John 7:1-10 – “My Time Has Not Yet Come”

HourglassWhen his brothers encourage him to go up to Jerusalem, Jesus initially refuses their request because “his time has not yet come.” However, he does eventually go to Jerusalem in secret. His apparent refusal leads to some textual variation, since it is clear that Jesus says one thing and does another. One way to explain this is that Jesus said that he would not go now, but he would go later, separate from the family.

Carson, for example, tries to explain that when Jesus says “my time has not yet come,” he means that his time for leaving for the Feast has not yet come. D. A. Carson thinks the next line (“you can go anytime but I cannot”) means Jesus is simply thinking about when he was leaving for the Feast. This is possible, since the point of the rest of the chapter is to argue that Jesus does not act unless the Father directs him. Perhaps this simply means the Father directed Jesus to leave a few days later than his brothers.

It is also likely this is another example of Jesus initially refusing a request but eventually granting the request. In John 2, Jesus appears to refuse Mary’s request to “do something” about the wine. Just as Mary’s request was on an earthly level and Jesus’s answer was on the higher, messianic level, so too here with his brothers. They are thinking solely of Jesus’s status as a religious leader (“Go to Jerusalem where those sorts of people hang out”), Jesus is thinking about his real mission to die on the cross at the next Passover. Nicodemus and the woman at the well also mix up the earthly and the spiritual, except in those cases Jesus says something spiritual and they take it as earthly.

The timing of Jesus’s death is to be at the Passover, not the Feast of Tabernacles. If he appears there at the beginning of the Feast, there may be a unintentional “triumphal entry.” is actions would therefore be seen as messianic and probably develop into a riot!

The Feast of the Tabernacles is a week-long celebration of the Wilderness period (usually in late September or October, 15-21 Tishri, see Lev 23:34). In A.D. 32, the feast was celebrated Sept 10-17, the Fest of Dedication is two months later. Tabernacles is an 8 day pilgrimage in September or October at the end of the grape harvest. This is a season when many farmers were praying for rain. By the first century, there were daily processions from the pool of Siloam to the temple to the pour out libations on the altar. The courts of the temple were lit by huge torches, thus we have a combination of the themes of water and light that Jesus uses for the teaching sections.

The Feast of the Tabernacles celebrated the time Israel spent in the wilderness and their entry into the lead of Canaan. Just as Passover celebrated the birth of the nation in the Exodus, Tabernacles celebrated the nation’s pristine years in the wilderness, where they learned the name of God, received his Law, where they rebelled against him but also experienced his grace and forgiveness. The wilderness period culminated in the Conquest, Joshua’s entry into the Land of Canaan and the expulsion of Canaanites from the Land promised to Abraham and his decedents.

In the prophets, the Exile was described as a long time in the wilderness. Israel was once again facing the punishment of God because of their covenant of unfaithfulness. The Fest o the Tabernacles naturally stirred the nation’s hope for a new Joshua who would begin another Conquest of the Land promised to Abraham. That Jesus is the same name as Joshua ought to not be ignored, since Jesus will draw attention to himself as a messianic figure during a Feast dedicated to a remembrance of that first Joshua and the end of the exile in the wilderness. The crowds think Jesus is the one who will end the long Exile of Israel, now under Roman rule.

The appointed time Jesus is looking forward to is his crucifixion, resurrection, and glorification.

6 thoughts on “John 7:1-10 – “My Time Has Not Yet Come”

  1. I believe Jesus said this because His time has not come.. not even as of today. He will fulfill all feasts and fulfilled the first 4 during His first visit. I believe He didn’t attend “as normal” because He would eventually return and fulfill the fall feasts at His physical second coming starting with the Feast of Trumpets.


  2. Jesus “time” had literally NOT come yet. He said this several times to different people during the latter part of His time on earth. He knew the prophecies – Daniel 9 tells when the exact time of His death was to be – and He would not do anything to hasten or delay it. The time prophecy pointing to the coming of the Messiah begins with “the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem”. This was given in 457 BC. Using the day for a year principle as God has done in other time prophecies, add 7 “weeks” (=49 years) then 62 “weeks” (=434 years) and you come to the exact date Jesus was baptised. There was one week left for the house of Israel, to make the 70th week. In the middle of that last week of the seventy “weeks”, Messiah the Prince was to be “cut off, but not for Himself”. “He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease”. Three and a half years after His baptism, Jesus was crucified. When He breathed His last on the cross, the huge curtain dividing the temple was torn from top to bottom, signifying the end of the sacrificial system. God had provided the Lamb for the ultimate sacrifice, as Abraham had once prophesied. The antitype had been fulfilled by the Type. The passover Lamb had been slain for our sins and there was no more need for daily sacrificies.

    • And by chapter 13 Jesus says that his hour has in fact come, this is a theme throughout John 13-18. Seems to me to over-complicate things to use the 70 Week passage to explain John 7, Jesus is simply saying that it is not time for him to be crucified, but it will be by the time of Passover in John 13. I am not sure that Jesus was calculating out the days, it simply has to be at Passover (that year? The next?)

      Although you are certainly correct that Daniel is predicting when the Messiah will be “cut off” – seems to me to be talking at the crucifixion.

  3. There are many good points about why Jesus’ time has not yet come. I believe it is because God tells him what to do, but also the fact that he wanted to go separate of his family and the people he is close with. Jesus probably has this sense of timing because he is also God, but he can choose what specific choices to make then, right? This is true, but everything he does has a purpose and that purpose usually reveals something about himself. So because it is not yet his time, it is because he is waiting to reveal something greater of himself. Part of this was to come later when no one was with him. Maybe it was because he felt he would be deceived by people he loves since in fact he already knew that there was at least one of his own who would betray him. Kostenberger explains that “thus the pattern of rejection is complete:…his native Galilee…Judea…Jewry as a whole…own family,” (Kostenberger, 90). He felt not ready to go into Judea because he has already faced this rejection and knew the biggest rejection was coming when Judas betrays their relationship with a kiss (6:71). So, it seems that Jesus’ time has not yet come because he faces this feeling of rejection and knows the right time when to do things to reveal qualities and wonders about himself.

  4. There are a lot of good ideas of what Jesus means when he says that his time has not yet come, but it seems that the beginning of chapter seven explains his meaning right there. In verse one, it says that Jesus would not go back to Judea because the Jews were trying to kill him. We know now that Jesus was supposed to die as seen in passages like Isaiah 53, Psalm 22, and Philippians 2:6-8. So for Jesus to say that his time had not yet come was to say that it wasn’t his time to die yet. Kostenberger seems to agree with this line of thought saying, “Jesus stays away from Judea, ministering in Galilee instead, because the Jews in Judea are waiting to take his life. Jesus’s life thus evidences a keen sense of timing – something neither his mother nor his brothers understood,” (Kostenberger, 90). The timing of Jesus dying was to be during Passover to show people that he was 1. the Passover lamb that was to be slain for the sins of the people and 2. the deliverer for the people out of their bondage of sin, going back to Exodus and the delivery of the Israelites. Also quickly addressing the second half of verse six, Jesus says to his brothers that “their time is always here”. This refers, I believe, to Jesus’s brothers not understanding that Jesus’s life and death were timed, so to speak. He is saying to them that their minds are set on earthly things while his mind is on the things of God and the plan that he is fulfilling. Perhaps, this is what brings up the different perspectives of what Jesus means with “my time has not yet come” because people are looking at a more worldly perspective of scripture and miss the spiritual meaning right before their eyes.

  5. I love how Jesus does not give into the peer pressure of His brothers. His own family wanted Him to reveal Himself to the world. My guess would be that Jesus’ brothers have a hidden agenda of why they are trying to get Jesus to reveal Himself.
    I admire how much Jesus is in tune with the Father’s voice.
    Jesus listens to the Father always and waits for the Father’s timing.
    He is directed only by the Father and we should do the same.
    I do not know why the Father did not want Jesus to reveal Himself. Maybe it was that the Father had other things for Jesus to still do in secret. He wanted to teach Jesus more things about His heart. The Father saw that Jesus’ earthly brothers had an agenda. He knew that the Romans would then arrest Him because of Jesus’ revealing. Or it was simply the Father protecting His son.

    This story has come up a lot in the past couple months for me.
    Holy Spirit has been teaching me to follow the Father’s voice alone and not to give into the other voices around me.
    Whether that is the enemies or even other sheep that think that they are telling me the right thing to do.
    We all need to follow God with hearts and ears that are turned to Him.
    When other voices come in, we can take though words, thoughts and emotions to the Father,
    so that He may fill us up with His Truth and direction.

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