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).

The Temple

John 2:18-22  Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shew thou unto us, seeing that thou do these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. 

The Jews were as always acting as an evil and adulterous generation that seek after a sign (see Matt. 12:39; 16:4) and Jesus gave them the same answer He would do later: that of His death and resurrection (the sign of the prophet Jonas). The one sign that will hopefully be the answer to all their doubts and unbelief so that they will accept Him as their Saviour.

Here He gave the same answer in the form of the destruction of that temple (Herod’s) that He will raise up in three days. This is the third New Testament prophecy in John where He no doubt pointed to His body – this temple.

With Christ’s death, the New Testament period started (Matt. 26:28; 1Cor. 11:25; Heb. 9:15) and temple service was abolished. God now (during the New Testament period) works through individuals and He clearly states in 1Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost and He warns us through the Apostle John in Revelation 2:9; 3:9 that there will be those that blaspheme because they say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of satan. Service to God now comes through the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:27; Ep. 4:12), thus each individual that is consecrated to Him for His glory and honour (1Pet. 2:21-22) and not through a temple or synagogue (Acts 7:48; 17:24).

The rebuilding of the temple was commenced by Herod the Great, 20 B.C. Herod tore down Zerubbabel’s temple to make it larger and better.

When Jesus has risen from the dead (Matt. 27:51-53; 28:6; 1Cor. 15:12-23), His disciples remembered His words and they believed the Scripture – that was given to Christ of the Father (John 14:10).

Cleansing the Temple

John 2:13-17  And the Jews’ Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up. 

It started out to be ‘the Lord’s Passover’ (Exo. 12:11, 12:27; Lev. 23:5; Num. 28:16), but now it had degenerated to be “the Jews’ Passover” (John 2:13; 6:4; 11:55). The feasts of the Lord (Lev. 23:2) had now become the feasts of the Jews (John 5:1; 6:4; 7:2; 11:56; 19:42). Even the commandments were nullified by the traditions of men (Matt. 15:1-9; 16:6-12).

According to historians, 256,500 animals were sacrificed each Passover, so the market must have been huge. The priests sold licenses to the vendors, so this profanation must have been a large source of revenue.

Jesus made a scourge of small cords; He plaited a whip of rush-ropes and drove the animals and the sellers out of the temple. These dealers were very unpopular because of their extortions; they were also conscious that they were profaning the temple and violating the law. They were a stumbling stone (Matt. 16:23; 18:7) for those who wanted to reconcile with God.

My Father’s is a term used by Jesus 60 times of God (John 5:17, 43). The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up is the second Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in John (Psa. 69:9).