Summary: As Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, whispers spread throughout the crowd. Although unsure He was even present, Jesus became the topic of discussion. Many wondered about this man who He truly was. We too must decide who Jesus is.
Who is this Man?
John 7: 1-13
Our text deals with events that happened during the Feast of Tabernacles. This was a time of celebration and thanksgiving. Along with Passover and Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles was one of three pilgrimages the Jews took to Jerusalem each year.
While the Feast celebration provides the setting for the text, it is certainly not the focus. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, He faced continual opposition. Such a large gathering of people would have provided the opportunity many sought to confront Jesus publicly. While many believed Jesus was the Christ, the majority were unsure of who He really was. Some were curious, recognizing the power and authority Jesus possessed. Others adamantly opposed Jesus and were determined to do all they could to destroy Him. The people were challenged to determine in their hearts what they would do with Jesus.
While the Lord no longer walks among us in a physical body, this dilemma remains today. One cannot be neutral regarding Christ Jesus. You either accept Him as the Christ, Savior of humanity, or you deny Him. Indecision is an act of rejection and denial. Our relationship with Christ, or lack thereof, will determine our eternal destiny. I would encourage everyone to examine the facts regarding Christ, respond to His call for salvation, and serve Him faithfully.
Let’s examine the particular views revealed in the text as we discuss the question: Who is this Man?
I. The Sentiment of the People (1-5) – Here John revealed the sentiment of many toward Jesus. Notice:
A. The Animosity of the Jews (1) – After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. At this point in Jesus’ ministry, He avoided Jerusalem for the most part, choosing to minister in the outlying areas. He did not walk among the Jewish religious elite because they were determined to kill Him. They hated Jesus and wanted Him removed from society. He had gathered a following and they felt threatened by Him. Jesus did not “play by their rules;” He was committed to fulfilling the Father’s plan for redemption instead of adhering to all the demands and rituals of the Pharisees. John 1:10-11 – He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
B. The Attitude of His Brothers (2-5) – Next John revealed the attitude Jesus’ half-brothers had toward Him. Their attitude regarding Jesus is not what one would expect. They were filled with:
1. Selfishness (3) – His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. Totally unconcerned for the well-being of Jesus, they encouraged Him to go to Jerusalem and make Himself known among the crowds. “Go to Jerusalem and perform mighty miracles among the people so they can see who you really are!” clearly this was not for Jesus’ benefit, but for themselves. They felt they had suffered reproach because of Jesus, and if He worked a few miracles, it would provide some recognition for them.
Many are not interested in Jesus as the Christ, Savior of men’s souls. They are only interested in what He can do for them personally. Sadly, many are more interested in material provisions than their spiritual condition. They have no desire for salvation or serving the Lord.
2. Arrogance (4) – For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. Again we see their desire for self-recognition. They wanted Jesus to work miracles among the people so they could be known as the brothers of the miracle worker. They were not concerned with the work of redemption Jesus came to provide; they wanted Him to become famous and possibly wealthy.
This attitude remains today as well. Unfortunately many use the name of Christ for personal gain and profit. They are unconcerned with the spiritual needs of humanity. They see ministry as a tool to gain fame and fortune.
3. Unbelief (5) – For neither did his brethren believe in him. I am convinced this statement is true, but I am amazed by it. The brothers believed that Jesus could perform miracles and yet they failed to believe He was the Christ. Their eyes were blind to the truth and they lived in unbelief. (Many continue to live in unbelief although they have witnessed the power and presence of Christ. Some of these have sat on church pews for years, and yet refuse to respond to the Lord for salvation.)
II. The Discernment of Jesus (6-9) – While being pressured by His brothers to go to Jerusalem, Jesus was aware of their attitude and the animosity of the Jews. We discover: