Summary: As the light shines, the hostile opposition to it, & thus to Jesus the light bearer, grows. It was now dangerous for Jesus to appear at the Feast of Tabernacles. Despite the danger Jesus follows His appointed path but with wisdom.
JOHN 7: 1-13 [The 5th Discourse]
THE COURAGEOUS CHRIST
[Leviticus 23: 33ff]
John chapter 7 conveys the reactions of the world to the revelation of Jesus Christ. Again and again throughout this Gospel John has emphasized the difficulty and unwillingness of people to publically accept what God is doing in Christ. In the introduction to John’s Gospel we learned about the rejection of the Word by the world (“The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not comprehended it” 1:5) and His rejection among His own people (“He came unto His own, but His own did not receive Him” 1:11). For seven chapters now we have witnessed how Jesus enters as “light in darkness,” revealing the condition of the human heart. [Burge, Gary. NIV Application Commentary, Book of John: John. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, © 2000, 233.]
As the light shines, the hostile opposition to it, and thus to Jesus the light bearer, grows.
It was now dangerous for Jesus to appear in Judea, so that His appearance at Jerusalem at the Feast of Tabernacles must be carefully arranged. Even so it was a feat of courage, and an attempt was actually made to arrest Him. But though danger was threaten Jesus continued on His appointed path.
[In John 7 we read about Jesus in Jerusalem among His own people, struggling for recognition, being battered by questions, and in the end, being condemned by those who are experts in theology. ]
I. THE THREAT TO HIS LIFE, 1.
II. THE DISCUSSION WITH HIS BROTHERS, 2-8.
III. THE REACTION OF THE CROWDS, 9-13.
Verse 1 introduces a new occurrence. After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him.
After these things indicates that John knows what Jesus has been doing but does not record any of it. He is not writing a complete history of Jesus’ ministry. It seems He was going from place to place in Galilee praying, discipling, preaching, and healing.
It has been six months since the Passover Festival in John 6, and Jesus has been avoiding Judea because He knows the depth of hostility waiting for Him there (7:7). Ever since the healing of the paralytic in Jerusalem on the Sabbath His opponents had been seeking to kill Him (5:18). As time progresses their hatred increases until they finally do kill Him.
II. THE DISCUSSION WITH HIS BROTHERS, 2-8.
In verse 2 John references the event that created the interactions. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near.
The Feast of Tabernacles or Booths occurred in October (the second week) about six months after Passover (Jn. 6:2-5). It began five days after the Day of Atonement and lasted eight days. (Yom Kippur when the high priest annually entered the Holy of Holies to apply the blood of an innocent spotless lamb to the horns of the Mercy Seat over the Ark of the Covenant.) It is described in Leviticus 23: 33ff and was held in commemoration of the time Israel wandered in the wilderness and lived in booths or tents (Lev. 23:43). Each family constructed its own temporary shelter of branches to live in for the period of the feast. It also was the celebration of ingathering or harvest. It was one of three annual feast at which attendance was required of all Jewish men (Deut. 16:16).
The celebration of Tabernacles was also called the Feast of Ingathering or harvest. It was a time of thanksgiving primarily for the blessings of God in the harvest, but it was also observed with special reference to the blessings received during the wilderness wanderings; the time when God was pleased to manifest Himself in the tabernacle.
Neither in the tabernacle in the wilderness nor the temple which replaced it, was God fully manifested. The final and perfect manifestation of God was in Jesus, who dwells neither in a tent nor in a temple, but in men’s hearts by His Spirit.
Is the Spirit of Jesus dwelling in your heart?
We begin learning of an encounter with Jesus’ brothers in verse 3. Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing.
Apparently Jesus’ bothers had seen Jesus perform miracles and thought they were impressive and would impress others also. Their advice was to Jesus was to join the crowds in Jerusalem so the He might enhance His reputation and gain more followers. I imagine it would also good for their notoriety to be the brother of such a public figure.
From verse 4 we learn that most of Jesus’ miracles were done where the public was not present. “For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”