Conflict at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:11-15). Christ did not present Himself in the Temple to
observe the Feast until the festive week was half-over. Throughout the opening days the Jews were
watching for Him. At the Temple, He raised the question in the minds of His hearers as to the source of
His wisdom. The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having
studied?” He explained that He had been taught by God.
This assertion demanded a defense and Christ offered a twofold proof that His teaching did not originate
with Him but with God. First, He revealed that even thought they recognized the divine origin of the
Law, they did not observe it. The evidence of that was that Moses had forbidden murder (Ex 20:13), yet
the Jews were determined to kill Him. Thus, they rejected the Law of God. Second, He reminded the
Jews that the Law permitted work on the Sabbath; for circumcision involved work and yet was permitted
on the Sabbath. If the Jews permitted the work of circumcision, they could not object if He healed a man
on the Sabbath. Yet that miracle had made the Jews determined to put Christ to death. They wanted to
seize Him but could not because His hour had not yet come.
Jesus spent the second half of the week of the Feast teaching the crowds who had gathered in Jerusalem.
He claimed to be from God and have God’s message. Jesus explained to the crowd that they were
judging Him by the flesh. He had come from Heaven and in a little while would go to Him who sent
Him. To the Jews such a claim was blasphemy. Great conflict was generated by Jesus.
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let
him come to me and drink.” On this day, pilgrims marched around the city in commemoration of the fall
of Jericho and passed by the brook of Siloam to drink, while chanting the words of Isaiah 12:3, “With joy
you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” The Feast of Tabernacles reminded Israel of their
experiences in the desert while they were strangers and pilgrims on the way to the Promised Land. God
miraculously provided water to satisfy their need. Christ announced that spiritual satisfaction was to be
found in Him. He invited them to drink, meaning to receive and appropriate what He offered them. They
had to be willing to accept His Person and His Word.
The gracious invitation of the Lord brought forth two responses. Some said that Jesus was “the Prophet”
(Deuteronomy 18:15); others said more directly, “He is the Christ.” On the other hand, there were those
who rejected this interpretation, reasoning that Christ came from Galilee, whereas the prophets predicted
He would come from Bethlehem and from David’s line. The failure of the people to investigate the
historical circumstances concerning Jesus’ birth left them with misinformation which blinded them as to
Jesus’ identity and origin. The Temple guards who were to seize Him returned to the authorities, saying,
“No one ever spoke the way this man does.”