7 1-2 Later, Jesus was going about his business in Galilee. He didn’t want to travel to Judea because the Jews there looking for a chance to kill him. It was near the time of Tabernacles, a feast observed annually by the Jews.

3-5 His brothers said, “Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.” His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either.

6-8 Jesus came back at them, “Don’t pressure me. This isn’t my time. It’s your timeā€”it’s always your time; you have nothing to lose. The world has nothing against you, but it’s up in arms against me. It’s against me because I expose the evil behind its pretensions. So you go ahead, go up to the Feast. Don’t wait for me. I’m not ready. It’s not the right time for me.”

9-11 He said this and stayed on in Galilee. But later, after his family had gone up to the Feast, he also went. But he kept out of the way, careful not to draw attention to himself. The Jews were already out looking for him, asking around, “Where is that man?”

12-13 There was a lot of contentious talk about him circulating through the crowds. Some were saying, “He’s a good man.” But others said, “Not so. He’s selling snake oil.” This kind of talk went on in guarded whispers because of the intimidating Jewish leaders.

-John 7:1-13 The Message.

Jesus went to Galilee. He didn’t want to go to Judea because the Jewish leaders were looking for him so they could kill him. When the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one wants to become a public figure in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world. His brothers didn’t believe in him.

The Festival of Tabernacles happened six months after the Passover mentioned in John 6:2-5. The festival is also explained in Leviticus 23:33. The festival is celebrated after the days the Israelites went into the desert and lived in booths. (Leviticus 23:43)

We all have some family members that do not believe in you. At least one family member will always talk down to you; make sure you are not worth what you think you are. Jesus’ brothers did it to him. The fact is that they were embarrassed by Jesus, but some of his brothers became leaders; James is one of them. The brothers believed when Jesus died and rose on the third day. Take that brothers! So case in point, we all have reasons to believe. There is a record of Jesus’ deaths, his miracles, and the resurrection. The gospel is evidence as well in the benefits we see in people today. Someone that doesn’t believe let them know about it, so they don’t miss out on God’s Son.

Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you, any time will do. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil.”

People who don’t like you will let others know that they don’t want you. Then that generates more dislike because of what that one person said of you. That is the same pattern we will go through liking Jesus because plenty of people don’t like him; you will have people that hate you. So if you see things are going well, ask to make sure we are not following Jesus half-heartedly or not at all.

Jesus continued: “You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival because my time has not yet fully come.” After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. When Jesus’ brothers left for the festival, Jesus went quietly, not wanting the public to see him.

The question is, why did Jesus go anyway but wanted to do it secretly? He is the greatest gift of all. He has something for everybody. Well, one thing is that the Jewish leaders hated him, so everybody would refuse his gift of salvation. So that made him a target because of his teaching publicly. So Jesus had to do this quietly. Many of us today have the honor to teach, preach, and worship publicly without persecution.

The scene turns to the festival, the Jewish leaders were watching for Jesus and asking, “Where is he?” Among the crowds, there was widespread whispering about him. Some of them said, “He is a good man,” while others would say, “No, he deceives the people.” No one didn’t say anything out loud in fear of the leaders. Ladies and gentlemen, this is an excellent example of what oppression is. You can’t speak because the leaders don’t like Jesus? Everybody was talking about Jesus. Some had good thoughts, some had terrible ideas about him. Here is the thing; we have to be courageous to speak about Jesus. We can’t let the oppressors keep us from speaking because they don’t like someone or keep things quiet. That is not what we are called to do. So many people want to say things that aren’t true; even religious leaders do this. Test them with two things in mind.

  1. Their words should be agreed with, not contradicting the bible.
  2. Their words should point to God and his will, not to themselves.

Jesus said that he will acknowledge us before God if we accept him before others. (Matthew 10:32) Are you willing to be courageous and speak when others don’t believe or are oppressed to speak?

Father, thank you for our time of study today. I see in today’s world similar things that happened in the history of the bible. People are being oppressed and can’t speak about things that need changing. Father, I pray that we can continue to talk on your behalf without persecution. I pray for leaders who don’t speak the truth and notice it and speak on it. In Jesus’ name. Amen!