John 7:13-18
John 7:13 (KJB)
Howbeit no man spake openly of him for fear of the Jews.
Openly - Unreservedness of speech, frankness, freely
Those who had favored Jesus as a good man were so in fear of the leaders that they would not speak openly in his favor. They did not want to be associated with Jesus because the religious rulers were against Him. So they continued to hold their opinion in a low tone so they would not get into trouble. In contrast, those who held that He was a deceiver probably did not make their opinion known either since the final verdict about Jesus was not given. Just in case the leaders would favor Jesus, then those who opposed Him would be in fear. This is one of the bad tenets of religion, any opinion is suppressed unless it comes from one of the leaders.
John 7:14 (KJB)
Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.
Since it was the middle time of the feast, approximately three days have elapsed and Jesus now makes Himself known by going up to the Temple. He did not go up just to sit there, He went up and started teaching, which means He now made Himself publicly known to all that were there. His ministry now begins to accelerate as the hatred of the leaders accelerates simultaneously.
John 7:15 (KJB)
And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?
Letters - Something written, documents, or sacred writings
There were two basic schools in Jerusalem. They were the schools of Shammai and Hillel and since Jesus did not attend any of them, they were baffled as to how He knew so much. They did not know that they had the author of the Scriptures sitting right there with them. The church leaders make the same mistake that the Jewish leaders made. They believe that a Christian can never know as much as anyone who attended Bible school and seminary. This is why when a Christian comes into a church and has a tremendous understanding of Scripture, they are quashed by the Pastor instead of utilized. This is done so the Pastor’s ignorance of Scripture will never become public. Too much education broadens the wide road and neutralizes the truth of Scripture. This is what happened to the Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day, they became so commentary based that all their teachings were man centered instead of Scripture centered. The same in the church today, more commentaries are searched than the Scriptures. (Mat 7:29 KJV) For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Jesus taught with authority and not like the Scribes. The difference was Jesus spoke the Scriptures and the Scribes spoke commentaries about the Scriptures which are always biased. This is the same in the church. Too many sermons are centered in the education god meaning they are all about the Bible instead of being from the Bible. When they are about the Bible, it is always someone’s opinion, when it is from the Bible it is the Word of God.
John 7:16 (KJB)
Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
Here Jesus clarifies His position that the teaching that He does is not from any personal motive. The doctrine which He teaches is from the Father. This answer is one that Christians should always use when they are asked about their teachings from the Scriptures. If a Christian teaches without any personal motives, then they can truthfully say that the doctrine they are teaching is divinely inspired by God. The rabbinical schools in Jerusalem did not commission Jesus but God the Father had commissioned Him by sending Him into the world and to teach the truth with authority. As Christians we must be very careful never to privatize any interpretations or teachings. (2 Pet 1:20 KJV) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. The reason privatization of the Scriptures is sin is because we are to teach what the Bible teaches and no more or no less. People who create all kinds of esoteric belief systems are in rebellion to God, even if they are saved and truth will be withheld from them until they repent of that pernicious action. The Bible is God’s Word and we are teach exactly what He has written. We are to teach His letters.
John 7:17 (KJB)
If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
Any person who has a strong desire to do the will of God, will definitely know whether the doctrine will be of divine origin or will be of man. Jesus here is speaking of Himself as a man for the purpose of this conversation. The argument here is the difference between the pure doctrine of the Scriptures and the doctrine which is arrived at by man. This situation goes on today in the churches and seminaries. They take a bible doctrine and by time they whittle it and shape it to their own desire, it becomes a teaching of man. For example, there is no such thing in Scripture as “free will.” There is no such thing in Scripture as “accept the Lord.” Yet, the majority of churches teach that salvation is in the hands of the sinners and that God must act when someone says a few words in some sinner’s prayer. The Bible speaks about election and the names of those who are to be saved written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world. These are ignored by the free will crowd making their “accept the Lord” doctrine a doctrine of man. This is how we know the difference between a God centered doctrine and a man centered doctrine, is it God centered or man centered?
John 7:18 (KJB)
He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.
Continuing the thread from the previous verse, Jesus speaks plainly that if a person creates a doctrine or a teaching which is not found in the Scriptures, then they are seeking their own glory. However, when a person studies the Scriptures and teaches plainly what is in them, then they are not seeking their own glory but the glory of God because they are not focusing the hearers or the readers on themselves but on God. When someone creates a doctrine which glorifies themselves, then they are showing that they are acting unrighteous. When one seeks the glory of God by pointing their teachings toward God and away from themselves, then they are acting righteously. (John 3:30 KJV) He must increase, but I must decrease. Remember John’s declaration that he must decrease while Christ increases. This must be the attitude of all Bible teachers. If they create a system of belief which only they can unravel, then they are increasing and Christ is decreasing and they are acting without righteousness. Jesus was seeking to bring glory to God and we must follow that path because it is one which is draped in blessing. We don’t have anything to offer anyone but God has everything to offer and that is why we are just conduits to glory.