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Bible Commentaries

Gann's Commentary on the Bible

John 7

Verse 1

John 7:1

7:1. After this is a vague time reference. Since the events recorded in chapter 6 took place shortly before the Passover (John 6:4), that is, in April, and the Feast of Tabernacles (in October) was now near (John 7:2), about six months were spent by Jesus in His ministry in Galilee. Galilee was safer because His enemies were in Judea … waiting to take His life.

The Jews -- John often employs this term to refer to the Jewish religious authorities and not to the general Jewish population.

Jews were seeking to kill him He had upset the religious authorities by healing a man on the Sabbath (see John 7:23; John 5:16-18 and note on John 5:16).

Verse 2

John 7:2

7:2 feast of Tabernacles One of the three pilgrimage festivals when Jews were to travel to Jerusalem if possible. It was celebrated in September or October, about six months after Passover (March-April), and two months prior to the feast of Dedication.

It is called the “Feast of Booths” because people lived in leafy shelters to remember God’s faithfulness to Israel during her wilderness wanderings (Leviticus 23:42-43; cf. Matthew 17:4)

It was also a time of celebration and thanksgiving for the harvest (Leviticus 23:39-41; Deuteronomy 16:13-15; cf. Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22)

Feast of Tabernacles -- sometimes translated "festival of shelters" by modern translations (NTL), or "feasts of booths" (ESV).

It began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month (Tishri), i.e., mid-October, five days after the Day of Atonement (Tishri 10 - late September or early October).

The feast was celebrated against a background of rejoicing for divine blessings, represented by the bounty of the year’s harvest.

By NT times it had become a custom on that feast for a procession to visit the Pool of Siloam and return with water, which was then poured out as a libation of thanksgiving to God.

8:12 I am. The light metaphor is steeped in OT allusions (e.g., Exodus 13:21-22; Psalms 27:1; Psalms 119:105). Jesus is the promised light (Isaiah 9:2; Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 60:19-20; cf. Acts 13:47).

8:12 During the Festival of Shelters, sixteen gold bowls in the inner courts of the Temple were filled with oil and lighted. Jesus stood beneath these lights in the Temple (John 8:20) and said that he was now the source of the light.

Now, the lighting of the giant lamps reminded the nation of the pillar of fire which guided them at night (cf. Exodus 13:21; Numbers 9:15-23

How fitting that during the Feast of Tabernacles, when the large lamps were burning, Jesus … said, I am the Light of the world (cf. John 1:4, John 1:9; John 12:35, John 12:46)

Verse 3

John 7:3

7:3 His brothers. Matthew 13:55 lists Jesus’ brothers as “James, Joses, Simon, and Judas.” James authored the NT epistle that bears his name and became the leader of the Jerusalem church and Judas (or, Jude) wrote the epistle that also bears his name. Because of Jesus’ virgin birth, they were only the half-brothers of Jesus since Mary, not Joseph, was Jesus’ only human parent (cf. Matthew 1:16, Matthew 1:18, Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:35).

They logically argued that the messianic question could not be settled in Galilee, as Jerusalem was the religious capital. The popular Feast of Tabernacles would be the right time for Jesus to present Himself as the Messiah.

Verse 4

John 7:4

Jesus’ brothers’ advice stems from unbelief (cf. John 7:5) in Him as the Son of God and reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of Jesus’ messianic identity apparently thinking of the Messiah as an earthly king like David.

If He really was what He claimed to be (a "king"), they reasoned, He should publicly demonstrate it. They advised Him to display Himself in a powerful, brilliant way.

Verse 5

John 7:5

even His own brothers did not believe in Him. This sad note sounds again (cf. John 1:10-11; John 12:37)

not even his brothers believed in him This statement provides the context for understanding their remarks in vv. John 7:3-4. Their misunderstanding of Jesus’ ministry is similar to Satan’s mockery of Jesus during the temptation (see Matthew 4:5-7).

Verse 6

John 7:6

Several times John noted that Jesus’ time had not yet come (John 2:4; John 7:6, John 7:8, John 7:30; John 8:20). Then in His intercessory prayer, just before the Cross, He began, “Father, the time has come” (John 17:1; cf. John 12:23, John 12:27; John 13:1).

Time -- kairos, Gk. (and not the generic work for time "chronos") refers to the appointed and suitable moment of manifestation for Christ, (time for a special occasion, cf. Strong and Thayer.)

Verse 7

John 7:7

Verse 8

John 7:8

The Greek present tense in v. 8 can legitimately have the sense, “I am not now going,” meaning "I am not now going up with you", and did not mean he was not going at all. Some of the oldest manuscripts have oupō (Gk. “not yet”) rather than simply ouk (Gk. “not”).

Verse 9

John 7:9

Verse 14

John 7:14

the feast was already half over The feast was seven days long. The first and last days of the feast were the time of special Sabbath-like observances.

Verse 15

John 7:15

The Jews may include both the Judean crowds and the Jewish authorities. he has never studied. Jesus lacked formal rabbinic training (as did his disciples, Acts 4:13), but his teaching and authority came from God (John 7:16; John 8:28; cf. Matthew 5:21 ff.; Matthew 7:28-29).

The Jews were perplexed by Jesus’ ability, acquired without the benefit of rabbinical schools. “Letters” (grammata, Gk.) stands for scriptural and rabbinical learning (cf. agrammatoi, Gk., “uneducated,” with reference to Peter and John in Acts 4:13).

Prominent rabbis would enter the temple environs and expound on the OT to crowds who sat around them.

Verse 16

John 7:16

His teaching was from God who had commissioned Him (cf. John 12:49-50; John 14:11, John 14:24).

Verse 17

John 7:17

Whether people follow Jesus depends on whether they are willing to obey him.

Verse 18

John 7:18

He is a Man of truth (i.e., reliable; cf. John 6:28; John 8:26) without any injustice.

Verse 19

John 7:19

Moses gave you the law, but none of you obeys it! The Jewish leaders were proud of the law of Moses, but ironically, in trying to kill Jesus, they were breaking the law (Exodus 20:13)

Verse 21

John 7:21

one work Probably the healing on the Sabbath that had provoked the Jewish authorities before. See John 5:6-9

Verse 34

John 7:34

You will look for Me is a prophecy that the Jewish nation will long for her Messiah. She is doing this now, not knowing that Jesus is her Messiah.

you cannot go where I am going: These Pharisees, still in darkness, could not enter heaven, so Jesus would be beyond their reach there.

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Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on John 7". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/john-7.html. 2021.