About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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Jesus Goes To The Feast Of Tabernacles (ch.7:1-13)


There were seven Old Testament feasts set forth in the Law of Moses.  They are Passover, Unleavened Bread, Fist Fruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles.  The Feasts of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles were required feasts to attend.  From John 7 through chapter 10, verse, 21, the backdrop is the Feast of Tabernacles.  This feast was to give thanks to God for harvest and the exodus from Egypt.  


John tells us in verse 1 that Jesus purposely stayed away from Judea.  He remained in Galilee.  Judea is south of Galilee and is where Jerusalem is located.  The Jews, meaning, Jewish leadership, were very upset with Jesus by now and were ready to take Him by force and kill Him.


The other three gospel accounts relate much of what Jesus did in His ministry in Galilee, but not John.  Much of what John records Jesus doing is in Judea, and especially Jerusalem.  


Verse 2 tells us that the Feast of Tabernacles was near. As I've said above, there were seven feasts set forth in the Law of Moses.  The system of feasts and sabbaths revolved around the number seven.  The sabbath was the seventh day of the week.  There were seven feasts.  The seventh month and the seventh year were holy.  After forty nine years, thatís seven time seven years, was the year of Jubilee; a joyous year when all debts were cancelled.


The Feast of Tabernacles was also called the Feast of Ingathering, because it began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.  It was associated with the ingathering of the crops of the field.  People would live in tents during this feast, thus its name, Feast of Tabernacles, or Feast of Booths or Tents.  People would live in tents in the fields as they gathered in the crops.  The feast began the fifteenth day of the seventh month (Tishri), five days after the Day of Atonement.  The month of Tishri roughly corresponds in part to our months of September and October, depending on they year.   


In verse 3 we note that Jesus had brothers.
They commanded, as the Greek text states,
that Jesus go down to Judea and
perform miracles so His disciples there could see
 His miracles also.  In verse 4 they also said that if He wanted to be "ďa public figure" He should not be doing things "in secret", away from the capital city of the Jews.  What they were saying was that He needed to get out of Galilee and go down to Jerusalem, the centre of the nation where He could get all the exposure He needed to fulfill His calling.  Their thinking was very humanistic, much like ours today.  Yes, in the secular way of doing things, going to Jerusalem where He could be seen by the elite would be the thing to do, but, Jesus really wasnít interested in becoming a public figure in their sense of the word.  He wasnít looking for a mass following. Nor was He aspiring to be a public figure and be popular among the masses.  He came to do a specific job, and He knew when and where this job would end.  It would end in Jerusalem , and He could not cause the end to come sooner than it would by going to Jerusalem too soon.


Verse 5 tells us that Jesus' brothers did not believe in who Jesus claimed to be at this point.  This suggests to me that their command for Jesus to go to Jerusalem might well have been more of a taunt than anything else.  They might well have been expressing some sarcasm here. 


In verse 6 Jesus says that the right time had not yet come for Him to go to Jerusalem.  For His brothers, the right time was any time.  They were not on a strict time table of events as He was.  They could go to Jerusalem any time they wanted without any repercussions, but not so with Jesus.  He'd be killed, and killed, way too soon.  This is another one of those Scriptures that we see from time to time that suggests that Jesus had a time table of events planned out in advance by God His Father.  He clearly knew where to go and when to go according to the divine time table. 


Verse 7 is connected to verse 6 in the sense that Jesus calls the world evil, and, that evil world would eventually execute Him.  Jesus says that His brothers could go to the feast because the world doesnít hate them as it hates Him. Nothing would happen to the brothers in Jerusalem .  If Jesus went at the request of His brothers He'd be executed from a hate filled evil culture.


Things really haven't changed.  The world is still evil and the world still hates Jesus.  We will see later on in John's gospel that Jesus tells the Twelve that because the world hates Him it will hate them as well.  The more our culture becomes anti-Christ in nature, and, the more we demonstrate Jesus to the world, the more the world will hate us as Jesus said.


Verse 8 tells us that Jesus told His brothers to go to the feast in Jerusalem, while Jesus stayed in Galilee as verse 9 states.  Verse 10 tells us that the brothers did leave for Jerusalem. 


Verse 10 tells us that at some point after the brothers left Jesus went as well.  We just don't know how much time elapsed between when the brothers left for Jerusalem and when Jesus left for Jerusalem .  One thing we know that Jesus went alone because He did not want to make a public spectacle of Himself.  John says that He went in secret.  The Jewish leaders would have expected Jesus to attend this feast, but, they would have also expected Him to come in a large caravan with all of His followers.  If Jesus had of entered Jerusalem with such a caravan they would have certainly found Him and arrested Him before the proper time. 


Again, we must note that Jesus followed a predetermined time table set forth by God His Father.  


Most commentators tell us the word "Jews" here means the Jewish religious and civil authorities. 


In verses 12 and 13 John reports that during the feast there was "wide spread whispering" about Jesus.  Some said that He was a good man, while others said that He was a deceiver.  The words "wide spread whispering" tell us that people were speaking about Jesus among themselves, but doing so discreetly because they feared the Jewish leadership.  They did not want to be associated with Jesus lest they get in trouble with the leadership as well.  Nevertheless, there was lots of talk about Jesus at this time, even though it was through whispering.  That was only to be expected.  Jesus had been performing many miracles over the last couple of years.  He had been teaching things that were strange to the ear that weren't culturally or religiously acceptable. 

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