Read John 7:1-53
1After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. 2But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 5For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
6Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." 9Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.
10However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?"
12Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man."
Others replied, "No, he deceives the people." 13But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.
14Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having studied?"
16Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. 17If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?"
20"You are demon-possessed," the crowd answered. "Who is trying to kill you?"
21Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. 22Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. 23Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? 24Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."
25At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, "Isn't this the man they are trying to kill? 26Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Christ? 27But we know where this man is from; when the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from."
28Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, "Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29but I know him because I am from him and he sent me."
30At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his time had not yet come. 31Still, many in the crowd put their faith in him. They said, "When the Christ comes, will he do more miraculous signs than this man?"
32The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.
33Jesus said, "I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me. 34You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come."
35The Jews said to one another, "Where does this man intend to go that we cannot find him? Will he go where our people live scattered among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 36What did he mean when he said, 'You will look for me, but you will not find me,' and 'Where I am, you cannot come'?"
37On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.
40On hearing his words, some of the people said, "Surely this man is the Prophet."
41Others said, "He is the Christ."
Still others asked, "How can the Christ come from Galilee? 42Does not the Scripture say that the Christ will come from David's family and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?" 43Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. 44Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.
45Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why didn't you bring him in?"
46"No one ever spoke the way this man does," the guards declared.
47"You mean he has deceived you also?" the Pharisees retorted. 48"Has any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in him? 49No! But this mob that knows nothing of the law — there is a curse on them."
50Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked, 51"Does our law condemn anyone without first hearing him to find out what he is doing?"
52They replied, "Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee."
53Then each went to his own home.
In this 7th Chapter of John, he brings forth the reaction of different kinds of people to who Jesus was. He begins with his brothers who kind of tease him a bit. We know this because John tells us that they did not believe in him at this time. They sort of dare him to come to the festival with them and do some miracles for all to see. Jesus says he won’t go with them because it is not the best opportunity for him to go. They don’t understand that he will go, just not with them as he waits until he knows the crowds will be at their largest and give him the best opportunity to speak to the public. They represent the many in the church who really don’t see our faith as a truly a life and death issue. Too many people in churches have yet to set their faith at this level.
When Jesus arrives at the festival which is held in September after the harvest season and lasts for 8 days, he begins to teach in the temple. And from there we see the other reactions to the Jesus. There are the chief priest and Pharisees who have utter hatred for Jesus. Jesus is a threat to their way of life. They use religion as a way to make themselves rich. And unfortunately, today we have the same thing. We even see this with in our political structure today. Almost every politician, regardless of party, becomes rich if they can become a multi term elected official at the national level. I think all too often, they oppose anything that threatens that status. And in our churches and denominations struggle with this. There are those who want to keep religion very controlling so that they can direct everything about it. I think this is why so many young people are turning away. The hypocrisy of the leaders is too high at times.
And then there is the reaction of the people. We see that some hear and believe. Jesus will reiterate this to Thomas later in the Gospel when he tells Thomas, you believe because you see, blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. (John 20:29). And others are not sure, but they are listening. And then others simply think Jesus is a madman.
And part of the argument is around, “where is Jesus from.” This is a question that will be readdressed with the disciples at the last supper. Jesus will say again to his disciples, where I am going, you cannot follow. They too, at the time do not understand. It is only after the resurrection do we realize that Jesus has been speaking of heaven and the people keep wanting to know about an earthly place. This is a big problem in our walk of confusing earthly things with heavenly things. We see earthly problems such as pain and disease as a heavenly thing. And they are not. The life we life here is a fallen life and the life we are going to is a restored life. We so want the restored life to be now. We are not willing to wait with God until the time is right so that more people might come to know the love of God in Christ. Christ waits to come out of his great love for the ones who do not love him yet. That is such a hard concept for us to take hold off because while he waits, we all still suffer from the effects of a fallen world. But when he comes, it will all change.
How did you first believe in Christ? How has that faith changed over the years? For me, it was in my teenage years that Christ became real. But as I have grown and lived in his trust for me, my faith has grown so that I can endure more things. I am also still a work in progress and hope to continue to grow in my faith.
Any other questions about this chapter?
Blessings and Peace