John 7:6-13, NIV

6 Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet
come; for you any time is right. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it
hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8 You go to the
Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right
time has not yet come." 9 Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.

10 However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also,
not publicly, but in secret. 11 Now at the Feast the Jews were
watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?" 12 Among the
crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said,
"He is a good man." Others replied, "No, he deceives the people."
13 But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of
the Jews.


May 25, 2011
In the previous passage we got some sense of how his brothers thought
of Jesus. Now we get a hint of what Jesus thought of them. His opinion
was that they were very ordinary. In contrast to his own life, decisions
about their travel plans didn't matter much. Who cared! Go whenever
you like. Nobody hates you. No one is plotting to kill you. You can do
as you please.

His brothers may have envied the popularity of Jesus among the masses
of the people in Galilee. And Jesus may have longed for the freedom his
brothers had to travel at will. The Passover, Pentecost and this one, the
Feast of Tabernacles, were the three major holy days, and people of
Jewish ancestry came together in Jerusalem from all over the Roman
Empire to celebrate.

One of the ironies of this text is that at this ritual of thanksgiving, the
authorities were plotting to kill Jesus. Within the context of a festival of
life, death was on the minds of the organizers. While people in a mood
of gladness were praising God for providential care, treachery was
on the minds of the religious leadership.

According to John's gospel, Jesus knew all this. Other than that, we
are not told how widely the evil plotting was known. It seems the people
of Galilee were not part of these dark dealings, neither was the family of
Jesus aware of it. If Jesus had told his brothers, it is likely they would
have laughed it off as preposterous.

Whether Jesus was absent or present in Jerusalem for the feast, he did
stir up a debate. First, where was he? In other words, why doesn't he
show himself? Which is the same thing his brothers had told him. And
secondly, is he a good man or is he a deceiver? The text says this
question was whispered and no one wanted to state their conclusions
publicly.


                                                                                 More journal entries


July 3, 1983
The world's hatred. Must one be hated in order to be a Christian? I don't
want to be hated. I don't even like when anyone is angry at me.


July 4, 1983.
I don't understand this at all. Did a few days make any difference? To
travel at his brothers' suggestion or by virtue of his own decision. Right
time, not the right time. Pretending he wasn't going when he knew he
was. One thing for sure, he wasn't going with his brothers--thereby
bringing glory (or danger) to them by association. There's no mention of
Jesus' disciples in this passage. Maybe after the words expressed at
the end of chapter 6, Jesus and his disciples took a brief break from
each other.

Jesus wanted to observe the festival, to worship God as had Moses
and the prophets before him. But the public, or more specifically the
Jewish leadership, made the environment not conducive for Jesus to
worship.

This would have been a great time to meet Jesus one on one and spend
some time alone with him .

Jesus was a bit distressed
      ---over his disciples in the previous chapter
      ---over the limitations his popularity was causing.
      ---over his brothers lack of faith and knowledge of who he was
      ---over not being able to really worship God at the festival with all the
                  love and favor that was naturally his.

He could have shown people how to worship. He could have shown
people what God was like. But leaders planning to kill prohibited such
observations.

I would have loved to have met him there. He might have talked and
shared some of these frustrations, friend to friend.


July 6, 1983
Jesus went, not openly, but like a celebrity sneaking around trying to be
a normal person. Jesus chose not to share this festival with his brothers
or his disciples.

I've been enjoying the imagery these last few days of being a friend to
Jesus at this point in his life--wanting nothing except to be there and
listen when he talks.

Jesus had to go public to fulfill his ministry. But he didn't like what
happened to people when he went public. He might have really enjoyed
the trip to Jerusalem, alone and undetected. I wish I could have shared the
trip and his secret. I think we would have laughed about many things! And
probably cried, too!


July 7, 1983
Where is that man!
No one wanted to be on Jesus' side! Jesus is the talk of the town--since
Jesus was so controversial that's easy to understand. Which year of his
ministry was this? The Gospel writers were not careful to get events
in chronological order. The crowds kept looking for him and asking about
him. Why? Because everyone else was and that made it exciting. This
verse mentions fear again. People whispering their thoughts to each other
and not speaking openly.

Picture this crowd, not certain whose side to take. Not knowing what
opinion is safe to express? Wondering what the consequences of speaking
freely would be? Unexpectedly caught up in the controversy of the moment.
Playing it safe. Choosing their words wisely. Being careful to test the waters
before expressing their real thoughts to the person next to them. It sounds
like someone caught in a political coup!


July 8, 1983
Not speaking freely about Jesus because of fear. I'm familiar with that.
I don't speak openly and freely about Jesus because of what others would
think of me. I share with others when I think they would appreciate my
experience. I determine when the time is right. One person's religious
experience often does sound weird to another person. And I sure wouldn't
want to be weird!  Something weird to someone else doesn't make me
weird however.

My greatest fear is--not being loved and not being able to love. Also of pain
and intense suffering. And being inadequate.

Did anyone speak openly to Jesus?


May 26, 2011
This passage has a lot of loose ends, many uncertainties and unsettling
portrayals. Jesus spoke the truth to his brothers, but his words were not
kind. His brothers did not know what Jesus knew, and did not understand
why he said what he did. To me it sounds harsh and uncaring.

You go; it's not my time. But then Jesus did go. Secretly as though he tried to
disguise his appearance.

Then we hear talk about Jesus as though he is not present. "Where is
he?" "What do you think about him?" "Is he righteous or a deceiver?"

Those who wanted to kill him were the ones asking where he was. I wonder
what plan they had devised? The people in the crowd were trying to form
their opinions about Jesus. Was that because they heard rumors of the
death plot?

With all this going on in Jerusalem during the sacred festival, how could
anybody focus on remembering what the holy day was all about? How
could anybody worship?

We must remember that this account is one person's take on what was
happening in Jerusalem that fall. A very important slice of life to the Gospel
writer. But most people probably went about their activities and traditions
in the usual manner.

In the big scheme of things, I wonder how many people really cared who
Jesus was and what would eventually happen to him. Like most of us, we
go about our own lives. What doesn't affect us personally, doesn't matter
much! Today's poll question is quickly forgotten.

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