In John 7:1-2 the Bible says, "After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jewsí feast of Tabernacles was at hand." From the end of John Chapter 6 to the beginning of John Chapter 7, six months had passed. We know that because John Chapter 5 and 6 have to do with the Passover, and the feast of Tabernacles mentioned in John Chapter 7 takes place approximately 6 months later. The Passover is in the spring of the year, and the Feast of Tabernacles is in the fall of the year. So from the beginning of John Chapter 7 until Jesus is crucified is 6 months. The last 15 chapters of the Gospel of John cover the last 6 months of Jesusí life.
When Jesus first came on the scene, a great excitement spread through the land because of the miracles that He did, and the hope that the people had that someone would come and deliver them from the Roman Empire and set up the nation of Israel to a glory surpassing that of even King Solomon. But there were two major things that happened that changed the attitude of the populace towards Jesus: 1. The people began to realize that Jesus was not going to set up a kingdom at that time. Did not Jesus say, "My kingdom is not of this world?" Jesus said things that they did not understand and that they did not expect the Messiah to say, and therefore they stopped following Him in great crowds. 2. The second major thing that can account for the change in the attitude of the general populace towards Jesus, was how effective the Jewish leaders were in making threats that if anyone became a follower of Jesus, they would be sorry because they would be made to suffer for it. Itís one thing to join a crowd and follow Jesus when itís the popular thing to do, but itís quite another thing when there is a price to pay.
The stage was now set for the death of Christ. He was no longer nearly as popular as at the start of His ministry, and the Jewish leaders had become better organized and even more determined to get rid of Him. But in spite of these things, no one dies until the time comes for them to die. Thatís true about all of us and it was especially true concerning the death of Jesus. God gives life and He takes it. Jesus decided when He would die, the Jewish leaders did not, because Jesus came to die for the sins of the world. Jesus was not put to death at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles here in John Chapter 7 because it was not the will of God. But He would die at the next Passover, because Jesus was the Lamb of God who was given to bear the sins of the world. Jesus was the Passover lamb.
John 7:3-5 says, "His brothers therefore said to Him, Depart from here and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see the works that you do. For there is no man that does anything in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world. For neither did his brothers believe in him." Jesus faced the misunderstanding of the other children that Mary had. They put pressure on Him to do things the way that they thought things should be done. But if you are going to do Godís will, you must be willing to be like Jesus: to resist giving in to the opinions of others, when you already know in your heart what is the right thing for you to do. The brother of Jesus thought that He should go to Jerusalem and declare Himself to be the Messiah so that the people could crown Him as King, but Jesus knew that He should not yet go openly to Jerusalem because He knew that instead of being crowned as King that He would be put to death, and it was not yet time for Him to die. There were still 6 months to go before the next Passover when He would be put to death.
John 7:6-9 says, "Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works of it are evil. Go you up to this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. When He had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee." In verse 7, Jesus said why He was hated. He said that the world hates Him because He testifies about the world, that the works of the world are evil. The problems of the world are the problems of sin, and the greatest of all sins is rebellion against God. When Jesus performed miracles, most people thought that was wonderful. When Jesus gave them bread to eat, they came and asked for more. When Jesus told them that He was the Messiah, they wanted to crown Him as King, so that their country could become the greatest country in the world. But when Jesus told them that they were doing things that they ought not to do, and that they were sinners who needed to repent of their sins and ask God for forgiveness; then they hated Him, because they did not want to change their ways or admit that they had done things that they ought not to do.
Donít make the mistake that these people made who ended up hating Jesus. Always keep the ability to admit your sins and to ask God to forgive you. Jesus said, "Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish." And Jesus said that the person who was justified before God was the one who bowed his head and said, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Itís the Spirit of God who will come to people and try to convince them of their sins. But if a person resists the Spirit of God, and refuses to turn from their sins, that person will also end up hating Jesus. Human nature has not changed and neither have the spiritual principles that were at work even in the day when Jesus was on the earth.
John 7:10-13 says, "But when his brothers were gone up, then went He also up to the feast, not openly, but in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast and said, Where is He? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Not, but He deceives the people. Howbeit no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews." We see how successful were the Jewish leaders at creating an atmosphere where it was considered taboo to speak in favor of the person of Jesus of Nazareth. There were people who believed, but who feared to manifest openly their belief. A similar atmosphere of repression of the expression of faith has been created by leaders in many parts of our society today. There are people in our society who believe in Jesus, but who never let it be known in the places where they work, for fear that it may hurt their careers. This attitude of the repression of public expressions of faith started in our society in the school systems, was reinforced by the court systems, and is carried on by the policies of many politicians and government administrative officials. Part of the motivation for this repression is the fear that someone is going to tell them that they are doing things that they ought not do. But what they have forgotten is that the morality and ethics of the Bible is good for society. To repress that which is good will only have negative consequences. We who believe cannot change those who refuse to believe, but we can change ourselves with the help of God: and one of our goals is to say what we ought to say about the Word of the Lord and the will of the Lord, in spite of the repression of those who do not believe. We do not want to be like those who kept silent as Jesus came closer and closer to the cross. If you are not willing to stand up for Jesus where you work, no matter if it will hurt your career or not, then you are not worthy to call yourself a follower of the One who died for you.
John 7:13 says that no man spake openly of Him for fear of the Jews. Fear is a horrible thing, and the fear of the opinions of others is widespread throughout the community of man. Sometimes humans are first affected by the fear of the opinions of others in their teen years, and we say that these teens do what they do out of peer pressure. Peer pressure is really the fear of the opinions of others, and itís more than teens who are affected by it. You must decide if you are going to be a follower of man or a follower of God. After Jesus was crucified and risen from the dead, the disciples also came under intense persecution from the leaders of the Jews in Jerusalem. The disciples were arrested and threatened and it says in Acts 5:29, "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
John 7:14-16 says, "Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knows this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me." When the Jews asked, "How does this man know letters," they were referring to the quality and the scholarly nature of the things that Jesus was teaching at this particular time. Normally, for a person to become a scholar, they must spend many years in a university reading and studying and writing. Of course, Jesus had not done that, because He was a carpenter for most of His life. But we know the source of the knowledge and message of Jesus: it was due to His unique relationship with the Father. It was a manifestation of the divine intellect. Most of the time in His teaching Jesus used parables and down to earth illustrations with a depth of meaning and spirituality to them that will forever be unsurpassed. But evidently at this Feast of the Tabernacles, Jesus taught at the level of the most advanced scholars, and the leaders of the Jews were stunned. Was this not Jesus of Nazareth, and we know that not even a prophet can come out of Nazareth, and certainly not a scholar.
To a lesser degree the same thing happens with believers. We know things and understand things about God that no one else can understand. Thatís because spiritual truth is understood more through the spirit than through the intellect. You can become a scholar concerning the things of this world if you spend enough time with books, but you can only become a scholar of the things of God by spending enough time with God. Itís interesting to note that most of those whom Jesus chose to be His closest followers were not the scholars of this world. It says in Acts 4:13, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
In John 7:17 Jesus said, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." Jesus came right to the point: the issue is whether the things that Jesus said are true or not true. Thatís what it comes down to. Was Jesus just another human saying the best things that He could say, interpreting life the best that He could and telling us what He thought; or were the teachings of Jesus the greatest revelation of the truth from God that has ever been given? Jesus told us what must be present in the heart of a human to find out the truth: and thatís a surrendered human will. "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." If anyone listens to the teachings of Jesus and concludes that His teachings are not of God, then the real problem is not with the understanding but with the will of the person. If the person had willed to do the will of God, they would have understood; but in reality they resist and refuse the will of God. They are self-willed, and therefore they do not receive the things that be of God. The strong and unbending will of man is the last and the greatest obstacle to the receiving of the knowledge of God.
In John 7:18 Jesus said, "He that speaks of himself seeks his own glory; but he that seeks the glory of him that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him." Another way of evaluating the source of the things that Jesus taught, is to understand an important point about the subject matter when you listen to anyone speak. You can tell some important things about a person by listening to what they talk about. And when someone claims to have a message from God, the thing to look for is who they talk about and who they are elevating and uplifting. If they speak about themselves and uplift themselves in an overzealous way or an inappropriate way, then that means that they are trying to bring glory to themselves and to their own name. They donít have a message that was given to them by God: theyíve got their own message. They use themselves as the example, instead of Jesus. They primarily speak about themselves, instead of the Lord. When you hear someone speak, and you want to know if you should give attention to what they say or if you should discount it, then simply apply the principle that Jesus gave. He said, "He that speak of himself seeks his own glory; and he that seeks the glory of him that sent him, the same is true..." There is too much lifting up of man and honoring man and following man in some Christian groups. We should rather lift up, honor, and glorify the person of Jesus and the eternal Father: we should certainly not be lifting up, honoring, or following those who are merely sinners saved by grace. If Jesus be lifted up, then shall all men be drawn unto himself.
Jesus said in John 7:19, "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you go about to kill me?" John 7:20 says, "The people answered and said, You have a devil: who is going about to kill you?" These people were very proud of the heritage that they had that related them to Moses. And of course, through Moses they had the law: the great law of the Old Testament, the righteous and holy law that was given by God so that the people would know how to live. These people were proud of their relationship to Moses and they were proud of the law. Jesus mentioned the fact that Moses had given them the law, but He also mentioned the great weakness of the law. Jesus said, "None of you keeps the law." There is no one who does good and sins not. Anyone who goes about to keep the law as the basis for being accepted by God is in big trouble, because you have either kept the whole law, or you are guilty of having violated the law. Thatís the weakness of the law, and thatís the reason for the good news about what Jesus did for us. Because Jesus fulfilled the law and then died in our place, we can be accepted by God even though we have failed to keep the law.
The question for each person to ask themselves is: are you in danger of condemnation because of having violated the law of God; or have you come to Jesus and received the pardon and forgiveness that will last for eternity? Moses brought the law of God, but Jesus brought the grace of God.
Copyright; 2000 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved