Chapter 7 takes place during the Feast of Booths, a week-long Jewish celebration of thanksgiving for God’s provision. Just prior to the holiday, Jesus’ brothers urged Him to go to Judea and celebrate the feast properly. But Jesus was staying out of Jerusalem because the Jewish leaders and the Pharisees were bent on killing Him. It wasn’t time yet for Him to be killed. His brother’s tried getting Jesus to go by appealing to His vanity about His ministry. Verses 3-5 read,
“So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him.”
Jesus had no vanity and since He knew He was who He said He was He didn’t have to prove it to anyone. The brothers’ words echo Satan’s temptation of Jesus. But Jesus wasn’t here for earthly glory or worldly kingships. He was here to do God’s will and save us. Here was here to die. But it wasn’t time yet. He answered them in verses 6-9.
“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 about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, he remained in Galilee.”
He didn’t offer up defenses and explanations. He told His brothers simply two things. First, it wasn’t yet His time and He contrasted that by saying His brothers’ time was always here. He was not here to fulfill His own will or do things in His own way. He was doing the will of the Father and therefore His time belonged to the Father. But His brothers belonged to the world and so their time belonged to them. Jesus knew the Pharisees were looking for Him and if He went with His family to celebrate the feast, He would be arrested and killed. He wasn’t going to let His brother’s goad Him into going. He would go when the Father told Him to go.
Secondly, Jesus told His brothers that although the world didn’t hate them, it did hate Him because He like the prophets revealed its evil. The world couldn’t hate Jesus’ brothers because they were part of the world. Just like the world, they didn’t want their evil revealed. Jesus was telling His brothers that He was from God and with God and they, like the world were not in agreement with God.
Are you here to do the will of the Father or are you here for your own fulfillment? Is your time yours or God’s? Going to the Feast was the right thing to do in Jewish custom. It looked wrong for Jesus to not go with His family and celebrate God’s provision. But the right thing to do was what God wanted, not what looked right.
Jesus didn’t worry about looking like He was righteous. He maintained righteousness by being in close communion with the Father, by knowing God, and doing His will.
Is it God’s will or your pastor’s will that you serve on three church committees and teach Sunday school on top of your other commitments? Is it God’s desire for you to run errands for people who are capable of taking care of their own business but too busy to do so, while you neglect your home and family? Is it God’s expectation that you are so busy doing what looks like good works that you can’t remember if you prayed today?
All that busyness may look like godliness to the world, but it isn’t. God knows your heart better than you do. Your motivation cannot be to please both your pastor, or family, or onlookers and God. You can’t say yes to God and yes to every request made of you by the world.
It looked like Jesus was choosing the wrong thing to His brothers. It just didn’t look good for Him to say no to going to the Festival with them. Jesus didn’t concern Himself with what looked right, He concerned Himself with what was right.