Knowing Him

Scripture Reading

Jesus moved about within Galilee;
he did not wish to travel in Judea,
because the Jews were trying to kill him.
But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast,
he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said,
“Is he not the one they are trying to kill?
And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him.
Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ?
But we know where he is from.
When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”
So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said,
“You know me and also know where I am from.
Yet I did not come on my own,
but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true.
I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”
So they tried to arrest him,
but no one laid a hand upon him,
because his hour had not yet come.
(John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30)

Scripture Study

7:2 feast of Tabernacles: Also called the “feast of Booths” (Lev 23:33–43; Deut 16:13–16). It is a seven-day fall festival held annually in Jerusalem. The feast of Tabernacles commemorates both the completion of the autumn harvest and Yahweh’s provisions for Israel during their Exodus journey through the wilderness. Throughout the week, Jewish pilgrims dwelled in small huts made of tree branches called “booths”. Two liturgical ceremonies from this feast hang as a backdrop behind Jesus’ teaching in chaps. 7 and 8. (1) Each morning Levitical priests drew water from the pool of Siloam in the southern quarter of Jerusalem, carried it in procession into the Temple, and poured it out as a libation next to the altar of sacrifice. This is connected with Jesus’ teaching about “water” in 7:37–39. (2) Giant candelabras burned in the sanctuary (Court of Women) that illuminated the Temple courts; at the same time dancers with flaming torches processed through the Temple amid singing and music. This is linked with Jesus’ teaching about “light” in 8:12.

7:26 the authorities: Probably members of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.

7:27 no one will know: Two traditions regarding the birth and origin of the Messiah circulated in ancient Judaism. (1) Some expected the Messiah to grow up in obscurity and be manifested to the world only as an adult. (2) Others expected the Messiah to come from Bethlehem in accordance with the prophecy of Mic 5:2. The irony here is that both are true of Jesus: his heavenly origin in the Trinity is unknown to his audience (8:14), as is his birth in Bethlehem (Lk 2:4–7).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, the Gospel for today centers around a theme that we can never speak of enough: the divinity of Jesus. There has been a disturbing tendency in recent years—you can see it clearly in Eckhart Tolle’s bestselling book, The Power of Now—to turn Jesus into an inspiring spiritual teacher, like the Buddha or the Sufi mystics.

But if that’s all he is, the heck with him. The Gospels are never content with such a reductive description. Though they present Jesus quite clearly as a teacher, they know that he is infinitely more than that. They affirm that something else is at stake in him and our relation to him.

In our Gospel today, Jesus he plainly declares his relationship with his Father: “I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.