The Gospel of John
Jesus’ Timetable
Jesus and ‘The Law’
The timing of these events
Jesus’ brothers try to force Jesus’ hand
Jesus stays behind
Jesus goes to Jerusalem in secret

J. Deering,


John 7:1, Jesus’ Timetable

After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him.


We’ve taken a journey with Jesus through the other gospels of the events that happened while Jesus “went around in Galilee.” John’s recording of the events in Jesus’ life and ministry during that time is covered by this single verse.

John is specific in his use of language. From the Greek we get:
these things.” The Greeks often used a participle to designate time, but the participle made the listener (or reader) decide the time by context. John instead uses direct preposition [meta] after to make double sure we understand his meaning. Chapter 6 taught us about the feeding of the 5000, three speeches to the crowds that followed Jesus, and a brief paragraph concerning the reaction of those crowds – “many no longer followed Him.”

It is at this point that Jesus’ ministry turns toward persecution, death, and resurrection.

John describes Jesus journey in Galilee as walking-about [periepatei – imperfect, active, verb] and then he describes the Jewish leaders as “the ones who were walking around” [peripatein – a present active participle]. Thus a better translation could be:

“After these things Jesus walked about in Galilee, for He willed-not to be in Judea as the Jews are the ones walking about seeking to kill Him.”

We also don’t want to miss, “walking about seeking to kill Him.” John’s use of words, being the good story teller that he is, build a picture here of the leadership of the nation organizing individuals to “walk about” Judea and “seeking” to find opportunities to kill Jesus. To my adventurous mind comes pictures of possies of law men (Pharisees are "Law" men), and evil assassins.


Jesus and “the Law”

We find some clarification in Mark 11:18, and Mark 1:22 that it is not the things He does, but it is His teaching that motivated the Jewish leadership to kill Him. For centuries the Rabbis had systematically removed the Spiritual Worship of God from their teachings and replaced it with a militant system based upon the Law portion of the Mosaic law. God’s law, written down by Moses, taught responsibility to the Priesthood of God, Responsibility to righteous living under the law, and the Grace of God provided for breaking the law through the sacrificial system. The Rabbis removed Loving Grace from the sacrificial system.

“The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.” [Mark 11:18]

The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” [Mark 1:22]

We must remember that Jesus has already reported that He only does what His heavenly Father asks Him to do. Thus we cannot come to a conclusion that Jesus stays out of Judea at this time because He fears for His life at the hands of the Jewish leaders. Instead, it is His Father’s will that keeps Him in Galilee – and away from Judea and Jesus reflects His Father’s feelings concerning the program for getting Jesus to the Cross, death, and resurrection when His time has come. Luke 18:31, “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.”


John 7:2
The Timing of these events
2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near,

One of the oddities of the Greek language is the conjunction. The second word in this verse (in English and Greek) is a conjunction. Once again, the Greeks leave the interpretation of this word [de] up to the listener or reader. The NASB has chosen the conjunction “But” to start this sentence. Some others chose “And” and some just don’t translate it at all. In this case just not translating it would be my choice. “The Jewish festival was near,” and then the name of the festival is descriptive, and literal: “booth-fastening.”

This is the festival of Tabernacles, Booths, or Sukkot as it is known today by the Jewish people. Sukkot has a double significance. The one mentioned in the Book of Exodus is agricultural in nature – "Feast of Ingathering at the year's end" (Exodus 34:22) – and marks the end of the harvest time and thus of the agricultural year in the Land of Israel. The more elaborate religious significance from the Book of Leviticus is that of commemorating the Exodus and the dependence of the People of Israel on the will of God (Leviticus 23:42-43). One of the main features of this feast is that the family builds a temporary out-building of agricultural materials. This festival falls in mid-September to late October. John is careful to give us this time reference as we travel along the time table of The Father for His Son.

Jesus’ brothers try to force His hand
3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

There’s no way to absolutely know whether Jesus is addressed by Jude and James (or other siblings) or the 12 whom He addresses as “brothers.” There is the possible understanding as physical brothers through their words, “so that your disciples…. Either understanding leads us to the same results, those who were His companions wanted Him to go to Jerusalem and demonstrate His powers through miracles. They had no understanding of Jesus’ Father’s timetable to the Cross. They, perhaps, want Jesus to be more of a Jewish public figure and get the ball rolling for Him to become the new Jewish Nation’s King – at any risk to Him.

Verse 5, once again, gives us confirmation that even those closest to Him did not believe “in Him.” They were traveling with this man who was, perhaps, destined to be King of the Jews. He’s sent from God, he does miracles, and he’s a good teacher. We’ll travel with him and then we will become great in this new kingdom. Both in Luke 9:46 and 22:24 his disciples argued as to which of them was to be considered the greatest.


Jesus stays behind
6 Therefore Jesus told them, “My time is not yet here; for you any time will do. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that its works are evil. 8 You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee.

In the next verses we, in fact, do see Jesus leave and go to Jerusalem in Judea. The crowds had left Him, His disciples didn’t believe in Him, He stays behind in order to get to Jerusalem secretly and quietly. He explains to His disciples that “my time has not yet fully come.” We can surmise that going to Jerusalem with His band of followers—all of which want Him to be King of the Jews—would not be in keeping of the Father’s timetable. Perhaps they would try to force Jesus’ hand into a grand announcement of their desires for Him to be King.

Jesus tells them “for you any time will do,” a cutting remark to the disciples. He tells them that the world cannot hate them—after all they’re just followers. “My time is not yet here;” and the world “hates me because I testify that its works are evil” announces to the readers that the disciple’s timing, and the worlds feelings, make this not the time for Him to go to Jerusalem with them.

The phrase, “My time has not yet fully come” [my season has not yet been filled] tells us the “why” Jesus remains behind. His Father has other plans and He, Jesus, must wait upon His Father.


Jesus goes up to Jerusalem in secret
10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.

This verse give us the order, but not the timing of His leaving for Jerusalem. We know that He does not go with the disciples and that He leaves after them, but how long the interval we do not know. It’s September, and the feast is “soon.” We must turn to Luke where it says that Jesus sends messengers ahead to Samaria and found rejection there because He was a Jew heading for Jerusalem to worship.

Luke 9:51-55
As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven (the ascension), Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. 52 And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; 53 but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem. 54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” 55 But Jesus turned and rebuked them.

Some manuscripts insert: “and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” [1]

56 And then he and his disciples [messengers] went to another village.

[1] The scale of quality of this insertion is rated as a “C.” That means the choice is a fairly easy choice to discard these words, and that they are probably a repeat of the words from 2 Kings Chapter 1, other manuscripts also add “them just as Elijah did.”