Reflection on John 7:1-9

Scripture: John 7:1-9

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.

Reflection:

I find this passage very intriguing because we are seeing Jesus interact with his family. There has been one other time so far where we’ve seen Jesus in conversation with a family member. That was at a wedding feast in Cana with his mother. That interaction with his mother and this one with his brothers have interesting things in common. But they also have one huge difference.

In both cases, Jesus gets told what to do. When the wedding feast runs dry, Mary insists that Jesus save the event by coming up with more wine for the party. Here, his brothers tell him to leave Galilee with them so they can go to Judea for the festival of Booths. The response that Jesus gives to both his mother and his brothers are basically the same. He tells his mother, “My hour has not yet come.” And to his brothers he says, “My time has not yet come.” That sounds like a “no” in each case to me.

But we know that it’s not. Mary, as a mother, holds certain sway over her son that brothers just don’t have. Jesus does miraculously come up with more wine… a lot more wine. In doing so, Mary effectively helps Jesus launch his entire public ministry. Contrarily, if Jesus had allowed his brothers to sway him, that decision could’ve ended his ministry. We are told that some would be in Judea who wanted Jesus dead. And any public demonstrations might’ve only fueled that fire. I want to be careful not to communicate that Jesus’ brothers were somehow trying to lead him into such danger on purpose. That would be unfair. We know that James, one of Jesus’ brothers, goes on to become the leader of the early church in Jerusalem after the crucifixion. But as brothers sometimes do, the risk was overlooked for the adventure. Jesus was wise to place his trust in the guidance of his mother. He was equally wise to be hesitant in going along with his brothers. We’d probably all be better off practicing such discernment from time to time.

Prayer:

God of grace, thank you for the people in our lives who look after us and guide. Thank you for those who challenge us to be more adventurous. Grant us the discernment to know when we should follow the one or the other. Amen.

Thought for the Day:

Sometimes mothers know best.

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