Our Diving Deeper lesson title comes from our text where Jesus twice says that His “time has not yet come”.
• Along with fleshing out all 10 verses, we will pay particular attention to the contrast Jesus reveals between His time and the unbelievers time.
1) FEAST OF BOOTHS
John 7:1–2 (ESV) — 1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. 2 Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand.
We learned about the Feast of Booths last week so no need to address here.
• Suffice it to say, however, that we are about 6 months after John 6.
• That puts us about 6 months from Jesus’ crucifixion.
• So it is with building tension that John reminds us that Jesus’ life was in danger because of His words and works thus far.
• A specific example would be John 5:17–18 (ESV) — 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” 18 This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
• It is also worth mentioning that Deut 16:16 made it mandatory that “all your males shall appear” for the Feast of Booths.
• This brings us to our next verses.
POI – Just 6 months prior, Jesus taught the profound lessons of the Father’s role in salvation to possibly thousands. When He finished, He was left with 12.
• John MacArthur points out how important it is that Jesus really spent the majority of His time with small groups, specifically with the Twelve, that he might disciple them and mature them spiritually.
• He then says, “the measure of any church’s success is not the size of its congregation, but the depth of its discipleship.”
• I must confess that this observation is an encouragement given what we do in our class.
2) UNBELIEVERS TIMING
John 7:3–5 (ESV) — 3 So [perhaps because males were supposed to] his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. 4 For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” 5 For not even his brothers believed in him.
No doubt Jesus’ half brothers, James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Jude), were aware of how numerous Jesus’ losses were with respect to His followers.
• Many suggest that Jesus’ brothers were advising Jesus on how to stem these losses.
• Kostenberger says, “At the upcoming Jerusalem festival, Jesus (so his brothers tell him) has an opportunity to reverse his fortunes.”
• Additionally, there is a sense here in which if Jesus was to be the political Messiah that most hoped for, Jerusalem (“the world”) during the Feast would be the time and place to “show yourself”.
• To merely “show yourself” in Galilee wasn’t going to get it done, apparently, because Jerusalem is the real test.
• Why would Jerusalem during the Feast of Booths be considered “the world”?
And then John takes us abruptly into a specific direction by telling us that Jesus’ brothers were not believers.
• John seems to be implying that everything Jesus’ brothers just said lacked some type of connection with a truth that could only come from an understanding and believing heart.
• The fact that Jesus must make Himself known in Jerusalem was certainly true, even if it was to be a crucified Messiah instead of a political one.
But as unbelievers, they made a few couple of very crucial miscalculations.
• (1) “It is not Jesus’ failure to “show himself to the world” that impedes the reception of his message but the world’s sinful rejection of its Creator” – Andreas Kostenberger.
o We have seen numerous times that most that followed Jesus had a spurious faith founded in what He did and not who He was.
• (2) They falsely assumed that Jesus’ calling was self-serving, a “fundamental misunderstanding of who He is” (a similar mistake assumed by Satan while tempting Jesus in the desert) – Kostenberger.
o Jesus was not out to attract a following for his own sake.
• (3) Finally, from our next verses, the third miscalculation appears to be one of timing.
POI – It is striking to me how often and how detailed John has Jesus teaching on the nature of unbelief.
• In light of the current trends toward inclusivism and universalism, I wonder what those who adhere to such views would make of John’s teachings if, at the end of the day, they don’t really matter?
• As well, as Warren Wiersbe points out about how deprived unbelievers are, “Here were men going up to a religious feast, yet rejecting their own Messiah!” – who cares if we all get saved anyway?
3) GOD’S TIMING
John 7:6–10 (ESV) — 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 about it that its works are evil. 8 You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” 9 After saying this, 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.
Why was timing the issue and what did it matter?
Before we try to answer this question, it is important to survey just how important timing is for God’s actions.
• Genesis 15:12–16 (ESV) — 12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 As for yourself, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. 16 And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”
• Leviticus 16:2 (ESV) — 2 and the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.
• Ecclesiastes 3:1 (ESV) — 1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
• Isaiah 66:18 (ESV) — 18 “For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory,
• Jeremiah 8:7 (ESV) — 7 Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD.
• Acts 1:7 (ESV) — 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.
Specifically with Christ:
• Galatians 4:4–5 (ESV) — 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
• 1 Peter 1:20 (ESV) — 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you
• John 2:4 (ESV) — 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
• John 7:30 (ESV) — 30 So they were seeking to arrest him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.
• John 8:20 (ESV) — 20 These words he spoke in the treasury, as he taught in the temple; but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
Now having seen how Sovereign God’s relationship with time is, we can try to discover why the issue of timing was so crucial.
Verse 6 shows us that Jesus’ timing was specifically constrained by the Father’s will and so Jesus, who always took His cues from the Father, knew beyond all doubt that His time had not yet come.
• But His brothers, on the other hand, had no such divine constraints on their time.
• In fact, from a Jewish perspective, Jesus’ words “your time is always here” could have been easily been taken as an insult, according to D.A. Carson.
• D.A. Carson puts it as follows, “It is almost as if they are being excluded from divine sovereignty—not that God suspended his providential reign in their case, but that what they did was utterly without significance as far as God is concerned” – D.A. Carson.
So here we have 3 new interesting characteristics about time and unbelievers.
• (1) Their “time” brings no glory to God because it is lived in rebellion to God.
o Truly a life is wasted if it makes no difference in God’s work.
• (2) They suggest courses of action that are contrary to God’s timing.
o In seeking their own interests and/or a miscalculation of Jesus’ they suggest He act against the Father’s will.
• (3) Because their “time” brings no glory to God they are of the world.
o Jesus implies this when He tells them in verse 7 that “the world cannot hate you”.
o “Jesus asserts that the world cannot hate his brothers (presumably because they were part of it—quite an indictment” – Kostenberger.
o “Their alignment with ‘the world’ means they know nothing of God’s agenda. They do not listen to his word, do not recognize it when it comes, and cannot perceive the Word incarnate before them. They are divorced from God’s kairos, his divine appointments, and so any time will do” – D.A. Carson.
We also see here, once again, How committed Jesus is to the will of the Father.
• We have learned already how the words He speaks and the authority he displays, etc., all owe themselves to the Father.
• Now we see that He even attributes the timing of His actions to the will of the Father.
• Jesus would not go to Jerusalem publically as His brothers desired but would go secretly, about 3-4 days later, as verse 10 states.
• “Jesus is not going to be pressured to act before his time” – Kostenberger.
• Additionally, it was customary for extended family to travel together to Jerusalem for festivals.
o That Jesus didn’t do so here, “points to Jesus’ increasing isolation” – Kostenberger.
o Psalm 69:8 (ESV) — 8 I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my mother’s sons.
• And Jesus, in going up on his own, must have done so in the timing of and obedience to the Father not because He was fickle or indesicive.
And as we all know, 6 months later His time would come “to be known openly”.
• Luke 9:51 (ESV) — 51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.
• John 12:23 (ESV) — 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
• The unbelievers timing is uninformed and self-serving.
• The believers timing is divinely informed and God-serving; use it wisely to God’s glory.
• God is Sovereign over time and is directly involved in its unfolding.
• “One very important conclusion flows from this. If the events of Christ’s life were ordered by God, as we have seen, then it follows that the most important thing that can be said about the death of the Lord Jesus Christ is that God the Father caused it. God the Father put Jesus to death. In the history of the church there have been times when men and women have emphasized the role that the Jewish leaders had in Christ’s crucifixion. This has led in a very unjustifiable way to much anti-Semitism. It is true, of course, that the religious leaders did have a part in Christ’s death, but this is relatively unimportant. Others, to counter this line of thought, have emphasized that it was actually the Gentiles, in the person of Pilate, who sentenced Christ to death. But again, while this is true, it is nevertheless relatively unimportant. The important thing is that God the Father put Jesus Christ to death and that he did so in order that there might be an atonement for our sins” – James Boice.