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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

JESUS LEAVES GALILEE

John 7:1-10 After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for He would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. His brethren therefore said unto Him, Depart hence, and go into Judea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If Thou do these things, show Thyself to the world. For neither did His brethren believe in Him. Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for My time is not yet full come. When He had said these words unto them, He abode still in Galilee. But when His brethren were gone up, then went He also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.

Beginning in Luke 9:51 and continuing to the end of the chapter, we find Jesus and His followers traveling through Samaria on their way to Jerusalem. Here in the lesson text we find Him making these travel preparations that He might arrive in Jerusalem and celebrate the Jews' feast of tabernacles, which was at hand. As we study the gospel message written by John we note that prior to the lesson text we find Jesus in Galilee and it was near the time of the Jewish Passover, which took place approximately six months before the feast of tabernacles. Although the other gospel writers accounted for the events taking place during this length of time, John, for some reason or another, omits the events in the life of Christ that took place during this period. Since the scripture for this study seems to take a different slant on Jesus final journey to Jerusalem, it warrants additional consideration.

For instance verse 1 tells us that Jesus remained in Galilee because Jewish leaders sought to kill Him if he came into Judea. It was not that He was banned from this province or its main city, Jerusalem, but due to the threats on His life, He would not be at liberty to freely preach His gospel message of salvation. In Galilee, where He did most of His teaching, He was free to do so without the death threats from religious leaders of the Jewish nation.

Knowing the Jewish holy days that were soon to come, Jesus' brethren suggested to Him that He depart hence, and go into Judea, that Thy disciples also may see the works that Thou doest. Much has been written about exactly whom these brethren were. Some say that this word's translation can mean any of Jesus' kindred - His own brothers or the male children of His mother's brothers or sisters, which would mean His nephews. Those taking an extreme view to substantiate their religious doctrine contend that Jesus' mother, Mary, remained a virgin for her entire life, and that the word "brethren," as used in this verse, means cousins. However, other scriptures seem to indicate that these were, indeed, brothers of Jesus (or half-brothers to be more precise), the sons of Joseph and Mary (See John 2:12; Matt. 12:46-47; Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19-20). These brethren thought it was good for Jesus to go into Judea, and no doubt into the city of Jerusalem in order that His disciples, whom Jesus had converted on a previous visit, could see the power of God exhibited in the mighty, compassionate miracles that He performed on those in need.

Jesus' brethren suggested that by His works He could encourage His disciples in Jerusalem. Further they encouraged Him to let it be known openly; to demonstrate to His disciples in Jerusalem the same mighty, miraculous works that He had been performing in Galilee. Indeed, let the whole world know. If Thou do these things, show Thyself to the world. However there seems to have been other possible motives for His brethren to suggest that Jesus should go to Jerusalem. Many in this city, especially the Jewish leaders, refused to believe Jesus to be the Messiah, the Son of God. No doubt His brethren were aware of this disbelief and the impending reception that Jesus would receive from them. It is not surprising then that neither did His brethren believe in Him. The fact that they qualified His miracles with the phrase, "if Thou do these things," tells us that some of His brethren had great doubt that He performed these miracles; that somehow He deceived His fellow countrymen with deceit and deception into believing He possessed miraculous powers. There seemed to be no sincerity in His brethren's encouragement to go into Jerusalem and demonstrate His powers openly. Rather there was a definite air of skepticism, ridicule, and derision in, what appeared to be, complimentary remarks by them toward their brother, Jesus.

This disbelief in Jesus as the promised Messiah was well established and seemed commonplace from the beginning of His earthly mission, especially among His own people in Nazareth of Galilee. John wrote that He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not (John 1:10-11). Although they may have accepted Jesus as a prophet of God, having exceptional powers, but yet they, like the Jewish leaders and most other Israelites, they were doubtful of Him being God's Son, the Messiah.

Realizing their disbelieving minds, Jesus replied that My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. Unknown to all present at this time, the manifestation to the world that He was the promised Savior would not completely be known until His death, burial, and resurrection from death's grave. Jesus knew that those seeking His life would do so soon after His entrance into Jerusalem. Therefore, He admitted to His brethren and all other followers that His time had not yet come to expose Himself to His impending death. However, they would not face the threat of death, and since the feast of tabernacles was at hand, Jesus told them that their time was always ready for them to journey to Jerusalem. He assured them of their safety because they were not hated as He was. By Jesus teaching, as well as His manner of life, He testified that the works of the world are evil. This testimony alone was reason enough to the zealous Jewish leaders to seek His life.

With this being said, the multitude that gathered around Him, including His brethren, apostles, and other disciples, began their journey toward Jerusalem, but Jesus continued for a while to abide in Galilee. Shortly afterwards, Jesus also went up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.