Through the Bible in One Year

Day 138

John 7:14-36

Yesterday we started John chapter 7 and saw the unbelief of Jesus’ brothers and what the crowds at the Festival of Tabernacles thought of Jesus.  We also saw that Jesus went to this festival in secret at first, and now today we see how he decides to reveal himself at this festival.

Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”

Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”—7:14-19

At the midpoint of the festival, Jesus went to the temple courts and began to teach.  The people recognized the authoritative nature of his teaching despite the fact that he did not have formal rabbinic training.  His teaching was authoritative because it came from God.  The key to understanding his teaching is obedience to God.  Jesus came not to seek glory for himself but to give glory to God the Father.  His opponents revealed their lack of obedience to the law by their desire to kill him.

“You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”

Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”—7:20-24

Some in the crowd were pilgrims and unaware of the plot to kill Jesus; some in the crowd suggested he was demon-possessed.  Jesus did not respond directly to the accusation but pointed to their hypocrisy.  He alluded to the healing that took place on his previous visit to Jerusalem.  Since circumcision was permitted on the Sabbath, why shouldn’t an entire person be healed on the Sabbath?

At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? Here he is, speaking publicly, and they are not saying a word to him. Have the authorities really concluded that he is the Messiah? But we know where this man is from; when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”

Then 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 authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.”

At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. Still, many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”—7:25-31

Some in the crowd wondered how Jesus could get away with speaking publicly, knowing that there was a plot to kill him.  They wondered if it were possible that the leadership had determined him to be the Messiah.  Others doubted that Jesus could be the Messiah since they knew where he was from.  The irony is that they only thought they knew were he was from; he came from the Father.  While they confidently asserted they knew his origins, Jesus stated plainly that they did not know God.  Once again the responses to Jesus varied.  Some people were so angry they tried to seize him, while others believed in him because of his signs.

The Pharisees heard the crowd whispering such things about him. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him.

Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I am going to the one who sent me. You will look for me, but you will not find me; and where I am, you cannot come.”

The 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? What did he mean when he said, ‘You will look for me, but you will not find me,’ and ‘Where I am, you cannot come’?”—7:32-36

The religious leadership felt the necessity to act.  They sent the temple guards to arrest Jesus.  John builds suspense in the narrative by noting that the temple guards were dispatched, but they are not mentioned again until they return empty-handed.  The crowd misunderstood Jesus’ comment about returning to the Father, thinking he was going to Greek-speaking Jewish people scattered abroad.  And that is where we will pick tomorrow as we come to the end of John chapter 7.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

1 Samuel 24-25, John 10:22-42, Psalm 116:1-19 and Proverbs 15:20-21

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