. This is not Biblically grounded, but was a popularly held idea associated with the Messiah. That he would be a man of mystery who would appear out of nowhere. Jesus responds that while they may know where He is from in terms of His birthplace…they do not realize where He is ultimately from, that being Heaven. As a result of this claim, the Jewish leaders were seeking all the more to stop Him. But because His ministry was not complete the Father prohibited it. Because of His numerous works, many people began to believe that He could be the Messiah (:31).
Prayer: Lord, what must it have been like for Your own brothers to mock You? For others to not believe would have been difficult enough…but it must have hurt so deeply for Your brothers to not believe. You had never sinned. You had never once hurt them. And yet, their hearts were hardened to the truth. Please Lord, make my heart soft and tender to the truth. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Let me see You fully and completely for Who You are…and to believe and obey You.