The Feast of Tabernacles.
1#These chapters contain events about the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth, Ingathering: Ex 23:16; Tents, Booths: Dt 16:13–16), with its symbols of booths (originally built to shelter harvesters), rain (water from Siloam poured on the temple altar), and lights (illumination of the four torches in the Court of the Women). They continue the theme of the replacement of feasts (Passover, Jn 2:13; 6:4; Hanukkah, Jn 10:22; Pentecost, Jn 5:1), here accomplished by Jesus as the Living Water. These chapters comprise seven miscellaneous controversies and dialogues. There is a literary inclusion with Jesus in hiding in Jn 7:4, 10; 8:59. There are frequent references to attempts on his life: Jn 7:1, 13, 19, 25, 30, 32, 44; 8:37, 40, 59. After this, Jesus moved about within Galilee; but he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him.#a. [7:1] 5:18; 8:37, 40. 2But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.#b. [7:2] Ex 23:16; Lv 23:34; Nm 29:12; Dt 16:13–16; Zec 14:16–19. 3So his brothers#Brothers: these relatives (cf. Jn 2:12 and see note on Mk 6:3) are never portrayed as disciples until after the resurrection (Acts 1:14). Mt 13:55 and Mk 6:3 give the names of four of them. Jesus has already performed works/signs in Judea; cf. Jn 2:23; 3:2; 4:45; 5:8. said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4No one works in secret if he wants to be known publicly. If you do these things, manifest yourself to the world.”#c. [7:4] 14:22. 5For his brothers did not believe in him. 6#Time: the Greek word means “opportune time,” here a synonym for Jesus’ “hour” (see note on Jn 2:4), his death and resurrection. In the wordplay, any time is suitable for Jesus’ brothers, because they are not dependent on God’s will. So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but the time is always right for you. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I testify to it that its works are evil.#d. [7:7] 15:18. 8You go up to the feast. I am not going up#I am not going up: an early attested reading “not yet” seems a correction, since Jesus in the story does go up to the feast. “Go up,” in a play on words, refers not only to going up to Jerusalem but also to exaltation at the cross, resurrection, and ascension; cf. Jn 3:14; 6:62; 20:17. to this feast, because my time has not yet been fulfilled.” 9After he had said this, he stayed on in Galilee.
10But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but [as it were] in secret. 11The Jews were looking for him at the feast and saying, “Where is he?” 12And there was considerable murmuring about him in the crowds. Some said, “He is a good man,” [while] others said, “No; on the contrary, he misleads the crowd.” 13Still, no one spoke openly about him because they were afraid of the Jews.#e. [7:13] 9:22; 19:38; 20:19.
The First Dialogue.
#Jesus teaches in the temple; debate with the Jews. 14When the feast was already half over, Jesus went up into the temple area and began to teach. 15#Without having studied: literally, “How does he know letters without having learned?” Children were taught to read and write by means of the scriptures. But here more than Jesus’ literacy is being discussed; the people are wondering how he can teach like a rabbi. Rabbis were trained by other rabbis and traditionally quoted their teachers. #f. [7:15] Lk 2:47. The Jews were amazed and said, “How does he know scripture without having studied?” 16Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not my own but is from the one who sent me. 17Whoever chooses to do his will#To do his will: presumably a reference back to the “work” of Jn 6:29: belief in the one whom God has sent. shall know whether my teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own.#g. [7:17] 6:29. 18Whoever speaks on his own seeks his own glory, but whoever seeks the glory of the one who sent him is truthful, and there is no wrong in him. 19Did not Moses give you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”#h. [7:19] Acts 7:53. 20The crowd answered, “You are possessed!#You are possessed: literally, “You have a demon.” The insane were thought to be possessed by a demoniacal spirit. Who is trying to kill you?”#i. [7:20] 8:48–49; 10:20. 21Jesus answered and said to them, “I performed one work#One work: the cure of the paralytic (Jn 5:1–9) because of the reference to the sabbath (Jn 7:22; 5:9–10). and all of you are amazed#j. [7:21] 5:1–9. 22because of it. Moses gave you circumcision—not that it came from Moses but rather from the patriarchs—and you circumcise a man on the sabbath.#k. [7:22] Gn 17:10; Lv 12:3. 23If a man can receive circumcision on a sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because I made a whole person well on a sabbath?#l. [7:23] 5:2–9, 16; Mt 12:11–12; Lk 14:5. 24Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly.”#m. [7:24] 8:15; Lv 19:15; Is 11:3–4.
25So some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? 26And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities#The authorities: the members of the Sanhedrin (same term as Jn 3:1). have realized that he is the Messiah? 27But we know where he is from. When the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.”#n. [7:27] Heb 7:3. 28So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.#o. [7:28] 8:19. 29I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”#p. [7:29] 6:46; 8:55. 30So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.#q. [7:30] 7:44; 8:20; Lk 4:29–30. 31But many of the crowd began to believe in him, and said, “When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man has done?”#r. [7:31] 2:11; 10:42; 11:45.
Officers Sent to Arrest Jesus.
#Jesus announces his approaching departure (cf. also Jn 8:21; 12:36; 13:33) and complete control over his destiny. 32The Pharisees heard the crowd murmuring about him to this effect, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent guards to arrest him. 33So Jesus said, “I will be with you only a little while longer, and then I will go to the one who sent me.#s. [7:33] 13:33; 16:16. 34You will look for me but not find [me], and where I am you cannot come.”#t. [7:34] 8:21; 12:36; 13:33, 36; 16:5; Dt 4:29; Prv 1:28; Is 55:6; Hos 5:6. 35So the Jews said to one another, “Where is he going that we will not find him? Surely he is not going to the dispersion#Dispersion: or “diaspora”: Jews living outside Palestine. Greeks: probably refers to the Gentiles in the Mediterranean area; cf. Jn 12:20. among the Greeks to teach the Greeks, is he? 36What is the meaning of his saying, ‘You will look for me and not find [me], and where I am you cannot come’?”
Rivers of Living Water.
#Promise of living water through the Spirit. 37On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and exclaimed, “Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink.#u. [7:37] Rev 21:6. 38Whoever believes in me, as scripture says:
‘Rivers of living water#Living water: not an exact quotation from any Old Testament passage; in the gospel context the gift of the Spirit is meant; cf. Jn 3:5. From within him: either Jesus or the believer; if Jesus, it continues the Jesus-Moses motif (water from the rock, Ex 17:6; Nm 20:11) as well as Jesus as the new temple (cf. Ez 47:1). Grammatically, it goes better with the believer. will flow from within him.’”#v. [7:38] 4:10, 14; 19:34; Is 12:3; Ez 47:1.
39He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive. There was, of course, no Spirit yet,#No Spirit yet: Codex Vaticanus and early Latin, Syriac, and Coptic versions add “given.” In this gospel, the sending of the Spirit cannot take place until Jesus’ glorification through his death, resurrection, and ascension; cf. Jn 20:22. because Jesus had not yet been glorified.#w. [7:39] 16:7.
Discussion about the Origins of the Messiah.
#Discussion of the Davidic lineage of the Messiah. 40Some in the crowd who heard these words said, “This is truly the Prophet.”#x. [7:40] Dt 18:15, 18. 41Others said, “This is the Messiah.” But others said, “The Messiah will not come from Galilee, will he? 42Does not scripture say that the Messiah will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”#y. [7:42] 2 Sm 7:12–14; Ps 89:3–4; 132:11; Mi 5:1; Mt 2:5–6. 43So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. 44Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.
45So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” 46The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this one.” 47So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him?#z. [7:48] 12:42. 49But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” 50Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,#a. [7:50] 3:1; 19:39. 51“Does our law condemn a person before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?”#b. [7:51] Dt 1:16–17. 52They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.”