John 7:3
His brothers therefore said to him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that your disciples also may see the works that you do.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) His brethren . . .—Comp. Note on Matthew 13:55. They are excluded here by their own words from the band of disciples, as they are by St. John’s from the believers (John 7:5), and inferentially (John 7:7) by the words of Christ Himself from the Twelve. (Comp. John 15:18.)

That thy disciples also may see . . .—The last time the word “disciples” was used, it was to mark the departure of many from Him (John 6:60; John 6:66). The months which have passed since have been a time of comparative retirement. He did not go to the Passover, where many would have expected to see Him (John 7:11), but within the narrowed circle continued His works and words. The prophet hath not honour in His own home, and His brethren, who have seen these works and do not believe, challenge Him to an open demonstration of them. There is another great feast at hand, and His disciples from all parts will be at Jerusalem, where the rulers will test His claims. If He is the Messiah, no conspiracy to kill Him can prevail; and if these works are really divine, let the great body of disciples see them, and amid the joyous feast, and in the royal city, proclaim Him king.

7:1-13 The brethren or kinsmen of Jesus were disgusted, when they found there was no prospect of worldly advantages from him. Ungodly men sometimes undertake to counsel those employed in the work of God; but they only advise what appears likely to promote present advantages. The people differed about his doctrine and miracles, while those who favoured him, dared not openly to avow their sentiments. Those who count the preachers of the gospel to be deceivers, speak out, while many who favour them, fear to get reproach by avowing regard for them.His brethren - See the notes at Matthew 12:47.

Thy disciples - The disciples which he had made when he was before in Judea, John 4:1-3.

The works - The miracles.

3-5. His brethren said—(See on [1798]Mt 13:54-56).

Depart … into Judea, &c.—In Joh 7:5 this speech is ascribed to their unbelief. But as they were in the "upper room" among the one hundred and twenty disciples who waited for the descent of the Spirit after the Lord's ascension (Ac 1:14), they seem to have had their prejudices removed, perhaps after His resurrection. Indeed here their language is more that of strong prejudice and suspicion (such as near relatives, even the best, too frequently show in such cases), than from unbelief. There was also, probably, a tincture of vanity in it. "Thou hast many disciples in Judea; here in Galilee they are fast dropping off; it is not like one who advances the claims Thou dost to linger so long here, away from the city of our solemnities, where surely 'the kingdom of our father David' is to be set up: 'seeking,' as Thou dost, 'to be known openly,' those miracles of Thine ought not to be confined to this distant corner, but submitted at headquarters to the inspection of 'the world.'" (See Ps 69:8, "I am become a stranger to my brethren, an alien unto my mother's children!")

His brethren; his friends and kindred; See Poole on "Matthew 12:47". See Poole on "Matthew 12:48"; either such as did believe in him, or such as did not believe; for, John 7:5, all of them did not believe in him; would have him leave Galilee, which was the far more obscure and ignoble part of the country, and go into Judea, which was the more noble and famous province; that those who in that province followed him, might also see the miracles which he wrought. That is, the brethren of Jesus, as the Syriac and Persic versions express it; who were not James and Joses, and Simon and Judas, the sons of Alphaeus, the brother of Joseph, the husband of Mary, so called, Matthew 13:55, for some of these were of the number of the twelve; and all of them believers in Christ; whereas these his brethren were not. The Jew (l) therefore is mistaken, who supposed the above persons are here intended; and objects this their unbelief to Jesus, as if they knew him too well to give him any credit; whereas they did believe in him, and abode by him to the last; and some of them, if not all, suffered death for his sake. They therefore are to be understood of some distant relations of Mary or Joseph, that dwelt at Nazareth, or Capernaum, or in some of those parts; and the feast of tabernacles being at hand, they put him upon going up to it, being willing to be rid of him: saying,

depart hence: which is the language of carnal men, who desire not the company of Christ, nor the knowledge of his ways; and like the Gergesenes, who preferred their swine to Christ, and desired him to depart out of their coasts:

and go into Judea; among his most inveterate enemies, who sought to take away his life; and which doubtless they knew; which showed a quite different regard to him, from that of his true disciples, John 11:7, for which they give some plausible reasons:

that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest: meaning not his twelve disciples, who were now with him, but the disciples he had made, and baptized in Judea, John 4:1. Or his disciples in the several parts of the land, who would all be at Jerusalem, at the feast of tabernacles; and so, should he go, would have an opportunity of seeing his miracles, and thereby be the more confirmed in the faith of him,

(l) R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 45. p. 434, 435.

{1} His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.

(1) The grace of God comes not by inheritance, but it is a gift that comes in another way: because of this it occurs that the children of God often suffer more affliction from their own relatives than from strangers.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
John 7:3. The brothers (John 2:12; their names are given, Matthew 13:55, Mark 6:3) were still unbelievers (John 7:5), because biassed by the prevailing Messianic views;[257] yet, allowing to themselves, because of the miracles, the possibility of His being the Messiah, they are anxious—partly, perhaps, for the sake of their own family—for the decision of the matter, which they thought might most appropriately take place at the great joyous feast of the nation, and which certainly must occur, if at all, in Jerusalem, the seat of the theocracy. A malicious and treacherous intention (ἵνα ἀναιρεθῇ παρᾶ τῶν ζητούντων ἀποκτεῖναι αὐτόν, Euthymius Zigabenus, also Luther) is imputed to them without any foundation. They are of cold Jewish natures, and the higher nature belonging to their Brother is as yet hidden from them. The light of faith seems not to have dawned upon them until after His resurrection, and by means of that event (1 Corinthians 15:7; Acts 1:14). This long-continued unbelief of His own earthly brothers (comp. Mark 3:21) is important in estimating the genuineness of the accounts given in Matthew and Luke of the miraculous birth and early childhood of Jesus.

καὶ οἱ μαθηταί σου] This expression entirely corresponds with the position of the brothers as outside the fellowship of Jesus. It does not say, “thy disciples there also” (so usually; even Baur, who takes it to refer to those who are first to be won over in Judaea), for the word there does not occur, nor “thy disciples collectively,” but simply, “thy disciples also.” They would be gathered together from all parts at the feast in Jerusalem, and He should let Himself and His works be seen by them also. It does not, indeed, clearly appear from this that coldness began to be exhibited towards Him within the circle of His disciples (Weizsäcker), but rather perhaps that Jesus had gone about in Galilee and worked miracles very much in secret, without attracting observation, and not attended by any great following, but perhaps only by the trusted twelve, which silent manner of working He was perhaps led to adopt by the lying in wait of the Jews (John 7:1). Comp. John 7:4 : ἐν κρυπτῷ. According to B. Crusius, the brothers speak as it nothing miraculous had been done by Him in Galilee. Contrary to the narrative; and therefore ἃ ποιεῖς cannot mean “what you are reported to have done” (B. Crusius), but “what thou doest,” i.e. during thy present sojourn in Galilee, although ἐν κρυπτῷ, John 7:4. According to Brückner (comp. Ebrard, and substantially also Godet), the brothers express themselves as if Jesus had made and retained no disciples in Galilee, and, indeed, with malicious and ironical allusion to the fact stated John 6:66, and to the report (John 4:1) which they did not believe. But, considering the long interval which elapsed between chap. 6 and John 7:2, such allusions, without more precise indication of them in the text, are all the less to be assumed. Luthardt attributes to the brothers the notion that in Galilee it was only the multitudes that followed Him, and that there was no such personal adherence to Him as had taken place in Judaea (in consequence of His baptizing). But it is incredible that they should entertain a notion so obviously erroneous, because the events which they were continually witnessing in Galilee, as well as those which they witnessed in Judaea on occasion of their journeys to the feast, must have been better known to them.

[257] Hengstenberg is not deterred even by this passage from recognising in these brothers of Jesus His cousins (the sons, he thinks, of Cleopas and Mary; but see on John 19:25), and from maintaining, with all the arbitrariness and violence of exegetical impossibilities, that three of them, James, Simon, and Judas, were apostles, in spite of vv. 3, 5, 7 (comp. John 15:19). Against every attempt to explain away the literal brothers and sisters of Jesus, see on Matthew 1:25; Matthew 12:46; 1 Corinthians 9:5; also Laurentius, N. T. Stud. p. 153 ff.; comp. Pressensé, Jesus Chr. p. 287.John 7:3. The desirableness of doing so is urged by His brothers. εἶποντῷ κόσμῳ. The reason they advanced was “that Thy disciples also may see Thy works which Thou doest”. καὶ οἱ μαθηταί σου seems to imply that since the Feeding of the Five Thousand in April, Jesus had been living in comparative retirement, perhaps at Nazareth. At Jerusalem, all who were attached to Him would be found at the Feast; and the brothers recognise that He would then have an opportunity of putting His claims to the proof. “No one,” they say, “who seeks public recognition confines his activities to a hidden and private corner.” ἐν παρρησίᾳ, as in John 11:54, means “openly” or “in public,” and is in direct contrast to ἐν κρυπτῷ. Having laid down the general law, they then apply it to Him, “if (or ‘since,’ not expressing doubt) Thou doest these things, show Thyself to the world”. Lücke, following Euthymius, thinks doubt is implied in εἰ; but this implies an ignorance on the part of the brothers which is inconceivable.3. His brethren] See on John 2:12.

Depart hence] The bluntness of this suggestion, given almost as a command, shews that they presumed upon their near relationship. It would be more natural in the mouths of men older than Christ, and therefore is in favour of their being sons of Joseph by a former marriage rather than sons of Joseph and Mary (comp. Mark 3:21; Mark 3:31). They shared the ordinary beliefs of the Jews about the Messiah, and therefore did not believe in their Brother. But His miracles perplexed them, and they wished the point brought to a decisive issue. There is no treachery in their suggestion; its object is not to put Him in the power of His enemies.

thy disciples also] His brethren seem to imply that they themselves are not His disciples even nominally.John 7:3. Οἱ ἀδελφοί, His brethren) cousin-germans.—μετάβηθι, [depart] pass over) to sojourn there.—ἐντεῦθεν, hence) from this obscure place in Galilee.—εἰς τὴν Ιουδαίαν, into Judea) They send away the Messiah from Galilee to Judea; and then, from Judea to Galilee, John 7:52.[162]—ΚΑῚ ΟἹ ΜΑΘΗΤΑΊ ΣΟΥ, Thy disciples also) By this very expression they show, that they are not His disciples, John 7:5. There were many disciples of Jesus in Judea, especially at the feasts.—ζεωρήσωσι, may see) at the feast, in Jerusalem.

[162] “Out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” Beng. means, that after first requiring Him to go from Galilee into Judea to prove His Messiahship, when He had gone there, they sent Him back to Galilee, rejecting His claims, just because He had come from Galilee.—E. and T.Verse 3. - His brethren therefore (pointing to the high significance of this national and triumphant feast) said unto him. These brethren were (Matthew 13:55) James, Joses, Simon, and Judas, and, without entering once more on the much-debated question of their actual relation to Jesus (see John 2:12, and notes), it may be said that this passage in a very marked manner discriminates them from the apostles or disciples, and practically negatives the "cousin" theory derived from the supposed identification of Alphaeus with Cleophas, and consequently of the sons of Alphaeus (James, Judas, and Simon) with the apostles of the same names. The lack of sympathy shown by these men, and the positive assertion of their non-belief in Jesus, is incompatible with the great confession so recently made (ch. 6:68, 69), and cannot (with Hengstenberg and Lange) be diluted into imperfect appreciation of claims which they wished in a secular sense to press forward to full assertion. They appeared here to criticize their Brother's prolonged absence from Jerusalem, and his abstention from the Passover and other national festivals. They would, perhaps sincerely, hurry forward his public demonstration, and compel him to say to the great world what he had been saying in Galilaean villages, in the borders of Tyre, and in the cities of Decapolis. Depart hence, and go into Judaea. "This is the time and place." Thoma sees in this advice the same idea which, on the mount of Transfiguration, was suggested by Moses and Elijah "concerning the departure which the Lord was to accomplish in Jerusalem." The Johannist has clothed the same material insinuation in a dialogue (dialogische Verhandlung). It has been said that this kind of advice is rather in favour of the hypothesis that these brethren were elder than Jesus, and possibly the children of Joseph by an earlier marriage, who thus took upon themselves the function of advisers. Such a hint, however (given by Westcott), seems very shadowy confirmation of the theory. Younger brothers would be just as likely to err in the same direction. In order that thy disciples also may behold thy works which thou doest. The words "thy disciples" may (Godet, Luthardt formerly) have had special reference to the fact that our Lord had made in Judaea "more disciples than had John" (John 4:1), that there were even members of the Sanhedrin who had to some extent looked favourably upon him (John 3:1), and needed confirmation of their faith. There may also have been tacit reference to the circumstance recorded in ch. 6. that his Galilaean disciples had deserted him; but it is more likely (Meyer) that the brethren took it for granted that those who in numerous places had received his word would be gathered together in Jerusalem, and would have an opportunity of seeing with their own eyes and in consociation with each other the works of healing and might which were being variously reported, canvassed, and disputed in the schools of Galilee. "Thy disciples" is a wide word, and may easily refer to all who, whether in Jerusalem or Galilee, went by his name. It is a designation which, however, does not include the speakers. "The works which thou art doing" is sufficiently illustrated from the group of remarkable events which had eternalized the previous twelve months of the Galilaean ministry (see on ver. 1). Thy disciples

Both those who had been gained by former teaching in Judaea and Jerusalem, and others from other parts.

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