The Gospel of John, The Period of Conflict, Jesus Urged to Go to the Feast of Tabernacles, Part I, John 7:1-3 - Lesson 48
Read Verses John 7:1-9
The Period of Conflict covers Chapt.7 through Chapt.11 verse 53.
In our study of the first six chapters of John we have studied the prologue, the period of consideration, the period of controversy, and now we enter into the period of conflict.
This section of the book of John describes the development of belief along with the development of unbelief among the hearers of Jesus and the clash that naturally results from these two opposing forces.
Some hearers are bewildered, some are outspoken in their opposition, and in some, especially his disciples, we see a slow but steady development of overcoming faith.
In the period of controversy we saw argument as people found their positions and in this period of conflict we see the argument turn to fixed attitudes at war with truth.
We see immediately in the first verse of chapter seven the fixed hostility of the Jews against Jesus Christ.
There was no longer debate as to what should be done with Jesus, the decision had been made.
He must be destroyed as he has become a danger to the religious system so firmly entrenched in Israel.
It is interesting to note that the enemies of Christ wanted the same thing for Christ that the Father wanted but for diametrically opposed reasons.
Both willed that Christ should die.
The Father, because he loved the world and is not willing that any should perish, but the Jew because they hated light and loved darkness.
But God makes the wrath of men to praise him.
Between chapter 6 and chapter 7 there is a period of several months.
In chapter 6 we have the Passover, held in the spring and in chapter 7 we will witness the Feast of Tabernacles, held in the fall starting on the 15th day of Tishri and lasting a week.
This would be in the first part of October.
All the harvests had been safely gathered in and it was a festive time, a time of rejoicing, a time of thanksgiving.
The Feast of Tabernacles was one of three great pilgrimages that every good Jew sought to observe.
The other two were the Passover and the Feast of Atonement.
But the Feast of Tabernacles was the happiest of all the feasts.
Tabernacles was a feast that looked forward to the time when the Lord would come to earth to reign and every man would sit under his own fig tree and vine.
This was a kingdom age celebration.
The people took palm leaves and went out of the city and made themselves booths.
In fact they called it a festival of booths because for the whole week the people lived in the booths they had made with branches and leaves.
Some verses that apply:
Lev 23:34, 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.
Deut. 16:13, Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine:
Deut. 16:16, Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread (Passover), and in the feast of weeks (Pentecost), and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
The feast of Tabernacles is also to be kept in the millennium.
Hosea 12:9, And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.
Zech. 14:16, And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zech. 14:18, And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
And so we enter this scene where we see the brothers of Jesus Christ anxious to go to Jerusalem and show off their brother.
You can almost feel their excitement, their anticipation.
This is a revealer of their hearts and shows their unbelief.
They were not interested in the ministry of Christ in seeking and saving that which was lost.
They wanted Christ to give a public display of his miraculous powers.
This was not God's way.
It was the way of the flesh.
Jesus refuses to go to the feast with his brothers because his time had not yet come but he goes later instead.
This is an interesting passage because it appears that Jesus changes his mind after all.
Let's dig a little and see if this is so or there is another answer here that the Holy Spirit will reveal.
Verse John 7:1, After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
It is interesting to note here that Galilee means "the heathen circle.
He came unto his own but his own received him not.
His own sought to kill him so he walked in Galilee, the heathen land.
Many of his disciples had left him, being disillusioned because he did not do what they expected a messiah to do.
Who are these Jews of Jewry that John the Apostle mentions?
See verses 11, 12 and 13. They are distinguished from the people.
The people were afraid of the Jews.
The Jews here in this usage are evidently the leaders, the religious leaders.
It was the Jews who cast out of the synogogue the man born blind, it was the Jews who took up stones to stone Christ, it was the Jews who took Jesus and bound him, and it was through the fear of the Jews that Joseph of Arimathaea came secretly to Pilate to beg the body of Jesus.
This verse tells us that Jesus Christ the Son of God used prudence and care to avoid persecution and danger until his time was fully come.
He laid down his life according to the Father's will and perfectly planned timing.
John 7:2, Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand.
In John 6:4, we learned that the Passover was nigh which takes place in the first month of the Jewish year and here in this verse the feast that takes place in the seventh month is at hand.
A period of 6 months has passed since we left chapter 6.
Jesus walked in Galilee and quietly ministered, about which John chooses to tell us nothing.
The feast of Tabernacles was taking place.
This was a very important time in Israel as it was one of the three times during the year when all the males of Israel were to appear before the Lord thy God at the temple in Jerusalem.
It began on the 15th day of the seventh month, it was a holy convocation when Israel was to offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord,
the feast lasted for 8 days, the celebrants were to take boughs of goodly trees, they were to rejoice before the Lord 7 days, they were to dwell in booths, the purpose being to memorialize the fact that Jehovah made their fathers to dwell in booths when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.
It was also called the Feast of Ingathering, (when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field)
John 7:3, His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
His brothers here are the sons of Mary and Joseph, the half brothers according to the flesh, of Jesus Christ.
This command to the Son of God by his brothers reveals their blindness as to Jesus Christ's Divine glory.
Who are they to tell God what to do?
They were devoid of spiritual discernment.
They were captured by their carnal minds and knew nothing of the deity that stood before them.
They apparently thought that the work in Galilee had met little success and their fleshly minds using man's techniques devised ways that would guarantee notice and new followers.
Go to Jerusalem!
That is where anyone who is anyone will be!
Now if you are really the Messiah, if you are what you claim to be, go up to the feast and show yourself.
Hiding up here in Galilee won't do you any good.
You are wasting your time up here in the backwoods of Galilee.
This is the time of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Go where the people are.
Jerusalem will be full.
If you want to be a king, then be one, and show yourself.
You need more publicity!
Can you imagine that thinking that God needed publicity.
But they thought they were good PR men.
They thought themselves to be good advance men for Jesus.
They thought themselves to be good John the Baptists.
Jesus! If you want to be somebody you have to go to the big city!
But their minds dwelt on temporal things, on things that would make them look and feel important, on things that would advance themselves in this world.
Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
(Of course they made no mention about the notice that they would receive and the importance they would feel by being close to the miracle worker as he received the adulation that they desired)