Time and time again in the Gospels we see Jesus not acting on his own accord, but rather in God’s perfect timing and in accordance with his will. John 7:1-15 is another example of this.
First, we read that Jesus had brothers. Yes, Jesus had brothers and sisters. He was not an only child, but he was the only one born of a virgin. Mary “was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18) and that was her firstborn child, Jesus. While she was pregnant she was betrothed to Joseph, and it makes sense that they would consummate their marriage after Jesus’s birth and have children of their own. There are some who believe that Mary remained a virgin for the rest of her life, but that does not align with scripture as we read multiple times of Jesus’s siblings (John 2:12, Matthew 12:46-47, Matthew 13:55-56).
Feast of Booths
John 7:1-15 took place at the time of the Feast of Booths, which was a week-long celebration where the Jewish people camped out in makeshift booths (think tents made of branches and leaves) and remembered God’s faithfulness to them in the wilderness. Jesus’s brothers are trying to get him to come with them to Judea to celebrate. They want him to go to Jerusalem to show off and become even more famous. At this point, Jesus had performed many of his miracles in Galilee, but the Jews expected their messiah to come in grandeur and present himself to the “right” crowd in Jerusalem.
Timing is Everything
Jesus refused his brothers’ invitation to the feast. Not because he did not want to go to Jerusalem, but because it was not his time. The Jews were angry and they were looking for him, but his time had not yet come to be arrested and crucified. So he declined his brothers’ offer. He would wait. I love what David Guzik wrote regarding this: “As Jesus obeyed His Father, He lived out the truth that God’s timing is an important expression of His will. Something may be in God’s will but not yet in His timing.”
We can learn a lot from Jesus’s obedience. Here we have God incarnate who still submits to the Father’s perfect will and timing. Yet, we often fancy ourselves so smart or important that we try to enforce our own will and timing on God. For me, it often comes down to feeling scared or insecure. It can be hard to have patience, especially if we are in a situation where our world may seem like it’s crumbling all around us or because we’re eager to see what’s next, but I promise that not forcing it and waiting for God’s perfect timing will be worth it.