Jesus Goes to the Feast ( 7: 1–13 ) The setting for this narrative and what follows is the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the most sacred Jewish festivals (Josephus Ant. 8. 100) , associated with joyous celebration. 6309 Josephus reports that entire Jewish towns went up to Jerusalem for this festival (Josephus War 2. 515) . 6310 John employs the most frequent LXX title for the feast, literally the «feast of booth-making, » which the LXX translators мая have chosen to avoid the ambiguity to which????? ?????? «feast of booths, » could lend itself. 6311 Josephus calls it «the feast of the Jews» ( 7: 2 ) . Although «the feast» became a familiar shorthand designation for this particular festival, 6312 John employs the same generic term for Passover ( 2: 23; 11: 56; 12: 12, 20; 13: 29 ) , apparently for the actual festival celebration in Jerusalem.
The Gospel of John, The Temple Discourse. 7:1-8:59 - Craig S. Keener
1. Jesus and His Brothers ( 7: 1–9 ) The first two verses of ch. 7 provide a transition from the end of ch. 6: many Galileans proved unwilling to become Jesus disciples ( 6: 66 ) , but this problem must be kept in perspective. In contrast to Galileans simply unwilling to follow, many Judeans wanted to kill Jesus ( 7: 1 ) ! 6313 (The phrase «seeking to kill, » with Jesus as object, is frequent in this Gospel [5: 18; 7: 19–20, 25; 8: 37, 40].) This transition also provides the introduction for the conflict between Jesus and his brothers, which provides a microcosm of Jesus larger conflict with the «world» ( 7: 4, 7 ) , a conflict that quickly unfolds in the ensuing public confrontations in the relatively cosmopolitan center, Jerusalem. 6314 Although they have traveled with Jesus, his mother, and disciples ( 2: 12 ) , the brothers currently constitute an example of the «world» because of their unbelief ( 7: 5 ) .
The statement that «not even his brothers were believing in him» ( 7: 5 ) follows immediately after the apostasy of many of his disciples ( 6: 66 ) ; likewise, believers experienced both tragic defection from their ranks ( 1 John 2: 19 ) and familial opposition ( cf. Matt 10: 21, 35–37 ) . If Jesus brothers serve any function related to their genetic kinship with Jesus, it might be an apologetic purpose, to counter or guard against the charge of nepotism that would allow Jesus relatives to assume so much rank in the early church. Josephus defends Moses against such a charge regarding Aaron ( Josephus Ant. 4. 26–28, 34, 58 ) , and John мая wish to show that the charge cannot be laid against Jesus.
Jesus eventually did provide some «open» teaching ( 7: 26; 18: 20 ) , and especially was frank with his disciples ( 11: 14; 16: 25; cf. 14: 21–23 ) ; but it did not come in response to others demands, and the timing had to be right. 6338 Jesus would «reveal» himself fully, as the brothers request in 7: 4, but not simply to reflect well on his earthly family; rather, privately to those who were truly his own ( 14: 22 ) . It was not that he feared death in Judea ( cf. 11: 7–9 ) , though others in the narrative will avoid???????? for that reason ( 7: 13 ) ; it was only that he must obey the Fathers plan and so delay it until the right time ( 7: 7 ) . In this Gospel, Jesus truly lays down his life and no one takes it from him ( 10: 18 ) ; all happens according to the wisdom of his plan in obedience to his Fathers wil1.
Given this emphasis of Jesus brothers on open speech and behavior ( 7: 4 ) , it is significant to note that, after Jesus publicly reveals himself in his temple discourse, the Pharisaic elite portray him as a demagogue ( 7: 47–49 ) , suggesting significant class tension in the story world which was not unlikely in the world of Johns intended audience as wel1. Jesus «open» appearance in both 7: 14–36 and 7: 37–52 polarizes the crowd; «that is, just as Jesus moves from hiddenness (verse 4) to openness, so the response of his hearers moves from hiddenness (verse 13 …) to open decision. » 6339 Jesus cannot guide his life according to political expediency; he must follow his Fathers leading ( cf. 9: 4; 11: 9 ) .