23 In Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles

Dr. Doug Bookman

A. The Jewish Leaders Watch for Jesus

Scripture: John 7:11-13

Notes: Notice that by this time Jesus is very much the center of thought among the Jews, both the leadership and the common man.

B. Jesus Appears, Begins Teaching, and Creates a Stir

Scripture: John 7:14-36


  1. Notice that Jesus’s teaching in the temple at this Feast produced a great deal of skeptical and/or hostile reaction on the part of the multitudes who heard Him teach. In that regard, notice especially the opposite opinions discussed in John 7:28-31.
  2. Note that as a result of the excitement produced by Jesus’s preaching at the Feast, the “chief priests and Pharisees sent officers (temple guards supplied by the Romans) to arrest Him” (John 7:32). That sub-plot concludes later in the narrative.

C. On the Last Day of the Feast, Jesus Offers “Living Water”

Scripture: John 7:37-44

Notes: Notice especially the response of the multitudes to this remarkable offer made by Jesus.


  1. Why was the offer of “living water” especially meaningful at the feast of Tabernacles?
  2. Notice the very interesting point of confusion regarding Jesus’s messianic credentials as recorded in the discussion of those who heard Him (John 7:41-42).

D. The Roman Officers Sent to Arrest Jesus Return Empty-Handed

Scripture: John 7:45-52

Notes: The Jewish authorities have determined to be rid of Jesus, as reflected in the fact that they had sent officers to arrest Him, and in their deliberations recorded in this section.


  1. Compare John 7:45-49 with John 7:32. Evidently, the Roman officers sent to arrest Jesus were so impressed as they heard His words and confronted His person that they refused to do the bidding of the Jewish authorities.
  2. Who rises briefly (timidly?) to defend Jesus when the Jewish authorities are going about to condemn Him without any legal process? Again, this is reflective of a very important role this man plays in the narrative as crafted by John.

E. A Woman Caught in Adultery Is Brought to Jesus

Scripture: John 7:53

Notes: The strategy of Jesus’s enemies was very clever here, but Jesus’s counter-strategy was magisterial.


  1. There is much discussion as to whether this account is authentic. What are the reasons it is denied authenticity by many? Do you have any strong opinion?
  2. Notice that the account begins with an indication of the remarkable fascination of the city for Jesus, and the anger of the Jewish leadership as a result of that.

F. Great Confrontation with the Jewish Leaders

Scripture: John 8:12-59

Notes: This is one of the more remarkable scenes in the ministry of Jesus. Trace well the claims made by Jesus, the angry response of the Jewish leadership, and the heated exchanges between them and Jesus.


  1. Notice how Jesus argues for the validity and credibility of His claims.
  2. Mark well Jesus’s reference to being “lifted up” in John 8:28. What do you understand Jesus to mean by “lifted up”?
  3. John states in John 8:30 that “many believed in Him,” but he goes on to narrate Jesus’s interaction with those who had confessed belief (John 8:31-47). Given that subsequent discussion, how do you understand John’s statement in John 8:30?
  4. Notice the conversation that resulted in Jesus’s words, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). What was the significance of that strangely worded claim? Why did that claim so enrage Jesus’s detractors (cf. John 8:59)?

G. Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind; the Pharisees “Put Him Out”

Scripture: John 9:1-41

Notes: Remember that this occurs about six months before the Passover at which Jesus will die.


  1. Note that this account commences with a very important insight offered by Jesus concerning God’s purposes in human suffering.
  2. Follow carefully the physical travels of the man who is healed. Why do you think Jesus sent him to wash in the Pool of Siloam? Notice in that regard that after he has been healed, he does not know Jesus by sight until Jesus introduces Himself to him.
  3. The stubborn and entirely irrational unbelief of the Pharisees in this incident is very important to an understanding of the way in which Jesus’s ministry is unfolding – and to the literary purposes of the apostle John.
  4. Note the repeated threat of the Pharisees to put a recalcitrant person “out of the synagogue”; this was a dire threat, and the capacity of the Pharisees to do this is very important to the drama unfolding during these last months of Jesus’s ministry.

H. Jesus Claims to Be the Good Shepherd and Divides the Crowd

Scripture: John 10:1-21

Notes: Given the chronological note of John 10:22, it seems best to attach this account to those preceding – that is, to see this discourse as part of Jesus’s extensive (and extensively recorded) ministry at the Feast of Tabernacles.

Questions/Observations: Notice that Jesus is speaking rather openly of His death by this point in His ministry.

Adapted from the Life of Christ study notes of Dr. Doug Bookman, professor of New Testament Exposition at Shepherds Theological Seminary (used by permission).