The Right Time for Me Has Not Yet Come
John / Chapter 7 / V1-10
After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." For even his own brothers did not believe in him. Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." Having said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. ~Jn 7:1-10
The difficulty we have with the passage is when the Lord told His brothers, “I am not yet going up to this Feast,” but we find Jesus going up to the Feast later, in secret, after His brothers had gone up. Many will not find this occurrence strange, for we ourselves would have on many occasions decided not to do something initially, but later change our minds. This is an experience common to all of us and certainly does not mean that we are dishonest or lying. This situation however, is not applicable to our Lord, because He is the all-knowing God, He will not change His mind as we do.
The second possibility would be something which also happens frequently in the world. When our lives are threatened, we may choose to hide the truth so that others would not know whether we will go up to the Feast, we would then go in secret to reduce the risk of conflict with those who intend to harm us. The Lord, however, would never do that because it is lying and a sin. Furthermore, our Lord could have easily called on His Heavenly Father and summoned more than 12 legions of angels (Mat 26:53) to protect Him, therefore there is no need for Him to conceal the truth.
The Lord said it twice, “The right time for me has not yet come,” by understanding what is the “right time,” we will know what the Lord actually meant.
Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them, "We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!" ~Mt 20:17-19
A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!" When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, "Who is this?" The crowds answered, "This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee." ~Mt 21:8-11
“The time of the Lord” refers to “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12:23). At that time, the Lord would cease from concealing Himself and enter Jerusalem in glory as the Messiah. All this while the Jews had plotted to kill Him, now, the time for the Lord to be crucified on the cross to save the world had come. In the past the Lord had avoided these people, all because the appointed time by the Heavenly Father had not yet come for Him to be killed.
Therefore, we can now understand the Lord’s true intended meaning in His reply to His brothers: “You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because the right time for me to reveal myself and enter Jerusalem in glory has not yet come. If I go to the Feast, I would choose to do so in secret, for I cannot enter Jerusalem together with you in a big group to be seen publicly, therefore I will not go with you to the Feast.” It is not hard to imagine what would happen should the Lord have gone up with His brothers, they would surely create a commotion and make their entry to Jerusalem spectacular therefore causing Jesus to be noticed by the Jews who wanted to kill Him. For they had been harbouring these thoughts: “No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”
Hence, when the Lord said, “I am not yet going up to this Feast,” He was not actually saying that He would not go up to Jerusalem to attend the Feast, rather what He meant was He did not want to go up to the feast now together with His brothers. There was absolutely no deceit or misrepresentation of facts in this whole incidence.