Jesus was expected to travel to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles.
It was fall in Palestine, about the 15th of Tishri (October 12 on our calendar), and the harvest of wheat and olive oil was complete. It was a time of plenty and thanksgiving for God’s blessings.
The Feast of Tabernacles commemorated the wilderness wandering of the Jews at the end of the year.
Although Jesus would go to the feast, he continued walking in Galilee. He knew the Jews were seeking an opportunity to kill him. Jesus’ brothers came to him and warned him to stay away from Jerusalem.
But Jesus could not be kept away from the city of David and went into the Temple to teach. The Jews intercepted him there and began an inquisition asking how Jesus, an unlearned Galilean without formal academic qualifications could teach the scriptures. Jesus’ mastery of God’s word confused his critics.
Jesus answered the Jews by telling them his teaching was not his own (John 7:16-19). Jesus spoke from the authority given to him from his Father in heaven. Jesus knew their judgment of him was based solely on appearance.
The Jews made this same mistake with John, Jesus’ first cousin, who taught near the Jordan River. They looked at the rough John who wore camel’s hair and ate locusts and wild honey and immediately disqualified him. Although John was the one sent by God to testify about Jesus, the Jewish teachers disqualified him simply for the way he looked.
Jesus went straight to the heart of the matter. He told them God gave them the Law of Moses, but none of them ever kept it. What would Moses himself say if he was alive? It was God who gave the command to Moses saying, “You shall not kill.” But here were the “experts” in the law who wanted to kill God’s son!
Teaching God’s word requires great care. Not everyone should become a teacher (James 3:1). It is often tempting to assume something about someone by appearance and say something wrong. We must not make judgments just by what is seen (John 7:24). Jesus taught the truth. He knew the truth. He lived the truth. The Jews did not.
The crowd, listening to this conversation, made a surprising statement: “Can it be that the rulers know this is the Christ?” (John 7:25-26). The people were right. Jesus had told the truth. He had been doing only good. Jesus showed by his miracles exactly who he was.
Isn’t it interesting that the “uneducated” people knew more about the truth than the trained lawyers?