We are continuing our study of the Fourth Gospel, and this morning we are beginning to look at chapter 7. Before we jump in chapter 7 let's review what we have seen this far. In chapter 1 we were introduced to the eternal Word who was with God and was God. This Word is Yeshua and He is the Creator of all things. Through Him, the world was spoken into existence. We also saw in chapter 1 that "the Word" became flesh and dwelt among us. Yeshua was born of a woman, fully God and fully man. John introduces Him as the "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." And we see that He is the ladder Jacob saw in his vision, the One who gives us access to Yahweh. In chapter 2 we see Yeshua the Creator turn water into wine, and we see that He is the greater "Temple". Yeshua replaces the Temple itself. Yeshua is the anti-type of the Temple. The Temple represented the presence of God among His children in the early days, so Yeshua came and pitched His tent or tabernacled among us.
In chapter 3 we see that He is foreshadowed by the bronze serpent, lifted up by Moses in the wilderness. The bronze serpent in the wilderness, was the salvation (deliverance) of those who believed. By comparing Himself to that serpent, Yeshua was teaching that whoever trusted in Him and His death would receive "eternal life."In chapter 4 He is the One who is greater than Jacob, offering men and women "living water". He is the Messiah, the One through whom we worship God in Spirit and truth. Chapter 5 is one of the greatest chapters in the Word of God on the deity of Christ. In chapter 5 we saw Yeshua heal a lame man on the Sabbath, and when accused of making Himself equal with God launches into a diatribe proclaiming that He is in fact equal to Yahweh in every way:
so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. John 5:23 NASB
In our twenty-first century world of pluralism, with so many different religious beliefs this verse blows all views, but Christianity, out of the water. You simply cannot have a relationship with God apart from Yeshua.
Chapter 6 is one of the greatest chapters in the Word of God on the Sovereignty of God in salvation. Yeshua over and over again tells unsaved men that unless Yahweh has given them to the Son, unless He draws them, they will never come to Him and never understand His words:
"This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. John 6:39 NASB
In this chapter we see that Yeshua is the "true bread" from heaven, who gives eternal life to those the Father has given Him.
We saw that chapter 6 starts with Yeshua's popularity at its height. There were huge crowds following Him, and as we come to the end of the chapter there seems to be only twelve disciples left. And chapter 7 opens with the Jews seeking to kill Him:
After these things Yeshua was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. John 7:1 NASB
"After these things"—is the Greek expression, meta tauta, which is the same expression that introduces 5:1 and 6:1. It is a literary way of moving the account, we're now leaving the subject of chapter 6 and moving to a completely different scenario.
This is six months later from what we saw in chapter 6. How do we know that? Because in chapter 6 in verse 4, there was a Passover. This would have been the Passover between winter/spring of AD 32, just one year before Yeshua's crucifixion. The Passover was the event that triggered everything in six, which only took place in a few days. In chapter 7, verse 2, you have another feast, which is the Feast of Tabernacles, and that's about six months later. Passover is a Spring event, and Feast of Tabernacles is a Fall event. So between chapter 6 and 7 Lazarus has suddenly jumped a period of six months.
So verse 1 summarizes events that fill six months, but what happened in between Lazarus does not tell us, which illustrates the fact that Lazarus is not giving us a life or a biography of the Lord Yeshua. Actually, none of the Gospel writers do that. They write Gospels, not biographies. The writers are also not recording an exhaustive history. And so they are very selective in the things in our Lord's ministry which they use in their Gospels.
"Yeshua was walking in Galilee"—the geographical location of the opening verses of chapter 7 is still Galilee where the feeding of the 20,000 and the Bread of Life discourse had taken place. Yeshua has been in Galilee for a year ministering, preaching, teaching concerning the Kingdom, healing people, casting out demons, doing miracles. This period of time that Lazarus leaves out is described for us in Mark chapters 7, 8, and 9. And it appears that the Lord for the six months engaged in what might be called an itinerant ministry like a local Rabbi's itinerant ministry.
Yeshua left Capernaum in Galilee and travels to the border of Tyre and Sidon, covering a large section of Galilee; then crosses over to the Decapolis; then back again to Galilee; then left it again for the region of Cesarea Philippi; and finally, covering another large stretch of Galilean territory, went on His way back to Capernaum.
During this period Yeshua withdrew Himself from the crowds of Capernaum and for the most part spent time with His disciples. The first thirteen verses of chapter 7 describe the discussion about and the action of Yeshua's return to Jerusalem.
"He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him"—why did the Jews want to kill Him? Remember back in chapter 5, when He was last in Jerusalem, after He healed the lame man He claimed to be God:
For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. John 5:18 NASB
So they viewed Yeshua as guilty of the crime of blasphemy for making such a claim.
Who are the Jews here? Lazarus uses the word "Jews" to describe those who were in authority, the Pharisees and Sadducees who controlled the religious and civil government in Judea. They didn't have as much influence in the territory of Herod Antipas in the Galilee, therefore, Yeshua was able to continue His ministry there relatively unopposed.
Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. John 7:2 NASB
The events of chapter 7 take place in the context of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles in Jerusalem. So the better understanding, we have of this feast the better we'll understand what is going on in this chapter.
Old Covenant Israel had seven of these feasts that were prescribed by Yahweh. These seven feasts are discussed throughout the Bible, but only in Leviticus 23 are all seven holidays listed in chronological sequence:
'These are the appointed times of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them. Leviticus 23:4 NASB
The words "holy convocations" is the Hebrew miqra, which means: "rehearsal." The Feasts of Yahweh were appointed times of worship for Israel that would serve as "dress rehearsals" of prophetic events that were to happen in the future. Through these Feasts Yahweh was showing Israel what He was going to do. They were pictures of their coming Messiah and His work. These Feasts were both literal Feasts celebrated in Israel every year and TYPES of God's prophetic calendar of events for the Church.
The four Spring Feasts are; Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost. These four Feasts were a prophetic foreshadowing of the First Coming of the Lord Yeshua. They spoke of His death, deliverance, resurrection, and the advent of the New Covenant.
The remaining three feasts are the Fall Feasts, which were a prophetic foreshadowing of the Second Coming of Christ. The Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. The Fall Feasts took place in the month of Tishri on the Hebrew calendar, which would be September or October on our calendar. These three Feasts speak of the consummation of redemption after the outpouring of God's wrath and the New Heaven and Earth, which is typified by the Feast of Tabernacles.
Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Feast of Booths for seven days to the LORD. Leviticus 23:33-34 NASB
This is the seventh Feast on the seventh month, and it was to last for seven days. The number "seven" is the Biblical number of completion. This is the grand finale in God's plan of redemption; Yahweh dwelling with His people.
The Feast of Tabernacles is the most joyful and festive of all Israel's Feasts. It is also the most important and prominent Feast, which is mentioned more often in Scripture than any of the other Feasts. The Feast of Tabernacles is known by at least two names in Scripture. Most often it is referred to as "Sukkot" or "booths or Tabernacles. The English word "tabernacle" is from the Latin tabernaculum, meaning: "booth" or "hut." It acquired this name from the Biblical requirement for all Israelites to dwell in tabernacles or temporary shelters during the holiday. It was to be an annual reminder of God's provision during the 40-year wilderness sojourn when they were homeless when God delivered them from their enemies and protected them, the people were commanded to leave their homes and dwell in shelters.
Tabernacles also memorialized God's Dwelling place, the desert Tabernacle, the design of which was given to Moses by God Himself, and which was later replaced by the Temple built by Solomon.
In addition to the connection to the Exodus experience, this feast was also a harvest festival, called the "Feast of Ingathering" for it was observed after all the fruit harvest of the grapes and olives had been harvested:
"Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. Exodus 23:16 NASB
The feast had a double purpose: to remember Israel's time in the wilderness when they lived in booths, and to rejoice before the Lord after harvest. It also involved looking forward to a new exodus, the time when the Kingdom of God would be brought in with all its attendant blessings. The Feast was celebrated with great joy. The joy was twofold, for it commemorated God's past goodness and provision during their wilderness sojourn, and it commemorated God's present goodness and provision with the completion of harvest.
The mood of Sukkot is joyous, it was a time for celebration. There is a progression: repentance on the Feast of Trumpets, forgiveness and atonement on Yom Kippur, and now it is time to rejoice and be glad during Sukkot:
and you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter and your male and female servants and the Levite and the stranger and the orphan and the widow who are in your towns. "Seven days you shall celebrate a feast to the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses, because the LORD your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. Deuteronomy 16:14-15 NASB
Everyone, including Gentiles (stranger), were commanded to rejoice during Sukkot.
Because of the joy associated with the Feast of Tabernacles, it became the most prominent of Israel's holidays. It was referred to simply as "the holiday" by the ancient rabbis. The importance of the Feast of Tabernacles is also seen in its inclusion as one of the three pilgrim feasts; Passover and Pentecost being the other two. Three times during the year, all Jewish males were required by Yahweh to appear before Him in the Temple. These were known as Pilgrim Feasts because of the required pilgrimage to Jerusalem. During the Feast of Tabernacles, the people brought their tithes and offerings to the Temple, for they were not to "appear before Yahweh empty-handed."
Further importance is seen in the great number of required sacrifices during the Feast week. Each day one goat, 14 lambs, two rams, and many bulls (13 on the first day, decreasing by one each day, for a total of 70 bulls) were offered in the Temple. Each of the sacrifices was offered with its appropriate meal offerings (flour and oil) and drink offerings (wine). All 24 divisions of priests shared in the sacrificial duties during the week. In the days of the Temple, the Feast of Tabernacles was viewed with great awe, for it was during the Feast of Tabernacles that Solomon dedicated the newly built Temple to Yahweh. At that ancient observance of Tabernacles, the Shekinah glory of Yahweh descended from Heaven to light the fire on the altar and fill the Holy of Holies.
This Feast not only looked backward to the Exodus experience and God's Tabernacle, but the feast also reminded Israel of her mission to the nations of the world. This is the reason 70 bulls were sacrificed during the feast, one bull for each of the 70 nations, which originally composed the nations of the world before the Tower of Babel (see Genesis chapters10-11 and count the 70 names which are the fathers of the future 70 nations).
The separation of mankind into 70 nations at the Tower of Babel was by and for the angelic "sons of God":
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. Deuteronomy 32:8 ESV
It is important to note that Israel is not listed in the index of the 70 nations found in Genesis 10. The nation of Israel did not yet exist at that time.
What happens at Babel is man's disobedience causes Yahweh to divide them up and give them to the lesser gods. They were to worship the lesser gods because Yahweh was done with them. Man continued to reject Yahweh and serve other gods so Yahweh gave them up. Then in chapter 12 He calls Abram/Israel as His people. Yahweh starts a new family. But always planning on calling the Nation back to Himself, "In you all the families of the earth will be blessed." (Genesis 12:3)
When we come to the New Testament we see at Pentecost that Yahweh begins to reclaim all the nations for Himself. As the Feast of Tabernacles had foretold. Yahweh, in other words, had not forever abandoned the nations to the watchers:
Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come. Luke 10:1 NASB
What is the significance of "seventy"? Since Luke viewed the Gospel as God's plan for reclaiming the nations He disinherited at Babel, the number of disciples in Luke 10:1 was meant to match the number of nations to reinforce this symbolism.
The Feast of Tabernacles occurs at Israel's change of seasons and marks the beginning of the winter, rainy season. These refreshing rains bring necessary moisture for working the soil and the sprouting of new crops. If for some reason the weather patterns are such that several weeks of rainfall are missed, a dire water shortage can quickly develop for the coming year's crops. Because the Feast of Tabernacles is observed at this important junction, when the anticipation of rain is at its highest, the two have become inseparably connected. Even today, the prayers of rain remain an important part of Tabernacles' observance. We look more at this feast as we get into this chapter:
Therefore His brothers said to Him, "Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. "For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." For not even His brothers were believing in Him. John 7:3-5 NASB
Verse 5 is literal, "neither were believing His brethren on Him."
Let's talk about "His Brothers"— the Greek word used for brothers is adelphoi, which means "from the womb" and literally means brothers who are born from the same mother. The most natural way to understand this is as a reference to the children that Joseph and Mary had after the birth of Yeshua.
Other views are that of Epiphanus (they were children of Joseph by a former marriage) or Jerome (they were cousins). A Catholic commentary on this verse says, "Unfortunately this word has been misunderstood to mean that Joseph and Mary had an intimate marriage relationship after Jesus' birth that resulted in brothers and sisters. This has never been a teaching of the Church. All the Fathers of the Church maintained that Mary remained a virgin all of her life."
This commentator goes on to say, "Throughout Acts and all of Paul's and James' and John's letters to the Church, the New Covenant believers are all referred to as adelpho i(the plural form can be used to indicate both sisters and brothers /male and female kinsman) and the Jewish crowds are also addressed as adelphoi. The point is, in the New Testament the Greek word adelphoi is being used in the Hebrew sense of kinsman/ kinswoman, or Covenant brother or sister."
He later adds, "If Mary had other sons, it would have been inconceivable that Jesus would have left her in the care of the Apostle St. John at the foot of the cross instead of telling John to make sure that another son cared for her."
Contrary to what the Catholic Church says, the Scripture teaches that Yeshua had physical half brothers borne by Mary:
"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? "And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" Matthew 13:55-56 NASB
So according to the Bible, Mary had given birth to at least four sons and two daughters.
So this shows that the idea of Mary's perpetual virginity is a myth. This idea first appeared in the second century. Those who try to propagate this myth try to twist the above passage in Matthew, claiming that those brothers and sister must have been from Joseph's previous marriage. But there is not a shred of evidence to suggest that Joseph had been married before he married Mary.
I have become estranged from my brothers And an alien to my mother's sons. Psalms 69:8 NASB
This Messianic Psalm speaks of the alienation of the Messiah from His "mother's children" :
Therefore His brothers said to Him, "Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. "For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." John 7:3-4 NASB
Why were His brothers telling Him to go to Jerusalem? What were His brothers attempting to do? Well there are many views on what is actually happening here. Some say His brothers want Yeshua to emerge as a political Messiah who will raise a revolt against the Romans and become the promised king. Some scholars believe that Yeshua's brothers make this appeal urging Him to begin the process of winning back a great following. John 6:66 had described many disciples turning away. A new effort to rebuild His popularity would be necessary. Some say His brothers think that His goal is "to become a public figure," and if that's His goal, then He need to go to Jerusalem to be where the crowds are. Some say that they were sarcastically ridiculing Yeshua: "You want to be famous. Go to Jerusalem, do some miracles, and you'll hit the big time!"
All of these ideas are speculation, but Mark tells us what Yeshua's brothers thought of Him:
And He came home, and the multitude gathered again, to such an extent that they could not even eat a meal. 21 And when His own people heard of this, they went out to take custody of Him; for they were saying, "He has lost His senses." Mark 3:20-21 NASB
"His own people"—the word translated "people" really means: "relatives"—literally, "those from beside Him." We learn from the latter part of the chapter that it is actually His mother and His brothers.
Notice what they thought of Yeshua, "He has lost His senses"—this is a mild translation. In the Greek it means: "to be bewitched, or amazed to the point of being irrational, besides self, incapable of caring for self." We could translate it: "He has lost His mind; He has gone crazy; He's had a breakdown; He's not right anymore." It is contrasted in 2 Corinthians 5:13 with a sound mind, so this would mean to be unsound mentally.
So Yeshua's brothers concluded that He was not of a sound mind, that He was not able to care for Himself. He was suffering from delusions of grandeur. They did not believe in Him ,so they thought the things He was doing were crazy.
"If You do these things, show Yourself to the world"—the brothers want Yeshua to show Himself to the world, but in Lazarus' most characteristic sense of that word the "world" is precisely that which cannot receive Him without ceasing to be the "world."
For not even His brothers were believing in Him. John 7:5 NASB
This is another editorial comment by the author. The conjunction For introduces Lazarus' explanation as to why Yeshua's brothers spoke as they did in vv. 3-4: they did not believe in him.
Here are the brothers of the Lord Yeshua. They no doubt studied the Scriptures together as children. They grew up under the same roof with the Yeshua, but they did not believe in Him? It is possible for us to have the closes familiarity with the Yeshua and not really know Him. It's possible for young people to grow up in solid Bible teaching Church, to grow up in a Christian family with a Christian father and a Christian mother and not know the Lord.
So Yeshua said to them, "My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. John 7:6 NASB
When Yeshua speaks of His "time" He is speaking on the level of God's divine plan. Both here and in 7:8 the word "time," is Greek word kairos. Kairos refers to opportune time, the right time, the appropriate moment. It is different from chronological time. Thus in verses 6 and 8 Yeshua is saying, "The right time, the exact right moment, has not yet arrived for me." I think that what Yeshua is saying here is simply that the "time" for His going up to Jerusalem for this Feast of Tabernacles is not yet at hand. On the other hand Yeshua's brothers are free to go up to Jerusalem for the Feast any time they like, while Yeshua is under special constraint.
"The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil. John 7:7 NASB
For Lazarus the "world" has two meanings: First it means all people, Jews and Gentiles. This is the sense in which the "world" is used in John 3:16. But the "world" also means everything opposed to God as in the sense of John 17:14-16 in Yeshua's prayer for the apostles: "the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world."
"The world cannot hate you. You're part of it." So you're safe. I mean you fit into this world, but it hates Me. And why does it hate Me? Not because of my works, but because I testify of it that its deeds are evil:
You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4 NASB
Have you ever noticed that the world hates the church? Our world views are completely opposite.
Yeshua says, "It hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil"—notice that it was Yeshua words not His actions that generated this kind of response. He said, "Eat my flesh and drink my blood."
"Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come." John 7:8 NASB
This part of the story is confusing to some folks. In verse 8 Yeshua had said, "I am not going up to this feast." But in verse 10 He goes to the feast. It seems like Yeshua lied or was double minded. There is a textual problem here; some of the earliest copies of this Gospel read, "I am not yet going up to Jerusalem." This reading has excellent manuscript support and the reading is consistent with Lazarus' tendency to clarify whatever a reader might not easily understand.
You could also see Yeshua as saying, "I am not going to the Feast when you want me to or for the purpose you want. I am not going to seek human approval or popularity:
Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. John 7:9 NASB
He didn't leave when everyone else did; He waited a while before He left:
But when His brothers had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as if, in secret. John 7:10 NASB
This helps us understand verse 8, "I am not going up to this feast." He means He's not going now, and He's not going in the sense in which the brethren had asked Him to, to go up publicly and demonstrate His Messiahship by His mighty works.
People generally traveled to the feasts in large caravans that offered protection for the pilgrims. After the arrival of the caravans from the Galilee the report would have been received that Yeshua had not traveled with the Galileans, and the members of the Sanhedrin would have relaxed their vigil and put off their plans. When Yeshua did arrive He could slip into the city unobserved.
So Yeshua goes to Jerusalem, leaving Galilee for the last time before the cross.
Yeshua went up to Jerusalem secretly, not accompanying His relatives and friends in the caravan from the Galilee, because He knew there were men who were seeking to kill Him.
So He comes up, privately, secretly, kind of sneaking His way into Jerusalem. Why? The last chapter was all about God's sovereignty, so why didn't Yeshua just go up with the caravan, nobody could kill Him before His time. Why was He taking precautions? He was taking precautions because God's sovereignty does not negate our responsibility to act wisely.
We know that God is sovereign over everything that happens. Nothing happens outside the sovereign will of God. Because we are so prone to twist or misuse the truth we find in Scripture, it is the tendency of some individuals to see the Doctrine of Sovereignty as fatalism. The fatalist would say, "God is going to do what He wants to do so I'm not going to concern myself about it." If there was a storm coming, they would make no preparations; they wouldn't run to the store or make sure they had batteries or water.
On the other hand, the person who rightly understands God's sovereignty would make all the preparations that wisdom dictates, while the whole time trusting in God and praying for wisdom and protection. God's sovereignty does not negate our responsibility to act wisely. Acting wisely, in this context, means that we use all legitimate, Biblical means at our disposal to avoid harm to ourselves or others, and to bring about what we believe to be the right course of events.
David gives us a good illustration of acting wisely as he fled from Saul. Saul was determined to kill David. So David did every thing he could to avoid Saul. David acted wisely. David knew that he was to be king some day. He had already been anointed to succeed Saul, and David knew that the Sovereign God would carry out His purpose. Yet David didn't just sit down and say, "Saul can't hurt me because God had ordained that I be king, and I can't be king if I'm dead." David fled from Saul and took every precaution so that Saul could not kill him. David didn't presume upon the sovereignty of God, but acted wisely in dependence upon God to bless his efforts. He ran from Saul, and he prayed to God.
Yeshua also gives us a good illustration of acting wisely. For most of His ministry, the Lord had been telling His disciples not to disclose to the world that He is the Son of God. Even demons are silenced who cry out, "We know who You are!"
I think Yeshua's attitude of secrecy teaches us something about sovereignty and responsibility. Yeshua knew He was going to the cross; it was God's will, and it could not be stopped. And yet Yeshua uses human means to keep His secret until the proper time:
Through indolence the rafters sag, and through slackness the house leaks. Ecclesiastes 10:18 NASB
The house is not said to decay because of God's sovereign plan, but because of man's laziness. If a student fails an exam because he did not study, he can't blame it on God's sovereign will, but is responsible for his own lack of diligence. God is sovereign over every thing that happens in life, but we are still responsible. Don't ever use God's sovereignty as an excuse for your failure to use wisdom.
So the Jews were seeking Him at the feast and were saying, "Where is He?" John 7:11 NASB
Since Lazarus usually used the phrase "the Jews" to describe the Jewish authorities who were hostile to Yeshua, that is probably who was trying to find Him here.
There are four separate groups in this chapter who interact with Yeshua. His "brothers"; "the Jews," which refers to the religious leaders; "the crowd," which refers to the pilgrims making their way to the Feast of Tabernacles; and "the people of Jerusalem," who were local folks who knew the Sanhedrin and their plans to kill Yeshua.
There was much grumbling among the crowds concerning Him; some were saying, "He is a good man"; others were saying, "No, on the contrary, He leads the people astray." John 7:12 NASB
The word "grumbling" here is goggusmos, which means: "sullen discontent, murmuring, criticism." It is an onomatopoetic word, a word that sounds like its meaning, such as hiss, buzz, hum, or murmur. It describes the low, threatening, discontented muttering of a mob who distrust their leaders and are on the verge of an uprising. It is always associated with rebellion.
So this crowd is divided on who Yeshua is. Some like Him, some hate Him. According to the Talmud, deceiving the people was a crime punishable by stoning.
Yet no one was speaking openly of Him for fear of the Jews. John 7:13 NASB
This whole crowd was Jewish. This clearly shows Lazarus' specialized use of this term to refer to the religious leaders in Jerusalem. "The Jews" here clearly refers to Israel's leaders. The word had been passed in the crowd that the authorities were plotting against Yeshua, and therefore, the crowds were reluctant to be associated with Him or His teaching.
Before we close, let me give you the rest of the story. Notice what Luke tells us in Acts:
When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. 14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Yeshua, and with His brothers. Acts 1:13-14 NASB
Look who's in the upper room, Yeshua Brothers. His brother James became the first Christian leader in Jerusalem. And His brother Jude also became a leader in the early church and is the inspirited writer of the New Testament Letter of Jude.
While Yeshua's family was originally skeptical of Him it, seems they came to believe in Him. So what happened to these unbelievers? One commentator writes, "It was the resurrection, no doubt, that convinced them that He was who He claimed to be, that obviously greatest sign of all signs, that He came out of the grave having conquered death." Many say that it was the resurrection that caused them to believe. Do you think that was it? Notice what Yeshua said:
"But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!' "But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'" Luke 16:30-31 NASB
So what happened to turn these unbelievers into believers? Do you remember chapter 6? "You can't believe unless the Father draws you." God sovereignly gave them life. They were born from above and then they believed that their brother was the Christ, the holy One of God.