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7. Jesus Teaches at Feast of Tabernacles

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. 3His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. 4For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world. 5For neither did his brethren believe in him. 6Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready. 7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. 8 Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet full come. 9When he had said these words unto them, he abode still in Galilee.

10But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. 11Then the Jews sought him at the feast, and said, Where is he? 12And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people. 13Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.

14Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. 15And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? 16Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 19 Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 20The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 21Jesus answered and said unto them, I have done one work, and ye all marvel. 22 Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. 23 If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? 24 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. 25Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? 26But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? 27Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. 28Then cried Jesus in the temple as he taught, saying, Ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. 29 But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. 30Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. 31And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

32The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. 33Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me. 34 Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. 35Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles? 36What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come? 37In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

40Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. 41Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? 42Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? 43So there was a division among the people because of him. 44And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.

45Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 46The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 47Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 49But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. 50Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 51Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? 52They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. 53And every man went unto his own house.

34. You shall seek me. They sought Christ, to put him to death. Here Christ alludes to the ambiguous signification of the word seek, for soon they shall seek him in another manner; as if he had said, “My presence, which is now irksome and intolerable to you, will last for a short time; but ere long you shall seek me in vain, for, far removed from you, not only by my body, but also by my power, I shall behold from heaven your destruction.” But here a question may be put, of what nature was this seeking of Christ? For it is plain enough that Christ speaks of the reprobate, whose obstinacy in rejecting Christ had reached the utmost point. Some refer it to doctrine, because the Jews, by foolishly pursuing the righteousness of works, did not obtain what they desired, (Romans 9:31.) Many understand it as referring to the person of the Messiah, because the Jews, reduced to extremities, in vain implored a Redeemer. But for my own part, I explain it as merely denoting the groans of distress uttered by the wicked, when, compelled by necessity, they look in some manner towards God.

And shall not find me. When they seek him, they do not seek him; for unbelief and obstinacy — by shutting up their hearts, as it were — hinders them from approaching to God. They would desire, indeed, that God should aid them, and should be their Redeemer, but, by impenitence and hardness of heart, they obstruct their path. We have a very striking example 192192     “Un fort bel exemple.” in Esau, who, on account of having lost his birthright, not only is oppressed with grief, but groans and gnashes his teeth, and breaks out into furious indignation, (Genesis 27:38; Hebrews 12:17.) But yet so far is he from the right way of seeking the blessing, that, at the very time when he is seeking it, 193193     “Quand il la cherche.” he renders himself more unworthy of it. In this manner God usually punishes the contempt of his grace in the reprobate, so that, either afflicted by severe punishments, or oppressed by a conviction of their misery, or reduced to other extremities, they complain, and cry, and howl, but without reaping any advantage; for, being always like themselves, they nourish within their hearts the same cruelty which they formerly displayed, and do not go to God, but rather wish that he were changed, since they cannot destroy him. Hence let us learn that we ought to receive Christ without delay, while he is still present with us, that the opportunity of enjoying him may not pass away from us; for if the door be once shut, it will be vain for us to try to open it.

Seek the Lord, says Isaiah, while he may be found; call upon him, while he is near,
(Isaiah 55:6.)

We ought therefore to go to God early, while the time of his good pleasure lasts, as the prophet speaks, (Isaiah 49:8;) for we know not how long God will bear with our negligence. In these words, where I am, you cannot come, he employs the present tense instead of the future, where I shall be, you shall not be able to come


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