Christ goes to the feast of tabernacles. (Verse 1-13.)
His discourse at the feast. (Verse 14-39.)
The people dispute concerning Christ. (Verse 40-53.)
1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
[Jewry – Judaea][tabernacles = a tent]
2 Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.
3 His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
[Matt 12:46, Matt 13:55, Mark 3:31, 6:3, Luke 8:19, John 2:12, John 7:5, Acts 1:14, 1st Cor 9:5, Gal 1:19]
“brethren” – Jesus had physical half-brothers and half-sisters. Mary did not remain a virgin all her life and had at least six other children by her husband Joseph. In Matthew 13:55-56, the people of Jesus’ home town said, “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?” The only point they were in error of was the fact that Jesus was the Son of God, not the son of Joseph.
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.
5 For neither did his brethren believe in him.
[Matt 12:46, Matt 13:55, Mark 3:31, 6:3, Luke 8:19, John 2:12, John 7:3, Acts 1:14, 1st Cor 9:5, Gal 1:19]
this verse cross-references with an Old Testament prophecy of Christ in Psalm 69:8, which says, “I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children.” At least some of Jesus’ “brethren” eventually believed on him as will be seen in Galatians 1:19 where Paul commented, “But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.”
James who later became the pastor of the church in Jerusalem was Jesus’s half-brother along with Jude who wrote the book of Jude. They became believers after their half-brother had risen from the dead
6 Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready.
7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.
8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come.
9 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.
10 But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
the Old Testament law required every Jewish male to go to this feast; Jesus would have to go to this feast to be obedient to his own written word. Exodus 23:14-17 tells us that there were three feasts all of the Jewish males were required to attend every year: 1) the feast of unleavened bread; 2) the feast of harvest; and 3) the feast of ingathering.
11 Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he?
The Feasts of tabernacles, or booths as some call it today, is a feast which commemorates Israel’s survival in the wilderness for forty years dwelling in temporary dwellings.
They would have to set these up and take them down every time the cloud moved that led them in the wilderness. The feast is first mentioned in Leviticus chapter twenty-three.
Leviticus 23:33 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
12 And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people.
13 Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
14 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
the people were guilty of worshiping the god of education. Many think that some educational degree is necessary in order to understand the Bible or witness to others. All God commands is that we study his word!
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
if the skeptic or atheist really and sincerely wants to know if there is a God or if Christ was what he claimed to be, the answer is given in this verse. Do God’s will and you WILL KNOW! The most basic principle of God’s will is to repent of your sins and trust Jesus Christ alone as Saviour. The one who honestly does this will know whether the doctrine and teachings of Christ are true or not.
18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
Jesus knew the letters because as John chapter one taught us Jesus was the word that became flesh, that meant his doctrine was the correct doctrine, and in any area that the Jews differed with Jesus’ doctrine, they differed with God’s doctrine.
Notice that Jesus said you would have to do my doctrine before you would know if it was of God or not. Under the law you had to be a doer of the law and not just a hearer of it.
19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me?
20 The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee?
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel.
in the context, the “one work” Jesus is referring to must be the healing of the impotent man on the sabbath back in chapter five. Note in verses 22-23 how Jesus is defending his miraculous actions performed on the sabbath.
22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man.
[Num 28:9, Matt 12:5]
23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day?
the OT law in Leviticus 12:2-3 commanded that all Jewish, male babies be circumcised on the eighth day. Often the eighth day would fall on the sabbath. If it is proper to mutilate a person on the sabbath, surely it must be proper to heal and restore on the sabbath.
24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
many today are under the false impression that they should never judge anybody or anything. Nothing could be further from the truth. I Corinthians 2:15 says, “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” The Christian is very clearly commanded to judge all things, not according to the appearance or his opinions, but according to “righteous judgment.” This can only happen if the basis of judgment is the written word of God. The person, group, doctrine, denomination, or teaching that goes against the Bible needs to be appropriately judged and pointed out. See Romans 16:17 where some people need to be “marked” and “avoided.”
Those who would go against scripture and piously say that it is never right to judge often pull Matthew 7:1 out of its context This verse says, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” The context here however is the hypocrite who judges others for the very same things that he is guilty of. The Christian must first be sure that he is living according to the Bible (“he that is spiritual”) and then be sure to judge all in the light of scripture. Failure to do so will eventually set the believer up to accept compromise or false doctrine because he will not have rightly judged the error the devil has set before him.
Women would have children on every day of the week and about one out every seven children would be born on the sabbath day. Was a midwife not supposed to work on the sabbath day?
They were no different than a doctor. Was the doctor not supposed to save lives on the sabbath, or was the priests not supposed to offer sacrifices on the sabbath day?
Of course they could and Jesus being the great physician could heal anyone he wanted to heal on the sabbath day, besides he was Lord of the sabbath and the sabbath was made for man not the other way around.
25 Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill?
26 But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ?
27 Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is.
These thought they knew that Jesus came Nazareth, but from in all reality, he came from Bethlehem. They thought he was the son of Joseph, but Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost.
28 Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not.
29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.
30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.
31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
32 The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him.
33 Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
34 Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
35 Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
“dispersed among the Gentiles” – this is a reference to those Jews who had left or been taken outside of Israel and were living among the Gentiles (anyone who is not a Jew).
36 What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come?
37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
[Exod 17:6, Num 20:11, Psa 78:15, John 4:10, 1st Cor 10:4, Rev 22:17]
38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
[John 6:63, 1st Cor 12:13]
These are partial quotes from Jeremiah 2:13 and Isaiah chapter fifty-five. When John speaks of Jesus not yet being glorified he is referring to his resurrection
40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet.
[Matt 21:11, Luke 7:16, John 6:14, John 9:17]
41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee?
42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?
[Micah 5:2 Matt 2:6]
Bethlehem was King David’s hometown. The Old Testament prophet Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 – “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”). Jesus was of course born in Bethlehem though many of the crowd did not know this; having seen Jesus grow up in Galilee they assumed he must have been born there. This verse should illustrate to us the importance checking out our facts and not assuming things.
43 So there was a division among the people because of him.
44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
[Isa 50:4, Matt 7:29]
47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived?
48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?
[1st Cor 1:26]
some of the rulers of the Pharisees did believe on Jesus – note John 12:42. The Christian should never allow himself to be intimidated in his biblical beliefs just because the “experts” do not believe.
49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,)
51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.
53 And every man went unto his own house.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-13 – The brethren or kinsmen of Jesus were disgusted, when they found there was no prospect of worldly advantages from him. Ungodly men sometimes undertake to counsel those employed in the work of God; but they only advise what appears likely to promote present advantages. The people differed about his doctrine and miracles, while those who favoured him, dared not openly to avow their sentiments. Those who count the preachers of the gospel to be deceivers, speak out, while many who favour them, fear to get reproach by avowing regard for them.
Verse 14-24 – Every faithful minister may humbly adopt Christ’s words. His doctrine is not his own finding out, but is from God’s word, through the teaching of his Spirit. And amidst the disputes which disturb the world, if any man, of any nation, seeks to do the will of God, he shall know whether the doctrine is of God, or whether men speak of themselves. Only those who hate the truth shall be given up to errors which will be fatal. Surely it was as agreeable to the design of the sabbath to restore health to the afflicted, as to administer an outward rite. Jesus told them to decide on his conduct according to the spiritual import of the Divine law. We must not judge concerning any by their outward appearance, but by their worth, and by the gifts and graces of God’s Spirit in them.
Verse 25-30 – Christ proclaimed aloud, that they were in error in their thoughts about his origin. He was sent of God, who showed himself true to his promises. This declaration, that they knew not God, with his claim to peculiar knowledge, provoked the hearers; and they sought to take him, but God can tie men’s hands, though he does not turn their hearts.
Verse 31-36 – The discourses of Jesus convinced many that he was the Messiah; but they had not courage to own it. It is comfort to those who are in the world, but not of it, and therefore are hated by it and weary of it, that they shall not be in it always, that they shall not be in it long. Our days being evil, it is well they are few. The days of life and of grace do not last long; and sinners, when in misery, will be glad of the help they now despise. Men dispute about such sayings, but the event will explain them.
Verse 37-39 – On the last day of the feast of tabernacles, the Jews drew water and poured it out before the Lord. It is supposed that Christ alluded to this. If any man desires to be truly and for ever happy, let him apply to Christ, and be ruled by him. This thirst means strong desires after spiritual blessings, which nothing else can satisfy; so the sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit, were intended by the waters which Jesus called on them to come to Him and drink. The comfort flows plentifully and constantly as a river; strong as a stream to bear down the opposition of doubts and fears. There is a fulness in Christ, of grace for grace. The Spirit dwelling and working in believers, is as a fountain of living, running water, out of which plentiful streams flow, cooling and cleansing as water. The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit we do not expect, but for his more common and more valuable influences we may apply. These streams have flowed from our glorified Redeemer, down to this age, and to the remote corners of the earth. May we be anxious to make them known to others.
Verse 40-53 – The malice of Christ’s enemies is always against reason, and sometimes the staying of it cannot be accounted for. Never any man spake with that wisdom, and power, and grace, that convincing clearness, and that sweetness, wherewith Christ spake. Alas, that many, who are for a time restrained, and who speak highly of the word of Jesus, speedily lose their convictions, and go on in their sins! People are foolishly swayed by outward motives in matters of eternal moment, are willing even to be damned for fashion’s sake. As the wisdom of God often chooses things which men despise, so the folly of men commonly despises those whom God has chosen. The Lord brings forward his weak and timid disciples, and sometimes uses them to defeat the designs of his enemies.