This week we will study John 7:1-13. So let’s read the passage, “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. The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 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.” Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him.”
The Feast of Booths
In John 7:1-13, we see that Jesus was in Galilee, but He would not go about in Judea yet, because the Jews wanted to kill Him. It then says that the Feast of Booths was at hand, which is just a way of saying that it was almost time for the Feast of Booths. The Feast of Booths was a feast where the Jews remembered their fathers living in tents in the wilderness, by living in tents and making food offerings to the Lord as their fathers did (Leviticus 23:33-44). It was a time when they remembered all that the Lord had done for the Israelites in the wilderness. The feast happened in the seventh month and was like the sabbath, in that no one was to do ordinary work. Now, this was an issue because Jesus had to go up to Jerusalem in Judea, even though the Jews wanted to kill Him. The Feast of Booths is a pilgrimage feast, which means Jesus had to go up to Jerusalem to celebrate it, according to the law, which He had to perfectly fulfill to be the Messiah (Deuteronomy 16:16, Matthew 5:17-18).
We see that Jesus must have been visiting home or His half-brothers came and looked for Him within Galilee. Because we see that 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.” We see His brother were mocking Him or setting a trap for Him, you could make the case for both. When you think about it, their unbelief makes perfect sense, if your sibling claimed to be God or the Messiah, you would probably think they were not in their right mind. Especially, if Mary and Joseph never took what they heard, from treasuring in their hearts to teaching Jesus’ brothers who their brother really was. Then there was even more reason for them to think He was crazy. We see in Mark 3:21, that His family came to take charge of Him, because they said He was out of His mind. They did not believe, and this could be their way of mocking Him by telling Him to go be with His disciples and show yourself publicly to everyone and perform signs. But in the back of their minds, just like everyone else, they wanted to see signs, and would like for Him to overthrow Rome and be king, so they could have the king’s ear.
I think when you realize that His brothers would have probably known that the Jews were seeking to kill Jesus and that if He appeared publicly they would kill Him or try to expose Him as a fraud, which would justify the brothers unbelief. Sounds familiar, brothers who he was only half related to, trying to prove that he was crazy or kill the favorite son, who had a higher purpose, hmmm where have I heard that before? This is supposed to make us remember Joseph in Genesis, when he had dreams and his brothers hated him because he said they would bow down before him (Genesis 37–50). This is what the Jewish readers might be thinking of because Joseph was claiming that they would bow down to him as an earthly leader, but Jesus was proclaiming to be God and the Messiah, which meant that they would have to bow down to Him as their forever King and the Creator of everything. This would not only have made His brothers not believe in Him, but likely made them hate Him, just like Joseph’s brothers. Realize that the Jews thought of God as close, yet out of reach. That is why it is so hard for many to believe in Jesus, because they were expecting a Judge that would be above them, which would be almost out of reach. Yet, Jesus seemed to be just a Jewish man, who came from Galilee, who was friendly to all and who had done some incredible signs (Isaiah 53:2). I think that looking back it would be so easy to criticize the brother’s unbelief, but when you imagine yourself in their place, you may understand their disbelief.
Stumbling Block or Cornerstone
Jesus responded to their traps and mocking by saying, “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.” We see He is telling them that He is not going down to the feast yet, because His time had not yet fully come. He then says the world hates Him, because He testifies of their evil. Jesus still does this today, and the world still hates Him because of it. We do not like it when people point out our sins. That is what Jesus is doing today: He is convicting us of our sins. In 1 Peter 2:7-8, we see that Jesus is either a stumbling block or He is your cornerstone, which will He be to you? We need to understand that we are all sinners and that we have made mistakes and rebelled against God. At this point in John, Jesus’ time had not fully come, but it would and He would give the authority for the Jews and Romans to kill Him. Because only His blood would be accepted by the Father, as a covering for everyone’s sins. And Jesus wants you to accept Him, that was His purpose for coming, so that you might believe in Him and have everlasting life with Him. If you would like to accept Him as Lord and Savior of your life, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, repent of your sins (repent means turn away), believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins and God raised Him from the dead, then confess Him as Lord and Savior of your life (Romans 10:9).
Where is He?
Jesus tells them to go up to the feast, however He would not go, because His time had not yet come. We will discuss His public appearance at the Feast of Booths next week. We see that His brothers went up to the feast, and that Jesus remained in Galilee for some time, then He went down to the feast privately at first, before He made Himself known. The Jews were looking for Him, saying where is He, but no one spoke of Him publicly for fear of the Jews. Many thought and discussed privately who they thought He was, some thought He was a good man, while others thought He was leading them astray. Everyone at the feast was seeking Him and they would continue to, until He revealed Himself to them. That is what we should all be doing this week, we should be seeking Jesus with our all. He promises that if we do, we will find Him. Also, we should know that His brother’s desires for Him to be known to all were not bad desires, but they were seeking it for all the wrong reasons, and doing it for their own gain. Jesus said that it is our job to take the Gospel unto all the earth, so that everyone may come to know Him.