St. John’s Gospel (20) - Conflict in Jerusalem (1) (John 7:1-24)
St John’s Gospel (20): Conflict in Jerusalem (John 7:1-24)
John 7:1–24 - After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. 2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. 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. . . . 10 But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret. …14 But when it was now the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and began to teach. 15 The Jews then were astonished, saying, “How has this man become learned, having never been educated?” 16 So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. 17 “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself. . . 19 “Did not Moses give you the Law, and yet none of you carries out the Law? Why do you seek to kill Me?” . . .24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
The Counsel of Unbelief (vv1-9) - Jesus did not follow the counsel of his brothers unbelief. They were taunting Him to do works of power at the popular feast of tabernacles in Jerusalem. This was their dare of a marketing plan to gain a larger following, like Satan’s temptation to gain the kingdom without the cross. The effect of Christ’s miracles often was to cause the crowds to lust after power or profit (John 2 & 6). Jesus explained that His time had not yet come, but their time to believe is now. Christ once again offers Himself.
The Source of His Teaching (vv10-18) - Jesus did go to the feast, but secretly, so as not to cause a premature triumphal entry. There is a buzz about Him. Some thought He was good, others thought He was leading people astray. Then when the feast was at its height He began teaching in the temple. As He taught, the leaders of the Jews were astonished because of His power and authority. He explained the source of His teaching: the Father. He made clear those willing to do God’s will, will know the truth of the teaching.
The Hypocrisy of Unbelief (vv19-24) - Jesus escalates the conflict as He confronts the Pharisees lawlessness: “none of you carries out the Law.” No one can keep the Law fully and certainly they were blatantly violating it in the plotting to kill Jesus. However, this plot was not widely known. When Jesus said this (v20), the crowds thought He was possessed. Christ explains the background to the plot (healing of the ill man on the Sabbaths, ch. 5). He reasons that if circumcision can be done on the Sabbath so can other kinds healings and cleansings. They judged Him falsely as a law-breaker and on the basis of His hometown. Their hypocrisy is clear on two points: they are violating the Law in plotting murder; they are not keeping the Law by condemning Him for doing good on the Sabbath. Yet, they were accusing Him of law breaking. He chides them,“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (v24).
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more