The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 5, 2016


In this chapter, we have an account of our Lord’s conversation with His brethren, who from selfish motives, urge Him, on occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles, to go up to Jerusalem and perform His miraculous wonders, in the face of the world (1–9).

His ascent privately to Jerusalem to join in the celebration of the Festival (10).

The search for Him, and the discourses regarding Him among the people (11–13).

His teaching in the Temple, and the admiration of the crowd, at the learning He displayed, as He had not learned letters (14, 15).

Our Lord’s justification of Himself and of His doctrine (16–18).

The reproachful language of the Jews on His having charged them with a design to put Him to death (18–21).

His retort on them as having themselves violated the Sabbath, with the violation of which they unjustly charged Him (21–25).

His declaration as to His heavenly origin, and the rejection of the Jews (28–36).

His invitation to all to come and partake of His abundant graces (37–39).

The result of His discourse. The division caused among the multitude (40–42).

The testimony of those sent to arrest Him (44) and the bitter reproaches addressed to Him, in consequence, by the Pharisees who employed them (44–48).

The fearless defence of our Lord by Nicodemus, and the reproaches he was subjected to, in consequence (50–52.)

COMMENTARY ON JOHN 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Joh 7:1 After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.
Joh 7:2 Now the Jews feast of tabernacles was at hand.

2. “Now, the Jewish feast of Tabernacles,” etc. This feast was instituted in memory of the Divine protection extended to the Jewish people, when living in tents, during their forty years’ sojourn in the desert. It commenced on the 15th day of the seventh month, Tishri (September), and lasted seven consecutive days, to which the eighth day was added, a day of special solemnity. It was a most joyous festival. During these eight days, the Israelites were obliged to dwell in tents, hurriedly constructed of wood, branches of trees, skins, etc. They carried in their hands, each day, branches of palm-trees, olives, citrons, myrtles and willows. It was the third of the great festivals of the Jews, the others being the Pasch and Pentecost.

Joh 7:10 But after his brethren were gone up, then he also went up to the feast, not openly, but, as it were, in secret.

10. “Not openly” accompanied by a great retinue of followers; nor straightway through Samaria; but, through Pærea, after crossing the Jordan near Jericho.

But as it were in secret,” accompanied by only a few trusty friends, without any display; to avoid openly encountering the hostility of the Jewish rulers, who sought to compass His death. His ascent was not altogether “in secret,” but, “as it were, in secret.” On the fourth day, He publicly appeared in the Temple.

Joh 7:25 Some therefore of Jerusalem said: Is not this he whom they seek to kill?

25. “Some of Jerusalem.” The Greek has, “of the Jerusalemites.” The sense is the same. Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who knew well the wicked designs of the Rulers regarding our Lord. Hence, the Evangelist refers to them as distinguished from the strangers then flocking to Jerusalem, who knew nothing of the wicked machinations of the Rulers. These latter, probably, were friendly to our Lord, having seen His miracles and having heard His doctrine.

Is not this He whom they wish to kill.” They knew well the wicked designs of the Rulers, the Scribes, Priests and Pharisees.

Joh 7:26 And behold, he speaketh openly: and they say nothing to him. Have the rulers known for a truth that this is the Christ?

26. “Behold, He speaketh openly, and they say nothing to Him.” They express their astonishment that the Rulers, whose hatred of our Lord they well knew, were now silent, while He was speaking freely and openly regarding them.

Have the Rulers known for a truth that this is the Christ?” These men, seeking some cause for an event so unaccountable, a change so great in the attitude of the Rulers in His regard, concluded, that they must now be convinced that He is truly the Christ, whom they hitherto charged with falsely affecting to be such. It must be, therefore, because they now find Him to be really the Christ. The Rulers have laid aside every feeling of animosity, which arose from zeal for the interests of the true Christ. In this, however, the crowd were deceived. It was not from any feeling of zeal for the interests of the true Christ the Pharisees, etc., were influenced, but by a feeling of pride, jealousy and envy.

Joh 7:27 But we know this man, whence he is: but when the Christ cometh, no man knoweth, whence he is.

27. “But,” this is most unlikely; this cannot be; for, “we know this man whence He is” (see 5:42). “But, when the Christ cometh, no one knows whence He is.” From this it would seem there was some absurd notion afloat among the ignorant portion of the Jews regarding our Lord’s parentage, etc. The learned knew well He was to be born in Bethlehem, of the family of David (v. 42). But the ignorant portion came to an erroneous conclusion, probably misunderstanding the words of the Prophet Isaias (43), “Generationem ejus quis enarrabit?” “Egressus ejus ab initio, a diebus æternitatis” (Micheas 7), and other such texts, which have reference to His Divine nature.

Joh 7:28 Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying: You both know me, and you know whence I am. And I am not come of myself: but he that sent me is true, whom you know not.
Joh 7:29 I know him, because I am from him: and he hath sent me.

28, 29. “Jesus, therefore, knowing their thoughts and conversation, “cried out in the Temple,” raised His voice, to render more impressive what He was saying, “teaching and saying,” as the only thing you want in Me, in order to acknowledge Me as your Messiah is, not to know me. He then shows they did not know Him. They should, therefore, acknowledge Him.

You both know Me and know who I am.” That is, you assert that you know who I am and My parentage, as you think you know My parents; but, in this you are mistaken. For, “I have not come of Myself.” In this our Lord clearly insinuates, that He was the Son of God, sent by Him, in fulfilment of the promises made to their fathers. “But He that sent Me is true,” infinitely veracious in His words and acts, and in the testimony He bore to Me as His Son, and as I teach His doctrine, what I teach must, therefore, be true. “Whom you know not.” You know not that He is My Father, who, by word and miraculous wonders, bore testimony to Me as His Son, and not Joseph, whom you fancy to be My real father.

But I know Him, because I am from Him,” His Eternal Son, begotten of Him from eternity, “and He hath sent Me” into this world, to assume human nature for your redemption. In these latter words, our Lord refers to His Divine and human natures. His Divine, in the words, “I am from Him,” His human, “and He hath sent Me.”

Others interpret the words, “you both know Me,” etc., as if taken up by Him, and repeated after them in irony, so as to convey, that they were mistaken as to His person and parentage, and, then, He states His true origin and parentage, “and I am not come of Myself,” etc. On their own showing, therefore, they should acknowledge Him as their Messiah. Since they would seem to admit that He had all the other qualities to be desired in the Messiah, the only thing wanted was, that they should not know Him, and this too He now shows to be verified regarding Him.

By others, the words, “you both know Me,” etc., are read interrogatively, “Do you, indeed, know Me?” etc. Conveying, that they did not; and then He proceeds to show who He was and whence He was.

Some Latin Codices have at the end of v. 28, as in 8:55, “But I know Him, and if I should say I know Him not, I shall be a liar, like you.” Editions and versions generally omit them here.

Joh 7:30 They sought therefore to apprehend him: and no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

30. “Therefore,” in consequence of His saying that He came from God the Father, whom they knew not, they, blinded from malice and obduracy, instead of being convinced, were more embittered against Him, and would put Him to death, because the people preferred Him to themselves, and regarded Him as the Messias. But, His power restrained them, because the hour marked out in the eternal decrees, for His suffering death, had not yet arrived—“his hour,” the time which, of His own free will, in obedience to the decrees of His Eternal Father, He had fixed for suffering the death of the cross.


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