Sustained by God’s Word of Love
John 7:1-24. Jesus returns to Galilee and meets with his brothers who urge him to go to Judea to attend the Festival of Shelters (also known as the Festival of Booths or Tabernacles). This was a fall agricultural celebration that commemorated God’s providing for the people during their journey in the desert following the exodus from Egypt (Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:33-43; Deuteronomy 16:13-17). Jesus attends the festival in secret, but midway through the festival he teaches in the Temple. The Jewish authorities are surprised by Jesus’s teachings and knowledge.
Jesus answered, “What I teach is not my own teaching, but it comes from God, who sent me.”
1After this, Jesus traveled in Galilee; he did not want to travel in Judea, because the Jewish authorities there were wanting to kill him.2 The time for the Festival of Shelters was near,3so Jesus' brothers said to him, “Leave this place and go to Judea, so that your followers will see the things that you are doing.4People don't hide what they are doing if they want to be well known. Since you are doing these things, let the whole world know about you!” (5Not even his brothers believed in him.)
6Jesus said to them, “The right time for me has not yet come. Any time is right for you.7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I keep telling it that its ways are bad.8You go on to the festival. I am not going to this festival, because the right time has not come for me.”9He said this and then stayed on in Galilee.
10After his brothers had gone to the festival, Jesus also went; however, he did not go openly, but secretly.11The Jewish authorities were looking for him at the festival. “Where is he?” they asked.
12There was much whispering about him in the crowd. “He is a good man,” some people said. “No,” others said, “he fools the people.”13But no one talked about him openly, because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities.
14The festival was nearly half over when Jesus went to the Temple and began teaching.15The Jewish authorities were greatly surprised and said, “How does this man know so much when he has never been to school?”
16Jesus answered, “What I teach is not my own teaching, but it comes from God, who sent me.17Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority.18Those who speak on their own authority are trying to gain glory for themselves. But he who wants glory for the one who sent him is honest, and there is nothing false in him.19Moses gave you the Law, didn't he? But not one of you obeys the Law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
20“You have a demon in you!” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
21Jesus answered, “I performed one miracle, and you were all surprised.22 Moses ordered you to circumcise your sons (although it was not Moses but your ancestors who started it), and so you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath.23 If a boy is circumcised on the Sabbath so that Moses' Law is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?24Stop judging by external standards, and judge by true standards.”
In urging Jesus to go to Judea, Jesus’s brothers were implying that proof of his works was needed, an indication they did not believe in him. What did Jesus’s brothers say to him (verses 3, 4)? How did Jesus respond (verses 6-8)? Note that Jesus again mentions that his “time” has not yet come. In matters of faith today, do people still seek “proof?” Why did Jesus decide to attend the Festival of Shelters secretly? How did Jesus respond to the Jewish authorities when Jesus began to teach in the Temple?
Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God and that your teachings come from God. I seek to do what God wants and to serve you as a faithful disciple. Amen.
Those who seek to do God’s will
John 7:25-52: Jesus continues teaching in the Temple.