10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11 Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” 12 And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” 13 However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews (John 7:10–13, NKJV).
Jesus went to Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles privately, without the fanfare his unbelieving brothers advocated (John 7:2-5, 10). He entered the temple and taught during the feast, challenging the people to judge righteously about Him and His work (John 7:14-24). Disagreement over Jesus permeated the city. The Jewish leaders (“the Jews”) looked for Jesus to seize Him (John 7:32, 45). Meanwhile, the general public debated His goodness quietly out of fear of offending their religious leaders (John 7:13). To this day, some say Jesus was a good moral teacher, but not the Son of God. Others say He was a deceiver, a con artist. Some say Jesus was a prophet but not deity. Jesus claimed to be sent from God, teaching God’s will (John 7:17). When one desires to obey God, they will know He and His teaching are from God (John 7:17; 10:37-38). We do not follow Jesus because of who others say He is, but because His words and works declare Him to be the Christ, the Son of the living God (John 7:25-31; 4:41-42; 5:36-39; Matt. 16:16-17).
40 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Will the Christ come out of Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” (John 7:40–42, NKJV)
John 7 records the belief, skepticism, and opposition to Jesus in Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:2, 10-13). The multitude did not speak openly about Him for fear of their leaders, but Jesus “went up into the temple and taught” publicly (John 7:14). Like today, His words and works stirred different reactions. (1) The multitude charged Jesus with having a demon (John 7:20-24). (2) The citizens of Jerusalem marveled at His boldness under threat of death (John 7:25-27). (3) The Jewish leaders (Sanhedrin) sent officers to arrest Him, perplexed at His teaching (John 7:32-36, 44). The officers returned empty-handed, saying, “No man ever spoke like this man” (John 7:45-46). (4) The crowd was divided over whether Jesus was “the Prophet” or “the Christ” (John 7:40-42). Moses told of God sending a prophet like him (Deut. 18:15, 18-19). God’s Servant, the Messiah, fulfilled this role (Isa. 42:1-4; Acts 3:22-24). The Christ did indeed come from “the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was” (2 Sam. 7:12-14; Isa. 11:1-2; Micah 5:2). Those who said Jesus could not be the Christ since He came from Galilee, failing to consider his birthplace (John 7:1, 9-10). Jesus is “the Prophet” who spoke the Father’s doctrine (John 7:16-18). Jesus is the Christ who gives living water for the soul (John 7:37-38; Isa. 55:1-5; Rev. 22:17). Christ is the Prophet we must hear. This is righteous judgment about Jesus (John 7:24).