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It is easy to make suggestions for others to follow. The brothers of Jesus thought they had a clever idea. Jesus wasn’t having anything to do with it. Jesus had his marching orders from God. Jesus knew the right time to do something.

When I follow Jesus, my decisions mean I have something to lose. Nothing to lose may mean it is not from God. Jesus challenges me. Jesus has a radical way for me to live. Jesus doesn’t let me be comfortable. Jesus is focused on getting me to do what God wants.

After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” For not even his brothers believed in him. Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come.” After saying this, he remained in Galilee. [1]

Source: John 7:1-9

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Jesus’ “time” is a synonym for his “hour,”. He has a schedule to keep, a work-schedule (compare the reference to his “works” in 7:3). His brothers do not.

  • They are temporal vagabonds because, unlike Jesus, they are not working the works of God.
  • Unemployed by God, they do not even have a timecard to punch.
  • Vagrant, they can do anything they want.

But Jesus—he has a schedule for finishing his works. His time, his hour, has not yet come. There’s more to do before he can shout, “It’s finished,” or—better—“They’re finished”. Why can’t the world hate Jesus’ brothers? Because they are the world, at least a representative slice of it. As such, they do not testify about the evil of the world’s works, which includes their own works. And as unbelievers in Jesus, they are the haters, not the hated. He is “the hated”, because he does testify about the world’s evil works.[2]

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[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 7:1–9.

[2] Robert H. Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010), 388.