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John 7:1-25 (web)

The Feast of Tabernacles: Part I

Unbelieving Brethren

7:1 After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee,
for he wouldn't walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.
7:2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand.
7:3 His brothers therefore said to him,
"Depart from here, and go into Judea,
that your disciples also may see your works which you do.
7:4 For no one does anything in secret, and himself seeks to be known openly.
If you do these things, reveal yourself to the world."
7:5 For even his brothers didn't believe in him.

7:6 Jesus therefore said to them,
"My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.
7:7 The world can't hate you, but it hates me,
because I testify about it, that its works are evil.
7:8 You go up to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast,
because my time is not yet fulfilled."
7:9 Having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee.
7:10 But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
then he also went up, not publicly, but as it were in secret.

7:11 The Jews therefore sought him at the feast, and said, "Where is he?"
7:12 There was much murmuring among the multitudes concerning him.
Some said, "He is a good man."
Others said, "Not so, but he leads the multitude astray."
7:13 Yet no one spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews.

7:14 But when it was now the midst of the feast,
Jesus went up into the temple and taught.
7:15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying,
"How does this man know letters, having never been educated?"
7:16 Jesus therefore answered them,
"My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.
7:17 If anyone desires to do his will, he will know about the teaching,
whether it is from God, or if I am speaking from myself.
7:18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory,
but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him,
the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
7:19 Didn't Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law?
Why do you seek to kill me?"

7:20 The multitude answered,"You have a demon! Who seeks to kill you?"
7:21 Jesus answered them, "I did one work, and you all marvel because of it.
7:22 Moses has given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers),
and on the Sabbath you circumcise a boy.
7:23 If a boy receives circumcision on the Sabbath,
that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me,
because I made a man every bit whole on the Sabbath?
7:24 Don't judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
7:25 Therefore some of them of Jerusalem said, "Isn't this he whom they seek to kill?

Discussion Questions

Growing up with Jesus as your brother, why might you not have come to believe in him at first despite the miracles he did?
How did your family react to you becoming a Christian?
Why should Christians expect to be hated by the world?
What are the advantages and disadvantages to a seminary education?
How can a person know whether Jesus' teachings are authoritative?
How do fools react when you rebuke them?
In what ways is Jesus' healing of the man consistent with Sabbath law?
What are some right and wrong was to judge others?


His brothers didn't believe in him

vs 1-10
The Jews sought to kill him because he humilates them, convicting them of sin. Rebuking people, convicting them of sin, is a dangerous ministry even within the Christian community. For it is particularly dangerous among the religious elite and those who are in positions of power. You may be demoted, slandered, shunned, and even thrown out of churches. Or in the case of dealing with Muslims you may even be murdered. But that is the Christian life. We must testify of the world that its deeds are evil. Some may misapply Jesus' words saying, "Judge not and you shall not be judged", and try to shut us up. But we will testify to the truth. Jesus set the example and commands us to judge, not according to outward appearance of religiousity, but to judge righteously. (vs 24) And  don't be gullible, "do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1John 4:1

Does the world love you? Maybe you're doing something wrong. If you're living the Christian life correctly then the world should hate you, just as it did Jesus. For Jesus said, "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." John 15:18,19 And John writes, "Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him." 1John 3:13-15

Jesus own brothers, such as James and Jude, did not believe in him during his earthly ministry. (vs 5) They hated him and disregarded his safety. For Jesus said, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household." Matt 10:34-36 And even early in his ministry when he started to heal people and cast out demons and started to get a following Mark records, When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." Mark 3:21  Such was the attitude of his family towards him. For a prophet has no honor in his own home and familiarity breeds contempt. And they were envious of his popularity.

Popular Truths

vs 11-13
People were afraid to take a public stand concerning Jesus for among the crowd he had those who support and opposed him. People easily become outspoken when they believe their opinion is popular, but are reluctant to speak their opinion if they don't hold a clear majority. This is just human sinful nature. The problem is that what is popular doesn't really need to be spoken out so much as people already agree on it. It is the unpopular truths that need to be spoken so as to influence people away from the misconception of the popular opinion. But that takes courage, and most people are cowards.

But then why did Jesus come secretly? Was he a coward? The problem he faced was simply to get to the feast alive. Then he could speak openly. For at this time no one was going to kill him in public. But if he had gone with his brothers, the Jews who opposed him may have ambushed him and killed him on the way there. And it was this reason that he often moved around quite a bit passing through Samaria and going to Galillee. Even as an infant his parents had to move around because government officials sought to have him put to death.

Seminary Training?

vs 14-15
Here in the midst of the feast he goes to the temple to teach. Since his youth Jesus had been an outstanding teacher. He spoken in the temple when he was 12 and it is written, "After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers." Luke 2:46,47 Jesus had no formal theological training.  There's an example to follow. You don't have to go to seminary to do ministry. I didn't, and I wouldn't even recommend going, based upon my experience of what I've seen come out of seminaries. What comes out of seminaries is often an attitude of religious eliteness characteristic of Jesus' enemies, contemptuous of lay ministry.  And thus the "church" becomes a place where a pastor simply lectures his stupid sheep whom he reckons incapable of doing anything but the most menial tasks. What is needed is not titles and degees but rather to simply to apply the Bible to life. We learn alot by living with Jesus. For we notice the same effect on Jesus' apostles. "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Ac 4:13

Jesus' Teachings Authoritative?

How do we know Jesus' teachings are authoritative? Skeptics will not be convinced simply through reason if they have already chosen to willfully not do God's will. In one of his parables Jesus says, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." Luke 16:31 There are plenty of miracles and other such evidences affirming Jesus' testimony. The problem is that the cynic is often so corrupted by willful disobedience so as to render their reasoning useless. Paul speaks of this effect in Romans chapter 1. "Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done." Rom 1:28 It is because of the corruption of the mind and the conscience that a person must cooperate with God as He draws them to Christ before they can come to the revelation of the significance of Christ's teachings. In the previous chapter Jesus said,  "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." Joh 6:44 One cannot come to faith in Christ until one has developed an attitude of submission and obedience, being willing to do God's will. If you're not willing to do God's will then you've come to the wrong place.

The Spirit of the Law

Interesting that at first the Jews denied trying to kill him, and yet in verse 25 some say, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill?"
Speaking frankly of this matter Jesus attempted to humilate them convicting them of sin. But Proverbs 9:8  indicates, "Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you." Not that such is a command, but rather a proverbial observation of human nature. Jesus frequently rebukes fools, and they end up hating him, even crucifying him. That's just part of the Christian life.

They claimed he was possessed of a demonic spirit, but Jesus showed that his actions were consistent with the spirit of the Law. The spirit of the Sabbath is to give man rest and to make men whole. That is what he did in healing the paralytic. We should judge, just as Jesus says here, and just as John writes, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1John 4:1 But such judgements should be make in accordance with the spirit and not simply by letter. I have seen a number of examples where even popular religous figures will misinterpret the sense of someone else's writings so as to falsely accuse and condemn using straw man arguments.

NIV version used in comments

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Aug 15,2020