Isn’t it amazing? Here was God the Son, on earth to save us from our sins, and those He came to first (the Jews), wanted to kill Him. Actually, it was the Jewish LEADERS who hated Him because He is God and they wanted to do things THEIR way, not His.
“Booths” or “Tabernacles” was a feast of the Jews in which they remembered the time they (Israel) had lived in tents (“booths”) in the desert, after leaving Egypt. They also worshipped God in a tent (called The Tabernacle).
“His brothers” were Jesus’ half-brothers: named James, Joseph, Simon and Judas, as we see in Matthew 13:55. They were criticizing Him and telling Him He should to the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem to show everybody His miracles. Jesus’ half-brothers were criticizing Him. They had seen Him do miracles but did not trust in Him. They should have, just as we should. They wanted Him to do miracles for “the world”. All we need to do is love the Lord, trust Him, and turn our lives over to him completely.
Jesus’ brothers had been telling Him what they thought He should do, and this is so much like us. We often think God should do something that WE want Him to do, when in fact, we really should just BELIEVE in Him.
Jesus depended completely on the Holy Spirit of God, in what He said and did. He would know in the Spirit when it was time for Him to go to Jerusalem. His brothers wanted Him to be impulsive, but He was faithful to God. Jesus’ half-brothers wanted Him to do “tricks” (miracles) in front of everybody, so they could say “that’s my brother!” They were embarrassed by Him and did not know Who He was (and is). They needed to see that all people are sinners in need of the Son of God.
It was not yet time for Jesus to go to the Feast of Booths, for the Holy Spirit had not yet revealed to Him that it was time to go. He told his half-brothers to go to the Feast without Him. Jesus’ half-brothers went to Jerusalem but Jesus did not go with them. He stayed in the place called “Galilee”, which was north of Jerusalem. After Jesus’ half-brothers had left for the Feast, the Holy Spirit revealed to Him that it was now time for Him to go. He did not make some big announcement about it, but just quietly went.
The “Jews” were religious people who were attending the Feast of Booths, and they were arguing among themselves about Jesus. Some thought He was a “good man” and others did not agree. None of them understood that He was God. The arguments about Jesus were in whispers, because the people at the Feast were afraid of what the Jewish leaders might say.
The Feast of Booths lasted seven days and now it was right in the middle of that time. The Holy Spirit had indicated to Jesus that “now” was the time, and He began to openly teach the people. Can you imagine hearing Jesus teach? Actually, we CAN hear Him – all we have to do is open the Bible and read His words. Jesus had not gone to the same schools as the Jewish leaders. They were amazed at His teaching, for He knew much more than they did.
Everything Jesus taught during the time that He was a man on this earth came from God the Father, through the Holy Spirit of God. We see in this chapter of John that Jesus did nothing and said nothing, except what He was led to do by the Holy Spirit. If you are willing to trust in God and look to Him, you will KNOW that the teaching and actions of Jesus came from God the Father. Nothing He did was of Himself but all was done because the Holy Spirit led him.
Jesus’ brothers had wanted Him to do things for “his own glory”, but Jesus always sought to glorify God the Father who sent Him. God is simply the TRUTH – and there is no sin in Him. We are sinners but He is not.
The Law of God was given through Moses, as we see in the Old Testament Book of Exodus (and in other Scriptures). The Jewish leaders were pretending to keep the Law but they did not. Jesus now suddenly asked them, “Why do you want to kill Me?” (for if they wanted to kill Him, they broke the Law).
Those who were listening to Him started shouting, “You’re nuts! You’re possessed by some kind of demon! We’re not Lawbreakers!” They did not want to be sinners, and so they started blaming HIM for who and what they were.
The “deed” they were all talking about, was the healing of the man at the Pool of Bethesda, in Chapter 5. Jesus had healed him on the Sabbath (Saturday – the “day of rest”) and He was thought by the Jewish leaders to be a Lawbreaker. They were amazed by what had happened.
A Jewish boy was to be circumcised when he was 8-days old, and it would be done even when the 8th day was on the Sabbath. Jesus told them it was for that very reason circumcism had been given – that we might understand it is always right to do good, and when we do it is less important.
Jesus continues to teach them that doing something good for another person is always a good thing to do. If it’s OK to circumcise a child on the Sabbath, He was telling them, why were they upset that He healed a man on the Sabbath? It is better to follow God than just the commands of men. All people are judges because all of us make decisions by what we see. The best way to judge is to look to God. He is righteous and He will help us to understand. Jesus’ teaching was really wonderful and they were amazed by what He said. In spite of what they had said in verse 20, the people knew that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus. They now noticed that Jesus spoke openly and the leaders did nothing to Him. The people were wondering, “do the leaders know He is the Christ but they are just not telling us?”
The people were troubled about Jesus. They wanted the Christ, the Messiah, to be someone mysterious and amazing; but they knew that Jesus was from the area of Galilee. They thought they knew where He was from, but they did not – He was sent to them (and to you and me) from God the Father. Jesus knew their thoughts, and shouted, “You only think you know Me and where I am from. There’s so much more you don’t understand. The Father sent me, and He is true. You don’t know Him and that is why you don’t understand.”
We need to listen to Jesus, because He is the Son of God, sent to us by God the Father, and He is the One who has been with God and has come to earth. Some think Jesus’ death was an “accident”, something out of His control. But that’s not true. They could do NOTHING to Him, until it was His “hour” when He was to die for our sins.
Many people at the Feast LISTENED to Him and believed in Him. They saw that what He had done was WONDERFUL, and they had seen all they needed in order to trust in Him. We should trust in Him, too.
The Pharisees were religious leaders among the Jews. They saw that the people were trusting in Jesus, and they did not want the people to believe, so they sent men to arrest Him. Jesus knew it would soon be time for Him to die for our sins, and then He would go back to His home with God the Father.
Jesus, God the Son, was openly here on earth, speaking with people. But He would soon leave, and He would be gone. Then the only way they would be able to find Him would be to trust in Him, for He is the way (John 14:6). The Jewish leaders would not believe in Jesus, and therefore they could never be with Him.
The Jewish leaders did not understand Jesus. They thought He might mean He would go to other Jews who were in different countries, and teach them. It never occurred to them that He was going to die for our sins.
Jesus correctly taught them that, after His death and resurrection, they would no longer be able to find Him. For they did not believe. The only way to find God is to trust in Jesus. There is no other way.
Do you “thirst” deep inside? Do you want something in life and do not know what it is? Your deepest need will be met in Christ Jesus. You will no longer be “thirsty” when you trust in Him. To believe in Him is very much like a drink of water to a thirsty man. Something happens to us when we believe (trust) in Christ. The Holy Spirit, who is like “living water” to a dead, thirsty world, comes and lives in us. He is the source of this “living water” that flows out of ordinary people, like you and me.
Jesus was speaking of the Holy Spirit, who is given to those that believe in God through the Son. This would happen on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4). It had not yet happened because Jesus had not yet been “glorified” (He had not yet died for our sins).
Hundreds of years before, Moses had told the people, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren, Him you shall hear” (Deuteronomy 18:15). Some of the people were saying, “This is Him” and they were right.
The Jews who lived in the area of Judea, around Jerusalem, did not like the people that lived near Lake Galilee. They knew Jesus was from that place, and some did not want to believe, because of their prejudice. They just did not LIKE the people of Galilee.
They knew the Scriptures to some extent and understood that the Christ (the “Anointed One” or “Messiah”) would be descended from King David. They knew that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem just like it says in Micah 5:2. But Jesus WAS born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1) and He IS the Christ.
The people started arguing because of Jesus. And that’s still true today. Some like Him and some don’t. But the truth is – He IS the Son of God. There were some who were so angry they wanted to grab Him and hurt Him. But “His hour had not yet come” and they were unable to touch Him.
The “officers” were men sent by the religious leaders to arrest Jesus (verse 32). They came back to the leaders empty-handed. They had not arrested Him. The priests and Pharisees asked, “Why didn’t you grab Him?” The officers had been told to arrest Jesus but they did not. They were filled with wonder at Him and His words. They could not and would not touch Him. The answers of the “officers” (verse 46) made the Pharisees (Jewish leaders) worry and wonder if the men (the officers) had believed in Jesus. The Pharisees (religious leaders) wanted to make sure these “officers” had not believed in Jesus. They said, “WE haven’t believed, and the Chief Priests haven’t believed, so you shouldn’t, either.
The Pharisees did not like the people they were supposed to lead. They called them “accursed”, sneering that they did not “know the Law.” Actually, it was the Pharisees themselves who did not know the Law – their hatred showed they did not know God, who created the world. Nicodemus was one of the leaders of the Pharisees, and we first saw him in John Chapter 3. He was the one who came to Jesus by night and asked Him a lot of questions. Nicodemus was telling them that it was unlawful for them to condemn Jesus without first giving Him a fair trial in court.
The other leaders sneered at Nicodemus, accusing him of being a “Galilean”. And they were wrong, for the Christ WOULD come from Galilee. Isaiah (9:1-2) said, hundreds of years before, that “In Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who walked in darkness, have seen a great light…” The Messiah would come from Galilee. The people and leaders didn’t know what else to do, for the Feast was over, Jesus had left, and they had jobs and families. So they all went home.