John 7:14-24 (ESVST)
About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching. 15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “ How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?”
Jesus is still in Judea at the feast of booths after telling his brothers to go, he went alone and in private. According to the above verse, in the middle of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and began to preach. The feast of booths was every seventh month on the fifteenth, for seven days. So, in the middle of the feats meant after about 3 days.
The Jews were marveled at his teaching. The word “marveled” is a Greek word “thaumazo” meaning to wonder or admire.
g2296. θαυμαζω thaumazo; from 2295; to wonder; by implication, to admire:— admire, have in admiration, marvel, wonder.
The Jews were pretty much admiring, were amazed and wondered at the words that he was saying. They asked themselves that how can Jesus know so much about scripture if he has not studied it. Most children in the Greco- Roman world could not afford even a primary education. But Palestinian Jewish children, except perhaps from the poorest homes (which a carpenter’s family was not), would learn how to read and recite the Bible, whether or not they could write. The issue here is not that Jesus is illiterate (he is not), but that he has never formally studied Scripture with an advanced teacher, yet he expounds as well as any of the scholars without citing earlier scholars’ opinions.
16 So Jesus answered them, “ My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.
Now you will find that Jesus makes this statement a number of times in John and throughout his preaching.
John 3:34 (ESVST)
For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.
John 12:49 (ESVST)
For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment — what to say and what to speak.
Jesus once more tells the Jews as he already did in chapter 3 that, his words are not his but of God.
17 If anyone ‘s will is to do God’ s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority. 18 The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.
Jesus then said to them, if your will was to do God’s will, meaning that if they dedicated their time in truly studying the scriptures as is and understanding them as they are supposed and practicing or at least attempting to practice what the word says, then they would know wether Jesus’s teachings was God’s teachings or from his own authority. Jesus then justifies his point by saying that the one who seeks his own glory will speak out of his own authority but the one who seeks the glory of the one who sent him, his testimony is true.
So, Jesus says his teachings are from God, for the glory of God.
19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet none of you keeps the law. Why do you seek to kill me?”
Jesus here is repeating what John told us in chapter 1 already when he said
John 1:17 (ESVST)
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Jesus is saying to them, did you not all recieve the law from Moses and yet none of you are keeping it. Jesus is saying, you accuse me of breaking the law and yet you are the one breaking it. He then asks them why they want to kill him then. If indeed he broke the law, so did they but yet they want to kill him for doing what they also do. He asks, why then do you kill me, we are the same. You say I break the law and you obviously also break it. Why kill me then?
20 The crowd answered, “ You have a demon! Who is seeking to kill you?”
Demoniacs or people who were possessed by demons, were often thought to act insanely;
John 10:20 (ESVST)
Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?”
In this case the crowd thinks Jesus is paranoid. But even this charge could imply the suspicion that he is a false prophet (John 7:12):false prophets were also thought to channel spirits (indeed, many pagan magicians claimed such spirit- guides). The penalty for false prophets was death.
21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel at it.
Jesus as you will see below, refers to healing of the paralytic at the sheep pool on sabbath. I do just one thing and you wonder at it.
22 Moses gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. 23 If on the Sabbath a man receives circumcision, so that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me because on the Sabbath I made a man’s whole body well?
Jesus asks the crowd to reason consistently (sound and fair judgment was paramount in Jewish teaching):why is it wrong for him to heal supernaturally on the sabbath, when circumcision (which wounds) is permitted on the sabbath? A later first- century rabbi argued similarly:If circumcising on the eighth day takes precedence over the sabbath (and it does), saving a whole life also does (as was commonly agreed). Some practices at the festivals (such as killing the Passover lamb and waving the lulab, i. e., palm branch, at the Feast of Tabernacles) likewise took precedence over the sabbath.
24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Jesus said to them, The law required that circumcision occur on the eighth day (Lev. 12:1–3). If a child was born on the Sabbath, then the eighth day would fall again on the subsequent Sabbath, when the Jews would circumcise the child. Jesus’ point was that the Jews broke their own Sabbath law with the circumcision of the child on sabbath. Their hypocrisy is evident. I made a man’s whole body well. Jesus used an argument of the lesser to the greater. If ceremonial cleansing of one part of the body is permitted on the Sabbath through the act of circumcision (the less), how much more so should the actual healing of the entire body be permitted on the Sabbath (the greater).
Jesus then says, there is nothing wrong with judging, however, judge rightly. This is consistent with what Jesus said in Matthhews
Matthew 7:3-5 (ESVST)
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother ‘s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘ Let me take the speck out of your eye, ’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’ s eye.
Father, thank you for this wonderful message, may it find fertile soil in our hearts and produce fruits. In Jesus name, amen.