John 7:1-13 (ESVST)
1 After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him.
By the end of chapter 6, we left Jesus in Capernaum in Galillee. Capernaum was one of the places in Galillee. The above verse starts with the words “after this”. Verse 2 below says that, the feast of booths was at hand. Since we know at the beginning of chapter 6 that it was Passover or Passover was near, then it means that about six months had passed between chapter 5 and 6.
For the first time in John, we see that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus and as a result he could not go into Judea. The reason why he could not go into Judea but stayed in Galillee was that in Jesus’ day, Galilee and Judea were under separate jurisdictions (that of Antipas and the Roman prefect, respectively), so that someone in trouble in one part of the country would be safer to remain in the other part. In John’s day, regional religious differences seem to have been increasing, with Christians being concentrated in Galilee and the rabbinic movement gaining more allies in Judea. So, this way Jesus was safer in Galillee.
The reasons why the Jews wanted to kill him as we know by now was that Jesus according to them, broke the law of sabbath and made himself equal to God. In Jewish law, both of these were punishable by death.
2 Now the Jews ‘Feast of Booths was at hand.
Or Festival of Tabernacles. The great festival in the Jewish year, celebrating the completion of harvest and commemorating God’s goodness to the people during the wilderness wanderings (see Lev 23:33–43; Dt 16:13–15; Zec 14:16 and note). The name came from the leafy shelters in which people lived throughout the seven days of the festival.
3 So 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.
Now, it is not clear what motives Jesus brothers who are James and Joseph and Simon and Judas, according to Matthew 13:55, had for making such a stament to Jesus. John does not tell us. James is the one who wrote the book of James and Judas is the one who wrote the book of Jude. However, what is important to note is verse 5 which says even his brothers did not believe in him.
Now, how many of you are in the same problem? How many of your family members believe that you have been truly saved and now a true creation? How many of you are expected by your family members to be perfect and make no mistakes since you claim to be saved and at a slighted mistake that you do, they then say that you claim to be a Christian but look at what you have done? How many of your family members believe that since you have now been saved, you must be soft and allow them to just disrespect you and take from you? I can tell you know, you are not the only one, even Jesus had his own brothers not believing in him. However, just like Jesus’s brothers, who only believed afterJesus’s death as we see in Acts 1:14, they one day will also believe you.
Acts 1:14 (ESVST)
All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Just think of what Paul told the Galatians
Galatians 1:10 (ESVST)
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
So, you as well, should not spend your time trying to convince your family to believe you. Be firm but gentle and patient as best you can. Be a servant of God and if it is God’s will that they should believe you, then it will happen. Having said that, we must also try our best to live a holy life for the sake of the unbelievers so that through our own example, they may be saved. Remember that the bible says that other people can only see that you are a true believer,, if you produce fruits consistent with a believer.
What unbelievers don’t understand, some of whom may be part of your family, is that being saved does not mean you are immune from sin, being saved does not mean that you will not sin again. Believers or Christians will sin again between the time he is saved and the time he dies. Not once but, many times. What we hope for is that the rate of sinning will decrease as you mature in the faith. Look at the verse below
1 John 5:18 (ESVST)
We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him.
The verse says “does not keep on sinning”. It does not say that he does not sin. Whoever says that he has not sinned, makes God a liar.
1 John 1:10 (ESVST)
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
So, if your family does not believe you, don’t worry about it, pray for them, preach the word to them and leave it to God
6 Jesus said to them, “ My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.
Jesus was probably saying that the time will come when I will allow myself to be caught and killed by the Jews but that time is not know. Jesus then said to them but your time, is always here, probably meaning that you will still be here even after I am gone. My time is shorter than yours on earth.
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.
Jesus continued to say to his brothers that, having the fact that the Jews want to kill him in mind, the world hates him because he convicts the world of the evil that it does but it will not hate them. Jesus is saying, they hate me not you and they hate me because I convict them so, you go, I won’t go for it is not time yet.
10 But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private.
It is clear here that Jesus wanted to go to the feast but, did not want to make it public for his time had not come yet. Jesus knew that it was the will of God that he not go publicly but rather privately.
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.
Already among the Jews, it was now clear that from his preaching and because of the signs that he did, Jews were beginning to argue amongst themselves about Jesus. Some said he is a good man and others said he is leading people astray. They however, did not argue openly for the fear of the Jews.