John 7:6-9 (HCSB): Jesus told them, “My time has not yet arrived, but your time is always at hand. The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I testify about it—that its deeds are evil. Go up to the festival yourselves. I’m not going up to the festival yet, because My time has not yet fully come.” After He had said these things, He stayed in Galilee.
It was difficult for anyone to understand Jesus and the way that He operated. Everyone around Him, including His family members, was being driven by the calendar, by the days of the month and the rhythms of the year. Their calendar said that it was time to go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, so they were preparing to leave so as to be there on the proper date.
But Jesus’ life and actions were driven by one thing: God’s word. God’s word had not yet come to Jesus regarding this Feast, so, despite what the calendar said, He wasn’t moving.
Jesus understood a couple of things very well. First, His whole life was devoted to God and to doing His will in His way. And second, that many of the people and leaders in Jerusalem were out to get Him, and would be watching for Him to show up there for the Feast. Even when He did go, He would do so keeping a low profile until God Himself told Him to do otherwise.
These religious leaders had good reason to hate Jesus, because He openly confronted the evil in their hearts. Much like criminals shunning places that are well-lit, the bright light of Jesus’ righteousness made these unrighteous, self-seeking people cower. They looked great compared to the average person, but when Jesus with His genuine purity showed up, it made them look absolutely filthy by comparison. That should have driven them to repent and turn to God for real cleansing. Instead, their solution was to drive Jesus far away, to just get rid of Him.
Ultimately Jesus would go to the Feast, and ultimately He would face these dark-hearted pretenders. But He would only do so at God’s command, and in God’s time.
Father, forgive us for being so self-driven, so calendar-driven, instead of merely waiting on Your word. Even in the simplest things, like deciding on when to leave for a feast, Jesus was still 100% reliant on You, and 100% responsive to Your commands. It is easy to see that this is one clear reason that He so easily and frequently heard Your voice. Help me to do the same. Amen.