Jesus sends his brothers to Jerusalem
- 7:1 After all of that, Jesus took his teaching on the road, traveling around Galilee. He decided against staying in Judea. Jews there were looking for a chance to kill him.
- 7:2 It was almost time for the Jewish holiday of Succot (Festival of Tabernacles).1
- 7:3 The brothers of Jesus told him, “You should leave here and head down to Judea so your followers there can see the kind of things you’re doing.
- 7:4 If you want to spread the word, you don’t keep it a secret. The world needs to meet you and see what you’re doing.”
- 7:5 So, even Jesus’ brothers didn’t have confidence in his judgment.
- 7:6 Jesus told them, “My time’s not up yet. But you can go there whenever you want.
- 7:7 People aren’t going to hate you. But they hate me because I’m calling them out for the bad things they’re doing.
- 7:8 You go on to the festival without me. I’m not going to go because my time isn’t up yet. I have a little more time left.”
- 7:9 That said, he stayed in Galilee.
- 7:10 After his brothers went up to the festival, Jesus went too. But he kept a low profile, going privately and not making it public.
- 7:11 Jewish leaders expected to see Jesus at the festival, so they were looking for him. They went around asking, “Where could that guy be?”
- 7:12 Jesus was the topic of a lot of hushed and secret conversations among the crowds in the city. Some said, “He’s one of the good guys.” Others said, “That’s not true. He’s just the opposite. He’s leading people away from God.”
- 7:13 People kept the conversation hush-hush. That’s because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders hearing them talk about Jesus.
Jesus wows them in the Temple
- 7:14 About halfway through the weeklong festival, Jesus went to the Temple and started to teach people.
- 7:15 He shocked the Jewish leaders with his knowledge of the Bible. They asked, “How can this guy know the Bible so well? He doesn’t have a formal education.”
- 7:16 Jesus answered them directly. He said, “This teaching isn’t coming from anything I’ve learned. It’s coming from the one who sent me here.
- 7:17 Anyone devoted to God will know that what I’m teaching comes from him and it’s not some interpretation of my own.
- 7:18 People who come up with their own teachings and pitch them with authority are generally people who want praise and respect. But people who want to honor the one who sent them are the people you can trust. That person tells the truth. There’s nothing fake about a person like that.
- 7:19 Moses gave you the law, right? But there’s not one of you who honors that law by obeying it. Tell me, why are you trying to kill me?”
- 7:20 Someone in the crowd said, “Fellow, you must be demon possessed. Who here is trying to kill you?”
- 7:21 Jesus said, “You know what? I do one miracle and it wows you.
- 7:22 Moses gave you the ritual of circumcision. Actually, it came from our ancestors further back, the patriarchs.2 You’ll circumcise someone on the Sabbath.
- 7:23 So tell me, if you can circumcise someone on the Sabbath, cutting away a piece of him, why do you get mad at me when I heal a man on the Sabbath and make him complete again?
- 7:24 Don’t judge on first impressions. Take the time to make a good judgment.”
- 7:25 Some of the people in Jerusalem started talking among themselves. They said, “Isn’t this the man some of them are trying to kill?
Is this the Messiah?
- 7:26 Look at that. He’s speaking his mind like he doesn’t care what they think, and nobody is challenging him. Is it possible that our leaders already know that this man is the Messiah we’ve been waiting for?
- 7:27 But how could he be the Messiah? We know where he comes from. The Messiah is supposed to appear from out of nowhere.”
- 7:28 Then Jesus paused from teaching in the Temple. He yelled out, “You think you know me and where I come from? I didn’t come here on my own. I was sent here. The one who sent me is Genuine Truth. You don’t know him at all.
- 7:29 But I know him. I came from him. He’s the one who sent me.”
- 7:30 After that, some of the people were eager to arrest him. But no one laid a hand on him because his time wasn’t up yet.
- 7:31 Many in the crowd believed in him. They said, “When the Messiah comes, he’s not going to perform more miracles than this man is he?”
- 7:32 Pharisees overheard what some of the people in the crowd were secretly saying about Jesus. So, they ordered the Temple guards to arrest Jesus.
- 7:33 Jesus told the people, “I’m going to be with you for just a little while longer. Then I’m going back to the one who sent me here.
- 7:34 You’ll look for me. You won’t find me. Where I’m going, you can’t go.”
- 7:35 Then the Jews started asking each other, “Where could this man be going that we can’t go? He wouldn’t go out to Jewish communities scattered among the Greek people and start teaching the Greeks, would he?
- 7:36 What in the world does he mean when he says, ‘You’ll look for me. You won’t find me. Where I’m going, you can’t go’?”
Living water for thirsty souls
- 7:37 On the last and most important day of the festival,3 Jesus stood in the crowd and spoke out, “If any of you are thirsty, come here and get a drink.
- 7:38 The person who believes in me will experience what the Bible promises: ‘Rivers of living water4 will flow from his heart.’”5
- 7:39 The living water Jesus talked about was the Spirit. People who believed in him didn’t have the Spirit yet because the Spirit hadn’t come. That’s because Jesus hadn’t finished his work yet and received the honors for it.
Crowd splits over Jesus
- 7:40 When the people heard what Jesus said, some folks in the crowd said, “This man is the real deal, a genuine prophet.”
- 7:41 Others said, “He’s the Messiah.” Still others said, “The Messiah doesn’t come from Galilee, does he?
- 7:42 Doesn’t the Bible say that the Messiah will come from the family of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was born?”
- 7:43 The people split over him.
- 7:44 Some people wanted to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him.
- 7:45 The Temple guards who had been ordered to arrest him went back to the top priests and Pharisees. The Jewish leaders asked the guards, “So why didn’t you bring him here?”
- 7:46 The guards said, “There is no man on earth who has ever spoken like this man does.”
- 7:47 Pharisees said, “Oh come on, you haven’t been tricked by this guy too, have you?
- 7:48 You don’t see any of the Jewish leaders or any of us Pharisees believing in him, do you?
- 7:49 As for this mob, they don’t know a thing about the law. God’s going to damn them.”
- 7:50 Nicodemus, who had met with Jesus earlier,6 and who was one of the leaders himself, raised a question.
- 7:51 “Surely our law wouldn’t want us to convict a man without hearing from him first and finding out exactly what he’s up to, would it?”
- 7:52 They said, “Seriously? You’re not from Galilee, too, are you? Take a good long look in the Bible and you’ll see that no prophet ever came from Galilee.”
- 7:53 Then everyone went home.
Pronounced (SUE coat), Succot is a weeklong autumn harvest festival when Jews commemorate the exodus out of slavery in Egypt. They do this by building small huts and living in them for seven days, or at least spending some time in them, such as eating meals. It’s commonly called the Feast of Tabernacles. Jews in Jesus’s day not only used this time to reflect on where they came from. They looked forward to the day they would be freed again, this time from Roman occupation. Many expected that the Messiah would lead the way as a warrior king. They were in for a surprise.
Abraham (Genesis 17:10).
This is the day that priests performed a water ritual. They drew water from the Pool of Siloam. Then they carried it around the altar seven times. This may have been a perfect opportunity for Jesus to teach the people about living water.
Living water referred to flowing water such as the water in a stream or an underground lake that feeds wells and springs. It was not water from a stagnant source such as a pond.
There is no Old Testament passage that says this explicitly. But there are many passages that talk about the gift of water. Exodus 17:1-6, Ezekiel 47:1-11, Psalm 78:15-16.
Jesus had brothers? “The brothers of Jesus told him, ‘You should leave here and head down to Judea so your followers there can see the kind of things you’re doing’” (7:3). Many Roman Catholics—the largest denominational block of Christians—say Mary remained a virgin throughout her life. Does this along with the names of Jesus’ brothers in Mark 6:3, mean the Catholic church got it wrong? Be nice.
Jesus’ brothers start giving Jesus advice on ministry because “even Jesus’ brothers didn’t have confidence in his judgment” (7:5). First Jesus’ mother tells him it’s time to show his stuff by turning water into wine at the wedding palooza in Cana. Now his brothers tell him how high to jump: about 2,500 feet (760 m). That’s the elevation of the Jerusalem hill where the Temple once stood. Dome of the Rock, a Muslim shrine, sits there now. What do you make of his brothers advising him?
Did Jesus lie to his brothers or simply change his mind? He told his brothers to “go on to the festival without me. I’m not going to go because my time isn’t up yet. I have a little more time left” (7:8). A few days later, Jesus shows up in the Temple and starts teaching the people.
What do you make of the way Jesus defended his right to heal someone on the Sabbath, even though one group of influential Jews, the Pharisees, insisted it’s a sin? “If you can circumcise someone on the Sabbath, cutting away a piece of him, why do you get mad at me when I heal a man on the Sabbath and make him complete again?” (7:23).
John says people who believed in Jesus “didn’t have the Spirit yet because the Spirit hadn’t come. That’s because Jesus hadn’t finished his work yet and received the honors for it” (7:39). How do you think our spiritual experience would be different than someone’s who didn’t have the Spirit of God?
LIFE APPLICATION. Do you know anyone who fits this description of a person we can trust? “People who come up with their own teachings and pitch them with authority are generally people who want praise and respect. But people who want to honor the one who sent them are the people you can trust. That person tells the truth. There’s nothing fake about a person like that” (7:18).