The Advice of Jesus’ Brothers

Christianity is the world’s largest religion, with some 1.90 billion adherents in 1994, or 33.7 percent of the world’s population. Of these, 1.06 billion were Roman Catholics. The largest non-Christian religion is Islam, with some 1.03 billion followers in 1994. (Guinness Book of … More

The events of this chapter take place six months after the feeding of the 5000 and the great speech that Jesus gave in the synagogue at Capernaum on the “bread of life.” In the opening words of this chapter it shows that Jesus is aware of growing hostility against him and that the Jews in Judea are seeking a way to kill him(v. 1). Many of the multitudes and some of His disciples who have followed Him everywhere He went, have now ceased to follow Him.

The feast of tabernacles was at hand which occurred in Jerusalem in early October and was eight days in length. During this time the inhabitants of Jerusalem built booths out of tree limbs and thatched roofs, and the families moved out of their houses and lived in them during this period of time. This was to remind them of the forty years they had wandered as pilgrims in the wilderness and lived in tents (v. 2).

Jesus’ brothers had a difficult time believing in Him and for several years they were embarrassed by Him. As the feast drew near, the four brothers of Jesus (James and Jude who later wrote two letters of the New Testament and Joses and Simon) come to Him to give him some advice (vv. 3-5).

  1. You need to get out of the “sticks” (Galilee) and go to Jerusalem.
  2. Your Judean followers need to witness the miracles you have been doing here.
  3. If you want to reach the nation you need to get where people can see what you are doing.
  4. Your gifts are being wasted here in Galilee. You need to get out and demonstrate your miracles to the whole world.

 Jesus is saying, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime and I will come later. (vv. 6-14). The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil.


This same kind of reasoning is used in many Churches today. They say that witnessing has got to be done in a systematic way. I just need to follow what Jesus says in His Word.

John 7:1-14 (English Standard Version)

After this Jesus went about in Galilee. He would not go about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. Now the Jews' Feast of Booths was at hand. So his brothers said to him, "Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. 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 about it that its works are evil. You go up to the feast. I am not going up to this feast, for my time has not yet fully come." After saying this, he remained in Galilee. But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. The Jews were looking for him at the feast, and saying, "Where is he?" And there was much muttering about him among the people. While some said, "He is a good man," others said, "No, he is leading the people astray." Yet for fear of the Jews no one spoke openly of him. About the middle of the feast Jesus went up into the temple and began teaching.

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