The Invitation to Jerusalem

The Invitation to Jerusalem

The Invitation to Jerusalem
Text: John 7:1-13

As we commence this chapter and get back into this study, we begin in a new section of the ministry of Christ. Chapter 7 begins by showing the closing of the Lord’s Galilean ministry which lasted for over a year, and brings us back into Judea about 7 months after the events of John 6 (compare 6:4 with 7:2).

In this chapter and the next, we will see the heat of hatred rise against the Lord. The feelings we read of in John 5:18 have not diminished, and are going to be intensified. As He secretly comes into Judea, He avoids Jerusalem for a significant period until He makes His grand entry upon the colt.

As Jews attend this particular feast, the assumption was that Jesus would be present – v11-12.

But what was Jesus up to in the half year or so before this? After the pinnacle of popularity recorded in the previous chapter, according to the other gospels the Lord moved into less populous areas on the perimeter of the area, like Tyre and Sidon in the NW, and places like Decapolis east of Galilee (Mk 7), and Matt 15 tells us of him going to the Phoenician border.

During this time he is teaching, and one of the things he begins to teach is that of His own death (Matt 16). Thus, while the fanfare had died, the Lord is using this as an opportunity to teach the 12, and using events like the Transfiguration to build them up for the future. The Lord ministered with the long-term in view. He spent more time on the few disciples than on the masses with an empty faith.

He focused on the flock, and he told Peter to do the same “feed my sheep”. And there’s a principle there. The pastor teacher is to evangelize, yes, but his priority to to attend to the flock who hear the Word, receive it, and then make their impact felt among society as the live for Christ. The great commission is a call to make disciples, not converts. Yes, God will save and we must be hungry for that, but the issue is to preach and teach, and those who hearken will hear and be discipled in the truth. Give people the dividing word of Christ, and those who stay continue to disciple in the truth.

How did Paul start churches? He preached in the synagogues predominantly, and then to take Thessalonica as an example, he says “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.” (1 Thes 1:6).

But the Lord always kept the pilgrimage feasts (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). So he gathers with his brothers, whom had attended these feasts with for years no doubt.


In the absence of Christ, the anger of the Jews did not cool off. 

Some thought He was a good man, others a deceiver (Matt 27:63). The Jews wanted to present Jesus as a deceiver, but the point is neither party is right. If Jesus merely claimed to be good, why all the fuss? What would He be deceiving people about if all He claimed to be was a good man? That’s hardly an act of deception that would make people want to kill Him.

And you my friend have to decide who Jesus is. Everyone does. And your decision on that matter will determine your eternity. And your decision will not so much push you to consider His works; the thing that will bother you is His Words. This is brought out in v7 – His speech is what upsets people. And as the anger grows in this section, it will be because of the things He said, not what He did, e.g 8:43-45,47,52. And they seek to stone him v59. Why? His words.

People will invent of Jesus of their own imagination who didn’t talk about hell, or didn’t say “I came not to bring peace but a sword” and skip over Matthew 23. But if you’re a Christian, it’s because you accept the person and His words.


Lev 23 tells us about the Feast of Tabernacles, which was designed to help the people remember their time in the wilderness, where they lived in tents. It was a joyous occasion for the Jewish people, and the Lord’s brothers, James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas, come to Jesus to get him to go with them.

So why did they want Him to go to Jerusalem and perform miracles there? Well there have been different suggestions, some even thinking they wanted Him dead.

But I said before, that this desire to see Jesus perform miracles is a fruit of their unbelief. Unbelief wants miracles over the message. They want Him to achieve fame and notoriety. Their unbelief desires more miracles.

But why? Well we saw it in John 5:44. – They loved the glory of man, and since they were the half brothers of Jesus, perhaps they thought they could benefit from His notoriety. It’s like the faith of many who go to church for what they get out of it, rather than I’m here because God commands me to be and I want to be. Why do healthy people flock to healing ministries? To seek for a sign. And this is a dangerous indication of the type of faith they possess.

Alternatively, their motivation may have been to get Him down there and perform miracles so that they could get a verdict of whether He was the real deal or not. Jerusalem possessed the spiritual leaders, and in their mind it would be the testing ground to see if He is legitimately the Messiah. Either way, it’s a yearning for a sign.

Notice also all the if in v4. Who does that remind you of? Satan, who questioned God’s Word to Adam.

Remember John 2:23? He didn’t commit himself to them, i.e. He didn’t believe on them even though they believed on Him.


v6 – Christ had an appointment to keep with regard to His death, and that was in 6 months time or so at the next Passover. Everything He did and everywhere He went was to schedule. His birth (Gal 4:4), and His death (7:30; compare 12:23)

For unbelievers, they don’t have such a divine schedule that they’re living by, except for the appointment of death and judgment (Heb 9:27).

v7 – He clarifies the reason his schedule mattered and theirs didn’t. The world didn’t hate them. Why? They didn’t believe. But it hated Christ because of what? His words. He testified against the sins of men.

Christian, marvel not if the world hate you. The more like Christ you are, the more hypocrites will hate you. 

v8-10 – Christ avoided going up with the train of those who would have been travelling up to Jerusalem at that time.


There’s a desire for Him, but once again it is not a pure desire.

v11 – they were seeking Him for the same reason mentioned in 5:18.

v13 – Why? Because everyone knew the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Him. What power this system had over the people. It muted the nation. And Jesus spends His time here in Judea for the next 6 months, awaiting the time of the Passover when He would enter Jerusalem and die upon the cross.

What was the problem with Jesus? Why is there this attitude?

v7 – he testified against their sin. That was the problem.

So why does He invite us to this feast tonight? Because our reason for seeking Him has had a radical transformation. We seek Him to say thank you, like the one grateful leper.

They were attending a feast reminding them of the journey to the promised land. We celebrate this feast as it reminds us of the means whereby we gain entrance to the promised land. Are you going?