Jesus at the Feast of Tabernacles.
SUMMARY.--The Unbelief of the Brethren of Jesus.
He Goes to the Feast of Tabernacles.
He Teaches in the Temple.
The Discussions Among the People.
The Pharisees Send Officers to Take Him.
The Last Day of the Feast.
The Report to the Officers.
1. After these things. The events narrated in the last chapter.
About six months of the ministry in Galilee intervened between the
feeding of the Five Thousand and the Feast of Tabernacles. During this
interval the Lord kept away from Judea on account of the enmity of the
2. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. It fell in
the month Tizri, covering part of September and of October, and lasted
for a week. It was one of the three feasts that all Jews were expected
3. His brethren said unto him. His brothers.
Depart hence, and go into Judea. A long time had passed since he
had been at Jerusalem, and these brethren wished him to show his mighty
4. If thou do these things. These brethren still were doubters.
He differed so from their idea of the Christ that they could not
understand him, and they hoped that at Jerusalem he would be made
manifest. They afterwards became believers.
6. My time is not yet come. For the full manifestation of
himself. This required his death and resurrection.
7. The world cannot hate you. Because then it would hate its
own, but it hated him because he rebuked its sins. They were of the
world; he was not.
8. I go not up yet. He does not say that he will not go, but he
will not go yet. He did not wish to go in the great multitude of
pilgrims that were en route, as there were reasons why he should go
10. But as it were in secret. After the crowds had gone, so that
he could travel privately. The multitudes hung upon him and had sought
to make him a king. In Galilee he was very popular at this time. His
popularity intensified the enmity of "the Jews."
11-13. The Jews sought him. "The Jews" in John almost always means
the ruling class at Jerusalem.
The people means the masses of the Jewish nation. The
people were divided in opinion, but dared not express themselves
openly until they saw what course the Jews would take.
14. About the midst of the feast. The middle. It lasted eight
days in all. Jesus seems to have appeared unexpectedly in the temple,
engaged in teaching.
15. How knoweth, etc.? The Jewish rulers were astonished at his
learning, since he had never attended the great schools of their
16. My doctrine is not mine. This is an answer to the question
His knowledge came not from man, but from God.
17. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine.
The Common Version is ambiguous. The Revision is clear:
If any man willeth to do, etc. The difficulty is in the way of
the Jews recognizing the teaching of Jesus as divine, was that they
were not willing to do God's will. This spirit of disobedience is the
source of most, if not all, skepticism. Unbelief is due, not to the
head, but to the heart. He who in his heart says, "Thy will be done,
give me light and I will walk in it," will find that Christ is just the
teacher demanded by his soul, and that the gospel meets his soul's
want. Jesus will so meet the wants of his soul that he will be
satisfied and will know the doctrine, that it comes from him who made
the soul. The great German poet, Heine, was a scoffer until old and
tortured with chronic disease. Then he said: "I have discarded my proud
philosophy and learned to trust in the consolations of religion." He
had no more outward evidence than before, but his heart had
19. Did not Moses give you the law? Yet they were seeking to
kill him in violation of the law which they professed to keep.
20. The people answered. Not "the Jews," but the masses. They
did not then know that the rulers were seeking his death, and hence
rebukes such a suggestion.
Thou hast a devil. Such a mistake must be due to the whisper of
a demon, they thought.
21. I have done one work. He goes back to the cause of the
enmity of the rulers, the healing of the impotent man at the pool of
Bethesda on the Sabbath day, about eighteen months before (see
22-24. If a man on the sabbath day, etc.? The argument is this:
You blame me for healing an impotent man on the Sabbath; yet you break
the Sabbath to circumcise a child if the eighth day after its birth
falls on the Sabbath. You say that the law of circumcision was given to
Abraham, is older than the Sabbath law, and must be kept if the Sabbath
is to be broken. Now the law of love and mercy is
older than Moses; why find fault if it is kept on the Sabbath? They
should judge righteously, instead of by outward appearances.
25-29. Some of them of Jerusalem. Citizens who understood the
purposes of the rulers, of which the visitors were ignorant.
Do the rulers know, etc.? As they did not seize him
according to their purpose, the question arose what had changed the
mind of the rulers. Had they found out that he was the Christ?
Howbeit we know . . . whence he is. The Jews had an idea,
due probably to
that when the Messiah came no one would know from whence he came.
Ye know whence I am. This is a reply to their assertion that
they did. If they really did they would know that he came from God.
They did not even know God, or they would know him whom God sent.
30. They sought to take him. "They of Jerusalem" angered because
he said they did not know God. This was the attempt of a mob, not an
31. Many of the people believed. Not intelligently, but that he
was a teacher sent from God, and possibly the Christ. Compare
32. The Pharisees heard. The bitterest enemies of Christ. When
they heard that the people were believing, they thought it time for
the Pharisees and chief priests, that is, the Sanhedrim, sent
officers to seize him. This was an official act, the first
official attempt of the Sanhedrim to take Jesus. They had purposed it
before, but had not taken action.
33-36. Yet a little while I am with you. Aware of the counsel of
the rulers, he foretells his death and return to heaven.
Where I am, ye cannot come. Not while on earth, neither
after life is over, if they die in their sins
The Jews did not comprehend his words, plain as they are to us.
37. In the last day. Probably the eighth day, possibly the
seventh. The eighth was a day of holy rest added to the seven days of
If any man thirsteth, let him, etc. Jewish writers say that
water was brought every day of the feast in a golden pitcher from the
pool of Siloam and poured upon the altar. It is thought that it was
when this water was poured out that Jesus cried out, and pointed to the
38. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said. Notice
that "believing" corresponds to "coming" in the
showing that faith is the means that brings us to Christ. The reference
is not to any single passage, but to the spirit of the Scripture,
notably such passages as
Isa. 55:1; 58:11; Psa. 36:8, 9.
Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Christ is
the living water; he who believes upon Christ has Christ formed within
him, and hence must become a fountain to dispense the living water
whatever he goes.
39. This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him
should receive. This declaration of John makes the
second chapter of Acts
the best commentary on the
Luther says: "So St. Peter, by one sermon on the day of Pentecost, as
by a rushing of water, delivered three thousand men from the devil's
kingdom, washing them in an hour from sin, death and Satan."
Because Jesus was not yet glorified. Let it be noted, (1) That
the Holy Spirit was not given until after the death and ascension of
Jesus. (2) The disciples of Christ did not become "fountains of living
until the Holy Spirit was sent. This marks Pentecost as the beginning
of the preaching of the gospel authoritatively by his disciples.
41-44. Others said, This is the Christ. Others asserted that he
was the Christ. The opponents denied this, and based their opposition,
not upon his character, or his teaching, but upon the fact that he came
from Galilee. They did not know that he was born at Bethlehem,
according to the prophecies
The seed of David. See
Jer. 23:5; Psa. 89:36.
45. Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees.
These were the temple police, Levites under the direction of the chief
we are told that the chief priests, instigated by the Pharisees, had
sent the officers to arrest him.
46. Never man spake like this man. The only answer the officers
could make to the demand why they had not carried out orders was, "Man
never spake like this man." The multitude had not overawed them, but
the words of Christ.
47, 48. Then answered the Pharisees, . . . Have any of the
rulers, etc.? The Pharisees charge the officers in language of
scorn. By rulers are meant the Sanhedrim. In the matter of deciding
on the claims of the Messiah they hold that the judgment of the
"rulers" must be decisive. They were not probably aware that Nicodemus
was really a secret believer, and that another "senator," Joseph, would
reveal himself at the proper time.
49. This people . . . are accursed. The argument was "Not the
Sanhedrim, but the rabble are the believers upon him. They are utterly
ignorant of the law and are accursed. On account of their ignorance
they are easily led astray."
50-52. Nicodemus. See
Dost our law judge, etc.? Of course it did not, but for him
to say a word in defense of justice brought the charge that he was a
follower of the Galilean.
Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. The rulers in their rage
make a false statement. Jonah
(2 Kings 14:25),
(1 Kings 17:1)
were all of Galilee.