John 7:8-10 (NKJV) – ‘“You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” 9 When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee. 10 But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.’
So I caught Jesus in a lie! (Gasp). I read these verses and I literarily was bouncing up and down and pointing upwards like a tattletale who just got some juicy information to tattle about. Well God, Big Brother did it! He said He wasn’t going to go to the feast then he went! He sneaked there. Isn’t that a lie?
I read the verse in different versions and noticed that some versions added ‘yet’ to the sentence but added footnotes that the yet was absent in older manuscripts. ‘Well’ I huffed as I crossed my arms, ‘what has He to say for Himself?’ ‘Lord, You said You are the Truth, what happened here?’ I could feel Him smile as He said that was a lesson on Obedience.
You see, Jesus had planned to stay put in Galilee. (John 7:1) He had a price on His head at Jerusalem and had no intention of going there until Passover. This brought to me the Humanness of Jesus. Jerusalem held persecutions and stonings and constant contradictions from stalker Pharisees. In Galilee, His brothers didn’t believe in Him but it was still home. They were still family. So yeah, He wasn’t going to Jerusalem until He had to at the Passover. As the Lamb of God, He had to be sacrificed there at Passover.
Why then did He go for the feast of Tabernacles? Because God asked Him to. He chose to obey God at the risk of appearing a liar. It was bad enough that His brothers did not believe in Him. Going to Jerusalem when He had told them He wasn’t going to help His case with them. But He obeyed because God was His priority. He could lose His brothers or His disciples but He could not afford to displease or lose God. At the end, I am glad He went to Jerusalem.
His being there brought more opportunities to teach. More people came in contact with Him and were blessed.
His being there saved the life and soul of the adulteress
His being there meant that He was close to Bethany where he would later raise Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus knew that He was meant to ride into Jerusalem. He may have wondered how He would do this if He was already in Jerusalem, but He trusted God and God worked everything out nicely, He rode in from Bethany with a Bang while the news of Lazarus was fresh.
As I thought on these, I examined myself and found that there have indeed been times when I disobeyed God just so I wouldn’t look bad to men. I didn’t want it to look like I was lying. I was fighting to maintain my integrity in the eyes of men while my integrity in God’s eyes was in tatters. I felt ashamed of those times I walked in disobedience, displeasing God just so I could maintain a façade of holiness. What is holiness if God doesn’t see me as holy? Whose definition of righteousness would I follow – God’s or man’s?
Pause and ponder ~ We need to learn to trust God; not ourselves; not our human logic or wisdom. Even if it makes us look bad or weak or evil, at the end of the day, God will justify us for our decision to follow His way. Oh Lord Help me to trust You more and to obey You no matter what. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen