About six months have passed between the events of chapter six and the events of chapter seven. The time for the Feast of Tabernacles is at hand. In this chapter, Jesus travels to Jerusalem and finds hostility and misunderstanding there.
His brothers were convinced that he is a powerful person, and they believed that he should show the world this power. They told him to go with them in the main crowd to the heart and center of the Jewish nation. Then they told him he should perform jaw-dropping messianic signs so that everyone could see him and admit his greatness. They said this because they were unbelievers. Like so many others, they wanted the Messiah to act according to their own expectations and do the things they wanted him to do. Jesus could not be manipulated by them. He refused to go with them, for the time was not yet right.
Jesus waited to go to Jerusalem, and he avoided the crowds during his journey. He knew that he was called to be a suffering Messiah, not a popular one. It was becoming more and more dangerous to show his face in Judea, and he wanted to limit his exposure to the hostile Jewish leaders. He did not want to end his ministry before the time was right.
There was a mixture of people at the Feast. Some had seen him before, some had not. When he spoke to them, some liked what he had to say, and some did not. Most of them feared to say too much about him, since they knew the Jewish leaders were set against him.
The Feast was halfway over when Jesus finally made it to the temple. The people who heard him questioned his qualifications as teacher, since he had no formal training, though they were nonetheless amazed at his teaching ability. In turn, he questioned their qualifications to listen to him properly. Jesus told them that if they knew anything about God or Moses, they would know that the words he spoke were true, because he is truth. Furthermore, he said that they were wrong to condemn him as for breaking the fourth commandment when he healed a man on the day of rest. Their hostility was due to an utter failure to understand him, which was in turn due to their failure to submit to God.