The action now moves from a private encounter in Galilee between Jesus and his brothers to a confrontation with the unbelieving Jewish religious authorities in Judea. Specifically, the encounter takes place in the seat of Jewish religious power, the temple. What is more, it unfolds in the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles. Jesus answers his opponents in a way that does not lessen their hostility against him.
John does not record precisely what Jesus taught. However, his teaching was so insightful and authoritative that those hearing him were shocked. Indeed the religious authorities “marveled” when they heard him. They assumed that he must have received formal training. Otherwise, how could a man exhibit such depth of learning? We must not miss the sad irony that the depth of knowledge and power of Jesus’ teaching did not persuade his enemies to alter their hostility toward him. Jesus explains that the reason that they refuse his teaching is because they have set their hearts against God. All resistance to Jesus is, by definition, resistance to God.
In the irony so typical of John’s Gospel, the religious celebrants miss entirely the presence of God among them in the Person of Jesus right in the middle of the feast meant to give thanks for the “tabernacling” of God among them. Even as the city of Jerusalem was festooned with mini-tabernacles, they missed the living Tabernacle of God who walked among them.
What great comfort there is for the Christian to know that Jesus was not merely a religious expert, a good man, or a charismatic leader. Jesus was and is the Man from Heaven, returned to Heaven, and will come again to receive his own.
From Heaven He came and bought her
To be His holy bride
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died