A word for the heart

by Peter Solomon

John 7:1-24 - Jesus risks His life

Bible study

Map of Holy Land

Introduction

Welcome to this Bible Study. I hope that you will enjoy this lesson and that it will be a blessing to you spiritually. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.

Jesus goes to the temple secretly

It was now October 29 A.D., about six months before Jesus was crucified on Calvary.

Verse 1 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him.

Because the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus, it was no longer safe for Him to minister freely in Judah (Judea) and in its capital Jerusalem so He moved to the safer Galilee. We are told in John 6:4 that the Passover was near so that would mean that the feeding of the 5 000 men, or rather 20 000 people, mentioned there took place a little before the 14th of April 29 A.D. This means that since then, for a period of six months, Jesus had been going around Galilee teaching.

Verse 2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand.

If you read Leviticus 23:33- 43 you will read that the feast of the Tabernacles lasted a week and took place just after the harvest in early October. During this week nearly the whole country went to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast and lived in temporary shelters or booths to remind themselves of the time when their forefathers wandered in the desert for forty years.

Verse 3 His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing.

Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (also named Jude) Matthew 13:55. His brothers had walked the about 43 kilometres from Nazareth to Capernaum, taking about 15 hours to do so, in order to speak with Jesus. They wanted Jesus to accompany them to the feast in Jerusalem. They had heard about Jesus’ miracles and that He looked upon Himself as the Messiah. They wanted to see these miracles for themselves because they thought of Jesus as a bit of a joke, a little mental, “He is out of His mind.” Mark 3:21

Verse 4 “For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

These brothers knew that the Messiah would come to Jerusalem, so if Jesus was who he claimed to be He should be doing these miracles in Jerusalem, the capital. This would make Jesus a political leader and imagine the honour they, his brothers, would get then.

Verse 5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

Throughout His life, Jesus’ brothers had not understood Him or what He was doing. Jesus had a mission to complete, or rather a particular task to do for God, His Father, and that was to save the world and lead them to God, and neither they nor even His disciples understood this.

Verse 6 Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

Jesus told them they could do things when and how they liked, but He was not like them for He was working according to the timetable that God had for Him. He was moving towards His death for all mankind at God’s appointed time.

Verse 7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil.

If you are different from other people and achieve things that they cannot achieve you will be hated by them, and this was the case with Jesus. His brothers, and for that matter His disciples, were part of the cultural, religious, political world of their day so they would not be hated by the world as Jesus was.

Verse 8 “You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.”

Jesus told His brothers that He was not going to Jerusalem as part of the pilgrimage crowds but that He would go later.

Verse 9 When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.

The natural thing to do was to go to Jerusalem as part of the pilgrimage crowds but He was working out the details of being the Messiah God’s way and not his brothers’ way.

Verse 10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

Jesus and His disciples must have travelled at night or used less-used roads in order to arrive in Jerusalem unnoticed. In any case when Jesus arrived there He was not recognised, for He looked like any other man of those days, with black curly hair, a brown skin and being about five feet tall.

Verse 11 Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?”

The Jewish leaders kept looking for Jesus amongst the crowds but could not find Him.

Verse 12 And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.”

There was a lot of discussion amongst the people about Jesus. Some thought that He was a good man but knew nothing of His Messianic, saving role. Others thought that He was an impostor, deceiving people.

Verse 13 However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

All those in Jerusalem did not speak openly about Jesus, but rather spoke to each other in whispers for fear of being over- heard by the Jewish leaders who wanted to kill Him.

They’re trying to kill me

If someone wanted to kill you, you would also be careful but you would certainly not go about preaching or giving speeches in public places. Notice in the next verse what Jesus did.

Verse 14 Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught.

Now about the middle of the feast when the crowds were at their largest Jesus appears and starts teaching. Teachers on such an occasion would draw large crowds and this is just what happened when Jesus started speaking in public.

Verse 15 And the Jews marvelled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”

It was obvious to everybody that Jesus had not been a disciple of some great Rabbi, and therefore He had not been to any rabbinical school, that is any institution of religious higher education. He was self taught and did not have a degree or accreditation in Theology, so they thought that what He taught must be wrong.

Verse 16 Jesus answered them and said, “My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me.

So whom did Jesus get His teaching from, Himself? Who was instructing Jesus? God sent Jesus to save mankind. Jesus was sent by God, Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34 Jesus spoke or taught the words God told Him to speak: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.” John 3:34

Verse 17 “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.

Anyone who wants to do God’s will, will welcome Jesus. Jesus says to them, “Think about what I say and you will soon see that what I say comes directly from God.”

Verse 18 “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.

Most people go about seeking their own glory but Jesus went about all the time seeking God’s glory. If Jesus was not from God then He would be doing everything for His own glory.

Verse 19 “Did not Moses give you the law law, yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?”

The Jews were proud that they were given God’s law by Moses, but throughout their history they never kept God’s law. Was Jesus afraid because of the threats to kill Him? No! Jesus just went on arguing with them.

Verse 20 The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?”

The crowd, which would have included Pharisees, said that no one wanted to kill him. They continued by saying that to speak like this meant that you must be demon-possessed!

Verse 21 Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel.

On an earlier visit to Jerusalem Jesus had healed a sick man on the Sabbath day, that is the Saturday, their holy day. According to the Jewish leaders this was working on the Sabbath and that was forbidden by the Ten Commandments. “. the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work ... Exodus 20:10

Verse 22 “Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath.

According to the Jewish leaders circumcision on the Sabbath was not work, for it was just obeying a later instruction by Moses. “ And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” Leviticus 12:3

Verse 23 “If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath?

Jesus told them that He had healed a man on the Sabbath and now they said He had broken the Sabbath by working on it. He accused them of judging by double standards.

Verse 24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

Do not think that an action is wrong just because it seems to be wrong, but look at the moral and religious reasons behind the action before passing judgement. Remember the standards God uses for His judgements: “the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 To put this in more modern language, God looks behind the action to see what a person was thinking when he did something. To God the motive is the most important thing in judging anything.

Points for consideration

  1. Do you think that all this talk about Jesus being our Saviour is just a bit of a joke?
  2. Are you just like other people or are you different because of Jesus’ influence on your life?
  3. Was Jesus just a good man or was He in fact the Son of God?
  4. Do you have to study theology, that is all about the Christian religion, before you can tell other people about Jesus?
  5. When God looks at your heart, that is your motives, what does He see?

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In this article all Scripture references are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used with permission.

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