Moving now to John chapter 7, let’s take a quick review of our timeline so far.
- Jesus heals a lame man on the Sabbath in Jerusalem.
- Jesus claims to be the Son of God.
- The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem seek to kill Jesus.
- Jesus explains to the Jerusalem crowd His unique relationship with the Father.
- Jesus supports His claim with several witnesses: John the Baptist, Jesus’ supernatural works, the voice of God the Father, and the Old Testament scriptures (particularly the words of Moses)
- Jesus goes to Galilee and feeds 5000 people.
- Jesus rejects the attempt to be made king.
- Jesus explains to the Capernaum crowd His identity as “the Bread of Life that came down from heaven.”
- Jesus clearly presents the crux of the gospel: “He who believes in Me has eternal life.”
John chapter 7 starts with Jesus still in Galilee. Based on the timeline of the synoptic gospels, it has probably been about a year since the John chapter 5 experience of Jesus in Jerusalem.
John 7:1 After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. (Jesus was not returning to Jerusalem because the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Him. This is not because Jesus is afraid of them, it is more related to the fact that “His time has not yet come”.)
2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. (The feast of tabernacles or booths was held in the fall of the year to celebrate the fall harvest. The name comes from the fact that people lived in makeshift shelters during the eight day festival . This was one of the three great pilgrimage feasts that happened each year and brought people from all over the countryside into the city of Jerusalem.)
3 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. 4 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.” (Jesus’ brothers were saying, “If you are indeed the Messiah, go up to Jerusalem, home of the big show, and be recognized publicly.” It seemed incredible to them that Jesus – if He wanted to proclaim His identity as the Messiah – would make such an effort to avoid publicity; which is exactly what it appeared Jesus was doing by laying low, as it were, in Galilee. “If you do these things – supporting your claim to be the Messiah- show yourself.”) 5 For not even His brothers were believing in Him. (Since His brothers did not believe in Him, we don’t totally know their motivation for encouraging Jesus to go up to Jerusalem.)
6 So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. (Jesus answers the why of His not going to Jerusalem. “My time is not yet here. For you, my brothers, who are not following an intentional agenda, anytime is a good time to come and go. But for me, the time is not right.” Jesus’ reference to this not being the right time may refer to His final revelation to the crowds as the Messiah – which was still to come on Palm Sunday – or the time of His crucifixion – still to come on Good Friday.)
As an aside, throughout Jesus’ ministry He always carried an intentionality as to what He would do next. Was it a rude, narrow schedule on Jesus’ part? Not at all. Jesus constantly responded to interruptions with compassion and action. But in the midst of all the drama He faced, He seemed to always have a “holy must” about what He should do next.
7 “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” (This may be an allusion to the fact that the Jews in Jerusalem are out to kill Him.) 8 “Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast because My time has not yet fully come.” 9 Having said these things to them, He stayed in Galilee. (Jesus again explains that His time has not yet come, so his brothers go up to the feast without Him. But Jesus does have a secret plan to show up on the scene, a plan we will investigate next time.)