The Right Time
John 7:1-13 NRSV
After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He did not wish to go about in Judea because the Jews were looking for an opportunity to kill him. Now the Jewish festival of Booths was near. So his brothers said to him, ‘Leave here and go to Judea so that your disciples also may see the works you are doing; for no one who wants to be widely known acts in secret. 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 against it that its works are evil. Go to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival, for my time has not yet fully come.’ After saying this, he remained in Galilee.
But after his brothers had gone to the festival, then he also went, not publicly but as it were in secret. The Jews were looking for him at the festival and saying, ‘Where is he?’ And there was considerable complaining about him among the crowds. While some were saying, ‘He is a good man’, others were saying, ‘No, he is deceiving the crowd.’ Yet no one would speak openly about him for fear of the Jews.
The Right Time
At the conclusion of John 6, many disciples turn from Jesus and in John 7, Jesus entered a period of ministry in Galilee. Jesus' works impacted the people, and his brothers, who did not believe, encouraged him to leave and go to Judea to regain the following of disciples during the Festival of Booths. Jesus was fully aware of his brothers' overture and the danger from the Pharisees and Sadducees who determined him a challenge to their practice of Judaism. He stated, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here” and invited his brothers to go the festival and join the others who practiced religion (instead of living a right relationship with God). Jesus' referenced the instance which would lead to his crucifixion.
At the festival the crowds either complained about Jesus or considered him to be a good man, but would not speak openly about him because of fear. As Christians, we believe Jesus lived, died, rose from the dead and will come again. We have faith in him to be Savior from sin, the Son of God. We should delight to share the love of Jesus the Christ in everyday words and deeds with people. We do not need to be fearful. The time is right for us to honor God in all of life.
Think how Jesus Christ has touched us. Lent is the right time to turn from evil and all works which harm our relationships with God and people. It is the right time to draw nearer to God. It is the right time to become authentic in sharing Jesus with others. It is the right time to be a disciple of Jesus.
Gracious God, we thank you for the glimpses of Your love and glory, which help us to continue from day to day. Help us to press forward in faith, trusting Your grace in life, and accepting the call to discipleship from Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.
Rev. J. Gregory Courtright is a Conference Superintendent in the Cache River District.