Read John 7:1-24
1After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. 2But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 5For even his own brothers did not believe in him.
6Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." 9Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.
10However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?"
12Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man."
Others replied, "No, he deceives the people." 13But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.
14Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having studied?"
16Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. 17If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?"
20"You are demon-possessed," the crowd answered. "Who is trying to kill you?"
21Jesus said to them, "I did one miracle, and you are all astonished. 22Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a child on the Sabbath. 23Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? 24Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment." (NIV)
Here we have one of the Jewish Festivals. The Feast of Tabernacles usually happens end of September to early October. The Festival lasts 9 days. We see that Jesus’ brothers are encouraging him to go. For any male Jew living within 20 miles of Jerusalem, this was a required Feast to attend. To those further away, it was an honor to go. Jesus tell his brother that he is not going because his time is not right. Scholars believe this is different from the other instances where Jesus talks about it not being his time. That is because of the different word for time. In all the instances where Jesus talks about being his time or his hour to be glorified, he uses the word, “hora.” But here, Jesus uses the word, “Kairos.” So, when Jesus tells the brothers any time is right for them, the opportunities do not change depending on when they go. But for Jesus, the best opportunity for him is not in the beginning, but in the middle of the feast. He chooses his time and we cannot force Jesus into our time. That is one of the implications here.
As we move through this passage, we see that there is a divided opinion on Jesus. There is also a fear of speaking about Jesus. This is the reaction still today. There is no middle ground. There is no well maybe. Christ puts us into a position to say “yes” or “no” to him. He is either the Son of God or he isn’t. There is no middle ground. And there are still enemies of Christ today who seek to silence people talking about him.
When Jesus begins to teach, he teaches that his authority and his wisdom come from God. They are not his own. He moves from here to say that those who try and follow the law are doing it pointlessly. He tells them that they are fail to keep the law.
As his example, he brings us the one miracle he did to heal a person on the Sabbath and circumcision. He lays out, why is one acceptable on the Sabbath and the other not. Jesus hated all the loop holes the Jews had created to say they followed the law. The law was to be followed by one’s heart, not one’s actions alone. It was why we do what we do that mattered.
This passage speaks to our trying to get God to honor our way and not his. We cannot manipulate God with our words or our justifications for failing to follow him as he said. This is one of the harder things about walking with Christ. Motive and reasoning are so much more important. It is these we can change and when we repent, Christ forgives. But when we justify our wrongs, how can Christ forgive. It is only Christ who justifies. We receive Christ justifying grace.
Blessings and Peace