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How well do you cope with waiting for God to act in your life?

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Bible passage John 7:1–13

John 7

Jesus Goes to the Feast of Tabernacles
 1After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews there were waiting to take his life. 2But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, 3Jesus' brothers said to him, "You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. 4No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world." 5For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

 6Therefore Jesus told them, "The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. 7The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. 8You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come." 9Having said this, he stayed in Galilee.

 10However, after his brothers had left for the Feast, he went also, not publicly, but in secret. 11Now at the Feast the Jews were watching for him and asking, "Where is that man?"

 12Among the crowds there was widespread whispering about him. Some said, "He is a good man."

   Others replied, "No, he deceives the people." 13But no one would say anything publicly about him for fear of the Jews.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Audio Bible passage

The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

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Celebrity at the celebration
The Festival of Tabernacles celebrates God’s care for the Israelites in the desert after the Exodus. In the Promised Land it was celebrated as an annual feast celebrating both God’s deliverance and provision; fitting then that Jesus should appear.

Despite keeping a low profile he dominates as a result of the crowd’s curiosity (vs 12,13). How do you address the matter of your faith to curious non-believers?

Opposing culture
God’s timing can seem slow to us as our culture has trained us to expect instant gratification. It’s only that our ways are not his, but thankfully his ways are perfect, too! Because he is both good and unchanging, he’ll never forget us. How do we reconcile ourselves to not receiving everything we want when we want it (see Psalm 131)?

If Jesus had been seeking the limelight as his brothers suspected, their advice would have been sound: get yourself seen at a big red carpet event (vs 2–5)! But he has no need for public acclaim for he commands the praise of all creation! How does he resist compromise? He knows who he is and what he’s here to do (5:20,30)!


Do you feel pressured to act in a certain way, perhaps to conform to others’ expectations, or feel driven to seek popularity and significance? Get alone with Jesus, discover what it is to be a humble child again and learn to walk in step with his ‘unforced rhythms of grace’ (Matthew 11:28–30, The Message).

Phil Andrews

Deeper Bible study

Forgive us Lord. ‘We have turned to a God that we can use rather than to a God we must obey.’1

The Feast of Tabernacles was eight days of mandated religious fun-time as people remembered God’s goodness in the harvests of their wilderness journeys. However, it forms the backdrop for three very different responses to Jesus. First, it is intriguing to ask why his brothers advise him to go up to Jerusalem for the feast, especially since they didn’t believe in him. Rejecting his spiritual claims, they admire his popular appeal. In contemporary language, they almost seem to be marketing Jesus. Why not get him onto the big stage in front of the maximum number of people? Tragically, they attempt to manipulate the Christ. Jesus is on a different mission, one that does not court popularity. Indeed, it is the very opposite, for he confronts the world’s evil and provokes hatred instead of applause. They can go to the feast, but Jesus will not join their bandwagon. Later, on God’s timetable, he does go. Andrew Walker comments that God has to be heard in the market place but not as marketable goods2.

Second, ominously, others are outright haters who desire his death. Everything Jesus says and does, beginning with the healing on a Sabbath (John 5:18) and his God-claims, undermines their own religious system: worse still, if Jesus is right, then they are wrong. As he puts it, ‘the world … hates me because I testify that its works are evil’ (v 7). CS Lewis called Jesus ‘a transcendental interferer’, who intrudes, disturbs and exposes the truth about us. This remains true.

Third, among the crowd there is confusion. Some are positive, others are negative, but no one says anything publicly for fear of the haters. This will be the majority at Golgotha and by doing nothing they allow the Christ to be taken and nailed at the cross.

Michael Quicke


1 David Wells, No Place for Truth, Eerdmans, 1994
2 Andrew Walker, Enemy Territory, Zondervan, 1987

Bible background: Festival of Tabernacles


The name Tabernacles or Booths (Deuteronomy 16:13) comes from the Hebrew word succoth, the name by which it is still know among Jews today. It is also known as the Feast of Ingathering (Exodus 23:16).


The festival started during the 40 years in the desert after the Israelites had left Egypt.


The feast celebrates two aspects of life: the deliverance from Egypt (Leviticus 23:43) and the completion of the harvest (Deuteronomy 16:13–15). In these ways it points to God’s gracious deliverance and provision.


It was one of the three great annual festivals for which all male members of society were required to come to the central place of worship (Exodus 23:14–17). It was celebrated from the 15th to the 22nd of the seventh month (late September–October).


Recalling the time in the wilderness the Israelites constructed and lived in shelters made of branches (Leviticus 23:42). This is still done today. It was a time of rejoicing in God’s goodness (Deuteronomy 16:14).

Offerings were brought as a mark of gratitude (Deuteronomy 16:17). Sacrifices were made daily and the final day formed a special feast day on which no work was done (Numbers 29:11–40).

Later observance

Solomon and Hezekiah observed the festival (2 Chronicles 8:13; 31:3) and it was celebrated on the return from Exile (Ezra 3:4). Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate (John 7:1,14).

His invitation on the last day of the festival to the thirsty to come and drink (John 7:37–39) is linked to a custom which had developed after the Exile and involved pouring out water, probably as a thanksgiving for rain.

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  • Anne Mcgowan | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Jesus was a revolutionary. He was counter culture, he walked a road less travelled, he moved to the beat of a different drum. There are many more memes that can be arrayed at his feet, for he was an extraordinary human being. Fully man, and fully God. He saw through all the noise and traffic of his time to the heart of what was truth, in that time as John said "And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and of truth." And so he was, a subversive in a world of law and religion, full of grace and truth. I pray that as we begin to grasp the length, the depth, the breadth and the height of this revolutionaries love for us, as we become rooted and grounded in such love, we too would be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God as he was. Truly know our place in this world, counter culture revolutionaries. People of the living God, called out, holy light bringers, full of grace and truth. Maybe, as Mordecai said to Esther "you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this".

  • Simon Baker | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    "God has to be heard in the market place but not as marketable goods" But at the end of the feast he did draw the attention of the crowd to God's provision for them 7.37.

  • Angela Munday | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    In verse one we read....."the Jews there were waiting to take his life." Jesus was going to be sacrificed, as Caiaphas told them "It's better that one man should die for the people." ( John 18:14 ) Jesus knew that God's timing is perfect and quietly waited to do things His way...."because for me the right time has not yet come." (V8). God is always working His purpose out and will not let people dictate His precious plans for His creation; God will not be rushed and we patiently wait on Our Living, Loving Heavenly Father. Our trust is in Him alone.

  • Cat Ward | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Jesus fully knew His place, purpose and identity in God's plan. He would not be dictated to by our timetables. We were made for God and His purposes not the other way round. We cannot use God to our own ends, only let Him use us for His. It starts with Him!

  • Adam Julians | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Anne, indeed and not caring about being hated for testifying that what the world does is evil with some saying we are good and others wanting to kill our influence, reputation and in some cases take our very lives. Such is the cost of following Jesus. The point was made rightly in explore about the world expecting instant gratification. The question was asked about how we reconcile ourselves to not getting that. Perhaps one way is to bear in mind that the world ultimately does not care about you, your thoughts, feelings or what you want. What it does care about is what it can get from you by way of service. And then look to find satisfaction and fulfilment in heavenly things. By faith, you know God will do the rest.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Get alone with Jesus, discover what it is to be a humble child again and learn to walk in step with his ‘unforced rhythms of grace’. That's only achieved by what we read yesterday v63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The Bible is simply a physical representation of Jesus and spiritual truth. It is inspired of God and therefore, totally accurate and reliable, and yet, until we receive the Spirit expressed in these words the Bible will not profit us. This is why many people have read the Word yet aren't reaping its benefits. And why 'The Church' today is not having the same impact as the early Church..

  • David Forbes | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Barbara I am not a Roman Catholic. I just assist a gentleman to go to Mass . i must say it has made me more aware of how they do church. they use the same lectionary as the Church of Ireland.. our equivent of the COE. I like the commentators take on this passage.. how we shouldn't expect instant answers all the time and that we shouldn't curry favour with others expectations of us ( by the transforming your mind .. bible ref ? ) don't let the world squeeze you into it's mould.Praying for those of you who are having a hard time

  • Adam Julians | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Givlin, agreed that unless the Spirit is received there is no profit in the bible and why there is not the same reaping of benefits and impact where this does not occur with this frequently being the case of the church today. It is possible to be nostalgic about the early church but on reading Paul's pastoral letters it becomes immediately apparent to anyone with an eye to see and ear to hear than there is nothing new under the sun.

  • Adam Julians | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    David - bible ref is Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will."

  • Kath Prior | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    #Respond. I've enjoyed slowing down and doing these readings from John on the Lectio page first - a great way to 'get alone with Jesus'. Sometimes I'm aware I rush through the bible verses, especially if they are familiar to me, keen to read the commentary and comments. I'm very keen on bible study and learning about, as well as from, Scripture, but recently am valuing spending time in contemplation and learning to trust that God can speak through my imagination in the lectio divina way. I still read the notes after though, sometimes there are similar thoughts, other times God has said something entirely different! For me I'm aware that even doing a reading can be a way of 'conforming to expectations', I recommend a spell of doing Lectio if anyone else feels the same way.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    You made my point ADAM quoting from Eccl. If Holy Spirit left The Church most would carry on the same!

  • Barbara Sabin | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    DAVID yes I realised you were not a Roman Catholic and I know that the lectionaries are the same as the C of E the Church where I worship at present is moving towards the R C with prayers to Mary and the Service is almost identical to the RC Mass. Like you KATH I can be quick to read the scriptures so I try to take a word at a time and chew it all over. Everything has to be about Jesus he is the reason we exist as Christians .Christ is all in all I bring to Thee my heart to fill I feel how weak I am, but still To thee for help I call. In joy or grief, to live or die, For earth or Heaven, this is my cry, Be thou my all in all. Chorus Christ is all, yes, all in all. My Christ is all in all. . Around me in the world I see No joy that turns my soul from thee; Its honors fade and fall; But with thee, though I mount the cross, I count it gain to suffer loss, For thou art all in all. . I've little strength to call my own, And what I've done, before thy throne I here confess, is small; But on thy strength. O God, I lean, And through the blood that makes me clean, Thou art my all in all. . No tempest can my courage shake, My love from thee no pain can take, No fear my heart appall; And where I cannot see I'll trust, For then I know thou surely must Be still my all in all. https://youtu.be/cb3bMibFdw4

  • Barbara Sabin | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    GILVIN we are so blessed to be filled with the Holy Spirit so many people in Churches do not grasp that they need to be filled , and you are quite correct in saying the Church would just carry on the same without the Holy Spirit without realising He is missing .

  • Adam Julians | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    Gilvin - sadly what you say is true. A tender vision of Christ weeping over Jerusalem and longing to gather all as a mother hen does with it's chicks comes to me.

  • Barbara Sabin | Wednesday, 17 May 2017

    GILVIN and ADAM A good book to read is 'From Eternity to Here' by Frank Viola

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