Thoughts on the Passage
Each major section in John starts with a story that brings out another aspect of Jesus’ claim as the Son of God. Then the remaining portion of the section gives clarity and understanding to that claim. We are about to start another section – chapter 7 of John.
Here it starts with a description of an upcoming feast – the Feast of Booths (a booth is temporary shelter made of palm branches). Jesus goes to Jerusalem, the center of religious Judaism and the seat of the religious leaders – but He does not do it like they expect. Also, Jesus uses the feast to describe the fulfilment of this feast in Himself.
We are going to see several things in this section of John. We will see the way people respond who do not believe in Him. Today we see it is His own family. They challenge Jesus to go to Jerusalem – how can anyone make any claims like Jesus and not go to Jerusalem? They do this because they do not believe the claims of Jesus. The religious leaders want to kill Him. Later we will see how others react to the claims of Jesus as the Son of God. We are going to see people who should accept Him – they will reject Him. We see others that will believe – and we will be surprised.
God required all Israelite males to attend the Feast of Booths in Jerusalem. It is not optional. So asking Jesus to attend is not an unrealistic question. For Him to say that God did not want Him to go– that must have raised a few eyebrows. So He stayed back in Galilee (probably with the other religious rebels, sinners, uncommitted and ungodly people). That is interesting to consider.…
We know that Jesus goes to the Feast eventually, but for now He is public about His refusal – and His choice to stay with people unwilling to go. Jesus knows the cost of following the voice of God and it begins with rejection from religious people and even His own family.
Dealing with pressure from people around when God asks us to do something different is a big challenge. Usually, it means following Jesus and meeting with the people of God – when family, friends or community try and stop us. Sometimes, it is following Jesus to the poor rather than to a comfortable church. At times, it even means stepping outside of accepted norms within the church.
It takes a heart that listens to the voice of God.
-- today, take time to listen and see if we are just doing things because it is the thing we usually do; take time to ask God for His direction.
-- today, consider slowing down. Let others run ahead with their busy life. Stop and listen to the voice of God. Fast for the day, take a longer time in prayer, take time in the Word of God. Do something that breaks your routine and just listen.
Time to Pray
Father, I have no idea how Jesus could hear You tell Him not to go to a feast that Your Word commanded Him to attend. I know that You told Him to go later, but for Jesus to say this is so astonishing. I want to hear Your voice today with great clarity. I am going to take time and just wait today. I will just sit in Your presence and wait… until You speak. It is such a busy day, I do not know how I will do it, but I will wait. God, if You can talk clearly to others, then You can speak to me as well. I am not sure what I need to listen for, so speak so I know it is Your voice. In Jesus’ name, Amen.