Harry Whittaker
Studies in the Gospels

107. At the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:1-36)

Three passovers had been marked by a resolution on the part of the Jewish rulers to get rid of Jesus. His teaching, his miracles, the loveliness of his character, his vivid personality, were all a threat to their standing and authority.

The cleansing of the temple had brought the first hostile reaction (Jn.2:18) and also a secret attempt to wreck his work from within (2:24). At (lie next Passover, the healing of the stricken man at Bethesda on the sabbath and the Lord's subsequent claim to divine authority made them oil the more resolved to kill him (5:18). After the feeding of the five thousand and the discourse on Bread of Life the first signs appeared of a split in the party of the Pharisees in their attitude towards him, and this made the more hostile section more determined than ever to be rid of him (7:1). But they lacked opportunity, for Jesus was preaching for something like six months in western Galilee. Spending a great deal of time quietly concentrating on the instruction of the twelve, he kept away from Jerusalem.

There seems to have been a period of eighteen months (5:1;7:1) during which Jesus left the holy city severely alone. The commandment that "three times in the year shall all thy males appear before the Lord God" |Ex.23:17) had to give way to the much more pressing duty of ensuring the loyalty and proper understanding of the twelve. As matters stood at present, to take them to Jerusalem would have ensured their spiritual destruction. The Lord's absence from Jerusalem also become a kind of retribution against them for their hostility (cp.8:59a,b).

John uses the phrase "walked in Galilee" as though to hint at Jesus being the seed of Abraham (Gen.l3:17;17:l).

But if was eastern Galilee (Mk.7:31; 8:13,22; 9:30), more Gentile than the rest, not Herod's Galilee, for Herod had now been persuaded by the Jewish leaders (who secretly loathed him) to give encouragement to the campaign against Jesus (Mk.8:15; Mt.l7:12)


Instead, "the Jews (the rulers) sought (were constantly seeking) to kill him." Their resolve to be rid of him became stronger every time they saw him. For this reason Jesus "did not wish to walk in Jewry". This tense atmosphere of increasing hostility oppressed his soul. He wanted to get away from it. It was a depressing business, to know that in all his appearances in his Father's house, he was surrounded by the hatred of holy men.

His life was now in real danger. To think that, on every visit to Jerusalem (which he could no longer forego; Ps.84:l,2; 26:8-12; 27:8), his personal safety depended (humanly speaking) entirely on the presence of the crowds of pilgrims from Galilee! Any attempt by the rulers to arrest him could have meant open riot in the city.

Jesus and his brothers

On the way south from Caesarea Philippi, Jesus had, naturally enough, passed through Capernaum. All through Galilee great numbers were making preparation to go up to Jerusalem for the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles which followed a few days later.

The Lord's brothers-half-brothers, strictly-had no sympathy whatever for his preaching activities and Messianic claims. So it was with strong irony that they said: 'You will make no progress at all in your campaign unless you show the people that you are a zealous observer of the Law. Even your own closest followers need to be reassured that you are not disloyal to Moses. If you miss the Feasts, as you have been doing, you will lose disciples. Let them see that you are as enthusiastic about works of the Law as anybody.' Since several of the apostles were related to the family of Jesus (see Study 42), the Lord's brothers would know well enough of the recent disaffection among the twelve.

Their reference to "thy works which thou doest" is commonly taken to mean more startling miracles', but the Lord's reply requires reference to what were conceived by them to be works of righteousness through the punctilious observance of Moses' Law and the rabbinic tradition. James, the eldest of the brothers, is known to have had a great reputation among the Jews for his close adherence to Mosaic practice even after his conversion to faith in Christ. So the advice, offered now in an unsympathetic spirit: "Show thyself to the world (ie. to the Jewish world —a common use of kosmos in the New Testament)," probably came specially from James. It was an attitude that was to change dramatically (Acts.l5:13ff).

But at present "neither did his brethren believe on him". This expression (with its Greek imperfect) might be meant to imply: 'they no longer believed in him'. But disbelief had been their attitude a good while earlier (Mk.3:21, 3Iff). So, tentatively, it may be surmised that some of their brother's remarkable miracles had imposed a change of heart —but not for long, because of his bitter encounters with Pharisees and scribes. If the apostles had reacted uneasily to those experiences, the strongly Judaistic brothers would be likely to react much more strongly.

There was a neat double meaning in the reply Jesus gave to his brothers: "My time is not yet come." They doubtless took this to mean: 'The time is not ripe for me to make a big appeal to either people or rulers in Jerusalem by a display of zeal for the Law.' But what he really meant was: 'The time is coming when I shall die a sacrificial death in Jerusalem. It will be a sacrifice to supersede all Day-of-Atonement offerings'(Jn.11:50,52; studyl42).

"But (he went on) your time is always ready." With their dedication to Mosaic observance they could always count on the approval of the men of the temple. Indeed the Jewish world gave ready admiration because of their strict Jewish orthodoxy, but for Jesus was reserved only a sustained hatred simply because he testified continually that their proud Pharisaism, which they thought to be a life of righteousness, was an evil thing.

There is some doubt as to whether Jesus said: "I go not up unto this feast", or "I go not up yet". The second reading (as in the AV) is better supported. But, either way, the meaning was that he had no intention of joining one of the organised caravans going to the feast. For "go up" (Gk.anabaino) was often used technically for 'a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to keep a feast ' the Lord' (see notes). If the suggestion in Studies 105, 106 that the Transfiguration took place about the time of the Day of Atonement, is correct, here is the necessary reason for Christ's independent travel. So the family set off without him. Also, it is not impossible that Jesus wos aware of a plot to have him assassinated (as though by hostile Samaritans; Lk.9:52,53) in the course of the journey (see v. 1).

A strange parallel

It is of interest to note at this point a remarkable and mysterious sequence ol correspondences between the first sign in is gospel (2:1-11) and this climax of appeal in Jerusalem (ch.7). Clearly John intends bis readers to see a special significance in this pattern of ideas. But what?

Chapter 2
Chapter 7
His mother
His brothers
In the midst of the wedding feast
In the midst of the feast of tabernacles.
"Mine hour is not yet come."
"My time is not yet come."
Then works miracle. Only those pouring the water knew,
Then goes to Jerusalem in secret
"He manifested his glory
"Ma ke thyself known to the world."
Water for Jews' purification
Tabernacles' ceremony of water-pouring.
"Kept the best until now"
"On the last day of the feast."
"The ruler of the feast knew not..."
"Do the rulers know indeed...?"

Some days later, after the Transfiguration on the Day of Atonement (Study 105), Jesus appeared suddenly (on the sabbath day! v.21-25) in the crowded temple court. People had been on the look-out for him ever since the feast began. The Jewish rulers, specially anxious to have word concerning him, bombarded his brothers with enquiries, for their spies had already reported that Jesus and the twelve had been seen moving in the direction of Jerusalem. Their enquiries were made simply that they might kill him (5:18; 7:1; 19,25; 8:37).Their avoidance of the name of Jesus — "Where is that fellow?"-was surely an expression of their loathing of him.

Varying Opinions

But the ordinary people talked among themselves about him. 'Whatever else, he is a good man', said some, 'see the kindness he shows to so many in their need.' Others shrugged this off: 'How can he be? He leads the multitude astray from Moses.' In his commentary John discards both attitudes as deplorable. Even those who conceded that Jesus was a good man where making a hopelessly inadequate assessment of him. So John uses the pejorative "murmured" about them all. Thus, whether critical or vaguely approving, with a certain fearfulness, opinions were quietly thrown backwards and forwards.

But no one now seemed to think it possible that Jesus was the promised prophet like unto Moses. His repeated avoidance of any political leadership had settled people's minds on that score. But until the rulers came out with some pronouncement, either favourable or adverse, regarding him, no one dare openly assert any convictions. The Jewish religious leaders were men of great power and unscrupulous in the use of it. Any man who incurred their displeasure might find life very uncomfortable.

Malachi allusions

Teaching by rabbis in the temple court was a normal feature of the Jewish feasts. Those among trie laity who wished to learn had splendid opportunities.

So there was no small sensation when, half way through that week of worship and enjoyment, Jesus himself suddenly appeared as one of the instructing rabbis.

It may be inferred from the gist of his reasoning and disputation that he chose a familiar scripture in Malachi 3 as the theme of his discourse. It was a prophecy concerning himself: "Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye seek (mark the biting irony there) shall suddenly come to his temple." Jesus did just this-he came suddenly to the temple. And the word "seek" became the key to all that he had to say: "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me."(v.34,36). But, alas, their seeking of him was for an evil purpose: "Why seek ye to kill me?" (v.19). "Who seeketh to kill thee?" (v.20). "Is not this he whom they seek to kill?" (v.25). "Then they were seeking to take him" (v.30; see also v.1,4,11,52 and 8:21,37,40,50). Similarly, Jesus referred to his Father time and again as "he who sent me" (v. 16.18,26,28,29).

Evidently some recognized the prophetic theme which he was developing, for at one point their rejoinder was: "We know this man whence he is; but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is" (v.27) —as who should say: 'Malachi says that Messiah is to come suddenly to his temple, and until that moment he will be unknown to Israel. Then how can Jesus of Nazareth be he, for he and his family have been known to many of us for years?'

In a way they were quite correct in this conclusion. When Jesus does come as the Messiah of Israel, he will be utterly unknown to them. This sudden appearing in the temple at Tabernacles was only a fore-shadowing of the real fulfilment, just as his triumphal entry into the city six months later also was.

Psalm 50

It is known that Psalm 50 was sung in the special temple services on the third day of that week. There is a marked aptness about some of these words which raises the possibility that Jesus used them in his discourse. "Thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee...

Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slenderest thine own mother's son (the reaction of his own family). . . Whoso offereth praise (to God) glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his way aright will I show the salvation of God" (this is remarkably like: "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the doctrine"). (The readings on the fourth and fifth days were Ps.94:16ff; 8-15).

A sequence of discourses

The tracing of the argument through the discourse of Jesus, here and in nearly every other place in John's gospel, is no easy matter. John may have written in words of one syllable, but assuredly he was not writing for children.

Indeed, the somewhat disjointed character of this part of the record lends itself to the idea that John is supplying a brief summary of the discourses of Jesus on the various days in the second half of the feast. Thus:

4th day:
v. 14-18.
5th day:
v. 19-27.
6th day:
v. 28-31.
7th day:
v. 32-36.
8th day:
v. 37ff.

The rulers marvelled, not only at the seeming effrontery of Jesus in assuming the office of teacher in the temple court but at the quality of his teaching: "How knoweth this man letters (s.w. 5:47; 2 Tim.3:14) having never learned?" (v.49; Mk.1:22;6:2). The surprised question shows that they had found out all that they could about Jesus' background. They knew that he had never been to college (ls.28:9; 29:11 RVm;40:14).

Clearly, this criticism was not spoken to Jesus; but he knew and answered it just the same. Unlike their judging of him according to his appearance (v.24), he did not need to "judge after the sight of his eyes, nor reprove after the hearing of his ears" (Is.11:3,4), and thus he further proved the truth of his Messianic claims.

Sent from God

The lord gave them the easy obvious answer, which they should have found for themselves: "My teaching is not mine, but his that sent me" (12:49,50; 8:26,28; 14:10,24; Num.l6:28; Dt.l8:15). In an important respect he far surpassed the prophets. They were men who from time to time were empowered to speak with divine authority: "Thus said the Lord." But the word of Jesus was: "I say unto you," because always and in everything his speech was filled with a wisdom and holiness and power which were God-guided and God-centred. It may be that he meant more particularly: 'In the instruction I give, I am expounding the meaning of God-given Scriptures, and not merely quoting the rabbis.'

Any man who heard him without deliberate prejudice was bound to recognize the fact. "If any man wishes to do God's will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." That question: "How knoweth this man letters?" betrayed the evil inclination of the rulers. They meant to tolerate no rivalry to their own spiritual despotism. This inevitably put blinkers on their eyes so that most of the teaching of Jesus became a mystery to them. This fundamental truth regarding a man's willingness to be instructed by the Word of God is to be traced both positively and negatively, in many a Scripture (eg. Jn.5:46; 18:37d; Ps.25:9,12,14; ls.66:2 Jas.l:21; Mk. 10:15; Gen.18:17; Pr.l3:13;3:7).

God-centred teaching

In further vindiction of his authority Jesus propounded a simple test: If a man's teachings self-centred, by that fact it betrays his sera motives and his merely human authority; but conversely, "he that seeketh the glory of him that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him." This was a restatement in terms relevant to the present situation, of God's counsel in Deuteronomy: Ifo prophet arises working signs and wonders this in itself will not validate his claims. The surest test is his doctrine. If the gist of it is: 'Let us go after other gods' (and there are other gods besides idols|, then his falsity is exposed (Deut.13:1-3).

When this test was applied to Jesus everything about him rang true. All knew how he avoided the plaudits of the crowd, how he; had disappeared from public life for considerable periods, how time and again he had warned people against making sensational' reports about his works of healing. Always sought to avoid the pomp and circumstance which could easily have been his. Always directed men back to God and the honour was due to him.

If only the rulers would apply to himself simple test. But it was not convenient! "Did Moses give you the law? and yet none of keepeth the law."

This charge was all the more pointed because in the temple court there was public reading of the Law at the Feast of Tabernacles (Dt.31:10 Neh. 8 :13-18; further allusions v.19,23,49,51; 8:5). But the arraignment did not refer to their personal wickedness, though on that score it was mordantly true. Regarding himself and the assessing of his divine claims they had carefully avoided applying the Scripture he alluded to. Instead they (the rulers) plotted to kill him (v. 1,12,13,19,25,30,32) because he did not keep the Law! It was a sinister plan not known to the common people (v.20).

The rulers before him knew how accuratelyhe had read their evil purposes. But the crowd listening eagerly to every word, thought this a fantasy of a deranged imagination: "Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?" Besides, he must be mad to assert that the Pharisees, all people, did not keep the Law! That early campaign of derogation against him, that I was possessed with a devil, was beginning to pay dividends.

Sabbath breaker?

The rulers, convinced that attack was the best form of defence against this exposure of their malevolence made bitter accusation that Jesus was a sabbath- breaker. Had he not, on his last visit to Jerusalem eighteen months earlier, healed a sick man on the sabbath at the pool of Bethesda? It was still remembered against him!

'Indeed, yes' was his reply, 'and your marvelling at it still is an acknowledgement of the divine power in me. It is that which establishes my authority.'

Quickly came the rejoinder: 'It gives you no authority to disregard the sabbath, which Moses bade us observe, and which is being read to us every day in this feast.'

Christ's reasoned reply was almost syllogistic. Another commandment from Moses concerned circumcision on the eighth day. But when the new baby's eighth day fell on a sabbath, which of the two commandments was disregarded in order to keep the other? It was, of course, the sabbath law which, by common consent, then took second place —for two reasons: circumcision came before the Law, God gave it as a commandment to Abraham; also, it was through circumcision that a man became related to God's national covenant with Israel. Then, if circumcision, which wounded the little child in one member, could set aside the sabbath rule, how much more might the miraculous healing which made an entirely helpless man entirely tit and well to do the works of piety which these scribes and lawyers set so much store by? Also, if circumcision, the sign of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 17:9-11), took precedence over the sabbath given through Moses, must not Messiah, appointed to fulfil the promises made to Abraham, have it in his power to supersede Moses' commandments?

Indeed, by his "therefore" Jesus seems to have argued that Moses was guided to require Abrahamic circumcision on the sabbath, when necessary, specifically in order to underline the principle that the Law was not inviolable.

Just judgement

Now Jesus rounded on them for their gross perversion of wholesome principles of justice. By contrast with the Messiah, who would not "judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears" (Is. 11:3,4; Jn.8:1-11). They judged "according to the appearance", in the worst sense of the term. They were utterly disinclined even to consider the possibility that a man out of the common people, and lacking the specialized training they themselves had had, could possibly have authority superior to their own. I nail generations and in all circumstances(even in the ecclesia) men in power are in love with power and will do almost anything to hold on to it.

Jesus sent them back to the exhortation specially addressed by Moses to the "judges and officers" of the nation-a commandment which was spoken to Israel immediately after the law concerning the Feast of Tabernacles: "They shall judge the people with just judgement; thou shalt not rest judgement; thou shalt not respect persons" (Deut. 16:18,19).

The rulers gave up. Their attempt to make Jesus look small in front of the crowd had gone the other way, and they were feeling sore and bitter about it.

Later, probably on the next day, when Jesus had resumed his instruction of the people, he attracted the attention of a group who were citizens of Jerusalem. The rumours about the rulers' antagonism to Jesus had reached them, and they were puzzled and sarcastic that a man with a price on his head should heedlessly show himself in the temple court: "Lo, he speaks openly (contrast v. 13), and the rulers say not a thing to him, lest (from his answers) they learn truly that he is the Messiah!"

Messiah from Nazareth?

But of course, they, sophisticated citizens of the metropolis, were not to be taken in by this Jesus. How could he be the Messiah! They knew about Jesus of Nazareth-enough not to be impressed. Could any good thing come out of Nazareth? What Scripture says that Messiah comes from that God-forsaken place? Isn't he to be born in the city of David? (Mic. 5:2).

Here was one of their great stumbling blocks. At this they stuck their toes in, and refused to consider the witness of all else that Jesus said and did (cp. v.42,52; 1:45,46; 6:42; 18:5,7, 19:19; Mt.l3:54,55). And, anyway, when Messiah came, would he not appear suddenly from no-one knew where?

It was a criticism which could damage the word of Jesus as much as the hostility of the rulers. So (next day?) he answered it, at another open-air meeting in the temple, with an appeal for honesty regarding his claims: 'You do know me —you know me to be Jesus, the carpenter of Nazareth, but also Jesus the prophet, witnessed to by John the Baptist, Jesus who swept your temple clean of its abuses, Jesus the healer of the sick and afflicted. And therefore you not only know my origins but also who gave me my commission to do these things. I am not the false prophet you would gladly make me out to be, but I am the promised prophet like unto Moses (Dt.l8:15). They sought to kill Moses (Ex.2:15; 17:4), and you seek to kill me (v. 25)'.

The Lord's repeated and emphatic claims to have come from God and to speak God's words (5:19,30; 8:28,29,42; 14:10) are surely an indication that at this time the hostility of the rulers was expressing itself in a campaign of misrepresentation: 'He is a false prophet, with a self-invented message, like those cursed men who withstood the witness of Jeremiah; the Law bids us stone such impostors to death.'

A prophet like Moses

The very prophecy about the prophet like unto Moses had answered also the problem how to discriminate the false prophet from the true: "How shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken?" (Dt.l8:21).

The test to be applied was: "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing 'which the Lord hath not spoken." By and by Jesus was to present positive credentials of this kind —short-term prophecies which these sceptics could check (v.33,34,38). But first he picked up that key word "know" in the Scripture which they had (apparently) quoted against him: 'You do know me, and you know whence I have come with my message and my "claims. Not just a Galilean carpenter, but one raised up by God.'

When he added: "He that sent me is true", he did not employ the word which contrasts with "false" or "a lie", but instead that which implies a truth higher than that which is taught by type or shadow. The Law had been revealed to Moses through an angel, but the message now proclaimed by Jesus came from God himself. It was personally intimated by the Father to his only begotten Son.

But, alas, "Him ye know not"—with any true spirituality I-so what hope that they would "know" His Son, the Prophet like unto Moses?

The emphatic claim: "I am from him, and he sent me", has been perversely misunderstood from that day to this. Today Trinitarians grasp at the first clause to prove the Lord's personal pre-existence, whilst quietly ignoring the implications of the second-for if indeed Jesus was sent by the Father, what happens to Nicene emphasis on a co-equality of the three Persons in the God-head?

It is true that "from him" is very emphatic, for the Greek phrase implies "from beside him"; but the identical construction is used about John the Baptist "sent from beside God" (1:6), and who is there who would insist that John had a pre-existence in heaven before being born of Elisabeth?

The rulers were much exasperated that the preaching of Jesus should thus go unchallenged, This Jesus was a big enough danger when surrounded by crowds in Galilee. Here in a Jerusalem thronged with worshippers he waso positive menace. So they schemed to get him into their power (v.30). Since their later method (v.32,45) was to attempt an open arrest by the temple police, this earlier plan was probably either the offer of a reward for anyone who would deliver him into their hands, or attempt a secret abduction by hired thugs.

Immune from arrest

Their plan came to nought. The divine reason for this failure was that "his hour was not yet come." Jesus still had much work to do. A close-packed six months still lay ahead.

The more "natural' reason for this immunity was Christ's popularity with a large section of the crowd of worshippers up for the feast. Indeed many of them "believed into him" (cp.8:30; and, later, 11:45; 12:11,42)-the phrase might well imply that many proclaimed their discipleship by public baptism into the name of Jesus. Convinced now by his public preaching in Jerusalem, their minds (they were mostly Galileans) harked back to their own personal experience of abundant miracles. 'When Messiah comes-whenever that is! -he won't do more signs than this man did, will he?'-thus implying (without daring to say so explicitly): so he must be the Messiah.'

These indications of the impressions Jesus was making on the crowd goaded the leaders of the people into direct hostile actions. The Sadducee chief-priests, who controlled the temple guard, and the Pharisees, who dominated the Sanhedrin, sent some of their police to arrest him.

They found him in the middle of an open-air meeting making a most earnest appeal to the people to use the opportunity which was now theirs to learn his teaching and give him full allegiance: "Yet a little while (a mere six months| am I with you, and then I go away (to him that sent me)". It seems likely that the words put in parenthesis here are one of John's editorial additions (as in 3:13), for in the ensuing discussion no notice was taken of the idea they express.

John leaves his readers to infer that in fact no attempt was made to arrest Jesus that day, for at the end of the feast (v. 37,45) the police were evidently sent again with the same commission. It may be presumed that the rulers (v.35) who accompanied them thought it a policy of discretion to countermand the instruction because Jesus said: 'Yet a little while I am with you.' In that case would not the immediate problem (that sympathetic crowds might make trouble in Jerusalem) go away? No need to risk a riot in the temple court by arresting him in the presence of this great crowd.

But how thoroughly mystified they were when he added: "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me, and where I am, thither ye cannot come." Here was a short-term prophecy which, when it came to pass within the year, would validate his word as a true prophet of the Lord.

"The Jews", that is, the rulers, speculated ironically that perhaps their opposition or his very limited success so far, would drive him right out of the country to initiate a campaign among the Jewish communities scattered throughout the Roman empire. He might even start evangelizing the Gentiles themselves. Wasn't it reported that he had marvellously provided food for a great crowd of Gentiles in the Decapolis?

Like Caiaphas and Pilate later, the sarcasm of these men (and also their speculation in 8:22) was in a fact a true prophecy. Through the work of the lord's apostles his gospel was to become a prairie fire amongst the Gentiles (a primary fulfilment of Is.1l:l2,14).

O.T. Background

There can be little doubt that the words of Jesus were intended to echo certain vivid prophecies of the Old Testament. The learned men to whom this part of his message was addressed would readily recognize the allusions. Psalm 50 has already been mentioned as one of the temple Psalms for the Feast of Tabernacles having remarkable appropriateness to the circumstances of Christ's appeal in that week. It also has very pointed connection with Hosea 5. Evidently the mind of Jesus associated these Scriptures with each other. His words: "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me" are an echo of Hosea 5:6: "They shall go ... to seek the Lord; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them." Little as a modern student might be disposed to see this as a prophecy of Messiah, Jesus himself evidently did so.

"Hear ye this, O priest; and hearken, ye house of Israel... the revolters are gone deep in making slaughter (seeking to kill Jesus), but I am a rebuker of them all.. .They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms (Jn. 8:1-11) is in the midst of them ('an evil and adulterous generation' was a phrase often on the lips of Jesus)... among the tribes of Israel (gathered at the feast) have I made known that which shall surely be. The princes of Judah were like them that remove the landmark (in their perversions of the law of God);?; therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like" water (allusion to the water-pouring ceremony at Tabernacles?) ... I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face" (Hos.5:l,2,4,10,15).

There are also some remarkable thematic resemblances between the words and incidents of this occasion and Psalm 40. These are best tabulated:

Psalm 40

John 7
"Many shall trust in the Lord"
"Many of the people believed on him
"Blessed is the man that maketh the Lord his trust."

"In the volume of the book it is written of me”

Allusions to Ps. 50,40, Hos.5, ls.55,Mal.3

"Thy law is within my heart”
Discussion on the Law. The reading of the Law at the Feast.
"Not hid (kruptein) Thy righteousness within my heart."
In secret (enkrupto).
14."he taught..."

"To do Thy will."
"lf any man willeth to do His will"
"I have preached righteousness in the great congregation.
"On the great day of the feast"
“he cried out”

I have not refrained my lips.'
Christ's earlier reluctance: "I go not up yet..."
"Preserve me."
"No man laid hands on him."
"Them that seek after my soul to destroy it."
"Whom they seek to kill”
"TheLord be magnified."
"Seek His glory that sent him."

This is not all. The words of Jesus would surely lead at least some among the rulers to recall also the winsome words of Isaiah 55. How many of them would recognize the astonishing relevance of that familiar Scripture to Jesus and the appeal he was now making?

"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near." The guess that he planned a mission to the Gentiles was doubtless prompted by the context of those words: "Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee."

The consequences of identifying this Scripture with the work of Jesus in their midst must have been shattering to these learned men of Jerusalem as they let their minds dwell on the familiar words. One logical conclusion was a tremendous claim to divine authority. Instead of "Seek ye the Lord", Jesus had dared to say "Ye shall seek me." and the context of those words surely meant that he was appointed by God as "leader and commander of the people" (v.4), one who would fulfil "the everlasting covenant, the sure mercies of David." Their very puzzlement with his discourse seemed to be foretold in the same prophecy: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways" (v.8), There was also a sublime assurance that his mission would not fail: "So shall my Word be that goeth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (v. 11). Most grievous of all to them was the divine imperative: "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts (the plot to take Jesus); and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy on him" (v.7). Indeed, had they been willing to accept the appeal and the promise, there would have been a Feast of Tabernacles the like of which had never been dreamed of: "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree" (v.13).

But, of course, this appeal of Jesus was directed most of all to those who were impressed by his message: "the many out of the people who believed into him" (v.31). To them his words meant: 'I am to be with you for only a short while longer. Use well your opportunity, The day will soon be here when you will long to have me with you once again, but it will be too late.'

These tense meetings in the temple court were to lead to a mighty climax before the feast was over.

Notes: Jn. 7:1-36

These verses belong to just before the Transfiguration.
In Galilee. There is not another word in John about the Galilean ministry.

In Jewry. This term is used sometimes of the whole of Jewry, and not just with reference to territorial Judaea: Mt.3:5; 19:1; Lk.6:17; 23:5; Acts.l:8; 2:9; 8:1 etc. So AV: 'Jewry' is right.

Sought to kill him. The list of passages (probably incomplete) on this theme is quite frightening: Mk.3:6; Jn.2:24 5:18; 7:1,12,13,19,25,31,32; 8:59; 10:39; 11:8,16,50,53,54,57; Mk. 14:13; 3:6.
Tabernacles. Strictly, the word means 'tent-erecting'; cp.Mt. 17:4.
The world. Very often in John (and not in John only) this means 'the Jewish world'; eg. 6:14; 8:26; 11:27; 12:19,31; Rom.4:13;Gal.6:14; Col. 2:8,20 etc.

Show thyself. The Greek word might even imply (sarcastically) a public display of Messianic power. Now contrast v. 10: 'not openly (s.w.), but as it were in secret' (Gk. en krupto, with his power hidden, without miracle but simply as a teacher)' Certainly there was nothing secret about his appearances in the temple court during the feast (cp. Jn. 18:20).
Go up. For the meaning suggested in the text cp. 2: 1 3; 5: 1 ; 11:55; Lk.2:42; 18:31; 19:28; Mt. 20:17; Ps. 122:4.
Much murmuring. Normally used in a bad sense. And others means 'others of the same sort.' He deceiveth the people; s.w. Dt. 13:5, hence v. 25 here. Also Lk.23:5.
For fear of the Jews. There had been earlier persecution: Mk. 3:6; Jn.2:24;5: 18. Now the campaign is really on; see note on v. 1.
True. . . unrighteousness. Note the remarkable antithesis. Not 'truth. . . falsehood' or 'righteousness... unrighteousness' Cp.v.l2;5:30; 1 Cor.13:6
Other examples of conflict of principles: 3:21: Mt.l2:5; Ex. 12:10;2Chr.30:13,17,18,23. -" Make a man whole. The only instances of healing in the Books of Moses are the healing of Moses' and Miriam's leprosy: Ex. 4:7; Num. 12:14.
The question requires a positive answer.

Seek to kill quotes Ex. 2: 15. Jesus was the prophet like unto Moses in this respect also.

This fellow. Literally: 'this one'; usually contemptuous; v.25,26, 27, and frequently elsewhere.
Cried. A deliberate aim at publicity; v37; 11:43; 12:44

Whom ye know not. A sardonic contrast with v 27a
Ye shall seek me. Cp. Lk. 17:22

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