Did Jesus Lie to His Brothers?

by Bill Pratt

Patti, a reader of Tough Questions Answered, asked the other day if Jesus lied to his brothers in John 7:8-10.  She claims that an atheist pointed these verses out to her.

So, what’s going on here?  Must we read these verses in John 7 as Jesus purposely deceiving his brothers?  First, let’s look at the passage in question, starting at John 7:1:

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

In these verses, Jesus’ brothers are taunting him.  They are urging him to go to the Feast and perform public miracles instead of avoiding Judea, where the Feast would be held.  What was Jesus’ response to them?

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

Jesus tells his brothers twice that ”the right time has not yet come.”  He tells them to go to the Feast without him.  What does Jesus do next?

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