John 7: 1-24

hipster-christianAfter this, Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.

But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” Yet for fear of the Jews, no one spoke openly of him.

About the middle of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. The Jews, therefore, marveled, saying, “How is it that this man has learning when he has never studied?” So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him, there is no falsehood. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?” The crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?” Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it. Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well? Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Understanding And Applying the Text

Jews wanted to kill Jesus. When John talks about the Jews. He is not referring to the Jewish people. He is referring to the leaders. This is the case throughout the Gospel of John.

Being in physical danger made Judea dangerous for Jesus. So, He stayed in Galilee where it was safer. You might wonder why Jesus did not venture into Judea. After all, Jesus could by the mere act of His will rendered His enemies powerless. Plus, Jesus knew the time of His death. God foreordained and determined its time. The answer is quite simple. Jesus was obedient to the limitations defined by the Father. Jesus conducted Himself as a man who was liable to dangers. Throwing himself into random danger was contrary to the will of the Father.

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7)

Here is another hint John is writing to Gentiles, “Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths.” A Jew would know it was a Jewish feast.

The Feast of Booths is an annual feast where the Jews were to remember their fathers lived forty years in tents. Their fathers did not have houses to celebrate God’s grace in delivering them.

Jesus’ brothers ridiculed Him. Brothers, to the Hebrews, included cousins and other relatives. They mocked Jesus. If Jesus wanted people to believe Him, he needed better marketing. No one can believe in someone they have never heard about.

Jesus relatives saw things from a vantage point of ambition and celebrity. Much of the church today views Jesus the same way. They think they need to market Jesus. They package Jesus in a non-offensive attractive package. They ignore the fact that Jesus’ message, the Gospel, is offensive. Jesus offended people to the point they killed Him.

Even though Jesus’ relatives saw the miracles Jesus performed they did not believe. They were like the crowd in chapter 6. Jesus fed them. After Jesus fed them, they said, “Moses gave our fathers manna to eat. What are you going to do Jesus?”

People are the same today. “God just needs to prove Himself to me.” “Show me a miracle and I will believe.” The evidence is to the contrary. Seeing a miracle only causes men to want to see another one.

When Jesus said His time had not yet come, He is not referring to His death. He is referring to the time to leave for the feast. Jesus’ relatives could go anytime. The Jews did not hate them. But the Jews were out to kill Jesus.

Men who are not born again maintain their natural disposition. They are adversaries to Christ. This was true in the first century and it is true today. Why do men despise Christ? Christ condemns their works. The whole man is sinful and wicked. Nothing right, sincere, or good comes from a non-regenerate man. The first part of preaching the Gospel is pointing out the despicable nature of a man. The Gospel is not preached without summoning the whole world as guilty to the judgment seat of God. If you want to raise the ire of people point out the

If you want to raise the ire of people point out their sinfulness. Yet that is the first step in preaching the gospel.

It is by the God’s grace the Holy Spirit softens us. It allows us to withstand the reproofs as the word of God slays us. We soften the word of God for the sake of peace. Any peace that comes at the high price of abandoning Christ is cursed.  We do not want to offend. As Mary Poppins said a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down. But unless we taste the bitterness of our sin we can never taste the sweetness of Christ.

Christ went to the feast for two reasons. First, He was subject to the law. Second, a large crowd would be at the feast so he had a better opportunity to advance the Gospel.

At the feast, people spoke only in private about Jesus. This is an indicates the tyranny the priest and scribes exercised over them. Those who rule as pastors and oppress the people with fear and terror are no better. They terrorize with the law and moralism but do not tell the people about the grace of God.

There was a diverse opinion about Christ. Some said He was good. Others said He was leading the people astray. This shows that even in the Church there is evil. Even in the Church, there are those who deny Christ. There are always a few whose minds are well regulated. But the confused mob swallows them up.

Jesus went to the Temple to teach in spite of the fact the Jews wanted to kill Him. We should never put God to the test by placing ourselves in danger. But we should never let danger stop us from doing good.

The doctrine of God was corrupted by false inventions of the scribes. Christ took the role of teacher because He was the High Priest. He affirms this by offering a sacrifice to the Father. Of course, that sacrifice was Himself.

When John says, the Jews marveled, He is not saying they received Christ in a way that esteemed or honored Him. The wonder and astonishment of the Jews were of a nature that they despised Him.

They wondered how Jesus could know so much without going to one of their seminaries. In their opinion, His knowledge was not a qualification for Him to teach. He needed the stamp of approval from a recognized school. God decided His son would come from a carpenter’s workshop instead of one of the schools of the scribes. If it had come from a rabbinic school we might think the Gospel came from the mind of a man.

Knowledge of the Gospel, that is true understanding, does not come only by study. Studying is required but study alone does not produce understanding. Christ chose uneducated men to be His apostles. Even though they were with Him and studied under Him for three years, they did not learn the lessons of the Gospel. Only after Christ resurrection did the Holy Spirit enlightened them.

Christ limited His speech to the capability of those who were listening to Him. That is why He said His teaching was not His own. They saw Him as only a man. He was saying His message was not from man but from God.

Christ anticipates the question, “How can we know your teaching is from God?” Christ’s response to the anticipated question is straight forward. Anyone who wants to do God’s will, will know Christ teaching is from God. Sound judgment comes from fear and reverence for God. Those who fear God will understand that what Christ preaches is true.

When impostures come, Christ assures us that God illuminates His truth to us. Every time Satan can only deceive us because we want to be deceived. On the other hand, if we are devoted to obedience to God, He will give us the spirit of discernment. But there is little doubt there are few who are devoted to obedience to God. There is little fear of God in the world today. No one can follow God until he releases his own views and opinions.

“The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory.” Everything that displays God’s glory is holy and divine. Anything that aids ambitious men or exalts them, obscures God’s glory. It is from Satan himself. Satan tells us we can be a god (Genesis 3: 5)

Only if one who lacks the ambition to promote Himself can be a teacher in the Church. He must resolve to make it his sole goal the promotion of the God’s glory.

The priests and the scribes hated Christ for healing a man on the Sabbath. They claimed their hatred of Christ came from their zeal for God’s Law. But Christ points out their hypocrisy. They claimed no work could be done on the Sabbath. But it was OK to circumcise on the Sabbath even though that was work. The Law required the circumcision of a male child on the 8th day. Circumcision took precedence over the prohibition of work. In addition, they ignored the parts of the Law that required them to love their neighbor. They taught loving your neighbor and doing good could wait until after the Sabbath.

There was a similarity between circumcision and curing a paralytic. Both were of God. Yet, Christ maintained the latter was better. It’s benefits extended to the whole man. Christ did more than cure a man’s body. The Jews preferred circumcision to a clearer demonstration of God’s grace.

Christ tears their mask off. They boast about defending the law. But Christ allows them to see they are in violation of the Law. Christ points out they do not care about the law.

Their response was to rebuke Christ by saying He was crazy. Like all men they only saw the immediate events. No one was trying to kill Christ right then. But they wanted to kill Him and in time they do so.

They were right to hold circumcision in reverence. Even when they performed it on the Sabbath. They knew that was not in violation of the Law. The works of God complement each other. Why did they not arrive at the same conclusion about the works of Christ? Their prejudice prevented them from seeing the truth.

Jesus words are true. People have been and are offended by Jesus. They killed Jesus for His word. Why do we try to package Jesus so people are not offended? Why do we try to market Christ? Proclaim the good news even when it offends.

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