14 Now about the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 15 And the Jews marveled, saying, “How does this Man know letters, having never studied?”
Jesus began at this point a temple ministry (7:14-8:59). This discourse took place over two or three days, extending beyond the Feast of Tabernacles.
Now about the middle of the feast
Jesus did not begin public teaching until the Feast of Tabernacles was about halfway over. It may have been that Jesus felt safety in numbers. That is, His opponents would not dare do anything to Him while He spoke to the public.
Jesus went up into the temple and taught.
“Taught” denotes formal teaching. If Jesus previously in the chapter did not want to go to Jerusalem because of danger to Him personally, why did He teach in the temple courts here? However, His focus was to do the will of the Father. He never retreated from danger but addressed the situation with prudence. His acceptance by the public made it almost impossible for the Jews to arrest Him at this time.
And the Jews marveled,
The religious authorities were amazed at Jesus’ teaching. They were puzzled over how He came to know what He knew. This was grudging admiration of Jesus.
saying, “How does this Man know letters,
The leadership of Israel challenged Jesus’ right to teach.
having never studied?”
Jesus had never studied formally in a rabbinic school. This was a challenge to Jesus’ credentials and authority. It is interesting that the Jewish authorities were more concerned with Jesus’ education than with the truth of which He spoke. The attitude of the Jews was, “This man has not had formal education, so how can he know anything? This fellow is just giving his own private opinions about God. He doesn’t really know anything.”
People of all generations have tried to minimize what Jesus had to say. They try to reduce what He said to the utterances of someone who is deluded.
God will put His disapproval on institutions that depart from truth.
We live in a day when people worship at the altar of education. To put the value of human education above truth itself is a chief reason why so many colleges and seminaries have violated the truth of Scripture. Today we are in grave danger of many evangelical institutions leaving the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. When this happens, then God will place His Ichabod on these schools. He has already done it in the cases of the formerly evangelical institutions of Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, Princeton, and many more.