John 7:1-10 : After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee, for he wouldn’t walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand. His brothers therefore said to him, “Depart from here, and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see your works which you do. For no one does anything in secret, and himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, reveal yourself to the world.” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus therefore said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world can’t 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 yet going up to this feast, because my time is not yet fulfilled.” Having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly, but as it were in secret.
Jesus had to actively avoid the Jewish religious leadership in order to not die before the Father wanted Him to. In this light, it appears that Jesus physical brothers challenged Him to stand up and be noticed. It appears that everyone was thinking that Jesus was blowing His chance to gain real political power.
It’s as if the people were saying, “Why won’t Jesus be a man and stand up for what is right.” I have found this to be a typical behavior of people who don’t appreciate the timing of God or believe that good works are performed by the determined action of mankind rather than the power of God.
Perhaps, Jesus brothers were accusing Him of being without courage. I am pretty sure that they knew that He was in trouble with “the law” at this point. I think they were also aware of the reality of His miraculous powers which clearly exceeded theirs. Perhaps they were wondering why was he “hiding” in the north when He should go right down to Jerusalem and start taking Israel back from the Romans.
Jesus, knowing it wasn’t His time told His brothers to go on ahead and explained that the world could only hate Him because He exposes their evils. By saying “it can’t hate you,” Jesus is implying that His brothers couldn’t expose the evil of the world like He could. This is probably a positive comment in that a person who does evil is pretty easy to talk back to. Since Jesus did no evil, He was in a unique position to expose it and give the evil doer no way to excuse their sin as a mistake of the rebuke or to deflect the focus onto the hypocrisy of the one rebuking. When a person can’t deflect their guilt, it is all to easy for the unrepentant heart to retaliate in violence.
Jesus couldn’t die on just any day. He had to die on the day that God had appointed and He was in a position to choose to do the will of God even in regard to His time of death. Accusations of being a wimp were just more persecution from unbelievers that Jesus had to endure. Here’s what Paul says in Galatians:
Galatians 1:10 : For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? For if I were still pleasing men, I wouldn’t be a servant of Christ.
Jesus teaches us that a real man listens to God and isn’t a follower of other men.
Theology: Notice that Jesus had brothers. This is one of the pieces of evidence that challenges the teaching that Mary was a “perpetual virgin.”