The DEEP

Not Quite Sure

Just one more, please.

John 7:1–13

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee; for He did not want to walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill Him. Now the Jews’ Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. His brothers therefore said to Him, “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. You go up to this feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, for My time has not yet fully come.” When He had said these things to them, He remained in Galilee.

But when His brothers had gone up, then He also went up to the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. Then the Jews sought Him at the feast, and said, “Where is He?” And there was much complaining among the people concerning Him. Some said, “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews.

Yes, some of Jesus’s brothers didn’t believe in Him. These are family members who’ve known Him for a long time, and they surely know of the circumstances surrounding His birth.

Amazingly, they’re not believers, not yet anyway. So, they urge Him to show off His works. “Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing.”

But is it really so that everyone else can see His works, or so that they can see them?

The controversy described at the end of today’s passage shows the answer. Everyone is abuzz about who Jesus is. No one is quite sure—including His brothers.

Especially His brothers. They know Him as a person, not as some legend, and the claims He has made are not easy to believe. They’d like to see some more evidence, so they just nudge Him a bit.

For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

And they’re not nasty about it, which is impressive given that they’re brothers.


The Feast of Tabernacles is a Jewish festival commemorating Israel’s life in the desert after fleeing Egypt. Thus, the last sentence is a bit confusing. However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Jews. They’re all Jews. This has to be a reference to the Jewish authorities.

The point isn’t just that there’s a lot of intimidation going on.

It’s that everyone knows it.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Saturday DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

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The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.