- John 7:1 After this, Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. 4 For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his brothers did not believe in him. 6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil. 8 Go to the feast yourselves; I am not[other ancient authorities add yet here] going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 So saying, he remained in Galilee. 10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. RSV
What is the general theme of the passage?
The end is near. Jesus is guarding His time and activity. He’s under pressure from those that are closest to Him to be more aggressive about his ministry, probably because of mixed motives. They want Him to be protected by recognition and they have their own doubts about why He continues to withhold Himself from that protection which seems so obvious to them.
What does it say about God (or Jesus or the Holy Spirit?)
Jesus knows the fallacy of the Feast is the fickle heart of people having decided the public display of worship is what pleases God.
What does it say about people?
The fickle heart of people demands evidence and then decides what that evidence is supposed to be.
Is there truth here for me?
Three words are the truth here — After this and yet are almost all that needs to be said about this passage: “After this,” is like “moving right along” and Yet,” is like “pause to take note.” Chapter 6 ends with “After this.” Moving right along, Jesus spoke hard words to what was left of His disciples, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the twelve, was to betray him.”
Moving right along in Chapter 7 John writes “For even his brothers did not believe in him.” That’s a shocking statement. The brothers knew what Jesus had done and like everyone else they believed in that! Still they wanted Jesus to give more evidence to validate His time…and theirs! That would certainly be evidence of a fickle heart I could recognize…deciding how Jesus should use His time and what He should do to prove Himself.
When Jesus says “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here” was He gently chiding them because they were trying to manage His time and not making use of theirs? Was that somehow the subtle evidence John saw of their unbelief? After all their intimate experiences with Jesus…after what they knew to be true from their own time walking, working and watching Jesus…After this…they still wanted Jesus to do more.
The truth for believers to ponder about unbelief being subtle,
“Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.”