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Chapter seven through the first half of chapter ten all occurred at the same “feast of Tabernacles” (John 7:2), so they comprise a series of consecutive events. Again John noted that “the Jewish leaders wanted to kill” Jesus, so he planned to attend the feast somewhat in hiding (John 7:10).
“When the feast was half over,” Jesus did make himself known and “began to teach…in the temple courts” (John 7:14). However, there was still backlash from his healing the lame man on the Sabbath (John 7:21-23; 5:1-9). 1 As expected, the two responses in Jerusalem were the same as from those in Galilee; their experience and unbelief prevented them from accepting Jesus’ claim that he was from heaven, sent to mankind (John 7:25-36). Even so, many people did believe in him, further dividing the crowd and upsetting the stability the religious leaders had tried so hard to maintain.
A few days later, “on the last day of the feast,” Jesus again took a public platform (John 7:37-49). Offering one of his most clear public invitations in John, Jesus called the people to come to him and find the living water promised by the prophets. John added the explanatory note in John 7:39 that Jesus had prophesied the Holy Spirit, who “had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified,” a key truth in dispensational theology. Again the crowd was divided, but the religious leaders’ plan to arrest him at that time was thwarted. Nicodemus appeared the second of three times here, defending Jesus’ rights as a Jewish citizen, but he was strong-armed out of the way by the others (John 7:50-52).
- This connection between chapters five and seven is sometimes argued to prove that the chapter five feast could not have been Passover. Since the Feast of Tabernacles was in the fall and Passover in the spring, it would be too long between them for this kind of response. ↩