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John 7:6-13, NIV
6 Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8 You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." 9 Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.
10 However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?" 12 Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man." Others replied, "No, he deceives the people." 13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.
May 25, 2011 In the previous passage we got some sense of how his brothers thought of Jesus. Now we get a hint of what Jesus thought of them. His opinion was that they were very ordinary. In contrast to his own life, decisions about their travel plans didn't matter much. Who cared! Go whenever you like. Nobody hates you. No one is plotting to kill you. You can do as you please.
His brothers may have envied the popularity of Jesus among the masses of the people in Galilee. And Jesus may have longed for the freedom his brothers had to travel at will. The Passover, Pentecost and this one, theFeast of Tabernacles, were the three major holy days, and people of Jewish ancestry came together in Jerusalem from all over the Roman Empire to celebrate.
One of the ironies of this text is that at this ritual of thanksgiving, the authorities were plotting to kill Jesus. Within the context of a festival of life, death was on the minds of the organizers. While people in a mood of gladness were praising God for providential care, treachery was on the minds of the religious leadership.
According to John's gospel, Jesus knew all this. Other than that, we are not told how widely the evil plotting was known. It seems the people of Galilee were not part of these dark dealings, neither was the family of Jesus aware of it. If Jesus had told his brothers, it is likely they would have laughed it off as preposterous.
Whether Jesus was absent or present in Jerusalem for the feast, he did stir up a debate. First, where was he? In other words, why doesn't he show himself? Which is the same thing his brothers had told him. And secondly, is he a good man or is he a deceiver? The text says this question was whispered and no one wanted to state their conclusions publicly.
More journal entries
July 3, 1983The world's hatred. Must one be hated in order to be a Christian? I don't want to be hated. I don't even like when anyone is angry at me.
July 4, 1983.I don't understand this at all. Did a few days make any difference? To travel at his brothers' suggestion or by virtue of his own decision. Right time, not the right time. Pretending he wasn't going when he knew he was. One thing for sure, he wasn't going with his brothers--thereby bringing glory (or danger) to them by association. There's no mention of Jesus' disciples in this passage. Maybe after the words expressed at the end of chapter 6, Jesus and his disciples took a brief break from each other.
Jesus wanted to observe the festival, to worship God as had Moses and the prophets before him. But the public, or more specifically the Jewish leadership, made the environment not conducive for Jesus to worship.
This would have been a great time to meet Jesus one on one and spend some time alone with him .
Jesus was a bit distressed ---over his disciples in the previous chapter ---over the limitations his popularity was causing. ---over his brothers lack of faith and knowledge of who he was ---over not being able to really worship God at the festival with all the love and favor that was naturally his.
He could have shown people how to worship. He could have shown people what God was like. But leaders planning to kill prohibited such observations.
I would have loved to have met him there. He might have talked and shared some of these frustrations, friend to friend.
July 6, 1983Jesus went, not openly, but like a celebrity sneaking around trying to be a normal person. Jesus chose not to share this festival with his brothers or his disciples.
I've been enjoying the imagery these last few days of being a friend to Jesus at this point in his life--wanting nothing except to be there and listen when he talks.
Jesus had to go public to fulfill his ministry. But he didn't like what happened to people when he went public. He might have really enjoyed the trip to Jerusalem, alone and undetected. I wish I could have shared the trip and his secret. I think we would have laughed about many things! And probably cried, too!
July 7, 1983Where is that man! No one wanted to be on Jesus' side! Jesus is the talk of the town--since Jesus was so controversial that's easy to understand. Which year of hisministry was this? The Gospel writers were not careful to get events in chronological order. The crowds kept looking for him and asking about him. Why? Because everyone else was and that made it exciting. This verse mentions fear again. People whispering their thoughts to each other and not speaking openly.
Picture this crowd, not certain whose side to take. Not knowing what opinion is safe to express? Wondering what the consequences of speaking freely would be? Unexpectedly caught up in the controversy of the moment. Playing it safe. Choosing their words wisely. Being careful to test the waters before expressing their real thoughts to the person next to them. It sounds like someone caught in a political coup!
July 8, 1983Not speaking freely about Jesus because of fear. I'm familiar with that.I don't speak openly and freely about Jesus because of what others would think of me. I share with others when I think they would appreciate my experience. I determine when the time is right. One person's religious experience often does sound weird to another person. And I sure wouldn't want to be weird! Something weird to someone else doesn't make me weird however.
My greatest fear is--not being loved and not being able to love. Also of pain and intense suffering. And being inadequate.
Did anyone speak openly to Jesus?
May 26, 2011This passage has a lot of loose ends, many uncertainties and unsettling portrayals. Jesus spoke the truth to his brothers, but his words were not kind. His brothers did not know what Jesus knew, and did not understand why he said what he did. To me it sounds harsh and uncaring.
You go; it's not my time. But then Jesus did go. Secretly as though he tried to disguise his appearance.
Then we hear talk about Jesus as though he is not present. "Where is he?" "What do you think about him?" "Is he righteous or a deceiver?"
Those who wanted to kill him were the ones asking where he was. I wonder what plan they had devised? The people in the crowd were trying to form their opinions about Jesus. Was that because they heard rumors of the death plot?
With all this going on in Jerusalem during the sacred festival, how could anybody focus on remembering what the holy day was all about? How could anybody worship?
We must remember that this account is one person's take on what was happening in Jerusalem that fall. A very important slice of life to the Gospel writer. But most people probably went about their activities and traditions in the usual manner.
In the big scheme of things, I wonder how many people really cared who Jesus was and what would eventually happen to him. Like most of us, we go about our own lives. What doesn't affect us personally, doesn't matter much! Today's poll question is quickly forgotten.