1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand. 3 So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples may see the works you are doing. 4 For no man works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For even his brothers did not believe in him.6 Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. 7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its works are evil. 8 Go to the feast yourselves; I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 So saying, he remained in Galilee. 10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 11 The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, “Where is he?” 12 And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, “He is a good man,” others said, “No, he is leading the people astray.” 13 Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. – John 7:1-13
John’s Gospel reports in several places that Jesus avoided areas because of the misguided crowds. Sometimes they wanted to make him king; sometimes they wanted to kill him. It can sound like Jesus is afraid and is working hard to hide. Actually, John gives us these details not to show us that Jesus is afraid, but to show us that Jesus is in control. He is the one who controls the time. He is the one who determines where he will be.
Do you grasp the importance of this lesson? The essence of faith is letting Jesus Christ be Lord – that is, to let Jesus be in charge, to yield to his timing, to agree with his purposes. While letting Jesus have his way may sound like nothing but sacrifice on our part, there are actually many blessings associated with such faith. Those who surrender to Jesus’ authority find meaning in life, hope in the midst of disappointment, and both assurance and peace in times of confusion.
When John tells us that Jesus is avoiding crowds, it is not so that Jesus may save his own life. John makes it clear that Jesus avoids misguided crowds in order to remain in control so God’s purposes may be advanced and God’s glory may be revealed.
Good Father, even when I do not understand your was fully, help me be obedient and follow Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.
A Bible study devotional by Gorman Houston