Going to the festival?


In the spirit of 'verses I never saw before' I offer this from John 7 (NAB, emphasis added)

So Jesus said to them, "My time is not yet here, but the time is always right for you.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I testify to it that its works are evil.
You go up to the feast. I** am not going up to this feast*, because my time has not yet been fulfilled."
After he had said this, he stayed on in Galilee.
But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, **he himself also went up
*, not openly but (as it were) in secret.

So why does Jesus say he isn't going in verse 8 but then does go? Being God he must have known he was going. He is the source of all truth and could not have lied.


1). Didn’t go there with them, but later on?

  1. Didn’t He have the privilege to change His mind, like anybody else??



I know I looked at this some time ago, but I don't know how I settled it in my mind.

What such a text does is draw us into it, certainly, about the matter of what Jesus' "time" was.

Judging by what follows in the text, Jesus seems intent on going into the Temple alone, unprotected by his associates, and, rather on the other hand, protecting them by teaching and confronting his enemies alone. This was not a time to deal with their fears and misgivings.


You need to look at the verses immediately preceding verse 7.
*John 7:2 - 7 Now the Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand. So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see **the works *you are doing. For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world." For even his brothers did not believe 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 of it that its works are evil.
Jesus doesn’t go when they were leaving because it was not the right “time” for Him to leave. And especially it was not the right time for Him to go in the manner they proposed. They wanted Him to go “publicly” and perform public “miracles”.
Since verse 5 tells us that even they “did not believe in Him”, I wonder if they weren’t trying to pressure Him for their own purposes into performing miracles - either out of curiosity or as a sort of test (similar to - “Prove it”, or “Convince us”.)

After he had said this, he stayed on in Galilee.

It doesn’t tell us how long He stayed in Galillee before leaving. Things to do in Galillee first??? What this verse does tell us is that He did not leave when the others did. He stayed in Galilee, so it was at a later time when He left.

But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but (as it were) in secret.

At some point after the brothers left, when it was the right time, Jesus also went. He went at the proper time and in the proper way.


What I think is critical is to incorporate the word “yet”. Jesus is not saying that He is not going to attend at all. Rather, that He is not going to go “yet” – it was not yet time for Him to leave and go to the festival.


Are you sure he is talking about the right feast?
The feast of the Tabernacles was in October, the feast of the Passover was in April, The Pentacost was in June. Many minor feasts as well.


No, Jesus is definitely talking about Tabernacles. It was a requirement to go up to Jerusalem for this festival. However, as others have pointed out, Jesus was being asked to go in a public way and state his intentions and ministry. If He were to say, “I’m busy today, but I’ll join you there”, then his followers would have gone to the festival, announcing Jesus’ upcoming announcement. Since He wished not to do so at that time, He told them, “sorry, I’m not going there” (with the sub-text of “in the way that you want me to”)…!


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