Eyes wide open--God will be right on time. John 7.1-9. John #33
Sometimes folks think of Jesus like a beatnik pacifist who just floated along, drifting wherever the day might take him, encountering whoever might cross his path that day. That simply is not the case. Jesus moved with intention and purpose, always had his eyes wide open of who was around him. Take note of three things here in John chapter seven: 1) Jesus was well aware of timing; 2) his brothers did not believe in him; 3) the world--especially the haughty Jewish religious leaders--hated him because he spoke the truth..
John writes, “After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.
Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee.” John 7.1-9
John says it almost as an aside – ‘even his brothers didn’t believe in Jesus.’ ‘Seems natural then that the disciples would want him to go and do miracles in front of all of the pilgrims who would be in Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Shelters, also called the Feast of Tabernacles. This was an annual weeklong celebration in which the Jewish people camped out in tents in Jerusalem, ‘remembering’ their time in the wilderness. Christian—note! Jesus observed all of the Jewish feasts and celebrations. When studying the life of our Lord, we must not fail to realize that he was Jewish in every sense of the word. All of his life and ministry was in the Middle East, which to this day, lives out Christian faith in a distinct manner, quite different from the west.
The fact that Jesus ‘half-brothers didn’t believe he was the Messiah wasn’t a surprise to Jesus though, as it was recorded in Psalms, “I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children.”1 Mark goes further than John, saying “they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”2 [Can you imagine how this impacted Jesus? They wanted to put him away as crazy!] And who were Jesus’ unbelieving brothers? James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. Hmm. But it would not be long until they would believe… they just had to see the resurrected Lord! Once they saw that Jesus did what he said he would do—he rose from the dead—they knew that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Understand this, Friend: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, who was a historical figure, was corroborated by Jewish, Greek, Roman and even pagan historians who had nothing to gain and would rather have denied the event. You see, whether Jesus said or did things that were unpopular did not change that he is and was exactly who he professed to be - God in the flesh.
His brothers? Well, right after Jesus’ ascended into Heaven, the believers were gathered together, waiting in Jerusalem as Jesus had told them, ‘for the gift the Father promised…the Holy Spirit’. “They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, with his brothers.”3 Why were the brothers there? They believed once they saw the resurrected Lord and professed him as their Messiah.
As for timing – Several times in the life of Jesus, we note that he says, ‘it is not my time’… or ‘it is not time yet’, referring to the plan of God for his earthly ministry. In this scenario, he uses the word ‘kairos’ which speaks of opportunity; Jesus simply waited until the festival was underway, and then he went up to Jerusalem, rather than traveling with the crowds. His ways are not our ways; his timing is not our timing. God will not be rushed, but he always shows up on time.
These days, I hear folks say, 'O Jesus, come soon!' because they want out of the madness in the world, (be it Covid, politics, the economy, etc.), away from the uncertainty of the future, but again I say - no thing that is happening now has caught our Lord off guard. Lean into him, trust his Word and remember what Paul wrote, "the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."4
Oh yes, we keep our eyes wide open as we know the risen Jesus,
the coming King who will return for us one day!
And guess what? He will be right on time.
1 - Psalm 69.8
2 - Mark 3.21
3 - Acts 1.14
4 - 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17