Chapter 7:1-10 (ESV) - After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.
Question to consider: What were Jesus’ brothers asking Him to do?
The last time Jesus said that His time had not yet come was when His mother asked Him to do a miraculous sign at the wedding feast. At that time, Jesus didn’t chastise His mother, for she asked in faith and knew that Jesus would do something to help even if it was done without anyone knowing it.
His conversation with His brothers in today’s passage was entirely different. They wanted Jesus to go up to Jerusalem with all the fanfare that Jesus would eventually do in His triumphal entry into Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives in the coming chapters. Given John’s comment that Jesus’ brothers did not believe in Him, there is a sense that they gave this advice to mock Jesus for thinking He was the Holy One of Israel.
When Jesus said His time had not yet come, it was because the Father had not instructed Jesus to publicly enter Jerusalem during the Feast of Booths, but five days before the Passover. The Father’s timing was such that Jesus would be tried and crucified on the Passover. Of course, because of their unbelief, Jesus’ brothers didn’t understand that Jesus was to be the world’s paschal lamb, and so they never considered the will of the Father. So it is with the world. When people have been baptized into Christ Jesus, they consider their actions in light of what the Father would have them do. Those who do not know Christ live according to their own plans.
Jesus’ brother, James, would remember this moment after he saw his brother raised from the dead and came to faith. I can say this because James wrote the following to the early church, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15)
I’ve heard people express confusion that Jesus would tell His brothers that He wasn’t going to Jerusalem for the feast and then go ahead after they left. The difference was that His brothers were wanting Him to go up publicly which Jesus would not do for another six months.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for leading us according to Your good and gracious will. Help us to consider our actions and plans in light of what You would have us do and when You would have us do it. May we seek first Your kingdom and righteousness and take comfort in knowing that we are safely in Your care. Amen.