James Gray - Concise Bible Commentary
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.John 7:1-10:21
FEAST OF TABERNACLES
The story of the fourth and last visit to Judea is too long and important to gather into one lesson, and will be broken up into three or four, the first of which bears the above title.
How did Jesus’ brothers regard him at this time (John 7:2-5)? What hesitancy did He exhibit in going up to this feast (John 7:6-9)? This feast took place in the fall, corresponding to our October. This chapter and the next are identified as those of the controversies in the Temple. They represent periods of sustained contention with enemies such as are described nowhere else in the gospels. The crisis indicated in the synoptics is now rapidly approaching. Examine in this connection John 7:12-13; John 7:20; John 7:26-27; John 7:30; John 7:32; John 7:43. What effect had Jesus’ answers to His opponents upon the officials (John 7:45-46)? What authoritative person speaks on His behalf at this critical moment (John 7:50-52)?
Where did Jesus pass the night after this exhausting day (John 8:1)? Where is He found the next morning (John 8:2)? With what work of courage and grace does the day begin (John 8:3-11)? Who came off victor in that contest of light and darkness, Jesus or His adversaries (John 8:6)? The controversy begins again with Jesus’ bold declaration of Himself as “the Light of the World,” a declaration which, if unsupported by the truth, makes Him an impostor, but otherwise establishes His right to be all that this gospel claims for Him that He is God. Observe the features of the controversy all through this chapter, but especially at John 8:13; John 8:19; John 8:25; John 8:37; John 8:48; John 8:52; John 8:59. Observe, too, the repeated declarations of Jesus bearing upon the dignity of His person, as in John 8:16; John 8:18-19; John 8:23; John 8:28; John 8:36; John 8:42; John 8:46; John 8:51; John 8:56; John 8:58. It is comforting that His testimony was not fruitless in discipleship (John 8:30).
As Jesus passed from this murderous crowd, what miracle is wrought (chap. 9)? What explanation does Jesus afford as to why this man was born blind (John 9:3)? How does this work of power and mercy effect the enemies of Jesus, does it soften or harden their opposition (John 9:16; John 9:28-29)? What did they finally do to the man (John 9:34)? What does “cast him out” probably mean? Compare John 9:22, last clause. How does Jesus make a further claim of Deity in addressing this man (John 9:35-37)? It is to be observed in this connection that the discourse on the good Shepherd, in chapter 10, grew out of the casting out of this man from the synagogue because of his confession of Jesus. The Scribes and Pharisees are the “hirelings” Jesus has in mind, who showed themselves to be such in their treatment of this man. Notice how this discourse also falls into harmony with the purpose of John’s Gospel to present the highest aspect of Christ’s Person and work, for example, compare His utterances in verses 10-11, 15, 17-18. His work is clearly that of a substitute Savior, and yet none other than God could speak of Himself thus. What opposite results were produced by this discourse (John 9:19-21)?
Reference was made above to chapters 7-8 as those of the controversies in the Temple. The first controversy has been described as touching the character of Christ’s teaching and the condition for testing it (John 9:15-30); the second, as touching the character of the Sabbath day (John 9:21-24); the third, on the divine character of Christ Himself (John 9:25-31); the fourth, on His approaching disappearance, its nature and object (John 9:32-36). Another outline is the following: controversy one, on the source of His knowledge (John 9:14-24); controversy two, on the origin of his being (John 9:25-31); three, on the mysteriousness of His sayings (John 9:32-36). In the same way chapter 8 might be regarded as a controversial discourse on the nature of His mission (John 9:12-20); its need (John 9:21-30); its result (John 9:31-36); and, possibly, its motive (John 9:37-41).
Speaking specifically of chapter 10 and the discourse on the Good Shepherd it may be stated that the Shepherd work of our Lord has three aspects: (1) as the Good Shepherd He gives His life for the sheep; (2) as the Great shepherd He intercedes for them as one alive from the dead, and hence is caring for and perfecting them (Hebrews 13:20); and (3) as the Chief Shepherd He is coming again in glory to reward the faithful under shepherds (1 Peter 5:4).
1. When do the feasts of the Passover and the Tabernacles relatively occur?
2. How would you characterize chapters 7-8?
3. How is Jesus proven to be God in this chapter?
4. Analyze chapter 8.
5. Name the three aspects of Christ’s work as Shepherd.