You Believed Not

John 10:22-26 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

‘The feast of the dedication’ the feast was appointed by Judas Maccabaeus to commemorate the purification of the temple after it had been defiled by Antiochus Epiphanes on the 25th of Chisleu (December), 164 B.C. He offered a sow on the altar and polluted the temple by sprinkling its broth all around (1 Macc. 4:52-59). It lasted 2 days and could be celebrated elsewhere. It was about 3 1/2 months after the feast of tabernacles of John 7:2 and about 4 months before the passover and the crucifixion.

‘Solomon’s porch’ the outer court of the temple or court of the Gentiles was surrounded by cloisters supported upon ranges of marble columns. They were called porches and were used by the Jews and strangers as public promenades. The eastern side of the court was called Solomon’s porch, built by him and left standing, when Nebuchadnezzar took the city, probably because of its grandeur and beauty. It was over 800 feet long.

The Jews confronted Jesus and asked Him how long He was going to make them doubt. They felt that He held them in suspense, and excite their expectations. They really wanted Him to declare Himself as King of the Jews so they could then accuse Him to Pilate.

Jesus told them who He was, and what the Father sent Him to do, but they did not want to believe Him, therefore, they cannot be His sheep. All His works were done in the name of His Father (John 5:43).

Three things men must do and continue in to receive eternal life: believe, which implies complete and continued obedience; hear His voice, and be not hearers only, but also doers of His Word (Jas. 1:22-27; 2:9-26); and follow Christ, not only at the beginning of a Christian experience, but daily and throughout life (Luke 9:23). To claim eternal life when one does not follow is like these Jews claiming to know God and have eternal life. Jesus declared such was not true (John 5:37-47; 8:54-55).

In the Midst of the Feast

John 7:9- 15 When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee. But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, No; but he deceive the people. Howbeit no man spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews. Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How know this man letters, having never learned?

After Jesus’ brothers spoke to Him to go to the feast, He stayed in Galilee for about four days and then went up in the middle of the feast. Any godly man who was seeking to save the lost instead of seeking worldly fame and popularity would want to stay away from the ever changeable mobs. The Rabbinical law required Him to be there the first day, for the performance of many of the rites; but as they were mostly human invention, He would not have thought them proper to attend.

The ‘Jews sought him’ – that is, the rulers of the Jews who were seeking to destroy Him. From the following verses it is clear that many were for Him, but would not openly take a stand for Him for fear of the rulers (vv. 12-13, 30-32, 40-53).

‘How know this man letters, having never learned?’ Most people could not read or write in Bible times, that’s why they gathered at the temple so that a priest could read from the scrolls. Jesus knew their Scriptures, traditions, history and future better than all others combined. (Luke 2:42-47). He had great knowledge and wisdom from God  and could read from a young age (Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 50:6; 61:1; Luke 2:40, 52; John 7:16; 8:28, 47; 12:49; 14:10, 24; 17:8).

Be Known Openly

John 7:1-8 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou does. For there is no man that does any thing in secret, and he himself seeks to be known openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world. For neither did his brethren believe in him. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hates, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go you up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. 

After the things that happened in chapter 6, Jesus stayed in Galilee, for He could not walk in Jewry – the land of the Jews – because they wanted to kill Him. The Jews’ feast of tabernacles was held on the 15th to 22nd of September (Lev. 23:34-44; Deut. 16:13-16; 2Chr. 8:13; Zec. 14:16-21). This feast was about 7 months before the crucifixion (15th of April).

Christ’s brethren told Him to do to the feast so that His disciples (followers) in Judea may see His miracles. They knew His miracles and no doubt accepted Him as a prophet, but not as the Messiah, for they had found Him declining the kingship (John 6:15) which was one of the Messiah’s chief offices. They could not believe that He would do this if He was really the Messiah.

Jesus Christ was no ordinary man. Another would have taken every opportunity of exhibiting himself before the public that he might become famous, but not so with Christ. Their appeal was to leave the country – the small villages and the ignorant people – and go to the city – the capital, among the learned people and rulers – to make Himself a name.

‘My time is not yet come’ He referred to the time of His sufferings and said to them (His brothers) that the world cannot hate them because they still have its interests at heart and they expected a worldly Messiah. But the world (the inhabitants) hated Christ because He condemned its injustice, pride, ambitions, way of life, and doctrines.

Jesus did not say that He was not going to the feast, but “I go not up yet.” It could have been that He wanted to go alone with His disciples, so as not to bring criticism from His enemies that He was exciting sedition; and also to prevent any popular commotion from a renewed effort to make Him king (John 6:15).